A "Surprise" Pair of Podium Finishes for Daystar Products at the Lucas Oil Off-Road
Racing Series, Rounds 11 & 12

Some might dismiss the events at this past weekend's Lucas Oil Off-Road Race Series (LOORS) at Speedworld in Surprise, Arizona, as beginner's luck.  Others may be skeptical that lighting can strike in the same place twice.  But no one can discredit the achievement of the brand new Daystar Products-sponsored Turner Racing team as they fielded a pair of new, never-before-raced Rhinos in two different classes and walked away with a pair of podium finishes.  Daystar Products CEO, Mark Turner, proved he could draw on a strong desert-racing background to be a contender in short-course racing, in two different classes, in one weekend.
The start of the weekend was less than stellar.  A sluggish and overheating motor during qualifying on Saturday morning on the Daystar Products Unlimited-Class Rhino #600 had the team suspecting a blown head gasket.  With the help of KMS Motorsports, the crew quickly confirmed the problem and had the head gasket replaced in record time.  No other damage appeared to have been done, but the engine had gotten uncomfortably hot during qualifying, and there was no way of knowing for sure what damage had been done without a complete teardown.  Turner decided to chance it and gave the green light to go racing.  However, the poor performance of the engine during qualifying meant a starting position in sixth place, and the hoped-for starting inversion didn't happen.  This meant starting toward the back of the pack; not necessarily a bad place for a new racer to short course, but it also meant a lot of traffic between Turner and the lead.
The Green flag dropped and Turner's short-course racing career officially began.  Though a veteran desert-racer, this was Turner's very first start in short-course off-road racing.  The strategy was to stay out of trouble and get to the finish line, and for the most part he stuck to the plan.  Already familiar with the track through practice sessions, Turner's primary concern was negotiating the traffic of two different UTV classes racing on the same course at the same time.  Turner got visibly faster and faster with each succeeding lap thanks in part to the excellent grip of the Maxxis tires on the Rhino, and though still trailing the pack by the first mandatory caution, he was looking strong with the engine problems thankfully behind him for the time being.  Turner ran a strong second half of the race and claimed a 3rd place finish when the checkered flag flew for Round 11.  Despite the engine issues and the triple digit temperatures, the Daystar Team was rightfully ecstatic with Turner's podium in his premier short-course race.

Luck and the momentum of a podium finish kept the team's spirits high for Round 12.  Unfortunately, disaster struck once again during qualifying for the Daystar Products Unlimited Rhino.  On the last lap of qualifying, the engine expired, this time catastrophically. There was no fixing it with just a few hours between qualifying and the race.  Rather than succumb to defeat, Turner entered his other Rhino, the SR-1 Class #841 powered by a Yamaha R-1 motor.  Though he had very limited seat time in this Rhino, which features nearly double the horsepower of the Unlimited Class and had not been race-prepped (it was brought out to the race primarily for display), Turner went all-in and entered the car while the crew scrambled to get it prepped in time for the race. Because he didn't have a chance to qualify the car, this meant a start in 14th position, which once again meant a whole lot of traffic between him and the lead.

The Round 12 green flag dropped and it quickly became clear that while the team would be happy to finish the race with the rubber side down, Turner had other ideas.  After just a couple of laps, the Daystar Products SR-1 Rhino was catching huge air off of the jumps on the Speedworld front straights while attacking the track's infamous moguls at full speed. Preliminary chassis set-up by FST on this car had proved to be as spot-on as the team's other Rhino despite limited testing time.  With Goodyear's new MTR UTV tires mounted on Walker Evans Racing's new 14" beadlock wheels, Turner quickly began reeling people in and stayed on pace with the leaders. There were some harrowing moments during the race, including some mid-air contact with another Rhino and an altercation in the back straight that resulted in a spin-out.  Despite these setbacks, Turner steadily picked people off, once again in an untested vehicle and in only his second race!  His all-or-nothing efforts were rewarded with a second third place finish for the weekend, an unprecedented feat for a first-time racer.

The Daystar Products Rhinos, though starting late in the season and not points contenders this year, intend to build on the momentum of Surprise and continue to reduce the learning curve of a new race team during Rounds 13 and 14 of the LOORS series at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which takes place immediately following the SEMA show.  The team strategy is to continue to test new Daystar Polyurethane products while they learn the ropes in preparation for an all-out assault on the UTV classes in the 2011. If these results are any indication, this will be the team to watch in coming months.  Stay tuned!
Turner Racing would like to thank the following sponsors for their support:
Daystar Products - FST - KMS Motorsports - Walker Evans Racing
Gorilla Axle - Maxxis - Goodyear

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