The Factory Racing traveled to Ensenada on June 3-6th to compete in the 42nd Annual Baja 500.They were given 22 hours to complete the 438.81mile course, and completed it with only a few minutes to spare in 21:52:38.Class 7 had a rough day with 4 starters and only 1 finisher that is 25% completion rate compared to the rest of the classes, which had 289 starters and 192 finishers with 66.4% completion.
Dan Chamlee drove the entire race with Amy Tate, Ryan Gomez and David Owens as his co-drivers.The Factory Racing’s chase crew included: Laurie Chamlee, Thomas Chamlee, Bill Chamlee, Ben Buchmiller, Dean Teague, Matt Tindell and AJ Denunzio.
The team started the race with a handicap.Thomas, the most knowledgeable and experienced team member was injured earlier in the week preparing the truck and only had use of one arm.
Right at the beginning of the race the team began having problems.The sway bar broke at race mile 10.It was removed and handed off to the chase crew where the course crossed the road at race mile 75, who could get it to the next pit to begin fixing it before the race truck arrived.Without the sway bar Dan had to be careful to not roll the truck over.While putting the sway bar back on Dan picked it up off the ground unaware that it had just been welded.He received 2nd-3rd degree burns all over his fingers.While the truck was being repaired many of the slower classes passed him, which meant he’d have the added challenge of getting around them.Race mile 102 was a very narrow, steep, rough hill that many of the smaller classes had a hard time making it up and many got stuck causing a blockage in the course.Though the factory racing had no problem going up the hill they had to sit and wait their turn.Chamlee got stuck in the silt at race mile 170.Silt is a powdery dust that sucks all the power out of the vehicle.Luckily, he only got stuck once which he quickly winched himself out.
At Race Mile 255 the chase crew had to go into the course to fix the sway bar again, and was able to fix the amber lights, and light bar.He battled with the alternator starting around race mile 270 until the finish. One of the chase trucks got stuck in the silt and spent an hour digging out.Dan was again stuck in silt on a steep hill at race mile 370. By the time Dan got to race mile 380 he had a comfortable lead of about 100 miles on his closest competitor.All he had to do was finish.That became a greater challenge than expected.At race mile 390 the front spindle broke.The chase crew only about 10 miles from him had the part, but they couldn’t get to him without going backward on the course.So the chase crew had to travel 30 miles to Ensenada and give the part to another chase crew who traveled 20 miles to give it to Thomas.Thomas and Matt took the part with his prerunner into the course from race mile 360 and some of the slowest nastiest course around.The spindle had to have some modifications to get it work.With only an hour left and almost 50 miles to go the team held their breath to see if they could make it before the clock ran out.Fortunately they completed with only 7 minutes and 22 seconds remaining.This is the teams 5th consecutive Class 7 Baja 500 win and extends there points lead for the annual points championship by being the only finisher in their class.
The team will begin the prep for the Primm 300 to be held in September.