Great post.Being the "has been" racer I am, I feel the need to say this for all those who raced the Baja 500 and for those who wish to race the Baja 500.
We drivers sometimes let our ego's get in the way of reality. Our names are on the cars, entry list and typically the post race stories. But I will say this and I truly believe this. The actual driver & co-rider's jobs are only 25% of the actual race, yet they are typically the ones you look up to and praise. IMO they have the easy part! The racer is only as fast as his first tank of fuel. If you dont have a great crew your race is over after you run out of fuel. Even Robby Gordon is only as good as the people who support him.
Johnny told his race recap and explained how his crew got stuck in traffic and got behind. Johnny actually had to get off the course and find a local Pemex gas station to get fuel. I have heard these stories before. While they are the stories and adventures you will remember, rarely do they end with a successful finish or a win. Johnny got lucky he was able to get fuel and continue. Many just run out and have to wait hours for their crews to find them and fill them back up or bring parts to them.
The Baja 500 actually started weeks if not months before the green flag drops. The first person or people that make it happen are the ones paying the bills. Without the money you are not leaving the garage.
Then you have the people who prep the car as they are the first ones with hands on to get you to that checkered flag. Next is the the guys that go with to help prerun. Yes even prerunning can take a team to accomplish. Prerunning in most cases is the best / most fun part of the entire event. Then you got the chase crew which like the guys helping prep & prerun are typically all volunteers and in most cases are the same guys chasing. In some cases guys might get their hotel room expenses covered, a T-Shirt and maybe a dinner covered. Sometimes the most a team can offer or afford is a thank you and maybe some beers after the race.
I have owned and ran my own team, helped and worked on some of the top teams in the sport, who have paid me to be there. And sometimes helping a team has cost me hundreds of dollars to do so, as they had barely enough money to get there. In each case I have done it for the love of being there and the experience.
I know the guys like Marc, Johnny, Brandon & Matt have said or made comments letting you know how important having their crew there to keep them going was. Without those crews not one team would have finished.
And what most dont know or realize is during this Baja 500 there was actually two races going on. One is on the race track and the other is on the narrow, sometimes very dangerous Mexico highways and dirt roads. More crew guys are killed or injured every year chasing in Baja, then you will ever see on the race track. Racing in Baja is like no other. BITD is a walk in the park compared to racing in Baja. Casey Folks lays everything out for you. The Logistics to racing in Baja is like no other, except for Dakar which makes Baja look like your local Saturday night roundy round race track.
Racing in Baja separates the men from the boys and then you throw in a point to point Baja 1000 and even those men can crumble.
I just wanted to give props to those behind the scene who might only get a quick mention on the podium, or in a race report.
Congrats guys & gals!