The day before the race all vehicles must go through contingency and a technical and safety inspection. This is a great time for spectators to see the trucks and buggies up close and meet their favorite drivers.
The LED light bars on the Raptor race truck are not offered on the production vehicle, but everything else on that front fascia, including the skid plate and Ford logo, are stock.
Veteran truck racers Greg Foutz and Tim Casey share driving duties. The duo brought home finishes in the infamous Mint 400 and in the most recent Laughlin Desert Classic.
The race Raptor comes with 3-inch diameter Fox Racing Shox with external bypass. The team can easily adjust the suspension before each race. The production Raptor will have the same diameter of shock, but the bypass will be internal, limiting the adjustability.
Ford hasn't released full specifications yet, but the new 3.5-liter twin turbo EcoBoost engine is expected to make over 400 horsepower.
After waiting in line, the truck finally makes it to contingency. Companies offer prize money to winning vehicles using their products and running their stickers. It can be anywhere from a $50 gift certificate to $10,000 cash.
The last stop is technical inspection, where safety features like seat belts, lights and horn are examined. Helmets and fire suits are checked to ensure they are within current safety regulations.
Yes, Mr. Inspection Guy, those are real working doors with the panels still installed. The race Raptor is about as stock as you can get.
After a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call, the team meets at their pits at 5 a.m. to button up for the 6 a.m. heat.
Navigator Travis Leach is suited up and ready to go while the team goes over the truck one last time. The race consists of two days of heats on a 17-mile course. Teams have an hour and a half to do as many laps as possible. The Ford team hopes to make four laps.
Affixing the all-important GoPro cameras.
All vehicles must run an amber light in the rear for visibility in the dust.
The fuel cell is topped off and the spare BF Goodrich KO2 tire is strapped down and ready to go.
Navigator Travis gets a last-minute pep talk.
As the truck waits on the grid to start, team owner Greg Foutz chats with driver Tim Casey. Grid can be a nerve-wracking place, as start-line jitters course through the racers. The Raptor, however, is known for blasting heavy metal out of the satellite radio on the grid, another benefit of racing a stock truck.
The Raptor race truck still has the stock dash, complete with air conditioning and satellite radio.
Starting three wide, the Raptor gets the jump on the competition.
The Raptor shares the race course with both trucks and buggies.
The Raptor easily hit 90 mph in the dirt.
Day one was a little rough for the Raptor, with a hose coming loose from the heater core and filling the cabin with a mixture of smoke and steam. Navigator Travis held it together with his bare hands until the Raptor was able to pull into the hot pits.
Wrenches at the ready.
Team mechanic Jake Seehagen making sure the heater core hose is attached properly.
Might as well check the driveline if the truck is stopped in hot pits.
The Ford Raptor race truck coming in to the final stretch.
A little dirty but none worse for the wear.
With the unexpected pit stop No. 1201 was only able to complete three laps on day one of racing. They would go on to complete four laps on day two.
Getting that all-important interview for the cameras.
Driver Tim Casey shows off his wings in homage to a joke among team members.
It takes a village to get any race vehicle around the track, and it's no different with the Ford Raptor.