In the right spot at the right time again. Strobel rolls on time trial lap.Posted by Robert Llewellyn on Thursday, October 8, 2015
Last weekend was the Best in the Desert (BITD) Bluewater Desert Challenge in Parker, Arizona. One of the most horrifying videos to come from the weekend was the Strobel Motorsports roll over in qualifying. The truck was being driven by Steve Strobel and navigator John Tondro.
We were able to get ahold of Tondro and get his take on the events that happened over the weekend from no better point of view than inside the truck. “I raced with Strobel Motorsports for a few years before I came to work for Terrible Herbst Motorsports. Steve Strobel called me and asked if I was available to fill in for his navigator who was on vacation in Europe. Since my team (Herbst) weren’t racing the Bluewater Desert Challenge, I was free for the weekend,” said Tondro.
Off Road Xtreme had spent time with Tondro and Terrible Herbst Motorsports during our Vegas to Reno trip. We saw the video of the crash and knew that Tondro was going to be navigating, we reached out to him to get his take on the rollover.
“There was a big hole going into the turn where we crashed during qualifying. We came into the corner with a lot of speed. The outside front wheel dropped into the hole upsetting the truck sending us right over the berm. I think we rolled twice. It all happened instantly. We took the truck back to the pits and began assessing the damage.” Tondro mentioned.
“It was mostly cosmetic damage to the carbon fiber body. We replaced the hood, roof, bedsides and one of the doors, basically the whole body was junk. The only apparent damage to the chassis or suspension was to the left front corner. It had stretched the limit straps causing the upper control arm mono ball to bind.”
“We replaced the UCA bolt and misalignment spacer while continuing to look for further damage. Not finding any evidence of more damage we called it a night and went thru tech the next morning. On race day we started at the back of the field,” Tondro said about the damage from the rollover.
“We got the hole shot on the truck we lined up with and caught one of the trucks that started ahead of us before the track turned away from Shea road. When we landed off the first jump there was a pop. It sounded like something broke and we knew going thru the bumps something was wrong. We kept pushing trying to assess what was the matter. The truck was porpoising thru the bumps like there was no compression or rebound control.”
“We came off another jump and heard another pop. Steve knew something was wrong because the truck wasn’t steering properly. I asked if he thought we could have a front flat, and as soon ask I asked that, the steering had gone completely out. We weren’t going very fast and coasted the truck over to the side of the track away from danger around race mile 11.”
“I jumped out first to see what was broken. It was the steering adaptor, it had sheared off the bolts attaching it to the steering rack. We didn’t have any tools to extract the broken bolts so we radioed our crew and began walking towards the highway. That was the end of our race. Later we found that the left front shock was broken and the piston was no longer attached to the shock shaft. The inside of the shock was destroyed.”
“Without the proper parts to fix the damage the team decided not to race on Sunday. We felt it was better to save wear and tear on the drivetrain and save it for the next race once the truck could be gone thru thoroughly and make any corrections from what was learned at the Bluewater Challenge.”
“Parker has always been a tough race. It’s really hard on the race vehicles because the track gets torn up and the bumps get really deep with the edges getting really squared off. I’m looking forward to the next one. Parker has always been one of my favorite races. I love facing the challenge of the race and being at the river. It’s a great place.”
“I really enjoy racing with Strobels. Their crew and equipment are top notch and they’re just a great group of guys to be around. They treat everyone like family and Steve can drive the wheels off that truck,” Tondro said about his time with Strobel Motorsports.
Off-road crashes and rollovers are prone to happen in racing, seeing what goes on first hand shows how composed the driver and navigator stay during the hairy situations. Tondro finished up his time in Parker before heading back to the shop to continue working on Terrible Herbst Motorsports two brand new Trophy Trucks. We hope to catch back up with the Herbst team and check out those brand new trucks.