There is something going on in the General Tire Jeepspeed series presented by KMC Wheels. Regardless if it’s the new faces in the field, or the experienced veterans, the competition has exploded this season. The pace set at the final race of the season, the Best in the Desert series Pahrump Nugget 250, was unbelievable. At last year’s race, Jimmy Perry ran a blazing fast time for the win, even beating the modified 3700 Jeepspeed Outlaws. His winning time of 6:18:46 was shattered this year. Jimmy beat his own time from last year by a whopping 27 minutes, but that was only good for 5th place in class 1700. Winner Garett Allred finished the 250 miles of rocks, ruts, and silt in 5:20:29. That’s nearly an hour faster than Perry’s time last year. Engaged in their own battle, the Jeepspeed racers caught, and passed all but one of the Trophylites that started ahead of them.
The rabbit responsible for setting the pace up front was Jeepspeed Challenge racer Kyle Gieselmann who drew the first starting position. He and Rob Seubert battled together until pit 3 where they both pulled in for fuel. That allowed the Allred team to take over the lead. Garett Allred had his co-driver Dylan Elliott driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee to pit 4 where they would make their fuel stop, and Garett would get behind the wheel. “The pace was super fast,” said Allred, “Dylan started the race and got past Kammerlohr after pit 2. Then he got Seubert and Gieselmann at pit 3. We planned to stop at pit 4 for fuel and a driver’s change. We had a quick stop, but Seubert passed us. I took out after him and caught up to him on the long, uphill silt section before pit 6. He slowed down for some problem. We kept a good pace until I drove a little over my head with about 10 miles to go. The course is full of rocks, and pretty chewed up. I went wide and clipped a rock on the right front. I kept looking up the course for Seubert. We changed the tire in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and never saw him; we got another win. It was Dylan’s second time driving and he was running with the best. Racing against Seubert, Perry, Martin, and the rest of them has been fun. Even though we finished second in the points, we won 4 races this season; that gives us plenty of bragging rights.”
Second place finisher Rob Seubert’s pace surprised a lot of people. He only had to finish 3rd or better to take the Jeepspeed Challenge championship. According to Rob though, “We always go for the win. We had to be a little careful, but we were going for it. Allred got by us when we pitted for fuel, but we caught back up to him. We passed him at pit 4 and finally had some clean air ahead of us. We kicked it up a little to try and get back the minute that he had on us. Going up the long uphill section the truck filled with smoke. The transmission temperature was 270, so we slowed down. It turned out that the transmission pushed some fluid through the dipstick tube and it got on the headers. The transmission cooled down while we stopped at pit 6, but it was still running hot, so we figured it was time to just get it to the finish. We are very happy with the title, especially with the competition we had all year with the other teams.”
Third place in Jeepspeed Challenge went to Perry Coan and Skyler Gambrell. They planned to share the driving but Perry got a bug, so Skyler drove the whole race with Matt Vogler navigating. Their exhaust system broke so it would mean a long, loud race. They overcame a fuel pump issue and dodged all the big rocks to make it up to 4th place with only 20 miles to go. They had to close in on Tim Martin who was one minute ahead. Skyler turned it up and reached the finish line within sight of Martin’s rear amber light. In the end he had made up enough time to take 3rd place over Martin by only 4 seconds. All 4 top finishers were well under the pace set last season by Jimmy Perry who finished 5th.
The speed demonstrated in the Jeepspeed Challenge class was especially impressive due to the unforgiving conditions found on the Pahrump course. In the Jeepspeed Cup, and Jeepspeed Outlaws classes, the merciless rocks took their toll. Jeepspeed Outlaws veteran Billy Bunch was leading the points and only had to finish the race behind newcomer Scott Dzierzanowski to take the championship. Unfortunately for Dzierzanowski and Eric Sigwing, Bunch’s V8 Jeep Wrangler would be the only finisher. Dzierzanowski would smack into a huge rock that broke his front end, and Sigwing ran out of fuel pumps to install. Eric hit a rock at mile 7 that forced him to stop, and it allowed the others to get by. He was back in the hunt until the first fuel pump failed. After replacing it and getting back up to speed again, his back-up pump also went down, ending his day.
“Going into Pahrump, all we had to do was follow the 3714 into the finish to lock up a second championship,” said Bunch co-driver Jesse Archer, “What fun is that, we’re racers, and we’re here to WIN. Sigwig in the 3711 started 1st and had an early flat that put him down right away. Scott Dzierzanowski in the 3714 started second. We paced Scott for the first 20 miles keeping him in visual distance. In a tight rocky wash area around race mile 50, I got within about 2 car lengths. I finally got a little glimpse of the ground through his dust and there were a lot of big rocks. I slowed fast and it was a good thing; it was nasty. No more than 20 seconds later he pulled over with a flat. We were right where we wanted to be, out front. I got a radio call not too long after that he was on the trailer. Next radio call was that the 3711 was also on the trailer. This bad Jeep did her job and I was going to take care of her to the finish. The 1700 leaders started coming through and we got out of their way. It was fun to pace them for a bit and watch how fast those cars are, and how hard they push them. Billy was suited up and waiting for the Jeep to come into Pit 7. Things were going great until race mile 211 when the water temps spiked fast. We pulled over and cooled it down. We got back going, only to deal with this a few more times. Finally it was time to break out some tools and fix the fans that weren’t working. We got one fan working, and she ran cool and fast from race mile 235 on. We crossed the line for the win and our 2nd Championship in a row. It’s been an unbelievable ride and I have a lot of people to Thank, especially the guy with his name on the door.”
