Competing in three major desert races in three weeks would stand as a herculean task for many racers - not so for H-Town, California resident Damen Jefferies.
Damen Jefferies' Number 22 Trophy Truck
K&N Filters, Lucas Oil, Black Ice Energy sponsored Trophy Truck
"With the races being a week apart it doesn't take much of a toll. It actually keeps me sharp getting that much seat time," remarked Jefferies."
"Now racing the 'Nevada 2000', that was a different story. In the year 2000 we ran that race, a six-day, 300 mile-per-day race in July, in the hot Nevada desert. It was exhausting; I had to pay close attention to hydration in that one."
And by exhausting we can only imagine Jefferies means it was like racing over the face of the sun. Off-road racers are a hardy bunch by definition to say the very least. It's all about facing challenges and overcoming them. If you need to duct tape your differential in position, hold a broken shifter in one hand, an unhinged door with the other, and steer with your forehead for the last 30 miles of a race - you do it. There's no whining in off-road racing.
Jefferies has been racing off-road since 1992 and you can bet he's overcome his share obstacles in that time. Competing in three consecutive events only adds more material to the final Damen Jefferies Racing story tally. The first race for the number 22 Trophy Truck was at the 24th annual SCORE San Felipe 250 held in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
"The rain over the winter months really took its toll on the desert down there. A lot of the sand has been washed out of the canyons leaving basketball sized rocks exposed for us to maneuver through," reflected Jefferies. At mile eight, visibility choked by dust, the team of Damen and Casey hit a rock that flattened the left rear tire. They had to change the tire themselves using the truck's onboard tools and jack system. Casey Jefferies is the lead mechanic and co-pilot of the number 22 truck.
Shortly after, having caught back up to 19th position, the shock absorbers began to fail and the team had to make the difficult decision to call it a day before they did terminal damage to the truck. The shocks got so hot the stickers melted off, so damaged by the heat that they could no longer hold the back end of the truck up. "It was a rough day!" said Jefferies. And by rough he means brutal.
The next weekend Jefferies participated in the MORE 250 held in Barstow, California, teaming up with Shelby Reid in a Class-1 unlimited car this time. The race was comprised of nine 28-mile laps. As though being reward for surviving the weekend before, the off-road gods presented the team of Shelby and Jefferies with a smooth sailing race this time. The team took the overall win by 15 minutes and 7 seconds.
"The dust got real bad as we had to pass the lap traffic," explained Jefferies. "But, I'd like to thank K&N for a great air filter, it is amazing the dirt and dust the filter keeps out of the engine. Thanks to the filter we rarely have to tear down the engines anymore."
The very next weekend the team was off to the General Tires Mint 400, held just north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Mint 400 is a race that Jefferies looks forward to every year. This year the team raced with good friend Rob Bruce. Over 70 teams took their shot at the pole position, the K&N Trophy Truck placed 13th.
27 Trophy Trucks took the green flag on Saturday morning. The K&N Trophy Truck completed the first silt laden, rough and rocky lap in fourth position, running trouble free. On lap two however the team experienced the first of five flat tires. The truck ran good for the entire 416 miles, zero mechanical issues, finishing 8th out of 27 trucks, but all those flats took their toll.
"We are happy with 8th place. The flat tires really killed us though. This is an issue that has to be looked at," declared Jefferies. "Once again our K&N filter preformed its best, the truck plowed through knee-deep silt where the visibility was almost zero and the air filter allowed no dust or dirt into our motor. Our motor is still so strong, it feels like it never raced thanks to our K&N filter," explained Jefferies at the finish line.
The next race for the number 22 K&N Filters, Lucas Oil, Black Ice Energy sponsored Trophy Truck is the SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada, B.C. Mexico on June 5th.
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