April 25, 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ.
The Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park features a quarter-mile dragstrip, a motorboat racing lake, a road course, and off-road course, where Round Two of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing series took place April 13, 2019. Qualifying was only three laps and all it took was one good lap to start the race in front. Previous Prolite champions were having 39 second lap times and Katie Vernola’s lap times were 44 seconds, just five seconds separated first to fourteenth place. The Pro Turbo UTV champions lap times weren’t that far off from the 400+ horse power trucks, top qualifier lap time was 44 seconds and Katie’s was 49 seconds. Katie had to quickly readjust from desert racing to short course racing real quick because unlike desert racing, one second can make or break your entire race. Katie took notes of the track and looked over video footage with her new driving coach to better prepare herself, the truck, and UTV for the big race.
Thousands of fans filled the grands stands and as the sun began to set the race was just about to begin. Katie’s first race was in the Pro Turbo UTV class with fourteen others racers starting in front of her. As soon as the race began Katie tried pushing her Turbo UTV to its limits while maintaining a clean race throughout the carnage going on in front of her. She moved up to 12th on the third lap and was in eighth half way through the race. The few cars up front had some clean air and took off while the rest of the racers and Katie were having a tough battle trying to make their way to the front. Every car is the same power to weight ratio so any hesitation puts you in last or most likely in a crash, and there were tons of it. Despite sliding and bumping into other UTVs, the SuperATV suspension was awesome and held up great. The X Comp tires were perfect for the Arizona dirt helping Katie pass two more UTVs finishing the race in sixth place. The best finish Katie has had in short course racing.
Next, Katie hopped in her Prolite hoping to do the same. Katie said, “I can’t be afraid, I need to be confident in myself and need to drive harder than I ever have to be a contender in Prolite”. People say the UTV race is like the little leagues and Prolite is like the major leagues in baseball. So lets just say she had her warm up in the UTV Race and now it was time for battle in the main event. Katie started the race behind 13 Prolites and two on her rear bumper. As soon as the green flag waved Katies spotter yelled go green go go go and her foot was to floor. She battled with the trucks maintaing her position for four laps. Katie made some moves gassing it longer and breaking harder. Katie found herself in 12th on the 9th lap and there’s only 14 laps in the race so now was the time for all or nothing. Katie and another competitor was racing side by side every turn and made contact with each other braking her rear sway bar. Katie spun out next turn but kept going and finished 13th.
Thank you to my 2019 sponsors: XComp By Gladiator Tires, SuperATV, Xprite USA, Boxo USA, KN Filters, NRG Seats, Gator Wraps, Got Sand Performance, Simpson Race Products, SSV Works, Grid Off-Road Wheels. And thank you to my Katie V Racing Team: Nikolas Skiparnias, Pete Corwin, Mike Munoz, and hospitality from Cecil and Bee Hsu.