Dzierzanowski was proud of the rookie season he had. “I took second place at the mint 400, second place at Silver State 300, and first place at Vegas to Reno. Unfortunately we broke down at Laughlin, and also at the Pahrump 250, but that's okay because breaking is a part of racing. I set some huge goals for myself. I didn't accomplish them all, but I will try harder next year!”
In Jeepspeed Cup class 2700, it was another race of attrition. Mike Shetler and Wayne Guidinger would fight tooth and nail to get to the finish. Mike Shetler ended up with the win, and a pair of championships. He won the class championship (Guidinger won last season), and also won the General Tire Jeepspeed Grand Champion for the most points scored during the entire season. Shetler finished every race this season. “I feel a little awkward winning the Grand Championship, we weren’t the fastest all season; but we had the most fun,” says Shetler, “I know the other guys in contention were much faster than us. We had some issues in Pahrump but we made it to the finish. I started the race with my son Zack riding with me. At pit 3 one of my business partners Ryan took over for Zack. He was supposed to ride until pit 6 where my Brother was supposed to get in, but he was having so much fun, we left him in there. Now Ryan is interested in a Jeepspeed that’s for sale. There is no better place than in Jeepspeed. It can get aggressive on the course, but in the pits, nobody is throwing punches. The same guys you’re competing against are under your truck helping to get it fixed and back on course. I’m looking forward to next year.”
Wayne Guidinger and his crew had a heck of a race. They were the final finisher after just over 10 hours in the desert. They finished with fewer parts on the truck than when they started. They had a huge crew of drivers and codrivers that rotated in the truck, and they all had a blast. They drove on a bare wheel until getting stuck in the silt. They went over a berm in a silty turn and rolled on the side. They had to rig up a throttle cable after it broke, and 10 miles from the finish they had to trouble-shoot an electrical problem that caused the truck to die. “We had to cash in all our chips, but we finished,” said Guidinger, The crew still wants more, so they are sticking around. I have to say a big thanks to the whole Wolfpack crew for their support; Ken, Andrew, Somer, Carl, Mo, Chris, Yolanda, Lana, Scott and Ben. I also have to thank the BITD crew for getting us unstuck, and rolled over. Congratulations to Mike Shetler. He always figures out a way to finish. He deserves the Championships he won.”
The Jeepspeed series is unlike any other. It’s the only spec racing class that allows you to build your own vehicle. It’s not a series for millionaires, they are welcomed to join in on the fun, but it’s designed more for the average person to go desert racing. You can buy an existing truck to compete in, or build your own. The three classes allow something for everyone. That could be the reason for the level of competition. The teams know their vehicles inside, and out, so they know how hard they can push them. The sponsor involvement, and generous prize money makes it even easier. In addition to the normal prize money and contingency awards at Pahrump, GG Lighting and Southwest Boulder & Stone both put up a $500 dollar bonus for each class. That’s a thousand dollars in the hands of every winner. Tuff Stuff 4X4 gives offroad accessory products to the winners of each class at each race. NEO Synthetic Oil supplies a case of oil for a win with their decal in place, and Action Sports Canopies will be giving away a canopy for the overall Jeepspeed champions at the end of the season. The support for the Jeepspeed series by sponsors General Tire, KMC Wheels, Currie Enterprises, Action Sports Canopies, Southwest Boulder & Stone, GG Lighting, Jasper Racing Engines, NEO Synthetic Oil, Rugged Radios, Tuff Stuff 4X4, Rock Krawler Suspension, King Shocks, and T&J Performance is responsible for many of the team’s achievements.
The following racers finished on the podium in the championship standings
Jeepspeed Challenge // Stock Class 1700
1. Rob Seubert. Or. 383 pts.
2. Garret Allred. Ca. 365 pts.
3. Tim Martin. Ut. 355 pts.
Jeepspeed Cup // Intermediate Class 2700
1. Mike Shetler. Ca. 365 pts.
2. Wayne Guidinger. Ca. 328 pts.
3. Mike Hames. Al. 123 pts.
Jeepspeed Outlaws // Modified Class 3700
1. Billy Bunch. Ca. 365 pts.
2. Scott Dziernowski. Wa. 312 pts.
3. Eric Sigwing. Ca. 310 pts.
The Coan brothers Rookie of the Year Award went to Scott Dziernowski.
The KMC Wrangler Trophy. For Wrangler entries with most points scored in entire season at all 6 races, goes to Mark Kammerlohr.
The General Tire Jeepspeed Grand Champion goes to the racers who scored the most points in entire season (all 6 races).
1. Mike Shetler (2700) 511 pts.
2. Rob Seubert (1700) 491 pts.
3. Mark Kammerlohr (1700) 449 pts.
The 2018 Jeepspeed Awards Party will be held Saturday Jan 12th from 6 to 10 pm at Morenos Historical Mexican Restaurant on Chapman Ave. in Orange, CA. 92869. Think you would like to give Jeepspeed racing a try? For information about the Jeepspeed racing series go to www.jeepspeed.com. There you will find additional info, deals on some attractively priced race Jeeps, Jeepspeed news, rules, forums, race results, videos and much more. Go to the Jeepspeed forum and you can read in-depth race reports from many of the Jeepspeed teams.
Photography By: Bink Designs