Staging photo and all photos courtesy of Turn2 TV Productions
For Sven Ellstrom, Chazz Arenibas and the Ellstrom/Oberto Race Team - the 2019 racing season started with a bang at the GMZ UTV Winter Nationals in Parker, Arizona on Saturday.
In fact, there were two bangs. The first one came at the mid point of the 3-lap 150 mile race and was the sound of an upper A-arm breaking in the car's front suspension. After starting 32nd on the grid, Sven and Chazz were running 12th on the course and moving up toward the top 10 on the timing sheet when the part gave out, putting a damper on the team's plan to run hard the second half and go for another podium finish.
The driver and co-driver showed some ingenuity by making a splint for the broken arm using a wrench and tape which held together well enough to get the team to the next pit stop - 25 miles away.
With the team short handed at that pit stop, the permanent fix was going to take a while. But, as team owner Erick Ellstrom explained, "Justin Lambert's Cognito Team serviced their car and then hung back in the pit area to help our guys with the repair. It was the kind of sportsmanship we have come to expect from the Cognito Team but something you won't see in a lot of other motorsports. We can't thank them enough."
With repairs made, Sven and Chazz set out to make up lost time and were doing so until the second bang. This time it was the transmission - the same problem that cost the team a high finish at this event a year ago. From that point to the end it was just about limping to the finish line and a 23rd place finish after 5 hours and 44 minutes of grueling driving. Race winner Dustin Jones of Bossler City, Louisiana covered the 150 miles in 4.5 hours.
Ellstrom added, "It was certainly not the way we wanted to start the season and represent Oberto Beef Jerky and our other sponsors who have helped us so much. We got great performance from our BF Goodrich Tires again. If everything else had worked as well I am confident the guys would have had a top 10 finish. With the continued support from Sonic Tools, AZ West, Baja Designs Lighting, AIM Data Acquisition, Walker Evans and Holz Racing, we'll be back and we'll be fast!"
Next event for the Ellstrom/Oberto Race Team will be the BF Goodrich Tires Mint 400
March 7 - 10 in Las Vegas.