Picture the Jolly Green Giant throwing around Raggedy Anne.
A co-pilots perspective on The Mint 400
The Great American Off-Road Race!
Scott Dzierzanowski is an amazing talent. Lots of people can play the guitar, how many can sing too? Scott sings too. I believe in order to be a good teammate I must trust him implicitly. I do. Scott wants to do what he’s good at, drive. He doesn’t want to clutter his mind with logistics. He’s already in co-ordination with many others dreamed his Jeep. His Jeep is him this is a man at one with his machine.
My job. Eliminate the clutter. I’m packing his golf bag giving him distance, he’s hitting the shot. Scott and co-driver his father David Dzierzanowski hit some hard bangs at his first race and win at the Parker 425. I yelped in pain, Scott said I screamed like a little bitch. I told him I was feeling the machines pain and it wasn’t me yelping it was the machine. That’s my job. Help him be the machine.
Let’s go race.
Why do I always have to pee once I’m belted in?
At the starting line everyone was staggered at 30 second intervals. There was a crash ahead and they held us at the line for over a minute. Green light go! We were next to another JeepSpeed 1700 and within the first mile passed them. Catching the first of the 3700 class quickly we passed all of them. We were surprised at how quick we caught them. We were running good. Out to the Warp Zone we passed a couple more and topped out around 100mph. Somewhere out by the Chokers we caught another JeepSpeed and on the siren I go. He’s high speed and so are we. Nosing our way past him Scott moves to the left rail and pushes the Jeep past. Bang! There is a cutout in the rail and we nail the hardest bang of the day. I ask him if I screamed, he said yes. I said protect the machine and she wont scream.
Calling out the corners we are developing a rhythm and Scott is fast fast. We are by all of our 3700 class by the time we hit the Thumpers. We rolled thru those at about 75 mph. The Fox Proving ground is just that. Our Fox shocks were really doing their job. Out to the Gravel Pit and there were seven racers stacked ahead of us. We were on the siren almost the entire time and by the time we exited the gravel pit had passed all but one. Down the hill high speed and got the last one. He is driving amazing. Did you see that jackrabbit? Yes. Back to work. By the time we hit the steep drop before the Shooting Range we were in clear air and running strong. Somewhere out there came a series of huge whoops. Scott had been able to gauge the woops pretty good up until now and we were skipping across the top. These were challenging and he got caught. They were controlling us. Bang, bang, up we flew. Ass over teakettle the front end was trying to go first. I was Whoa! Easy! He was, I got it! I got it! I’m tucking my elbows staying out of his way. He’s back and forth on the wheel. Whew! Down on all fours for about 2 seconds and here comes an off angle whoop! Up we fly again and we are going over. I’m looking down at the track right front tire is the only one remotely touching. I got it he screams! Sure enough he did. Awesome driving! (Lap two we did much better)
Out thru The Rockets and we are running strong and smooth. We pass the big blue truck and he is looking good. Scott is reminding me to check our back he wants to stay clear of anyone passing us. Sure enough here comes Blue and he’s hot on our tail. We pull over and let him by. It’s real rocky and we are staying smooth. We see him rocket into the distance. Just before the most beautiful section of the course the Joshua Tree Hyway we see him pulled over with a left rear flat. Scott says See! That’s why we let him go. We are thankful for our tire still turning full of air.
Coming down into the pits we are able to reach our crew and give them a status update. Down the paved road at 25 we come into the Finish Chicanes, we hit a jump and shortly after we have a clunk, clunk, clunk in the front end. Crap! 20 MPH for the next 5 miles and Scott is frustrated. What the heck? We lost a front driveline pinion nut at Parker. What’s going on? We lose ten minutes and we’re getting passed. Radio ahead to the pits. Tim Dzierzanowski is standing at the pit entrance directing us. Dan Bowers is rocking the team. We pull in and ten people attack the Jeep our PNW4WDA racing family is there and has it under control. We were notified Eric J. Sigwing passed us in the pits.
Off we go heading for lap 2 in two wheel drive.