Hello, and Welcome to another season with Off Map Racing!
This is going to be an exciting year. It’s a big cliché, but we are looking for BIGGER and BETTER than our previous years. It’s been a hectic off-season for the team. Our season starts in Las Vegas for the great American off-road race. If you are in town, find us in the X Comp and Superwinch booth on Fremont street and at the start-finish line at Primm. The race car will be in the booth anytime it’s not doing Race Car stuff, but our Prerunner will be there all week long, showing off for our old and new sponsors. If you’d like to know the big names that joined our team this year…. Keep reading.
We spent the entire holiday season with our noses to the grindstone to get the car into fighting shape. The last race of 2022 caused a ton of damage to the front of the vehicle, and it was to the point that we had to strip her down to just the frame to fix it. If you follow us on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the carnage; if you aren’t following us there, you should be. Since we had the car down to the bones, we finally decided to do something that had been on the plan for a while but never had the time or funds to pull off.
Thanks to Side By Customs and the team there for all their help and use of their facilities while they were closed over the holiday break. Access to the fabrication tools they have on hand is the only reason we were able to pull off these upgrades. For the 2023 season, we have jumped up in spec to the highest class possible. No longer are we running aftermarket doors, and we have gone to a full race spec with the added stiffness and an emphasis on safety. Most of the higher race classes do not allow for opening doors, and since we are looking to compete with the big boys for 2023, it was time to get this done.
In the hot races of 2022, we encountered a few cooling concerns. At the Knolls 250, we had an emergency swap to a subpar clutching system, and that and the super soft sand made it painfully evident that we weren’t getting enough cooling in scorching environments. So again, while she was down for the front-end damage, we decided to go a little crazy and replace the adorable front mount radiator that came factory and throw in a monster Rad and Intercooler from CBR. This massive thing gives us plenty of cooling for a future upgrade that’s in the works 😉.
Another thing that slowed us down in 2022 and wasn’t ideal for the crew’s safety was fueling. We stopped more often than our competitors because of fuel range alone. Enter Harmon Racing Cells with a 20-gallon fuel cell giving us seven more gallons of capacity and pushing us well past the 90-mile range we had previously. Dry breaks and Hunsaker have hastened our pit times, taking a full whole of 20 gallons faster than we could push 5 in previous years. This is exciting for the car’s performance but didn’t address the safety issue. My biggest beef with the Polaris design on this car is that the factory filler neck is close to the turbo. I’ve seen it happen way too many times that fuel splashed on the mat, and the turbo ignited the vapors, causing a flash fire.
We took steps to mitigate this. Everyone near the car was in full fire gear, and we used absorbent mats under the fuel spout to catch anything as it spilled, but most of all, we practiced like crazy to get the last bit of fuel in the car without any burp or splash back. These were mitigation strategies, but I always wanted to move the filler neck. So when we put the new fuel cell in, we moved it to the opposite side of the car. Opposite the turbo and exhaust, but we’ve also moved it forward. Additional steps were taken in the design of the filler location to funnel any leakage forward on the car and even further away from heat sources. This makes me incredibly happy because my crew is like family, and I don’t want them hurt.
The last significant improvement for this year was stopping power. This car from the factory has the worst brakes you can imagine. Two piston calipers, front and rear, are pathetic. We constantly lost time breaking early for fear of fade and not enough bite. Wilwood Brakes. Yes, Wilwood is on board this year and has provided us with the latest addition to their broad coverage with six-piston front and rear complete brake replacements that are just phenomenal—looking forward to going harder and deeper at the end of every straight away this year. We also completely rewired the car and just simplified everything.
But these mods weren’t the extent of our busy off-season. The guys also worked hard recruiting new sponsors and cementing existing relationships. For the 2nd year in a row, the good people at All Thingz UTV are back as our title sponsor, and glad we are to be part of their team. I can’t sing their praises enough for all the help we’ve received over all the years we’ve been at it and their dedication to our success as our title sponsor for 2022 and 2023. Also returning this year is Side By Customs, who’ve already had their praises sung, but I’ll do it again. Fantastic folks! The breakfast of champions is also back with us, Peugh’s Brew Coffee is the best stuff I’ve had as far as coffee goes, and that’s not just because their owner has been one of my Co-drivers in the past. It is delicious. Another fantastic local company is back on board in the form of the best vinyl guy around. Prescott Custom Wraps is a great business, and they are also quality friends. Troy’s a fellow racer who can pull off a winning design. Please stop by the X Comp/Superwinch booth at the Mint 400 this year to see two of his methods in person.
Also returning this year is Matt with Desert Speed Shock Tunning. I can’t bring to words the value that Matt puts into the team. Constant innovation and improvement every year, and he continually delivers a car that fits my style and challenges me to push my comfort level. Thanks for everything, Matt. Glad to have you back for another banner year.
