Brenthel Industries Takes A Shot In The Dark At SCORE Baja 1000
November 30, 2016
Ensenada, Baja California Mexico
Countless hours of preparation goes into a race as challenging as the 49th SCORE Baja 1000. It was a loop race this year that ran from Ensenada to the Pacific Ocean; then to San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez and back to Ensenada for the finish. It hit every type of punishing terrain Baja has to offer; silt, rocks, whoops, wide open desert, and technical trails bordered by steep cliffs. Brenthel Industries spent weeks prerunning the course, prepping trucks and planning logistics for the race. You would think that with such a daunting task ahead, they would play it safe and stick to what they know works, but that wasn’t the case. They made major changes to Brian Goldstein’s Brenthel built RX Unlimited Pharmacy, spec Trophy Truck. They dropped the ride height front and rear which required new valving and tuning of their King Shocks. They would also be running a new sway bar design from Brenthel Industries and a brand new mud terrain tire from Falken Tires.
The strategy was to run the first half of the race at a conservative pace and assess the situation from there. Jonathan Brenthel took the first stint behind the wheel and pulled into pit one with the lead but no brakes. “Jesse and Cooper got the issue diagnosed quickly, they did an amazing job,” said Jonathan Brenthel, “We got a great start and despite running a conservative pace, found ourselves in the lead. We were going along and wondered why aren’t we getting caught, why hasn’t anyone nerfed us yet? (He said with a laugh). After changing out the master cylinder and completing the driver change, they had only lost 10 minutes to the leaders.
Brian ran the bottom section of the course from mile 80 to 210. The changes that were made to his truck were paying off. The new tread pattern on the Falken tires gave him great control in the corners and traction in the silt. They were running a new body on the truck that had better aerodynamics and still allowed additional air flow to the coolers.
Torco Racing Fluids do a great job keeping the moving parts happy but any additional cooling is always welcomed. If you remember the Baja 500, it was unbelievably hot. The strategy to run smarter not harder might have hindered his aggression but he did bring the truck in to the pits in perfect shape. The leaders were clearly on a different strategy as they had increased their advantage to nearly two hours.
Jonathan got back in the truck at mile 210 as the sun was disappearing. He charged off into the darkness with his Rigid Industries LED lighting punching a hole through the darkness. Despite great vision ahead, he soon found himself getting groggy. Like many racers do, he implored his co-driver to keep talking; tell him stories if he had to. As they neared the San Felipe loop, fatigue was getting the best of him. Brother Jordan Brenthel was in the area so they put him in the truck at mile 590. Jordan had run that section about 5 times while prerunning; he knew it well. This break allowed Jonathan to eat some food and get a little rest. By the time Jordan finished the loop, Jonathan felt like a million bucks. More importantly, the truck was still in perfect shape and running flawlessly.
Refreshed and reinvigorated, Jonathan took the wheel once more. The plan all race was to run at a pace that would get them to the finish but now, He wanted to put the hammer down and go for the podium. “I was going at 100 percent race pace,” said Jonathan, “We did our conservative pace, it was time to turn it up. Not only did the new 38 inch Falken Tires give us better wear, but I was hitting a bunch of rocks. I kept thinking we surely must have gotten a flat tire, but the Falken Tires and our Method Race Wheels were fine. We caught and passed another truck that had 14 minutes on us at the driver change. In the fast sections it’s too dusty to make a pass. You have to make your move in the sketchy stuff, that’s what I did. We were so happy when we got to the finish in podium position. We thought we had second place but got a penalty for missing a virtual check point that dropped us to third. We made a bunch of changes to the truck which was a big gamble but it payed off. We implemented a mental game plan that got us the results we intended. That is the big thing that we will be taking into next season.”
Brenthel Industries provides impeccable quality, championship winning performance, and all-inclusive customer service and support. The attention to detail comes straight from the top. Jordan and Jonathan are not your typical owners. They both possess every skillset needed to deliver their products from a pile of raw materials to a functioning vehicle. They incorporate their first-hand knowledge in CAD design, welding, fabrication, assembly, plumbing, wiring and more into every design. The race prep, chase support and Arrive and Drive programs have been developed through their extensive racing experience. When it comes to selecting a builder, you can compromise, or you can insist on the best; Brenthel Industries. Go to http://brenthelindustries.com or http://www.bajakits.com to find out more about the many services, highly developed suspension systems and race-proven products available from Brenthel Industries.
Photography By: Bink Designs