Drivers were presented with an extremely rough and dusty course in northern Nevada for the third round of the Legacy Racing Association series. The VT Construction Battleground competition attracted more than 30 UTV teams to the 338-mile point-to-point competition.
The teams lined up for battle at the Delamar Airstrip, approximately 12 miles southeast of Alamo, Nevada, on Friday, June 23. With six pit stops between them and the finish line in Caliente, Nevada, drivers and co-pilots buckled in for a rough and rowdy ride that took them anywhere from nearly seven to 10 hours to navigate.
Drivers were also treated to some sections of the course which have not been utilized for several years. For the first time since 2016, the course went over the Summit at mile 108.23. Racers likewise returned to Ejido Nativos between Erendira and Santo Tomas, a section that had not been used for SCORE competition since 2019.
While the motorcycles and ATVs staged at a tremendously early time on race day – 3:00 a.m. – the four-wheel drivers had a little more time to sleep in. With a 7:15 a.m. staging time and 8:15 a.m. ceremonial start time, they were able to secure a bit of extra time to rest or to prepare.
Garrick Lastra (T924), competing in the UTV Turbo class, claimed his third-consecutive Legacy Racing Association overall UTV win of the year, besting fellow Can-Am driver Chris Blais (2910) by 1 minute, 28 seconds. Tim Fitzpatrick (2906) of Wheatland, California, rounded out the UTV overall podium.
“We started off the race first off the line and tried to keep a good pace but we were stuck behind the classes in front of us,” Lastra said. “We were in dust all day. Before pit two, we missed a turn and went off-course and couldn’t get back on, so we lost a spot to our friends — the McFaydens. We followed them to pit two. Luckily, they stopped for fuel, and I was able to get back around them.”
Lastra’s challenges didn’t stop there, but he kept overcoming every obstacle in his way.
“Just before pit three, we went off-course again and broke a part on the car, which caused us to lose brakes,” Lastra said. “We limped into the pit, the crew fueled the car and said it was a bent arm. So, we nursed the car to the finish. At the finish, we realized the part was a wheel bearing. Somehow and some way, the car stayed together. Someone was watching over us for sure.”
Although he said it was a dusty course and mistakes were made from it, they “still managed to get the win in the Riverland Racing red sled!” His final time of 06:57:37.650 earned him the victory.
He thanked his team: Carolyn and Randy Raschein for the chance to pilot their Can-Am, the Schulz family, Dana Harlow and Chase Willford for pit support, and co-driver Robert Villarreal for an awesome job. Thanks to Lonestar Racing’s Shawn Fisher, Joey Olson and Horacio Contreras for incredible race prep.
Lastra also credited his sponsors — Riverland Rents, Can-Am, Oregon UTV Parts, Lonestar Racing, King Shocks, Tensor Tires, Method Wheels, Modquad, EVO Powersports, Shock Therapy, Icebox Performance and ZRP — for making his racing efforts possible.
Turning to the UTV Unlimited class, Apple Valley, California’s Chris Blais not only took second overall UTV, but he also claimed his class win. Classmate Tim Fitzpatrick finished second in class while snatching third overall. Polaris’ Travis Sallee (2999) claimed third in UTV Unlimited, just over two minutes behind Fitzpatrick.
Californians and fellow Polaris drivers took the top two spots in the UTV Naturally-Aspirated class. Joe Bolton (1957) secured the win with an elapsed time of 07:48:03.431, closely followed by Becker Chase (1950) just under two and a half minutes later. Angie Mitchell (1907) of Henderson, Nevada, rounded out the podium.
Thirty-eight-year-old Logan Gastel (S969) topped the UTV Stock Modified class with a time of 08:19:01.715. Hailing from Highland, California, he usually competes in the Best in the Desert series but decided to put his stock 2023 Can-Am X3 XRS RR to work in his first-ever Legacy Racing Association event. In only the second time out in his new car, the team still wanted to shake down the machine. Gastel decided to put his 14-year-old son, Kyle, in the co-driver seat.
“I’m no stranger to this particular area [Caliente, Nevada],” Gastel said. “I’ve raced here a dozen times, if not more, and I’ve had really good luck each time we come out here. So, I was definitely looking forward to coming back out to this area. We were lucky enough to draw the first starting position in class, which is usually nerve-racking for me. I feel a lot of pressure being the guy who has to set the pace.”
He said the race started off well, and they caught the classes in front of them right before Pit #1, which was located 44 miles in. With the stock class having to utilize a stock fuel tank, the team had to get fuel at almost every pit.
“I began to find my groove, and we just started clicking off the miles,” Gastel said. “The staff at Legacy definitely laid out a challenging course. I mean, this course had everything from rocks to fire roads to silty areas, washes, and dry lake beds all the way up in the mountains — that’s probably why I like this course so much. You’re not just stuck in one type of terrain. You see everything.”
