LAS VEGAS, NV FEBRUARY 19, 2013: Trophy Truck racer T.J. Flores sized up the rock racing competition at the 2013 Griffin King of the Hammers and qualified for the 3rd starting position. When the right rear spindle broke out of the axle housing 11 miles into the main race they limped it back to main pit and decided to not fix it. “It was pretty incredible qualifying 3rd out of the best rock guys out there,” said TJ Flores, owner of Champion Race Works in Las Vegas, NV. “It was extremely disappointing when we only made it 11 miles in the main race. After we limped back to the main pit, I pulled off my helmet, took off my race suit and went to helping fix cars that were coming through the main pit. Got to be a team player.”
This was T.J. Flores second year racing the King of the Hammers in a Trent Fabrication car built by Dave Schneider out of Reno, Nevada. After jumping out of a Trophy Truck at the Best in the Desert Parker 425 race the weekend before, he drove the short 2 hours to Johnson Valley to spend the week pre-running and preparing for one of the hardest off road races. “The feeling of the place is incredible. The people that come up and talk to you is fun and I have found myself in multiple pits during the week helping different teams work on their cars. I love racing and like to help everyone,” said TJ as he pushed his son in a stroller down the dirt street known only for these 10 days as Yukon Gear Boulevard.
“We didn’t pre-run the desert sections because that’s what we do,” said TJ about him and BJ Baldwin pre-running the course together. “We ran the rocks as much as we could putting our time in.” Thirty minutes before his qualifying time, TJ was driving Chocolate Thunder and bent a front driveline. “I got back to our garage as soon as I could, jumped out to change it and realized that we had 5 rear drivelines, but no front drivelines. So there I was bending one back on the tongue of a trailer just in time to line up for the qualifying run.”
When the qualifying clock stopped T.J. Flores was third fastest behind two previous Kings, Jason Scherer and Shannon Campbell, and beside international driver Robby Gordon. There is no doubt the beginning of the race was an amazing display of quickness and power. Live coverage of the qualifying and the whole week by Ultra4 Racing showed the quickness and finesse of the green and blue #80 car.
When the right rear spindle fell out of the housing at RM11, it was still 20 miles of whoops to get to Pit 1, or a decision to turn around and head back to the main pit. “If we had an onboard welder, I would have welded it up and only been down by 20 minutes. But when we had to limp all the way back to Main Pit sometimes it makes sense to just stop and say the day is done,” recalls T.J. “Maybe the most disappointing part was knowing we had a Spidertrax Housing at the shop in Reno that there hadn’t been time to install.”
Recently opening his new shop Champion Race Works in Las Vegas, a complete fabrication and race prep shop, it is a natural extension for T.J. to build his own Ultra4 car that is scheduled to debut at the 2013 Nitto Tire National Championship in September. In the meantime, T.J. is going to fix the green and blue Trent Fabrication car to race the 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix.
This coming weekend T.J. Flores will get back into the Black and Yellow McMurrough Racing #80 Trophy Truck for the SNORE Battle at Primm.
Marketing Partners: McMurrough Racing, Champion Race Work’s, King Shocks, VisionX Lights, Spidertrax, Trail-Gear, Patrick’s Signs, Butch’s Speed Shop, TCS Converts, Trent Fabrication, DSI, Raceline Wheels, Eibach Springs, Yukon Gear
About Champion Race Works & T.J. Flores
T.J. Flores has won seven Class 1 Championships between SCORE, BITD and SNORE winning key races including the Baja 500, Mint 400, Silver State and Vegas 2 Reno the Long Way. In 2010 he was awarded the SNORE Mechanic of the year. In 2012 he started racing in the Ultra4 King of the Hammers series and in the Trophy Truck class.
Champion Race Works is a complete Fabrication and Race Prep shop in Las Vegas, NV. Flores built his first racecar in 1996 with a friend and has worked in the industry building cars since. 702-997-8592 firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Bower Motorsports Media
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