The 2018 Best in the Desert season resumes this weekend with the VT Construction Silver State 300, the first of two events on this year’s schedule that offers points in all classes. The signature Trick Truck class returns to action this weekend after last competing at the fabled BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 in March, while dozens of UTV drivers make up two of the most exciting, competitive fields in the race.
The weekend kicks off on Thursday with time trials for Trick Truck, Class 1500, and Class 6100 vehicles in preparation for Saturday’s race. The point-to-point race kicks off in North Alamo and takes its more than 200 combined entries through more than 300 miles of the Nevada desert, repeating only a couple of miles of terrain as the route loops around in its final chase to the finish in Delamar Valley.
It’s been three years since the Trick Trucks last ran Silver State, as the event has been off and on the BITD schedule in recent years. In 2015, it was Jason Voss’ squad that took the overall victory, and the same quartet of drivers—Voss, his father Rich, James East, and Rob Mills—will be back in the Voss Motorsports Ford, intent on taking another win.
Voss and company will have their work cut out for them, though, as the 24-truck field features a number of competitive entries. 21-year-old Brett Sourapas currently leads Trick Truck points in his Coors Light Ford, and will team with Steve Sourapas and Beau Eckert in search of victory. Justin Matney, who just appeared on the Down & Dirty Show this week (click here to listen), will be in search of the podium as well. Other top names on the entry list include Justin Lofton, Steve Olliges, and Jerry Zaiden, whose four-driver entry also includes off-road legend Jerry Whelchel.
Turning attention to the 1500 class (otherwise known as Class 1 in SCORE), Parker 425 winner CJ Hutchins and Mint 400 winner Harley Letner enter the weekend among the race favorites. But the top three in points are separated by only a single point coming in, as Brian Parkhouse and Sam Berri are tied with 171 apiece and Pat Dean trails with 170. Also on the 1500 entry list: Bob Lofton, father of Justin and a longtime standout desert racer who will hope to secure dual victories for father and son this weekend.
The UTV racers have been in action more recently than the Trick Trucks, competing in the Polaris RZR UTV World Championship early last month (click here to see how Jim Beaver, Jolene Van Vugt, and Dax Shepard performed in the Polaris RZR Star Car). Coming off a record-breaking number of entries in April, the field remains strong this weekend, with 39 entries in the premier UTV Turbo class.
Most of the top drivers in the championship standings stand a chance at taking the victory, including points leader Jason Murray, red-hot Phil Blurton, and Brandon Schueler, whose Jagged X Racing team kicked off the year with a victory in the Parker 250. If you’re looking further down the points tables for a pick to win, however, don’t sleep on drivers like former Baja 500 and Baja 1000 winner Marc Burnett, former World Champions and Mint 400 champions Branden Sims and Mitch Guthrie, or Justin Lambert, who’s coming off a victory at the NORRA 1000.