Brenthel Takes 2nd Place at Reno 500
July 22, 2013
Faced with 500 miles of pure torment at the HDRA Eldorado Reno 500, Brenthel Racing prevailed. The team finished on the podium again with a second place finish. “The Reno course is relentless,” says Jonathan Brenthel, “There are no long straight-a-ways where a driver can relax. The turns are tight and the course is filled with elevation changes and switchbacks.” If that was not enough to test a driver; the course is literally made of rocks. There are not rocks in the soil at the Tahoe-Reno Motorplex, there is soil mixed in with the rocks. The unforgiving surface chews the tread right off your tires; you can get a flat tire in any corner.
Jamie Galles was at the wheel when they took the green flag. He put in two laps at a great pace maintaining first on the road. He had company at times, dropping to second on corrected time but was never passed. The Brenthel team is racing for a class championship and the World Championship of Off Road Racing, A title earned by accruing the most points racing in the SCORE and HDRA series. The stakes put extra pressure on the whole team to perform flawlessly. He handed over a perfect truck in the lead to Jonathan Brenthel.
Things looked good when Jonathan Brenthel and Brother Jordan got in the Brenthel Industries 7200 truck. They had fresh General Tire Grabbers on their Method Race Wheels, the King shocks were working great and they had Rigid Industries LEDs to light their way but there were still three laps to go. Anything can happen and in a 500 mile race, it usually does. They made it through two laps when they suffered a clutch problem. The clutch was essentially welded together. They could not shift gears or push the clutch in; they were stuck in second gear. “We pulled into the pits with 60 miles to go,” says Jonathan, “We knew if we got stuck on the course we would have to camp for the night or walk back to the pits. There is a section with six switchbacks that are very tight. If you don’t make it you have to back up to make the turn. We all thought with the clutch locked up that we probably wouldn’t make it. It was Jordan who insisted we go on. He was angry that we had gone so far just to call it quits with 60 miles to go. We decided to go for it.”
They pressed on until they reached the switchbacks. Knowing it was all or nothing, Jonathan charged every corner. They barely made it through each one as they kept pushing. On the very last switchback, they got stuck. They pulled out their tow strap and hoped someone would come along. Their prayers were answered when an HDRA recovery team showed up. “I don’t know who those guys were but our thanks go out to them,” said Jonathan, “They saved our race for us and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
They were off again and charging to the finish. With the delay on course Josh Quintero had closed the gap. They were pushing to stay in front when they smacked a huge rock that killed a tire. They watched Quintero go by as they changed the tire. With the clutch frozen you have to start the truck in gear and hope the starter has enough grunt to push the truck until the motor fires. Luckily it did and they made their way to the podium with no other problems.
With points so precious in their quest for both a class championship and the World Championship of Off Road Racing title their second place finish was crucial. The Reno 500 was a double points race so the team did very well. It all comes down to the HDRA Moapa Big Horn 300 September 27-29th and the 46th running of the legendary SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 November 14-17th to settle the World Championship of Off Road Racing. With each event the stakes are higher and the competition gets more intense.
Photography By: Brian Binkert
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Additional Photo By: Art Eugenio
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