The new one and a tenth mile track at Las Vegas Motorspeedway, constructed in less then three weeks, features steep bank turns, high-speed technical obstacles and massive jumps that provide hundreds of feet of hang-time. It was just the kind of track fodder that Chris Brandt and his TV Hart and Huntington number 82 Pro Light Toyota feed on.
Brandt's game-face says it all - win or go home
In Saturday's round one race Brandt lead from start to finish
On Saturday, round one of Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Brandt qualified third but dominated the entire 12 lap main event, taking the hole shot and leading start to finish. But the best was yet to come.
At the start of round two on Sunday, Brandt found himself buried under a three-truck pile up. The accident seriously crunched his gear-shifter and it had to be completely sheared off. In its place the Hart and Huntington crew installed a Powerbuilt half-inch drive extension and a 13-millimeter socket to engage the gears. Re-starting from the very rear of the field, Chris struggled at first to find gears with the makeshift setup, but with his crazy-focused determination, brilliant improvising, and inspired driving, Brandt managed to pull off a third place finish.
After a post race technical inspection, Pro Lite race winner, Rodrigo Ampudia was disqualified, moving Brandt up as the official second place finisher.
So just how huge was it for Brandt to podium twice in the opening rounds of the LOORRS? "After the way last year finished, ultimately it was my fault I was disqualified, which means I gave away the unlimited light championship to (Brian) Deegan," reflects Brandt. "This is a new race year and I have raised the bar for myself. Last year I was on the podium 10 out of 12 races. The only way to raise that bar is to win. So to answer the question, it's always awesome to podium, but I am accepting nothing less than Saturdays win, because nothing else will do."
Having said that, Sunday's spectacular display of driving prowess also holds a warm fussy place for Brandt. "In my mind, Sundays race was one of my career highlights, to start a race almost a lap down, with a socket and extension for a shifter, and come back to finish third was amazing. And, after Ampudia's misfortune, I end up second; a little luck never hurts either. Still it was not a win. It is unfortunate for Ampudia, I know how he feels, but better the first weekend of racing than the last."
"When racing at this level, you have to have the best of the best, that is why we depend so much on all of our K&N racing products to win, they never let us down," continues Brandt.
"Next up for the Mav TV Bailiegh Industrial BF Goodrich Toyota is to get everything ready for a tough weekend at Speed World. "After all, they aren't just going to give me the next two wins - I'm going to have to take them before they even know what hit them," say Brandt with his game-face on.
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