Baja 1000: Chase Prep With Brenthel Industries

The 50th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000 is hours away, but teams have been hard at work preparing everything for the race. Long hours, planning, and preparation for an event like this for some is a lifetime of waiting, but for others like Brenthel Industries, it is preparing for a war with three soldiers.

Jonathan Brenthel (right) looking over the final touches on their new Trophy Truck. Stay tuned for more on this truck!

This year Brenthel is bringing three trucks and seven chase vehicles down to Baja and being prepared is the first thing on the list. More goes into an off-road race then just showing up in the desert with a truck. It can come down to the behind the scenes work and the preparation at the shop to whether or not the finish line will be crossed.

Wheels and tires, extra fuel jugs, and tools will be divided up between all the chase vehicles heading down the peninsula.

“Before even the race trucks are prepped for the race, we get a logistics plan started after Vegas to Reno,” Jordan Brenthel explained. “We look at what trucks we are supporting, what trucks need to be finished, and what trucks need to be tested.”

“From there we come up with a project time that incorporates all the vehicles, how many people, and how many pits we will need,” Jonathan Brenthel said. “From there it is getting the race trucks, chase trucks, and the trailers prepped to make sure everything is ready to head to Baja.”

Jordan Brenthel making sure all the spare tires are headed to the right pit.

Breaking down is never a good thing, but if it is in a vehicle that is supposed to be the help, larger problems arise. Every chase truck and trailer Brenthel brings to the race are completely gone through.

“You cannot have anything go wrong down there, including the trailers,” Jonathan continued. “We have spare parts for all the trailers on each trailer from the whole axle assembly to spare hubs.”

Everything has a place and location in the chase trucks. This makes it easy to find what is needed in an emergency situation.

The Baja 1000 for a while now has been a loop race, starting and ending in Ensenada, but this year for the 50th anniversary it is a peninsula run to La Paz. This changes the way a team prepares for the race drastically.

“A lot of changes go into preparing for a peninsula run,” Jordan said. “Having enough chase trucks and crew going down the peninsula is the difficult part. Often times race trucks will beat the chase trucks to the next pit. There are hours of driving between some pits which comes down to minutes of making it before the race truck.”

Everything needs to be thought about before heading across the border.

Having a plan is one thing, but making sure the right tools and parts packed is another thing. Knowing what to bring and where it needs to go in all the different vehicles can make a stressful situation run smoothly under the clock.

“You need a lot of redundancy when preparing to chase and sometimes need double or triple the amount of trucks, fuel, and tires to make it happen in a peninsula run,” Jonathan continued. “Supporting other trucks throws another curveball into the plan. We need to plan for every scenario that could go wrong. It feels like we have gone through 300 pit plans for this race.”

Brenthel is also bringing their Raptor, with a Baja Kits front suspension and chase rack in the bed.

Everyone has there go-to items to pack and not leave home without and the Brenthel brothers are no different. “Never leave home without cash and stickers,” Jonathan said, while Jordan said, “5-hour energy drinks and a flashlight are my go-to items.”

Heading down to Baja is something that needs to be taken seriously whether going down to spectate or to race. From being prepared for different temperatures to being prepared for the worst-case scenario are all tips the Brenthel brothers recommend, but above all stay safe is the number one tip.

Chase vehicles come in all shapes and sizes. Just some more of the fleet of Brenthel vehicles heading to Baja.

“Think about everything you are doing and make sure that you get enough sleep don’t drive when you are tired, switch off,” Jordan explained. “Bottom line, stay safe. The scariest place to be on race day is in the chase truck because everyone starts to think they are a race vehicle and some think illogical is when accidents start to happen.”

Stay tuned this week for more from the 50th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000. Who do you think will win, tell us in the comments below!

About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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