Editor’s note: Earning a 4th-place finish in one of the most difficult Baja 500 races in many years, Team Rustfish Racing has a team and a race car to be proud of. Their race machine is equipped with Chicane RX tires on HD5 Beadlock wheels. The team endured terrific heat throughout the race, issues with drive belts, plus engine and electronics troubles. Read the race report from driver Dave Nance below.
Race report by Dave Nance, Rustfish Racing: We just completed our second race on the new STI 32-inch Chicane and HD5 Beadlocks. After our win at the San Felipe 250, there was no doubt we would be running the Chicane RX tires for this Baja 500.
Our new car is larger and heavier than our previous vehicle, so we started off doing extensive testing in the desert using the same tires we used for the San Felipe 250. Mile after mile, we tortured the car and the tires to make sure we were ready for the Baja 500. Most off-road fans know that the San Felipe 250 is a very rough course. After the race and all our testing, the Chicane tires were still up to the job. We ended up using these same tires as spares for the Baja 500.
To start, drivers Kent Pfeiffer and Rick Little took up the task for the first 200 miles of the race. This section a lot of rutted and narrow dirt trails. It turned into rocks and boulders to reach the summit outside Ojos Negros. After this initial push, they hit the valley where the temperatures hit 116 degrees. This was where we really could open up and start to make some time.
We then came to the San Felipe side of the course. The only way to describe it? Hot and brutal. Imagine doing the San Felipe 250 backward in 116-degree heat. At this time my co-driver Jason Henninger and I settled in for the night shift. The tires performed flawlessly. We even took a hit on the driver-side front tire from a class 8. I thought for sure that would be the end of our day. It was not. No issue. We just kept going. We handed the car back to Kent Pfeiffer and Zach Goemer for the final mountain section near Mike’s Sky Ranch and they brought it home. No flats, no tire issues at all. The tires could go another 500.
This tire and rim combination – Chicane RX mounted on HD5 Beadlocks – is the best out there, period. I flat-out stand by this statement. We have 750 Baja Race miles on this combo, plus miles upon miles of testing. Nothing, nada, not even a good scratch.
We are proud to work with the STI team for product testing, feedback and racing. They are a great partner. We look forward to many races in the future with our friends from STI Wheel and Tire.
I want to thank Penhall for this sick build, STI for the 32-inch Chicane and HD5 Beadlock wheels, and our Rustfish team. Congrats to Wayne and John for the wins. I want to make our team MVP announcement. Our Pit Boss Ryan Williams, who is actually a co-driver for Hatch Racing, came down and chased the entire race. He and his main guy Sergio did 450 miles of chasing after one of our chase trucks went down with a blown transmission.
Finally we want to say how sorry our team is for the race teams that lost their racers and to the family of the child who was killed. We cannot express how your profound loss is felt by our team. God bless you and help you through this time.
– Dave Nance, Rustfish Racing