The 2020 Mint 400 is in the history book, but the stories from a historical race are far from over. For Team Honda and its Ridgeline had a late curveball thrown at them from the race organizers. Class 7 was originally taking place on Friday in the limited race, but a last-second change pushed Class 7 into the unlimited race.
The priority for the Ridgeline Baja team – including starting driver Jeff Proctor and navigator Evan Weller, along with the finishing driver/navigator duo of Patrick Dailey/Michael Loomis – was to preserve equipment and tires throughout the grueling event.
The strategy paid off for the first two-thirds of the race, as Proctor and Weller established a solid class lead, while their competitors fell back or dropped out of the contest. However, suspension damage sustained midway through the third lap forced the pair to reduce their pace before handing off to Dailey and Loomis for the final lap. The Baja Ridgeline Race Truck continued to lead Class 7 at the start of the final lap, but with Dailey and Loomis having to further reduce their speed to ensure a finish, the Ridgeline eventually completed the race second in Class 7.
“This Honda Ridgeline was running great all day. Jeff and Evan set a great pace,” Dailey said. “Unfortunately, about halfway into the third lap, we had a suspension failure, which caused us to greatly reduce our pace.”
“I jumped in the drivers’ seat for the last lap and Michael Loomis replaced Evan in the navigator’s seat,” Dailey continued. “We still had the lead at that point but weren’t able to hang on with the slower pace we had to run. My main goal was just survival and getting the truck to the finish line. The HPD engine ran perfect all day long. It was great to get back onto the podium with a second-place finish. We can’t wait for redemption at the Baja 500.”
The off-road racing season is still just beginning and teams have plenty of time to redeem any early miscue. How do you think Team Honda will do the rest of the year? Tell us in the comments below!