Corona, California. – Team Donahoe’s Banks powered Ford Super Duty returned to desert racing after a transmission fire at the Las Vegas 300 almost engulfed the entire truck in flames. With a lot of TLC and a little test time, the truck was raring to get back to work. The truck’s first race back was the Best in the Desert (BITD) Parker 425 February 2-4 in Parker, AZ. Perfect weather was in store for Team Donahoe as they readied for the BITD season opener.
There had been some changes in Team Donahoe’s sponsor line up since last year. Team Donahoe had just signed a multi-year deal with Nitto Tire as a primary sponsor and after testing were anxious to see how the Nitto Grapplers perform in race conditions.
With all preparations done, Team Donahoe’s crew was up early and ready for the 34th running of the Parker 425. The race course started in the middle of the main street in downtown Parker, Arizona. The big Banks Power diesel hurled off the line 7th in class like a jet, down the pavement then a hard left onto the dirt. Within 2 miles of the start, the team catapulted themselves into 5th place after barely missing a pile up where Greg Foutz and Dave Morrison were left to untangle their trucks after hitting a stuck truck in the dust. The F-250 slowed to a stop to make sure their competitors were not hurt, then with a sad thumbs up from Foutz and Morrison, the team headed to Osborne wash. In the wash the Team quickly passed 2 other competitors putting Team Donahoe in 3rd place.
All was right with the world until Co-Driver Bob Bower mentioned the engine oil temperature was getting hot. Team Donahoe runs a Banks Power PDA which monitors all the vital signs of the drive train. When the oil temperature climbs above 275 degrees the factory Ford computer system decreases power by 50% to keep the engine from blowing up. This was a good thing, but with only 50% power, the Team had a long day ahead of them just to stay with the pack. The oil temperature would cool down in the rough terrain returning the truck to full power, but once the big truck hit a graded gravel road, the oil would heat up and drop power back to 50% leaving the team at 50 mph where the truck could easily run over 100mph. Bower calmed driver Kreg Donahoe down with his 30 plus years in the right seat of off-road race trucks by saying “Forward motion is the best motion, don’t think about going fast Kreg just go less slow.” Kreg’s mind wondered what this old fool was saying “Less slow??” So a mantra was created in Kreg’s mind. “Less slow, less slow.” Kreg repeated this to himself over every rock and through every sand hill as the long day continued. Holding a steady pace, the split times stayed the same between the 3rd place of Donahoe and the 2nd place of Randy Merritt through lap one.
The truck remained in 3rd as it finished lap one and came in for a drivers change. Driving duties were handed off to Bill Donahoe and co-driving duties to Dave Skutt. Jon Kantola got out of the third seat and was replaced by Off-Road Magazine writer Kevin Blumer.
After a quick Driver change and fuel for the truck, the team took off for lap two. Bill Donahoe took the reigns and was off with no problems. Over heating continued to plague the team, but the 67 year old desert racing veteran behind the wheel kept pace. Half way through the second lap Merritt went into the pits with rear end problems and Team Donahoe took over the second place spot. The “Less Slow” mantra seemed to be working as the Team set their sights on the class leader Chad Hall in a Hummer H1 Alpha.
Bill had his sites on Chad, but at mile 122 Bill took a turn too fast and slid the 8500lbs Ford into a tree, which deposited a 2” stick into the side wall of the driver side front tire. BOOM the tire went flat and the Team jumped out to change it. During the down time of changing the flat, Randy Merritt flew by and recaptured 2nd place. Randy was on a mission. Team Donahoe fixed the flat and was off to make lap 2 a memory. At the lap 3 driver change Kreg, Bob and Jon got back in. The covers on the KC Hilites HIDs were removed and the team took off into the dusk.
Nighttime in the Arizona desert is magical. The mystic of the night over took the three crew members in the truck The intercom fell silent and an eerie calm replaced frustration as the mantra played out in their heads… less slow..less slow. The team was in a zone fighting to stay in 3rd with half the normal power. Before they knew it they made the turn on the pavement to the Blue Water Casino and saw the checkered flag. Kreg Donahoe was quoted at the finish line “We are happy with our start of the year. 3rd is not bad. But this team is better than that. We have made huge progress with this big diesel truck but it’s not over until we win the championship.” Out of the 216 starters of the 2007 Parker 425 only 81 finished the entire course. The rest just might have been “too fast” and not “less slow”.
Team Donahoe would like to thank all their sponsors:
Ford Trucks, Banks Power, Nitto Tires, Ford of Orange, KC Hilites, Donahoe Racing, Dynatrac, Mastercraft Seats, Precision Gear, ADS Race Wiring, Kartek, Anaheim Hills Auto Body, Walker Evans Racing Wheels, and SDHQ.
Media inquiries please contact:
Paige Donahoe – VP Marketing
1580 Commerce St. Corona, Ca 92880
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