The annual Dusty Times 250 here May 8-10 had a little of everything ranging from a heart-warming meet and greet at a local elementary school to non-stop action on a 60-mile course in an event that featured water, trees and something called "Oh My God Hill" that drops into the back side of this fascinating 100-year old town situated northeast of Las Vegas.
To the 1,200 residents living in this tiny railroad town, the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiast event is so cool that the people here literally await the drivers and their crew members with open arms.
SNORE kicked off the weekend with a meet and greet at Caliente Elementary where race cars were stationed and drivers handed out everything from shirts and hats to autographs and pictures. Thousands of pictures were taken as nearly 150 students joined Principal Pam Teel and her staff in what was an atmosphere of true blue All American fun complete with smiling faces and great times.
A day later, the quiet community suddenly found itself hearing the sounds of off-road racing machinery that echoed off the surrounding mountains as the limited amount of motels were booked with fans and competitors and every motor home spot within miles was also occupied.
By day’s end Saturday, two-time defending champion T.J. Flores had combined with Las Vegas chiropractor Dr. Kevin Colan to take the Class 1 and overall titles with a four-lap time of 5 hours, 17.39 minutes in a Valley Performance sponsored power plant that spent 90 percent of the race about 12 inches off the ground.
Flores drove the first two laps before turning over the driving duties to Colan, a 45-year resident of Las Vegas.
"Caliente is awesome," said Colan, a chiropractor who formerly ran desert motorcycles. "There are streams and trees and it is outstanding."
Colan said Flores turned two flawless laps before he took over for laps three and four.
"It was a nice race," said Flores, adding that the team will race in the Midnight Special in Ridgecrest, Calif., Aug. 8. "We stayed steady all day long."
While Flores and Dr. Colan were busy running roughshod over the four 60-mile laps, renowned Las Vegas competitor Rob MacCachren scored his third victory of the year in the 1600 class takin a five minute victory over fellow Southern Nevadan Kenny Freeman.
MacCachren and Freeman battled closely for part of the event and both lauded the race as fun competition with plenty of challenges that has made the race one of SNORE’s favorite stops on the six-race series.
"It was a good race," said MacCachren, 44. "I built this car for Primm, the Mint and Caliente and we won all three races. I had a flat on the second lap. I was talking on the phone and hit a rock. This is one of my favorite races."
MacCachren, who had an overall time of 5:28.09, said he and Freeman actually ran close during the event
"We ran bumper to bumper going into the water," MacCachren laughed. "I got drenched and couldn’t see where I was going."
Freeman, 52, who sat out the Mint 400, was happy with his performance.
"I just had fun," said Freeman. "It was a great time. There is an area out there in the trees that’s only wide enough for one car. We had no issues at all though.
"I think we had a very successful race. Everything went smooth."
In what became reminiscent of the Mint 400 – SNORE’s second race run in March – Dr. Michael Hanson repeated as the winner of Class 10 at Caliente with a time of 6:37.01.
Other winners included Clay Lenard (12); Courtney Collins (13); Eric Ludian (1450); Jeff Pfeffer (15); Clint Braun (18); Thomas Morales (5); Raul Solano (5-1600); Charles Anderson (7); John Baker (7S); Sheldon Paul (8); Cody Rush (9); Dana Dague (Mini Metal); Felipe Neri-Sanchez (Stock Bug); and Steve Schwab (Stock Full).
A total of 71 cars started the event.