Rage at the River Champion
Justin Oquendo, driver of Kibbetech Racing’s #1466 truck and crew battled through the weekend to become victorious, taking home the 2014 Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiast’s 1450 class Championship at the last race of the season, Rage at the River in Laughlin, Nevada on December 13-14, 2014.
Rage at the River is one of the most popular SNORE races of the season for fans and racers, with thousands of spectators, with a total of 221 race entries and 40 entries in class 1450 alone. It is set up as a “short-course” style race, with vehicles racing four, 12 ½ mile laps on both Saturday and Sunday. The racers’ starting position for Saturday is based on a random draw and Saturday’s finishing place decides Sunday’s starting position. 1466 Race drew 26th position.
On race day, the team was confident that we would have a solid run for the day, on a fresh motor and a well prepped race vehicle. Leaving the starting line 3-wide, in the center lane, our BFG tires were hooked up and our motor was making a ton of power as we immediately put multiple car lengths on the other race trucks. Coming up to mile marker 1, we had caught our first group of trucks, bunched up, bumper to bumper. Picking an outside line, we blew past all four trucks like they were standing still and knew this was the pace we had to run to get to the front of the pack in this short, 50 mile race. In the next 11 miles, we picked off multiple race vehicles, yet to come across a truck running the pace we were. Entering the in-field and spectating area of the race course, we passed the hot pits and my crew chief informed us that we had just set the fastest lap in class and to keep up the pace. By that time we had overtaken 14 race vehicles in class by the end of the first lap.
Starting lap 2, we continued our pace, pushing 1466 race consistently towards the front of the pack. At this point, we started encountering some of the faster vehicles in class willing to put up a fight. From this point forward, it was evident that this was going to be a battle to the finish and we were going to attain the number one spot. Picking trucks off one by one through the remainder of the second lap, we had worked our way up to seventh position coming through the hot pits. The crew chief radioed the truck, informing us that we were running consistent lap times and were closing in on the leader.
As we started lap 3, we knew at this pace we would overtake the leaders. Working our way through the course, we had our race lines dialed and were taking corners at blistering speeds. Overtaking the next four vehicles almost seemed too easy, as each truck moved out of our way as we pushed up through their dust. At this point we were running in the 3rd place position with the two leading trucks in our sights. Entering the hot pits, completing lap 3, we decided to pull in and take on 8 gallons of fuel. With the few changes and new components to the engine and the extremely sandy course, we weren’t sure of the exact mileage and wanted to play it safe.
On lap 4 we continued to push our pace, closing in the corrected time gap between starting 26th and the leaders starting 5th and 7th. Passing mile marker 9 on our 4th lap, we heard the motor cut out and before having the chance to shut it down, the engine died. Coasting to a stop, safely on the side of the race course, my co-driver and I got out to assess the situation. Finding a hole in the side of the block, we knew we were done for the day.
The Kibbetech crew was quick to recover the truck and tow it straight to the timing tower. There we spoke with officials to confirm the amount of points we received for the day’s race and to confirm that we had what we needed for the point’s championship. Unbeknownst to us, we needed to start both days in order to accumulate the amount of points we needed for the point’s championship.
Without wasting another minute, the crew made the decision to head home from Laughlin to swap motors in time to make Sunday’s race. James Mullenix from Mullenix Racing Engines prepped and readied our motor as we drove home. Arriving home, we swapped motors in 5 hours. Attempting to fire the truck with the spare motor, we could get only 4 out of 8 cylinders to fire. The team chased gremlins in the wiring until 3 in the morning to no avail. We made the judgement call to get the truck back on the trailer and head to Laughlin to make Sunday’s race. The team pulled back into Laughlin with two hours to spare before staging.
Starting Sunday’s race, we planned on pulling off the starting line to receive starting points only. While sitting in staging, my co-driver and I came to the conclusion that we were going to see this through to the very end. We worked all night, without sleep and we were going to get the most out of this race day and get this truck to the finish line. For the first 5 miles of the race, we were unable to get the truck to top 42 miles per hour. Finding some hard-packed dirt around mile marker 6, we were able to achieve a top speed of 57 miles per hour. Pushing the truck at this pace for the remainder of the race landed the team a 12th place finish on day two and 13th position for the weekend, clinching the 2014 SNORE points Championship.
We thank each one of our sponsors for their continued support in making the 2014 race season a triumphant one and for being a part of the Kibbetech Racing Team. The four podiums and championship this year are a testament to the outstanding products that we run. We look forward to defending our championship in the 2015 race season.
Mullenix Racing Engines is a sponsor for the Kibbetech racing class 1450 race truck. Owned and operated by a Justin Oquendo.
We are the custom engine builder and electronic fuel injection tuner. For the truck we have put together a combo utilizing a LS3 based stroker 418 cubic inch short block custom built in house the cam profile is custom ground to the matching needed flow of the trick flow gen x 255 cnc cylinder heads. The motor is controlled and managed with a Holley Terminator EFI System and tuned in house all that power is then transferred through a culhane turbo 400 trans and converter built for a trophy truck then put to the ground through a Camburg race 9″ housing filled with gears and spool from Yukon gear and axle.
We assist in swapping motors when needed for maintenance, upgrades, and any changes that are necessary during the course of the racing season. We support the team by helping out during races in the pits and/or on the course when needed.