February 2nd, 2019. The weather was cold, the wind was blowing, and as we got closer to that green light, everybody was anxious, nervous, but most of all, ready for battle. The Best in the Desert Parker 425 is one hell of a rough race. The terrain is hard, its dug out, and not to mention, it’s wet. Taylor Mills sharing the driver seat with Billy Wilson we can’t even begin to imagine how this race will go, other than hoping it’s a smooth ride. Instead they’re faced with chaos, wrecked with luck and unexpected stops. The racing gods were with us and we worked incredibly hard at pulling off a 4th place finish in class 6100, despite the odds that were against us. This year is all about new beginnings: learning and growing!
Green Light! Go, Go, Go! Driver Taylor Mills and navigator Josh Huff were off the start into their first lap, soaring through the open desert heading towards Shea Rd. Spectators got ready for a show they won’t ever forget. “Looks like a possible save of the year award! Nice pull off guys,” commented Ryan Rantzow. Taylor was already looking to make a pass on truck number 6184. Thinking an opening is coming up, he pulled right to pass. “IT’S NOT A PASSING LINE!” Josh yelled, “PULL BACK! PULL BACK!” but it was too late. First came a bush. As the truck launched through, it rotated almost completely over. At that point, Josh saw the inevitable: an old post with a BITD sign posted. They hit it. The hood was demolished, taking parts of both doors with it. The post that was once there was obliterated into cold thin air. Taylor throttled out and down shifted at the right time. Thankfully, they landed it and even made the pass after all. Taylor said in response, “Racing is racing. It takes balls, skills, and in this case, some LUCK.” We promised BITD we would return their wrong way sign. They insisted we frame it and hang it up in the race shop.
An unexpected driver change… Josh called in on the radio, “Get Billy ready, NOW! Taylor is sick. I repeat Billy get ready NOW!” They were 15 miles out from main pit and Billy wasn’t scheduled to get in until the end of lap 2. Bart Parker, team manager got on the phone to find Billy. Luckily, Billy was suited and ready to go while the truck was less than five miles out. The Geiser Trophy Spec was looking more like a great white shark that just came in from battle when it pulled in to the main pit. Billy Wilson was now sitting driver as he headed off to complete another round with the wind on our side.
Lap 2 was a good solid run for Billy and Josh, until the radio call came into main pit: “Bart get suited.” Josh was experiencing some stomach issues he couldn’t hold down. Taylor was ready to get back in and now it was looking like Bart would be getting in with him to bring home a finish for Mills Motorsports. We were unsure of our position with all the chaos and our trackers not working since mile 118. So now, with Taylor back in the driver seat and Bart sitting co-pilot, they were heading to the finish line. Raining non stop, we felt like everything was just not there for us this race. Waiting at the podium for the guys to come through, we got word they had made it and they would be pulling up soon. We finished 4th place. We couldn’t believe it but despite everything, our time really wasn’t that far off pace. It was such an incredible race and a good one for the books. A new year and we are off to a rough but overall, good start.
Full Disclosure: When we got home to our shop we washed the truck and realized, we sure did get lucky! …That night heading into the finish, the truck must have hit a rock it slashed a large slit into the sidewall of the tire and had completely bent the wheel back into the Brembo Brakes. How the BFGoodrich tires and Method Race Wheels kept us going was very surprising, but they did. This damage was unbelievable. Reminded us why we run with the best in the business.