Legacy Racing Association’s State Line Shootout returned in 2022 to the familiar racecourse in Primm Nevada for two days of high intensity short-course action. I say “familiar” because races have been held there for many years. Loose sand, constantly shifting, sits literal steps away from the Primm casinos. It is a blank slate for promoters to lay out new obstacles. There are the usual features which everyone loves, like big jumps that run along the access road. But the various twists and turns are always a little different. This freedom means the tracks are never the same. Any number of unique corners, jumps, or straightaways can be linked together to form a challenging new test for racers at each event.
Running as a short-course – a heat race configuration, there is not much strategy in the route except for the “joker” line which cuts out two corners. Racers were only allowed to take the joker line once each heat race. They would run eight laps on the 9-mile course each day. The key is to make sure the car lasts, and the rest lies on the shoulders of the drivers. Every corner is either an opportunity to gain on the competition or a debt that has to be paid in time lost at the finish.
One racer who had everyone under the gun was Carson Wernimont. He is the son of famous racecar builder Russ Wernimont. Surely, he’s constantly reminded of his father’s accomplishments, but it seems this has only motivated him more to make his own reputation as a talented fabricator as well as driver. Carson won the Legacy Racing 4WP Desert Showdown to kick off the season and made it two in a row with another victory here at the State Line Shootout. He had tough competition in the Naturally Aspirated 1900 class from Kaden Wells and the Father-Son Bolton team – Joe and Austin – who were both racing in different cars. When asked what his secret was for winning races, Wernimont answered that building and designing racecars helps him on-course a lot.
“I set up every bit of my car and understand how to manipulate it. I learned from my Dad, and I grew up at the races; it trickled down I guess. My Dad would not allow me to race until I could build my own car and afford to run it. UTV’s are a momentum class. You have to keep your speed through the corners. That’s why suspension design and shock tuning is so critical. You also have to trust your equipment. If you can go over stuff that other’s need to slow down for, you’re going to pick up time. On Day One, we started up front because we won in Pahrump. We went as hard as we could to stay out front, and to see how strong everyone else was.
I knew Kaden and Austin would be tough competition because they both had short wheelbase cars. My Kawasaki has a longer wheelbase, but the suspension geometry works really well in the corners. It was amazing how fast I could go in the flat, high-speed turns. I was wide open, and the car handled like it was on rails. When your car handles, you can relax. I’ve driven other cars that are all over the place. In a long race, that will eventually melt your brain. I’m really looking forward to the Baja Nevada race. We will be able to really open up the car in the desert.”
Around four minutes behind Wernimont, Kaden Wells took the Second Overall spot after two days of racing. But the gap to Third was much tighter. Austin Bolton was almost exactly one minute behind Wells. “This was a different race than usual, I don’t have much short-course experience,” said Bolton. “We did OK the first day, and on the second day, we were a lot better. We beat Kaden by six seconds. I liked the track better the second day, so I felt more comfortable. I’ve only raced desert in the past, but I knew it comes down to carrying speed in the corners and getting on the gas sooner. Those skills will help in the desert too. We [were] never passed, and we never passed anyone except ‘lappers.’ We just picked up time where we could. We plan on running the entire Legacy series… We want to beat Carson.”
Wernimont took the overall title in Group A which also included the Stock 1 U900-U950 Class, which was won by Tyler Stewart and the Stock Mod S900 class won by Jessica Dohrman. Group B consisted of the Turbo Cars and Unlimited UTV’s. The overall win in Group B belonged to Joe Terrana; he was the fastest of the 15 Turbo Cars. The margins of victory were as close in this faction as it was in Group A. Terrana had a comfortable lead over Second Place holder Randy Romo, but the third seed, Cody Schafer, was only 17 seconds from Romo. In the Unlimited Class, legendary racer Mike Lesle was nursing an injury, so he asked Sierra Romo to drive his car. That was a good move as Sierra took the win over Nolan Williams in Second and Ryan Piplic in Third.
“On Day One we started 9th, and won by three minutes,” said Terrana. “On the second day, we just wanted to get the car to the finish and maintain our lead. We finished second to Kolton Hustead on Day Two but had enough time to take the overall win. We did a race the week before and just washed the car off. We didn’t even change the belt. We raced for fun, and it turned out in our favor. The ruts in the sand got really deep in the corners. It really robs your momentum, but it was still…fast. We had a blast. I’ve always loved racing in Primm.”
Many of the competitors prefer desert racing to short-course, but everybody had a great time, nonetheless. Conversations turned to the next race in the Legacy Series, Baja Nevada, on June 22nd-25th. It will be the exact opposite of the State Line Shootout. The course is 650 miles long with 16 pit stops. It starts North of Beatty, and the finish line is in Tonopah. It takes on some of the toughest terrain in Nevada… Or anywhere. Carson Wernimont wants to win every race this season, but Austin Bolton is out for blood. The rest of the field is just trying to catch up. We’ll see who’s standing on top after such an incredible undertaking.
-  Carson Wernimont – 02:51:56.872
-  Kaden Wells – 02:55:23.446
-  Austin Bolton – 02:56:23.951
-  Joe . Bolton – 03:02:03.562
- [U938] Tyler Stewart – 03:04:06.018
- [T898] Joe Terrana – 02:42:01.345
- [T974] Randy Romo – 02:48:31.227
- [T824] Cody Schafer – 02:48:48.880
- [T938] Kolton Hustead – 02:50:12.762
- [T916] Jeremiah Scott – 02:51:47.376