Hot off his first win in the Twin Turbo Trophy Truck at the BlueWater Desert Challenge, Josh Daniel went in to the final race of the 2014 desert racing season with high hopes for a win at Best in the Desert’s Henderson 250. It was apparent after the two-day battle in Parker that the crew at Danzio Performance has mastered the prep work needed for an immaculate truck come race day. After a dominating performance the entire Henderson 250 race, Daniel underwent a seven-minute tire change with ten miles left that handed over the win to Jason Voss. Despite finishing +00:02:10 behind Voss, Daniel plans to carry the momentum in to next season and contest Voss for the 2015 BITD points championship.
Speed, which may not always guarantee victory but will definitely land a top spot in qualifying, was on Daniel’s side during BITD’s Time Trials. He was second fastest in Thursday’s Time Trial event, granting him an inside starting position next to Shaun Croll.
The story remained Croll and Daniel for the entirety of the race. Both Josh and Croll immediately passed Dondel and it was Josh out front +00:01:27 after the first lap. About the same time separated the two at spectator area two on the second lap, then Daniel began to open all of his trucks thousand horses in the open desert.
Three flats punished Daniel on the day, the first coming midway through lap two where Croll took over the lead. Navigator Tyler Hall hopped out and immediately slapped on a new Toyo Tire and the two were able to catch Croll heading in to main pit, +00:00:56 behind on corrected time. Daniel passed Croll in the pits but was held by BITD Race Director, Casey Folks, after running his siren behind another competitor who was a lap down. Daniel did this in hopes for the other competitor to pull in to his pit, which he did, but was held at the start line, allowing Croll to pass him at the exit of the pit.
“I was not happy so I did everything I had to do to pass him, which I did,” later commented Daniel. “This was the most exciting and fun fight I’ve had since Cameron Steele and I battled at Rage at the River five years ago.”
Daniel let loose and immediately took back the open air in a side-by-side battle in the opening miles of the final eighty-mile loop, with Voss, Laguna and Sproule lurking behind them.
Daniel was able to extend his lead on corrected time throughout the next sixty miles but with ten miles till the finish found a rock inexplicably buried in the sand. Coming up over a rise, Daniel punched the rock in the same line that he had taken the previous two laps. A quick tire change could have meant a photo finish but the sand was too problematic for Hall, causing the truck to fall from jack and making it difficult to maneuver. Seven minutes of downtime was enough time for Jason Voss to squeak by for the win. Daniel and Hall settled for a second place finish, as Croll faded down the leaderboard by that time.
“The amount of down time we had and still managed to remain out front speaks volumes to both my truck and Tyler’s capabilities. Tyler kicked ass all day and my truck is crazy fast. Our communication inside the truck was impeccable and allowed us to get a lead big enough to hold even after two tire changes,” said Daniel. “Unfortunately, the last one was got us.”
Josh’s wife, Day Daniel, earned a class win in her #2027 buggy. Day jumped out to an early lead in the two-lap battle for the 2000 Class. Averaging over two miles per hour faster than second in class, Day already had a +00:04:14 lead after the first lap. Day remained out in front of the 2000 Class and finished in 10th overall in the second race, nearly seven minutes ahead of the next finisher in the 2000 Class.
Josh Daniel and the rest of the Danzio crew will pick up right where left off in 2015, competing in another full Best in the Desert Series season.
Josh would like to thank all his sponsors that helped him debut his trophy truck program in 2014:
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