One of the most unique challenges of the year for Best in the Desert’s car and truck teams takes place over the next two days, as the King Shocks Laughlin Desert Classic pits teams against one another on the always grueling 17-mile course in Laughlin, Nevada. With four laps today and four laps tomorrow for the premier Trick Truck teams in the sport, Laughlin’s split race format requires drivers to manage their equipment on Saturday on the way to chasing down the win on Sunday.
Concrete Motorsports’ Kevin Thompson enters Laughlin with a 12-point advantage over Kyle Jergensen and 16 points in hand over Adam Householder, but they’ll all be starting behind Justin Lofton, whose qualifying time of 3:18.536 was nearly five seconds better than anyone else in a Trick Truck for time trials. Thompson, Jergensen, BJ Baldwin, and Tracy Graf completed the top five, with Householder in sixth.
The second fastest qualifier overall, in fact, wasn’t even in a Class 1500 car—it was in a 6200, the emerging car equivalent to the 6100 trucks that supplement the premier Trick Trucks. That time belonged to Conner McMullen, who was more than six seconds faster than top 1500 qualifier Sam Berri in the car group. 6200 points leader Nick Carolan was third in that session.
But 6100 remains the largest premier class of all by entries, with nearly two dozen taking on time trials in Thursday. In the end, Jordan Brenthel and Mavrick Gaunt were separated for the top spot by just .026 seconds, with the entire top six separated by just under five seconds. In the tight points battle between Dustin Grabowski and Ray Griffith, who are separated by only six points coming in, Griffith drew first blood with the fourth-fastest time, just two tenths faster than Grabowski in fifth.
Racing in Laughlin kicks off at 7:30AM on both Saturday and Sunday with three laps for the 8100 vehicles, with subsequent four-lap race starts at approximately 9AM for a majority of other divisions, 11AM for the 6100/7200/8000 classes, 12:30PM for the 1000/1500/6200 classes, and 2PM for the Trick Trucks. Following Laughlin, just one race remains on the 2021 Best in the Desert calendar: the BlueWater Desert Challenge in Parker, Arizona, which will see all BITD divisions compete on November 4-7.