Ellstrom Racing's entry in the Best In The Desert Series continued to impress with another very strong finish in the Mint 400 held in the desert near Las Vegas on Saturday.
With less than two legs remaining, the youngest driver and co-driver in the 46 cars entered in the UTV Pro Turbo Class had moved from 35th on the starting grid to 5th place, a little more than a minute behind the 3rd place Polaris Factory Team.
On the next to last leg, 17 year old co-driver Ryan Holz was replaced by his father Mark, owner of Holz Racing and builder of the team's UTV. 18 year old driver Sven Ellstrom then drove around two racers including the Polaris Factory Team into third place and secured an impressive podium finish.
The move from 35th on the grid to 3rd in the final standings was by far the most dramatic improvement in the field.
As team owner Erick Ellstrom pointed out, "The team that finished first started first and the team that finished second started second. The team that finished third started 35th."
With many parts of the race course too narrow for passing, slower traffic was a major factor in the team's ability to get to the front - a problem the two leaders did not have.
Ellstrom added, "With this 3rd place finish, we will be placed a lot higher on the grid the next time out and it will be a lot easier to run with the leaders."
The team had minimal mechanical issues, only stopping to replace a belt early in the race. Problems with sensors that have caused some heating issues and forced the UTV to be run at less than full throttle appear to have been solved.
Ellstrom had praise and thanks for fellow racers who have helped the new team along the way, singling out Scanlon Motorsports for - as Ellstrom put it, "Giving us all the help we needed with no questions asked."
The Scanlon team is also running a Holz Racing built UTV. Speaking of Holz, Ellstrom added, "There is no way we would be where we are without Mark Holz and his family. Their friendship and experience in the sport have been absolutely priceless and we look forward to racing with them for a long time."
Ellstrom also gave a shout out to the two teams that finished first and second in the Unlimited Turbo UTV Class, adding, "Mitch Guthrie and Jason Murray both did a great job to stay out front all day. They were the class of the field and set the bar high. They showed us who we have to beat."
Next event for the team will be the POLARIS RZR UTV WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP In Laughlin, Nevada April 14 & 15.