Vortec-Powered Chevy Trailblazer Wins Best in Off-Road Race
18 July 2000With Two Wins, Trailblazer Ready For Baja 2000
LAS VEGAS - General Motors' off-road racing Vortec-powered Chevrolet TrailBlazer won its second consecutive race at the Best In The Desert Nevada 2000 on July 14 in Las Vegas. After six days and almost 2000 miles through some of Nevada's toughest terrain, the TrailBlazer (#1481) won the Trick Truck class with an overall time of 26:28:36. It beat the next entry by more than 30 minutes and was the second best overall time out of the 66 truck and car-based entries. The TrailBlazer, featuring a durable and efficient Vortec 5.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, was driven by four accomplished drivers during the week-long event that began and ended in Las Vegas. The Herzog Motorsports team of Brian Stewart, Mark Miller, Bekki Freeman and Ryan Arciero traded responsibilities behind the wheel. "This new TrailBlazer and Vortec I6 engine were incredible," said Stewart. "Now that we have two major victories with this truck, we have proven that we have a winning combination and can compete against any V8 competitor." A second TrailBlazer (#1480) co-driven by Larry Ragland and Ricky Johnson did not complete the event. While leading the race on the third day, Ricky Johnson and co-rider Steve Bothwell experienced a high-speed rollover, damaging the truck beyond immediate repair. Both Johnson and Bothwell walked away from the accident. The damaged truck, with the Vortec I6 engine still running after the incident, will be repaired and ready for competition at the Baja 2000. The Nevada 2000 was the second of three off-road races GM is competing in this year with the Vortec-powered TrailBlazer. The SUV won its debut race at the Baja 500 in June in Mexico. Veteran-racer Larry Ragland captured both the overall four-wheel vehicle win and the Trophy Truck divisional title. The race season for the TrailBlazer will culminate at the SCORE Baja 2000 on November 9-16 in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. The TrailBlazer features a computer-designed carbon-fiber body mounted on a tube frame chassis. It is powered by a race specific all-aluminum 5.0-liter I6 engine featuring dual overhead camshafts and a Hydra-Matic three-speed automatic transmission. The Vortec I6 engine produces 600 horsepower at 7500 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque at 6000 rpm. The same Vortec 5.0-liter race engine powered a GMC Envoy, with Larry Ragland behind the wheel, to a recent overall win at the International Pikes Peak Hill Climb. "The Nevada 2000 race provided a great opportunity for GM to demonstrate the outstanding capabilities of the Chevy TrailBlazer and its Vortec inline six-cylinder engine against V8 competitors," said Brian Miller, GM Racing off-road program manager. "With two wins under our belt, we are now ready for the ultimate challenge at the Baja 2000."