A local Santa Clarita race team takes on the the 2020 King Shocks UTV Night Race Friday night.
Robert Lutes and Rick Smith traveled from Santa Clarita, California to Laughlin, Nevada this past Thursday to compete in Laughlin for the first time.
“Last year we bought a car, built it up, and raced it” said Robert Lutes, navigator of the UTV. “I have been to the Parker 400 since I was a very little kid and always wanted to race.”
“Rick rode motorcycles since he was a kid” Lutes said when asked about his driver, Rick Smith. “We are just out to have a good time but be competitive.”
The 5th Annual King Shocks Laughlin Desert Classic consists of a 17-mile loop of all dirt track. Racers run the loop 8 times. Each UTV, or utility task vehicle, has a driver and a navigator. Racers have access to a pit crew, similar to NASCAR that they can stop at to refuel and change tires.
The course was described by another racer, Mitchel Alsup, as “rough.” He mentioned that finding smooth lines was almost more difficult than just racing down the center because the course was extremely beat up.
Lutes and Smith finished 11th out of 28 racers, just missing the Top 10.
“We didn’t have any issues at all during the race, and each lap was faster” Lutes said. “We missed the top 10 likely because our stock fuel tank takes a long time to fuel and we were stopped in the pits extra long to put gas.”
“All in all we enjoyed ourselves and have something to build on.”
Smith and Lutes return to Laughlin March 20-22 for the U.S. Desert Scrambles Championship.
This has been Jamie Araki with Canyons News.