While last year’s two rounds of racing at Miller Motorsports Park in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series were the site of a breakout performance by Doug Fortin and his #96 Fortin Racing, Inc./General Tire/Toyota of Escondido Action Sports/Fox Racing Shox/Maxima Racing Oils Toyota, this year’s trip to The Beehive State wasn’t quite as nice. Plagued by unfamiliar issues throughout the weekend, Fortin faced an uphill battle to try and produce the good results he knows he and his team are capable of, and while there were some good moments, a frustrated Fortin knows that this weekend could have gone much better.
Trouble began for Fortin when carburetor issues hampered both of his Friday practice sessions. With the truck continuing to bobble and cut out unexpectedly, there wasn’t much knowledge to be gained towards qualifying and race setup, as clean laps just weren’t coming. The team took the carburetor completely apart, before opting for a different and less familiar one for use in Saturday morning’s Round 7 qualifying.
Once again, the carburetor was still an issue, as the engine was now simply unable to make the power that Fortin and his team knew it was capable of. Fortin netted an eighth best time in qualifying, putting him near the back of the pack for the afternoon race. In hopes of making more power, Fortin went to a third carburetor, one that was just like his first and more familiar one, and this time, the team seemed to have got things right.
Fortin worked his way up to fourth spot late in the running, but a rapidly deteriorating track meant that conditions were ripe to catch out even the most experienced of drivers. A bicycle cost Fortin one spot, and shortly afterwards, Fortin hooked a rut and spun out, dropping him back one more place. Fortin made it back up to fifth by race’s end, though, and actually posted a very promising lap time, one that was a vast improvement after all the struggles thus far in the weekend.
Unfortunately, the carburetor was again an issue on Sunday morning, as a broken part meant that Fortin would have to miss qualifying. This put Fortin right at the back for start of the Round 8 main event, and while he initially made up a few positions, passes were hard to come by within the very narrow and slippery confines of this Utah track. Fortin had also been struggling for traction all weekend, with he and his team making shock and/or spring changes every time they went on track, all in an effort to help get more driving bite. Off‐road racing is an art of compromise, though, and while he could get more bite from the rear, he was forced to give up some in the front, and he never could seem to find that happy medium.
As he sat behind a slower competitor for several laps, Fortin hoped for a yellow flag in order to bring the competition back within reach, but that chance didn’t come until late in the going. When it did, Fortin then tried what he called “a fairly aggressive pass on the inside,” which resulted in his over‐rotating and ending up pinned against a wall. A full course yellow was thrown, but as Fortin was able to continue un‐aided, he also was unable to re‐catch the back of the pack before they took the green flag again. From there, Fortin chased the competition from about half a lap back, coming home a very frustrated seventh place.
One big positive from this weekend was Fortin’s move up in the championship chase. Despite several incidents of bad luck recently, Fortin’s perseverance and consistency are paying off, and he has now
climbed from fifth to fourth in the title standings. Fortin now turns his attention to Rounds 9 and 10 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, which will take he and his team back under the lights of Glen Helen Raceway in southern California. “We’re gonna go test soon, before we prep the truck,” Fortin says. “We’re gonna go up to Glen Helen and get some setup there‐ I’m ready to get back on the box!” Fortin and his Dream Team will have four weeks to ready themselves, and you can be sure that they’ll be doing everything in their power to move forward as they approach the halfway point of this 2015 season.
Doug would like to thank all of his sponsors for their valued and continued support:
Fortin Racing, Inc.
Toyota of Escondido Action Sports
Fox Racing Shox Maxima Racing Oils Tilton Engineering Method Race Wheels Sparco
Racer Engineering Motive Gear
Weldon Racing Pumps TRD
Automotive Racing Products Braille Battery
McGrath Fiberglass Products Gibson Performance Exhaust Cool It Thermo‐Tec