TRUETT RACING: RACE REPORT
WILD BOAR PALATKA, FL
MARCH 10 2018
This was Truett Racings 2nd trip to this little gem in the middle of 1,000 acre woods. No seriously, the facility is over 6,000 acres of fields, pine tree, palmettos and swamp holes. Did I say swamp holes? Oh yeah, there are at least 4,000 acres of swamp holes, swamp holes and more swamp holes. After last year’s trip we were not excited for the return visit. We knew going in this track is rough and a machine killer. Survival is sometimes the best you can do. We walked the track on Friday with that in mind. We did our best to scout out potential danger and look for alternate routes if certain spots became impassable. After a year and half of racing, Collin has learned a lot and knows what to look for and spends quite a bit of time canvasing the area and picking great lines. Being 21 and having a sharp mind plays in his advantage. All 5 of us walk the track together and as we are walking, Collin is coaching Emily on how to pick lines and what to remember. Mitch, haven been a veteran racer, always has a lot of insight to pass on to Collin as well. Saturday morning comes very early, our 1st race of the day is at 9am. Single seat race enticed Mitch to go out and buy himself a RS1 and race against Collin. Mitch has sat on the sidelines as long as he can!
Green flag drops and Collin takes off like a rocket. He has this hole shot thing figured out. Mitch settles in to the woods in 4th place. Collin has checked out and made quite a gap between him and the rest of the field. He makes a few mistakes encountering trees but is able to maintain his lead. Mitch on the other hand spends the 1st lap going from 4th to 3rd back to 4th all the way up to 2nd and then back to 4th! Racing never leaves your blood, but unfortunately you do get rusty when those lines are coming at you 40mph! On lap 1, almost ½ the field had hit trees and broken out. In the short 30 minute race Collin was able to keep his first place position by holding off a fellow racer by protecting corners and making sure he took the fastest lanes himself. It was a hard-fought battle all the way to the checkered flag!
Lap 1 proved to be Mitch’s most exciting as the #2 and #3 guys had gapped him and now he just had to survive and hold on to 4th. He did just that and pulled into the pits with a smile on his face, disappointed he wasn’t on the box with Collin, but knew he had some awesome GoPro footage to share with the rest of us! If you haven’t subscribed to Collin’s YouTube channel, you really should! We are putting up some great footage from our races.
4pm is the start time of the 2 seater UTV race. After the morning race Collin knows even better what the conditions of the track are and how quickly they will deteriorate. We are on row 4 and have the inside line to corner #1. When the green flag drops Collin jumps off the line and holds off the rest of the pack. We go into the woods or palmetto section with 1 goal in mind. Make up time, hit it hard and create a gap! Collin hammers down and within ½ lap we have already caught a guy who started a row in front of us, which means we have already made up 30 seconds and gaining more time! By the time we hit the long field sections we see other brake lights which means the leaders of the race are in our sights. Now this field is 25 acres at least so when I saw we see them, it doesn’t mean we are in passing distance yet but seeing them is a huge boost to Collin as he knows he is doing well. He keeps charging but paying very close attention to the conditions of the track and being very careful to not push the car beyond its limit. He notices very quickly, in some long sweepers in the field that are nothing but sand how they are robbing his car of power. He also realizes if he pushed the car too hard and is on the gas too much he will blow up his belt. He lets off the throttle knowing every car has the same issues and are having to preserve their car too or either they will break and not be competition for us. We go into a small tight woody section and when we come out we are faced with a HUGE field of water holes. This section is nothing but water holes and islands. Not knowing how deep these sections are and exactly which line is the best to take but knowing we can’t let up on the throttle or else we lose momentum we try to make the best line choices possible. We get completely covered, water comes in on our feet, our clothes are soaked, and our goggles are dripping. When we emerge, we quickly remove a tear off and charge again. We come back out into that same field section and before we know it, we are back on the same track we took at the start line. We know soon we will come through the timing gate and start lap 2. On lap 2 we catch a train of cars who are the guys who started 1 or 2 rows in front of us. We know we are in a perfect position now and we know we are in the top 3 spots if not the top spot. Now realize this, all the guys who started in front of us are driving turbo cars, which is faster and significantly up on HP.
By the time we leave the field section we have physically passed 2 cars and making up time. We hit those “lovely” water holes again. We can’t let up, we have to go hard and unfortunately this time when we emerge Collin had exhausted all the tear offs he has left on his goggles. Without tear offs and with wet gloves, there is no physical way to clean your goggles. Collin makes the only decision he had which was to remove his goggles and risk racing without them. At this point of the race we are starting to see carnage all over the track. We know now that we have to maintain speed and position and we should be good. But unfortunately we also know we have to protect Collin’s eyes which are wide open to the elements of sand, mud and dust. Lap 3 we continue seeing carnage but have lost sight of the leaders. Lap 3 we run into lap traffic but fortunately they quickly move out of our way and we go into lap 4 with both of us running without goggles. At least I can drop my head and close my eyes when we get into bad situations but Collin doesn’t have that advantage. I remind him that he has to be careful and not follow too close to lap traffic because of the roost and to be smart in his passes. The track is as rough as can be by the time. My job is to point out cars broken down and alert him to take alternate routes. At this point I start telling the car to see us through to the end, she had gotten us this far, don’t break on us now. “Come on girl, you can do it, I know you can!” We finish lap 4 come past the checkered flag and exit the race wondering if we have been able to hold on to a podium finish but knowing we lost valuable time on that last lap. Collin looks over to me and you can see nothing but the whites of his eyes and they are red instead of white! He is in pain and miserable. We quickly grab and bottle of water and rinse his eyes the best we can with dirty hands. After a bottle of water, he looks a lot better and isn’t in as much pain. Mitch tells us we lost our podium finish but we are still proud of ourselves knowing the elements we battled and came out ahead of. We finished 1st in our class and a very respectable 5th overall out of 83 drivers. Nothing to be ashamed of!!!
Emily, Mrs. Emily who was nervous about this race, but decided finishing was her top priority. To run her own race and not worry about position. Knowing the track itself would be her obstacle she put her head down and charged as hard as she could. Goggles proved to be a thorn in our side that day as Emily early on had google issues too. Water got behind her tear offs and in her goggles so she had to remove hers as well just to see. Communication between copilot and driver is a learned skill. Mitch worries that a newly married couple may not be up for that challenge but Alex and Emily say they can handle it. Alex has to learn how to encourage and direct Emily and Emily has to learn how to listen and what his words mean. It takes quite a few races to learn how to communicate and help. This is really only her 2nd race so they are still learning. Luckily this track has a lot of passing spots so holding up faster drivers and worrying about them hitting you or you having to find a spot to quickly get out of their way is not a concern. Emily was able to quickly get out of the way and not lose important momentum. At one point, in a deep rut, Emily actually rolled on her side. One bad thing about the woods being closed to spectators is, if something like that happens, you are on your own getting it back on 2 wheels. Alex had to exit the car, roll her back over and let her get out of the rut and then chase her car down, get back in and strap down. Emily came across the checkered flag 1 one piece with a smile on her face and 5th in her class. She did what she set out to do which was run her own race, learn the car, learn track conditions, scream at her husband, apologize and finish the race! It was a good day.
-Collin Truett is 1st in points in the Single Seat class, 1st in points in UXC2 and 1st in point overall.
-Mitch Truett is 4th in points in Single Seat class
-Emily Truett is 6th in points in Women’s class after a DNF her 1st race
OTR Wheel Engineering is a proud sponsor of Truett racing. We thank the Truett Racing family for their continued support and dedication!