Best in the Desert: 2018 Season Review

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Jason Zindroski

One of the only true 12-month racing seasons in the world wrapped up on Saturday as the 2018 Best in the Desert championship concluded with the Pahrump Nugget “250.” When the dust finally settled, it was Harley Letner earning the victory, but Justin Matney taking the premier Trick Truck class title with a solid season season that included multiple podiums.

Matney and navigator Kellon Welch opened the year with a third place in the Parker 425, finishing behind only Andy McMillin and Brett Sourapas. They rebounded from 28th in class at the Mint 400 by taking the win at the Silver State 300 and fourth at General Tire Vegas to Reno. After allowing other title contenders like Tracy Graf and Tony Smiley to tighten into the points race with a 14th place finish at the Laughlin Desert Challenge, Matney rebounded with a second place in Pahrump to lock up the crown.

All told, six different drivers took the Trick Truck wins on offer this season. Bryce Menzies won the Mint 400 by just 28 seconds over Apdaly Lopez, Johnny Angal earned his first career Trick Truck win alongside Jesse Jones at Vegas to Reno, and Christian Sourapas took the win in Laughlin by just under a minute and a half over Graf. Defending champion Jason Voss didn’t crack victory lane, coming closest in Vegas to Reno after finishing just under a minute behind Angal.

Phil Blurton locked up his second straight BITD UTV Turbo title in 2018 by replicating many of his successes from last year. Back-to-back wins in both the UTV World Championships and Vegas to Reno, plus a runner-up finish at the Mint 400, win in Laughlin’s new UTV Night Race, and a season-ending third victory in Pahrump ensured that he’d take his second straight title. Blurton was the only multi-race winner in the UTV Turbo class in 2018.

In UTV Production, it was Kaden Wells who swept the class titles in both BITD and SCORE in 2018. Wells opened the season with a win at the Parker 250, placed third in the Silver State 300 and Vegas to Reno, cracked the top five in the UTV Night Race, and closed out the year with a second place to top title rival Mike Deley in Pahrump.

Selected class-winning drivers of record from the 2018 Best in the Desert season are as follows:


Trick Truck

Class 1500

Class 6100

Parker 425 #31 Andy McMillin #1527 CJ Hutchins #6183 Andrew Whitehead
Mint 400 #7 Bryce Menzies #1501 Harley Letner #6164 Bobby Pecoy
Silver State 300 #4 Justin Matney #1562 Ladd Gilbert #6189 Corey Terry
Vegas to Reno #63 Johnny Angal #1532 Brian Parkhouse #6178 Nick Mills
Laughlin Challenge #6 Christian Sourapas #1583 Bill Wingerning #6118 Ryan Hancock
Pahrump 250 #70 Kevin Thompson #1575 Pat Dean #6132 Steve Croll


UTV Turbo

UTV Production

UTV Unlimited

Parker 250 #919 Brandon Schueler #1895 Kaden Wells #2916 Bill Whittington
Mint 400 #918 Justin Lambert #1962 Dodge Poelman #2909 Rhys Millen
UTV World Championships #944 Phil Blurton #1962 Dodge Poelman #2910 Brett Comiskey
Silver State 300 #969 Logan Gastel #1941 Broc Smith #2916 Bill Whittington
Vegas to Reno #944 Phil Blurton #1835 Ray Bulloch #2939 Michael Isom
Laughlin UTV Night Race #944 Phil Blurton #1964 Robert Vanbeekum #2910 Brett Comiskey
Pahrump 250 #944 Phil Blurton #1907 Mike Deley #2910 Brett Comiskey


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