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Vorra Yerington 300 2011 Race Report


The VORRA Yerington 300 continues to be a popular race, with 14 entries in the ever growing Group T class that combines trucks such as Class 8, 1450 and 7200. On Friday, the Samco 7272 truck drew the first off the line position at the Casino West drawing party, a lucky but challenging place to be on race day.


The real story started months before the race with preparation and the ever present need to improve the speed and performance of the truck. During the complete preparation of the truck, a new 304 stainless equal length step header was fabricated, using Hedman stainless mandrel tubing, three SPD merge collectors, a 4” Magnaflow muffler and 90 hours of time. This project is an important step in the engine development of the Atlas 4.2 inline 6 cylinder engine in the truck. A new high powered engine is in the works to replace the current older stock low powered engine.


With weeks to go, Sam with typical fabricator optimism, was running late on the exhaust fabrication, but thanks to help from the crew of Austin, Ogg, Ape, Wilbur, Baker, Povey and Sherm , managed to get the exhaust as well as the Fox Shox tuning. The new 6.20 Trophy Truck gears were set up and installed, and fresh paint completed. The truck then was successfully tested Thursday afternoon, cutting it close to the deadline.


Saturdays schedule was pre run, tech, drivers meeting all followed by the popular parade down main street for the fans and kids. Behind the wheel of the 7272 was Pit Chief Christine Cothrun, in her first taste of the truck. Saturday evening the predictably unpredictable Nevada weather showed just a taste of race day as rain, sleet and sporadic snow blew in.


Sunday dawned a cold, overcast windy morning with Sam Cothrun behind the wheel of the 7272 truck and brother Wilbur Cothrun riding shotgun for the entire event. Starting first off the line forces a more aggressive strategy than normally run, with 13 fierce opponents directly behind you, there is no choice but to run quickly. With the 75 gallon fuel cell, there is a 500 pound weight change during a race causing the truck to be heavy and slow at the start, and fast and twitchy at the finish of the race.

This year’s VORRA Yerington 300 was a new format with three long laps and three short laps required, with the first lap a long lap and all subsequent laps the choice of the driver. This race format throws a monkey wrench at having any hope of accurately tracking competitors, forcing the teams to make a few guesses and run flat out to guarantee victory. Sam chose to run all three long laps first and finish the short laps at the end.


The 7272 started directly behind the final Class 1 car and two spots behind team mate Josh Hall in the Samco built Hall Rally Truck. The race started with a rare luxury for desert racers, perfectly dust free air for Sam and his opponents. The race started uneventfully for the Cothrun brothers, allowing them to settle into a groove until the “Comfortably Numb” section 20 miles into the race where Sam hit two rocks in short succession, bringing attention that a flat would be doom for the lead of the race. Fortunately the BFG KRs put up pretty well with sinful driving and rocks, Sam’s first lucky break of the day. The Samco 7272 passed Scudder’s Class 1 shortly thereafter while they were changing a flat and Samco went on to finish the lap.


Five miles into the second lap while climbing a long grade and not paying attention to mirrors the Cothruns received a jolt as Scudder’s unlimited car thumped and passed on the grade, highlighting our lack of power and hopefully not slowing him down .

The second lap saw Povey leading physically after running the shorter loop and started the mix-up for the lead… nobody knew who led the race until the last lap. For Samco, roughly one minute was lost with a wrong turn near the end of the lap with the distraction of a rolled buggy. Luckily nobody was able to pass until Samco regained the course.


On the third lap near the mine area approximately mile 45 in the loop it started raining and snowing, wetting the track. Sam picked up the pace, gaining confidence in some tight sections and running quickly. The wet conditions caught Sam off guard in a set of tight rollers, a left turn over a roller pushed the rear of the truck sideways as the dirt turned slick, hitting the face of the next roller sideways and putting the truck up on two passenger wheels in a “bicycle” for a moment. This caught the attention of both Cothruns, forcing a more conservative approach.


Fourth lap, at the primary pit for Samco – Pit 2, Samco race stopped for a single 11 gallon dump of fuel, and to check a vibration. Rob stopped the truck, Aaron and Matt checked things over, Carl and Phil dumped fuel and Pit Chief Christine Cothrun gave water and refilled our rag supply. By the fourth lap Samco was lapping quite a few slower racers, with a close call with a blue and white Ford pickup as they pulled over and slid sideways nearly getting hit by the Samco boys. No harm, and on down the course to finish the fourth lap.


The fifth lap had one minor scare, almost blowing a slow speed turn, followed by the sixth lap, a very nervous lap as all of the sounds of the truck and the unknown position of other competitors looms heavy in drivers and “co–dawgs” minds. Samco crested the hill into the start finish area, noting a familiar sight: Sam Berri parked all by himself at the finish.


On the one year anniversary of the first race for the Samco 7272 truck, Samco captures their third consecutive class victory, and second overall at the 2011 Yerington 300. This also marks a pair of second place overall finishes in a row, behind the Sam Berri juggernaut , and proud of it.


Special thanks to all who made this race happen, and all that helped. Our sponsors are invaluable and a true partener in racing.

Thank you Torchmate, Sierra Repair, Bayshore Truck and Driveline, WIPI , Yank Converters, Lube Locker, and Dave Quackenbush Drywall


Next race for Samco Racing is the Vorra USA 500 !!