Heart and determination is what it takes to finish the Mint 400, and that’s exactly what Team Stronghold gave to reach the finish line.
They don’t call the Great American Off Road Race the toughest in America for nothing. This year’s 2017 Polaris RZR Mint 400 was no different, pushing and testing the limits of every competitor.
The week started out on Thursday with a disappointing day at Time Trials, where the team encountered a stuck throttle right at the start. That ultimately cost the team valuable time and put Stronghold near the rear for the race on Saturday. Despite the setbacks from Thursday, team drivers Scott Bailey, Jason Coleman and co-driver Johnny Nelson were excited and optimistic for race day.
Coleman took the seat first on Saturday, battling the brutal conditions of the course and pushing the truck up from the bottom of the pack. On the first lap he encountered a flat coming into Pit A where he and co-driver Nelson were fortunate enough to stay in the truck and allow the crew to change the tire. By lap 2, Coleman really started feeling confident driving the new truck, and started to push the pace, bringing the #89 trophy truck from a 62nd start to approximately mid pack before handing the reigns over to driver Scott Bailey.
“The first lap was still a learning curve, as I wanted to have clean lap and was still learning the truck. Testing is one thing, but racing is another, and learning to drive it in race conditions and push the truck beyond what I had up to that point was difficult. I felt by the second lap I was starting to get the hang of it. I was happy to turn the truck over to Scott with it still in good shape. Johnny was great in the right seat teaching me little tips along the way that will carry over to the next race.” – Jason Coleman.
Bailey continued to drive well and push the pace until he, too, suffered a punctured tire coming into Pit A. Unfortunately this time the damage was significantly more severe, causing a hub seal failure and costing the team an hour getting it fixed and back on the road. Even with the technical issues Stronghold encountered, the team managed to push through the setbacks and finish the race 45th overall and 27th in class in their first race in the new #89 trophy truck.
“The truck ran great overall. The suspension needs a little tuning to go faster, but I knew going in to the race that wouldn’t be a huge issue as I had some miles to get comfortable to push it harder. Now, with about 300 miles in the seat, we’ll be looking to make the truck faster in all areas as we get more comfortable driving it.” – Coleman
Stronghold Motorsports now looks to get the Trophy Truck dialed in for Vegas to Reno and the Baja 1000, but not before getting the Class 1 back on the track for the 2017 NOORA Mexican 1000 in April.