Kryptonite is back for their third year as a team supporter, and we are super pleased to have them. We are Still running a plethora of their hard parts on the race car, and now some of our pit support vehicles have had their entire steering redone with Kryptonite parts, and to say this truck with 250k on the odometer handles like new is not an exaggeration.
Nick and the good folks at TACKFORM are back as well. Nick has been helping us since the beginning, and this year we are fielding an entirely new recording system with TACKFORM mounts keeping all the GoPros in place. We’ve had Nick’s products in everything for years, and nothing has ever let us down. Radio mounts, cell phone mounts, cameras, and others. Check out TACKFORM if you need anything like that.
PCI Race Radios is back again for the 2023 season. I do love the whole family there. This team has a fantastic reputation; after the years I’ve gotten to know them, I can say it is well deserved. They have helped us immensely in the off-season. Recall the wiring I touched on earlier. We may or may not have a monster radio in the car now, thanks to their help.
HCR is still our go-to suspension team. Their arms have held up to some horrendous abuse. Two crashes and the king of the hammers last year couldn’t take them out, so I think it’s a solid idea to keep running them 😊. If you need a set, give Pattrick up there a call and tell him Off Map sent you.
The last of our returning sponsors for 2023 is by far one of the best. The adage about saving the best for last is complex with our great supporters, but the good folks at Superwinch and Westin Automotive have been with us since day 1. They have gone to bat for us and leveraged their contacts to help us grow and achieve the success we have had to date. To say we couldn’t have gotten here without them is a fact. David and Ozzy are fantastic people with big hearts. Make sure you stop by the booth they share with X Comp at this year’s mint to see their products all over our PreRunner and many of our chase trucks. We don’t run a winch on the race car for weight reasons, but we keep one on everything remotely involved in recovery operations. The Westin line of automotive parts is also all over our chase fleet. We only promote what we believe in around here, and we believe in Superwinch and Westin.
New sponsors for this year are some big names in the racing and beer world. Did he say beer world? That’s right. If you’re from anywhere near Utah or have had a beer in this area, there is a good chance it was a Rooster’s Brewing beer, and we are excited to announce that they have joined our team as our official beer sponsor. If you know this team, we can put back our fair share of beers. Roosters is a local to us company with a few restaurants and 21+ establishments to back them up. They have been steadily expanding their distribution around us for over 20 years. The beer speaks for itself. If you find one of us on Fremont street, mention you read about them here, and I’ll have one or two on ice for you 😉
X Comp Tires by Gladiator have been invading the racing and off-road scene for a while, and they have invaded our hearts too. This year at the Mint, we are running their A/T ATR in the 33in variety, and initial testing has been very positive. We will have these tires on the booth of our team cars at the Mint 400, and we encourage you to stop by either at the Start/Finish line area on Friday and Saturday or near the LAMA lot on Thursday during tech and contingency and get a look at them for yourself. We are excited to join the ranks of X Comp’s team drivers and genuinely appreciate them giving us a chance to prove ourselves on and off track.
The next significant addition to the team will be very noticeable if you stick your nose into the car. The leader in aftermarket and racing seats for the last 50 years has joined our team. Please welcome Corbeau to the team. We are running their FX1 series hard shell seats this year and the lovely 5-point SFI-rated harnesses. Moving to a hardshell seat was a safety concern for us again, as we have seen a few accidents be substantially worse than needed when an improperly maintained or mounted seat gave out. Suspension seats in racing also tend to settle in over a race, making belts feel looser. Everyone in the car agreed that we hated this unnerving feeling, so it was time to go hard seats. We want to thank Corbeau for joining our team. We now have Corbeau in the Race Car and Prerunner and couldn’t be happier. We look forward to their first actual distance test at the mint 400.
Lastly, joining us this year is Wilwood Engineering. I talked about them in the upgrades section of this letter, so I won’t rehash everything and will say, “wow.” If you have a side-by-side and want to up your braking capability, head to their website. They are actively increasing their coverage range and already cover the big names in the UTV market and almost everything you could want in the automotive field. Our brakes were always a concern with how heavy this car is and the speeds we push it. No longer, and you can get there too.
In conclusion, I know this has been a long letter, and thank you for bearing with me to this point. It takes a lot of great people to pull something like this off, especially for a team without factory support. It was necessary to thank them all for coming back around and let all of you know where to find us this coming week in Las Vegas. A heartfelt thank you from everyone at Off Map Racing goes out to our sponsors and, equally important, our fans. Final reminder. Find us this week under the XCOMP Tires and Superwinch booth at the Mint 400. Mention reading this letter, and the first beer is on me. (while supplies last)