Randy Merritt lives for the days when he gets to race his Class 7200 truck. Based out of Yuma, Arizona, he and his son, RJ, make the most out of these events, and share in the highs and lows of racing. Most recently, Randy and RJ enjoyed the former. They celebrated being top of their class from Best In The Desert events in 2020.
Based out of Yuma, AZ, Randy got his start in 1993. “I’ve been racing hit and miss over the years until I started getting sponsors,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to keep that going, all the way to today.”
These days, Randy and RJ split driving duties in the 7200 truck. “In 2020, we won all of the races we entered except one,” he said. “We’re always one of the smaller teams, so we’re lighter, but it’s all day and into part of the night sometimes.”
The truck runs on a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and uses a Livernois high-pressure fuel pump and tune to crank out massive power. “Livernois worked with us to get the tuning just right,” explained Randy. “We took readings, ran the truck, came back, emailed the results to Livernois, they worked on it, and eventually we got a great tune. It lets the truck make about 500 horsepower, and that’s safe, reliable power, instead of just maxing everything out.”
Suspension on the truck is from ADS Racing Shocks, with one coilover and bypass per wheel, along with FK Rod Ends for rod ends and bearings. The footwear is comprised of 37-inch General Grabbers and 17-inch Raceline beadlocks. For braking, Randy uses Hawk Performance rotors and pads. Supporting the engine’s power are upgrades from SPD Performance, including special spark plugs, turbo gaskets, and custom exhaust.
Hot off of their wins in 2020, Randy and RJ are gearing up for more off-road action in 2021. “We’re planning on racing the Best In The Desert Silver State 300 in April,” he said. “We’ve raced it a bunch of times but never won it, so this might be the year we do it. We just have to go fast and not make mistakes.”
It’ll be great to see Randy and RJ take on this event and more in the weeks to come. You can follow their progress on the Mongo Racing Instagram page, and don’t forget to check out Livernois’ website and Facebook page for more information on their products.
Photography by Ricky Birks