After the fourth pit, he daringly attempted to pick up the pace. A quick splash of fuel at Pit #5 and a verbal pat on the back by the crew sent Gastel on his way again.
“I knew we had a significant lead over the next car in our class, so I was trying to remind myself not to take any unnecessary risks,” Gastel said. “The section between five and six was probably the roughest of the race, so we were definitely just trying to conserve the car and not get any flats or break anything. We sailed into pit six where we were scheduled to take our last five gallons of fuel.”
He said his pit crew informed him that the second-place car in his class had closed in on them, so Gastel picked up the pace for the last 50 miles.
“The reality began to set in that as long as I could get the car to the finish line, the race was ours,” Gastel said. “I started thinking of all the firsts — the first finish for this new car, my first win since the passing of my dad, and the first time my son ever raced in the car with me. When we got that checkered flag and they awarded me with the first-place plaque, it was definitely an amazing feeling.”
“We stuck to our plan,” Gastel said. “The pit stops were on point. Everyone hit their mark. We didn’t have to get out of the car once. No flats. No mechanical issues. The team was rewarded with the win. None of this would be possible without the people and companies that support us every time we suit up to race.”
Gastel said that everything went off without a hitch. All in all, it was a pretty uneventful day and that is what most teams hope for when it comes to their machines and race strategy.
Gastel expressed the utmost gratitude for the loyalty of his sponsors. He’s been racing UTVs in the desert for 11 years, and almost all of his sponsors have been with him since the beginning.
“I’d like to thank my wife. Thanks to my son for doing an amazing job during his first time in the car. My pit crew of Fernando, Frank and Homer. Phil Blurton and all of the guys at his shop: No Limit. Thanks to the staff and volunteers at Legacy. Can-Am, Summers Brothers, Rugged Radios, Raceline, ITP, Baja Design, No Limit RD, PRP, Factory UTV, Alltech Motorsports, Union Graphics, and UTV Sports Magazine for getting our stories out there!”
“We utilize a stock cooling system, stock power plant, stock fuel system – it’s basically a showroom car, other than the required safety items,” he said. “And we go out and have this kind of success.”
Gastel said it’s especially impressive that they can win their class and take 15th overall in the UTV lineup in a truly stock car.
Culver City, California’s Craig Macintosh (S915) took second in class, and Las Vegas’s Bryan Houghton (S923) claimed third.
Fellow Las Vegas resident Sarah Stewart, who recently picked up a Polaris sponsorship, earned the UTV Stock1 class win. She piloted her Tortoise Supply Racing-backed machine through a wide mix of terrain, joking that silt got into every crevasse of their lives. Her husband also competed in the event, taking fourth in UTV Unlimited.
“With all the rain we’ve had recently there were some intensely rutted-out and dangerous spots,” said Stewart. “Legacy did a great job with marking dangers but keeping the course exciting with variety — fast, slow, winding trails, some wide-open meadows, through trees and river crossings. The splash of water was so refreshing! It was a challenging but a great ride. Thank you to all of our sponsors that help us get this done!”
Not only do racers have to drive fast, follow a strategy and have well-prepped machines, but they also try to avoid incurring penalties while doing so. Not a single UTV driver racked up a penalty during VT Battleground, which is stellar.
While watching the Legacy Racing Association series.it becomes evident that the teams put so much work and energy into racing in the desert. When it comes to racing, it’s never just the race where effort is required. It’s the preparation, driving and resources to get there. It’s the travel back to team headquarters, the unloading, washing and rebuilding on a tight timeline for their next competition. While the brunt of the stress may lie with the driver, it truly is a team effort in terms of logistics to compete at the highest level in Legacy Racing Association’s series.
The next Legacy Racing Association event is the UTV Freedom Ride to take place August 24-26, once again held in Caliente, Nevada.
- Garrick Lastra (T924), 06:57:37.650
- Nate Hale (T961), 07:11:31.779
- Michael McFayden (T838), 07:16:26.219
- Michael Mack (T821), 07:24:10.272
- Monte Wadsworth (T823), 07:29:47.370
- Chris Blais (2910), 06:59:05.899
- Tim Fitzpatrick (2906), 07:03:49.190
- Travis Sallee (2999), 07:06:00.719
- Tyler Stewart (2973), 07:49:29.298
- Tom Wilson (2990), 08:13:08.619
UTV Naturally Aspirated
- Joe Bolton (1957), 07:48:03.431
- Becker Chase (1950), 07:50:24.717
- Angie Mitchell (1907), 08:09:11.039
- Dan Philips (1967), 08:22:48.092
- Tricia Reina (1920), 08:28:56.536
UTV Stock Modified
- Logan Gastel (S969), 08:19:01.715
- Craig Macintosh (S915), 08:57:45.674
- Bryan Houghton (S923), 09:48:45.429
- Sarah Stewart (U905), 08:55:40.318