Jason McNeil, Owner of FiberwerX and an accomplished racer, has put together a fresh new ProLite program with aspirations that will support his goals and continue to build his brand. With a small crew made up of friends and family, FiberwerX optimistically made the trip from their San Diego based race shop and hauled out to Las Vegas to compete in the ProLite ranks of the Lucas Oil Off Road Series. Both Rounds 3 & 4, proved to be challenging however provided all the trills and excitement that drives FiberwerX Racing.
Over the years, FiberwerX has gained decades of experience in off road motorsports by building high performance desert trucks and racing everything from Trophy Trucks, Class 8, Class 7, Class 6 and 1450 sportsman trucks. The door-to-door prospective competition of short course motorsports has always intrigued Jason, so not long ago, the team acquired a rolling chassis from their friends at Stronghold Motorsports. The #50 ProLite has come a long way from its early stages and is now completely reformed and updated with all the appropriate technology and components that will make the truck competitive.
FiberwerX retains a very strong footprint in the short course world as the leading manufacturer of body panels for every truck class in competition including PRO-4, PRO-2, ProLite as well as the kart divisions. Supporting and supplying complete body systems to dozens of teams provided FiberwerX access to knowledge and tips from some of the top names in the sport which helped the team set up a base line tune for the newly established race effort.
Friday’s practice session provided Jason with valuable seat time to get familiar and comfortable with the truck. Prior to this race weekend, McNeil has had very few opportunities to drive this vehicle at speed or even on a track. The practice session allowed Jason to continue to feel out the track, experiment with lines and test the trucks boundaries. Overall, the practice went very well. Jason gained essential seat time while honing his skills lap after lap, constantly improving average speeds and reducing lap times. Most of all the truck ran flawlessly.
Preparing for Saturday morning’s qualifying session, the team had inspected the truck and Jason was feeling relaxed and confident for race day. Pulling onto the track as part of Group 1, Jason pushed the truck around the track at speed, but it soon became apparent the truck could be better. On the bright side, McNeil was just about 2 seconds off the pace of Brian Deegan the #1 Qualifier, and was 8th fastest in his group.
Looking to make the truck faster and searching for any adjustment that may afford speed, unfortunately left the crew with more questions than answers on how to improve the truck. