Super ATV’s Katie Vernola Overcomes Adversity at Vegas to Reno
Katie Vernola’s Vegas to Reno Best in the Desert Race Report
San Clemente, CA (08/23/2017) – Super ATV’s Katie Vernola stood strong against everything Mother Nature and the racing God’s threw at her to finish 19th in the Vegas to Reno race. The 500-plus-mile event was round four of the Best in the Desert Series.
With little rain leading into the event, the course was covered in deep silt and dust quickly obscured visibility. Vernola, teamed with co-driver Mike Lewis, was running with the lead pack until just before pit six when a loose exhaust manifold caused a malfunction in her Polaris’ engine management system. Vernola limped the car into the pits where her team got to work.
“The car could only get up to 20 mph and we couldn’t initially figure out the problem,” said Vernola. “We were down 23 minutes, so we had a lot of work to do. The car was running great and I didn’t have any problems after that.”
Vernola ran a consistent pace from there, dodging buried boulders and making it through the dust. While the attrition rate was high, Vernola used smart racing to make it to the finish.
“Racing is as much a mind game as anything else,” said Vernola. “I had to stick to my plan and preserve the car so I could get the finish.”
Vernola took full advantage of K&N’s superb filter technology to keep her engine breathing clean air. That, combined Super ATV hard parts, made her car stand the torturous test of one of the most difficult Vegas to Reno courses in recent history.
“After 500-plus miles, I pulled apart the K&N air filter, expecting it to be completely clogged up and it wasn’t,” said Vernola. “Clearly they are where they are in the off road industry for a reason. I run everything from Super ATV: tie rods, trailing arms, radius rods, long travel kit, Rhino 2.0 axles and steering rack. It doesn’t matter what terrain I put it through, it’s gotten me through. This race was not easy on the car. At the end of the day, these parts held together and helped me get to the finish.”
Jim at Addict Racing Engines did the tuning with DW Performance and Pete at Got Sand Performance, who built and prepared the car, rounded out her already stout group of sponsors.
“My King shocks were amazing,” said Vernola. “They performed great in the deep silt and on the rocks. Pete with Got Sand Performance worked with my car 10-12 hours each day. The preparation and time he takes with my car, there’s no way for me to express my gratitude for his hard work.”
Tires were also key and Vernola’s Fuel Off-Road Tires held up through the difficult course. “I didn’t have one flat today,” explained Vernola. “The Fuel Tires worked perfectly on the different kinds of terrain and they definitely got me to the finish.”
Vernola set a goal to solo the race which she exceeded and finished in front of many factory back teams with driver switches throughout the 540 miles. Huge accomplishment!!!
BITD next heads to the Silver State 150, going from endurance to sprint racing. Vernola will be ready. “I’ll go as fast and as cleanly as I can to the finish,” said Vernola. “This is a short course race and I’m going for that top spot.”
Vernola will be ready to rumble as BITD heads to Caliente, NV for the next race September 23-24.
2017 Katie Vernola Sponsors:
Super ATV, Fuel Off Road, Got Sand Performance, K&N Filters, KING Shocks, Polaris RZR, Addict Racing, BAJA Designs, P.C.I, Fuel Safe, Miller Sign Corp, Cryo Heat, XTC Power Products, K1 RaceGear, Maverick Powder Coat, DW Performance
Photo By: Rusty Baptist Photo By: Rusty BaptistPhoto By: Eric Minks Photo By: Eric MinksFinish line 🙂