Andy McMillin Survives Brutal Course to Win BITD Parker 425
If you follow off-road racing you surely know that just a month ago the off-road racing community suffered a huge loss with the passing of Best in the Desert race promoter and director Casey Folks. Just like Casey would do and would’ve wanted, the BITD crew picked up the pieces, soldiered on and put together one of the best and toughest Parker 425’s in recent history.
With a loaded starting grid set, 78 unlimited Trick Trucks and unlimited buggies would take the start with the field led by Jesse Jones. For many in the field, this start was the only they’d be taking, as this Parker race would be a race of attrition. Jesse Jones, BJ Baldwin, Victor Gruber and Kyle Conlon were all out of the race before race mile 60. After that point, even more of the field had issues, as Apdaly Lopez was down with fuel problems and Troy Herbst and Luke McMillin rolled, though all would continue. Todd Romano, Lalo Laguna and Vince Galewick were all victim of the same hole and wrecked in spectacular fashion. All of this was within the first lap of the race.
Starting lap two, Justin Lofton was out front with a large physical lead, but on adjusted time he was just seconds ahead of Rob MacCachren, Jason Voss and Andy McMillin. Lofton was the first truck on the road until race mile 115, where he was forced to pull over with front end damage. Lofton would eventually continue but no longer in contention for the race win.
This gifted the lead to Rob MacCachren, but he had to push hard to stay ahead of Jason Voss, whom he just partnered with and won the Baja 1000 with this past November. The two were only seconds apart when Voss broke a flex plate in the transmission, putting him out of contention as well and clearing the way for Andy McMillin to gain on Rob MacCachren going into the darkness of the 141-mile course.
All of the carnage created a showdown between two of the best drivers in desert racing: One being MacCachren, who is considered the greatest ever with hundreds of race wins in his long career; the other being McMillin, who’s on the same track of greatness with five Baja 1000 wins and countless others. This was the race to watch, but it wouldn't turn out to be the showdown it could've been because MacCachren had mechanical issues with an oil line, which allowed McMillin enough space to get by.
With a time of 6 hours, 54 minutes and 35 seconds, Andy McMillin took the victory over MacCachren with a few minutes to spare on corrected time. This is Andy’s second overall win since returning to racing a full schedule a year ago.
"We had a really good run. We started 16th. I didn't do the pre-run so I wanted to get the first lap under my belt and see the course and then go racing from there,” McMillin said. “We were eighth physically after the first lap. We had a clean second lap and just kept picking trucks off as they fell out, and going out on the last lap we were second truck physically. Rob and I were tied on time going out on the last lap and then Rob was pulled over at Pit 2 and we were first on the road. We backed way off and cruised to the finish line.”
McMillin said the course was very rough for this year’s Parker 425.
“The course was brutal and winning is a true testament to my Toyo Tires, Method Wheels and FOX Shocks,” he said. “My Safecraft Safety Equipment made me feel extra safe and confident in the truck. The TSCO Racing guys did an excellent job on the prep of the truck and in the pits on race day. It feels good to get my second Overall win at Parker, a race with so much history in our sport. Now we're focused on the Mint next month!”
Third overall went to veteran racer Steve Olliges in his Geiser Trick Truck. Fourth place went to 20-year-old newcomer Brett Sourapas, while Todd Pedersen of Orem, Utah, would have his best finish to date to round out the top five.
The next race on the Best in the Desert schedule is the 2017 BITD Mint 400.