The 2019 Best in the Desert season moves into full swing this weekend with the return of the sport’s top truck and car racers at the BlueWater Resort & Casino Parker 425 Presented by Impact. After UTVs, motorcycles, and quads took on a 250-mile race earlier in the month, the signature Trick Trucks lead the four-wheel field into their first race of the championship.
33 Trick Trucks are on the entry list for Saturday’s race day, led by defending 2018 BITD champions Justin Matney and Kellon Walch. Matney, a previous overall event winner at Parker, finished third here last year, behind only trucks driven by Andy McMillin and Brett Sourapas; McMillin won’t return to defend his race win, but four of last year’s top five drivers of record will be back on the entry list, although Steve Sourapas will be teamed up with his son Brett this time around.
All of the series’ top Trick Truck regulars will be back in action, including 2018’s top six points finishers. Aside from Matney, Steve Olliges will look to improve on last year’s runner-up finish, Kevin Thompson (along with Harley Letner, who grew up in Parker) will aim to build on the momentum from his team’s win in the 2018 season finale in Pahrump, and Jason Voss will look to regain the number 1 plate after a winless campaign that serves as an anomaly in his stellar BITD career. And of course, Down & Dirty Radio Show host Jim Beaver will return to Trick Truck competition for the first time since 2017 in his hometown event.
The Class 1500 entry list is led by defending event winner CJ Hutchins, who placed sixth in last year’s overall standings behind only the Trick Truck front-runners. The names Berri and Dean will likely continue their battle at the front of the pack, but this year it’ll be Pat Dean’s son James who fights Sam Berri for the 2019 class title. As part of his father’s team last year, James finished second in class in Parker, while Berri finished fourth as an ironman driver.
While defending Class 6100 event winner Andrew Whitehead has moved up to a Trick Truck, defending class champion Terry Householder will headline a 46-truck entry list. The inverse is true of Class 7200; defending race winner Jeff Proctor returns to action, while 2018 class champion Michael Frye will race the event in Class 1500.
Time trials for the BlueWater Resort & Casino Parker 425 take place for the top classes on Thursday, while racing itself takes place on Saturday. After the last racers cross the finish line, the series moves to Las Vegas for the second round of the year, the historic Mint 400, taking place from March 6-10.