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Team ATK Takes 1st Place

    First Race, First Place for the Team ATK Wrangler

 

    Team ATK debuted the new ATK powered Jeepspeed Currie Cup Wrangler at the Terrible Town 250 this past weekend and took the class win.  Driver Jon Krellwitz started second off the line and got off to a quick start passing fellow Currie Cup competitor Greg Jackson at mile 2 to take the early lead.  At mile 10 Krellwitz came upon a crash where stock full driver and long time friend Greg Foutz was upside down in the middle of the race course.  A quick u turn and a few hand signals and Foutz had the tow rope ready. 

    The torquey ATK motor hooked to the stout Currie axles made short work of righting Foutz's 7500 pound stock full Ford F250.  With Foutz back on his feet Krellwitz was back underway and the race was back on.  With the stop for Foutz a few of the quick Jeepspeed 1 cars got by Krellwitz and left him to fight through their dust for the next 30 miles.  Not wanting to take any risk in the dust Krellwitz waited for the rough sections where the increased wheel travel of the Currie Cup car would make the passing easy. 

    At around mile 60 the ATK Wrangler started feeling very unstable and was squatting to the driver side rear under acceleration.  Krellwitz and his co-driver Matt McCallum both thought there was some issue with the sway bars on the vehicles but with the main pit only 20 miles away and the truck still drivable Krellwitz and McCallum decided to ease off the pace and cruise it into main.  At main the situation was assessed by ace mechanic Skyler Gambrell, "Hey Krellwitz, the sway bars look great but you are missing your driver side axle shaft". Thankfully, Fabtech owner and old desert hand Dave Winner (Fabtech CEO) was there with the solution – "Stuff some rags down the axle tube, duct tape the end up, hose clamp around the tape, fill it up with oil and then just cruise it around the next lap…..you might make it".  While Gambrell made quick work of the field repair McCallum jumped out of the passenger seat and second lap co-driver Patrick Smith jumped in. 

    After 15 minutes the repairs were made and the ATK wrangler was let go to complete its second and final lap.  Krellwitz' assessment of the truck after a few miles was that "it's drivable but it's a handful at any speed and down right scary over 55 mph"; but the reduced rear traction and ill handling caused an unforeseen issue for the ATK wrangler.  For the long sandy uphill grade out of the start line Jon was forced to keep the ATK engine pegged on the rev limiter in low gear in order to maintain momentum in the soft sand.  The increased load on the cooling system caused the water temp to increase dramatically – when the digital AEM serial gauge read 232 degrees, hot shot co-driver Smith forced Krellwitz to take a ten minute time out to cool down.  The next issue came with the large rocks scattered throughout the course.  The now ill handling race car made it tough to dodge rocks and Krellwitz managed to slam through a number of very large boulders -- thankfully the forgiving BFG Baja Tires held strong and kept Krellwitz going without issue.  Around mile 50 Smith and Krellwitz started to hear a banging in the right rear suspension and the Wrangler handling went from bad to worse.  The added torque load of the just one axle pulling had prematurely worn out the urethane bushings in the rear suspension. 

    Krellwitz and Smith slowly pushed on and nursed the truck to the finish for the class win.  Krellwitz recaps "It was a great success for a new truck with limited test time to come out here and finish, its disappointing to have issues and not to be able run the new truck at potential, but it is exciting to learn just how capable an off-road race vehicle these Currie Cup wranglers can be".

 

Team ATK would like to thank the following fantastic sponsors for helping make it all possible:

 

ATK Engines
BFG Tires
Currie Axles
AEM
HOWE Performance
JE Reel Drivelines
KING Shocks
Beard Seats
Borla Exhaust
Soltek Lights
Signpros
Harmon Racing Cells
Full Traction Suspension
Rally Tops
PWR
American Racing
 
Copyright ATK North America

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