The morning may have been cold, but the action soon turned hot on the race course Friday, Jan. 24 for the first race of the 2020 BlueWater Resort & Casino/Best in the Desert Parker 425 presented by Jimco. This was the first time with a new two-day format. The slower and two-lap classes, including the Jeep Speed classes, went out on Friday. The faster, three-lap classes, including the Trick Trucks, went out on Saturday.
The top spot in the three-lap classes went to No. 1020, which also placed first in the 1000 class. This Alumi Craft buggy was driven by Conner McMullen, Kevin McMullen, Jeneka Jenkins of Phoenix and Jeremy Aikins of Peoria, Ariz. Their time on the course was 6:54:52.952.
They had a 20-minute lead over the second-place vehicle, No. 1088, which was also an Alumi Craft. It was driven by Chase Warren of Phoenix and Martin Richardson of La Mesa, Calif. Their time on the course was 7:14:17.067.
Another 1000 class buggy placed third, No. 1075, also an Alumi Craft. The drivers were Brent Fox and Brady Fox of Lehi, Utah; Tyler Hayhurst of Chino, Calif.; and Kevin Gear of American Fork, Utah. They came in with a time of 7:16:03.392.
The best finish for a team from Parker or Lake Havasu City in the three-lap classes came from No. 7281, a Ford, which was driven by Randy Merritt, R.J. Merritt, Chris Golding, and Jake Larson, all from Parker. They placed first in the 7200 class and 14th overall with a time of 7:51:38.327. They were also the second highest finisher among the vehicles outside the 1000 class.
Another Parker team in the 7200 class was No. 7272, a Ford, which was driven by Norman Turley, Trevor Turley and Bryant Layton of Parker and Brock Keenan of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. They didn’t finish the race. Of the six entries in the 7200 class, Merritt and his team were the only ones to finish the race.
In the two-lap classes, first place went to No. 3708, a Jeep, following a disqualification to another vehicle. No. 3708 was driven by Rob White of Oregon City, Ore.; Josh Mattox of West Linn, Ore. and Alan Kaiser of Fairview, Ore. They completed the two laps in 6:18:32.529.
Placing second was No. 1741, also a Jeep. It was driven by Kyle Gieselmann and Kyle Perusse of Poway, Calif. and Daniel Alvarez of San Diego. Their time on the course was 6:28:41.192.
Coming in third and the first vehicle to finish that wasn’t a Jeep was No. 4533, a Ford. It was driven by John Griffin of Mission Viejo, Calif.; Jack Griffin of Upland, Calif.; Mike Sabbarese of Huntington Beach, Calif. and Jeremy Spirkoff of Lakeside, Calif. They also placed first in the 4500 Vintage C/T class. Their time was 6:39:39.943.
A Parker-based team won the Sportsman/8100 class and placed 10th overall. Alfredo Garcia, Jesus Magallon, Magdiel Garcia, Lazaro Cardenas and Jorge Trevino of Parker drove No. 8174, a Ford. They completed the two laps in 7:35:41.382.
Two local drivers, Jeremy Newton of Lake Havasu City and Jesse Newton of Parker, were part of the team that came in fourth and was also second in the 4500 Vintage C/T class. They and Daniel Dailey and Gwendolin Dailey of Cedar City, Utah, drove No. 4566, a Custom-built. They were just three minutes out of third place with a time of 6:42:24.817.
A Lake Havasu City-based team placed third in the 4500 Vintage C/T class and eighth overall in the two-lap classes. Tim Morris, Brian Morris, Tristen Morris, and Trevor Morris, all of Lake Havasu City, drove No. 4502, a Ford. They came in with a time of 7:28:35.504.
The race saw the usual level of attrition for the Parker races. There was 58 entries in the three-lap classes, and just 34 finished the race. Of the 26 entries in the two-lap classes, only 15 finished the race.
The race for the faster classes was held Saturday, Jan. 25.