March 15, 2020- Lake Havasu City, AZ
We headed out to the WORCS Racing double-header in Lake Havasu on Thursday afternoon. It was raining and we experienced flooding all along the way. We were about half-way to the track, when we came to a point in our journey that the road was closed. It was late, so we decided to stay the night on the side of the road and get up early the next morning to see if it opened up.
We were stoked to find an open road at 5:00 a.m. Friday morning and we headed straight for the track! We arrived at about 9:00 a.m. and began setting up our pit for the weekend. I checked in at registration and then got ready for practice. That afternoon I was able to run a few practice laps and get a good feel for the track. Lake Havasu is always hard on the cars and our bodies. It is notorious for being a really rough course. After practice, I ran both of my cars through tech so I was ready to race round 3 on Saturday.
On Saturday morning, I got up early to spot and radio for one of the RZR170 racers. After that race, I headed back to my pit to make sure everything was ready to go on both of my cars. My first race was in the SXS 1000 Production class, and that afternoon I headed to the line. There were 21 cars in my class and I started on row 1. When the green flag dropped, we took off!
I was in P4 off of the line as we headed out onto the race course. It was a 40 minute race, so I knew I needed to be patient and focus on the cars in front of me one-by-one. In lap 1, I was able to make passes and moved myself up to P2. I kept going and stayed on the car in front of me. I was able to hold my second place position through lap 5. During lap 6, there was a loud banging coming from under the floor of my car. After a quick pit stop, my team was able to see that I had a broken prop shaft. I put my car in two-wheel drive and continued the race. Stopping in the pits caused me to lose one position and I carried on in P3. It was tough in two-wheel drive, but I was able to maintain that position through laps 6, 7, and 8 and finished the race in 3rd place. I was happy to be on the podium after a tough race with a broken car.
I had about a two hour break between the SXS 1000 Production race and the SXS 1000 Stock race, so I headed back to my pit to rest in the motor home and get something to eat. When it was time, I jumped in my stock RS1 and headed to the line.
There were 24 cars in the stock class, and I was starting on row 1. The flag flew and we took off! I got the hole shot and was in P1 as we headed out onto the track. I knew the course well and settled into a rhythm quickly. With each lap, I was able to put more of a gap between my car and the rest of the pack and by lap 5, I was running just over 7 seconds ahead of P2. During lap 6, my prop shaft broke, but I knew what it was and did not need to pit. I put my car in two-wheel drive and stayed on the gas as much as I could to hold my lead. Going into lap 7, I had lost some time and P2 had caught me. I did everything I could to maintain my position, but he was able to get around me. I was able to hold the car together and maintain my second place position through lap 8 and finished the race in 2nd place. I was happy again to be on the podium with a broken car, but I was bummed after running in 1st for most of the race.
We spent Saturday night fixing all of the damage to both cars. I felt really fortunate that we had thought ahead and basically brought a parts store with us. We ended up needing prop shafts for both cars, a front differential for one, and some other minor parts to get them ready to go for Sunday’s round 4 races.
I was up early again on Sunday to spot and radio for one of the RZR170 racers. After that race was finished, I headed back to my pit to finish up some prep on my cars. That afternoon, I headed to the line for round 4 in the SXS 1000 Production class.
There were 14 in my class which was far less than the day before because so many of them broke on the rough course. I started in row 1 and when the flag flew, we took off! I was in P4 off of the line, but reminded myself it was a 40 minute race, so I had time. During laps 1 and 2, I stayed on the car in front of me and applied as much pressure as I could. Finally, during lap 3, I was able to make a pass on the car in front of me moving me into P3. I caught the next car and was able to quickly make another pass moving me into P2. During lap 4, I had caught the lead car and made a pass on the inside coming through a tight corner. I almost lost it but corrected quickly and carried through the turn. I had made it to the front of the pack! I had to keep a good pace because there were cars that started in the rows behind me and corrected time can creep up on you. I stayed in the lead through laps 4-9 and crossed the finish line in 1st place! I was stoked! It was a tough race and I had fought hard to win. I was also thankful that my car stayed together to get me through.
I only had an hour break before heading to the line for the SXS 1000 Stock class race, so I went back to my pit quickly. I got something to eat and drink, and then geared up to go again.
I headed to staging and then we lined up. There were 19 cars in the class and I started on row 1 again. The flagger waived his hand down the line to signal it was time and as the flag flew, we took off! I got the hole shot as we rounded the first turn and hit the gas going over the first jump. I had 40 more minutes and I was ready to end the weekend on a high note. After all the racing I had done, I knew the course like the back of my hand. The ruts had gotten bigger, but it didn’t slow me down. I kept on the gas and maintained my first place position for 6 laps. During lap 7, my prop shaft broke again and I had to click it into two-wheel drive. I got stuck going through a tight corner and lost a lot of time. I was finally able to get going again and as I went through the timing chute to head out for one more lap, the flagger waived the black flag and signaled at me and the racer in front of me to exit the race course. I was devastated. I had no idea what I had done wrong. I’ve never been black flagged in a race before.
After the race was over, the series director told me that I had driven too fast past the yellow flags on the course three times during the race. I know the rules of racing and I always do my best to follow them. I felt I had slowed down as much as I could as quickly as I could every time I saw the yellows, but he felt otherwise. The flaggers didn’t wave or signal to me in any way that I was doing anything wrong during the race and I was shocked to be disqualified. The race director was very upset, so I didn’t say anything to him but “yes sir”. I know this is a dangerous sport and I take the safety of myself, the course workers, and my fellow racers very seriously. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach when it was all said and done.
The weekend was tough, and my team and I fought really hard for the three podium finishes I came home with. The DQ will hurt me in the SXS 1000 Stock class points championship, but I’m not going to give up. I will take the lessons learned and move forward.
With everything going on in our world right now, all races have been cancelled until further notice. My team and I have parts coming to repair all of the damage on both cars, and we should have them ready to roll by the time we start racing again.
Thanks so much to all of these amazing companies and people that support my program: Benchmark Performance, Candle Motorsports, Method Race Wheels, GBC Motorsports, Crow Enterprizes, Elka Suspension, Super ATV, Roll Design, Energy Coil Racing, Factory UTV, Baja Designs, Gates G-Force, PRP Seats, Rugged Radios, Maxima Racing Oils, Bikeman Performance, Tireblocks, Crown Performance Products, Got Sand Performance, HOK9, Perrault Motorsports, Dirt Rider Designs, and my parents who make this possible for me! Thanks to WORCS for putting on the series and Harlen Foley for the amazing pictures! You can check out the Sims188 Racing team on Instagram @csims188 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/csims188/.
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