Lazer Star Lights’ Matt Lovell finished off the 2015 racing season in style this past weekend, winning the SNORE Rage at the River in dominant fashion.
As sweet as it is to head into the holidays atop the podium, the 2015 race season did not start out with such success. “We finished 2014 with the Rage at the River win,” Lovell said, “so the whole crew was really excited to hit the ground running in 2015.” The off-road racing gods had other plans in mind. The Matt Lovell Racing team headed to Arizona for the Best in the Desert season opener, the Parker 425. Matt’s day ended early with a DNF, and so it was back to the drawing board in preparation for the Mint 400 just a few months later.
After some repairs and upgrades, the MLR mid-size trophy truck was ready for everything the chewed up Mint 400 course could throw its way. Lovell overcame course delays and extremely rough terrain, calling this “the toughest race I’ve ever raced.” Through it all, Matt finished the 2015 Mint 400 in 5th place in the 7200 class.
Next up was the BITD Vegas to Reno, dubbed “the Longest Off-Road Race in the United States.” After some substantial rebuilds following the Mint 400, Lovell was ready to traverse the state of Nevada. He was one of just a handful of drivers to ironman the entire race, and after 14 exhausting hours behind the wheel his Lazer Star Lights guided him across the finish line. Lovell battled back from a long delay in a silt bed to finish 7th in the 7200 class.
Lovell and company headed back out to Vegas for one more race, the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts’ Rage at the River event. Lovell was the defending champ, and with two days of racing on a challenging course he knew this would require all of his focus and energy. On the menu: 5 laps on a 12.5-mile loop, with 387 total entries. A recipe for a seriously chewed up race course. On Day 1, Lovell started 3 wide off the line and battled back and forth with some other trucks before pulling away. Lovell’s lap times were all within a minute of one another, and this consistency paid off. Lovell won by nearly a full lap.
Sometime in the wee hours of the night, however, Lovell’s tools were stolen out of his truck. Already without any kind of pit crew for this event, Matt realized that any mechanical issues on the second day would likely knock him out of the race. The course had claimed quite a few vehicles on the first day, leaving a smaller field of competitors on Day 2.
Lovell started in the front and never looked back. Knowing he couldn’t afford any issues, Matt pushed the pace but made sure to drive smart and keep his truck on the course. He once again finished the race with a sizeable lead, and successfully defended his 2014 title to become the back-to-back Rage at the River Champion.
“No matter how much you prepare, how many upgrades or modifications you make to the truck, there will always be unforeseen challenges,” Lovell said, reflecting on his 2015 season. “I’m just so proud of my crew and thankful for all of my sponsors and supporters for sticking it out and helping me push through the obstacles. To cap off this season with a win is extremely rewarding for all of us.”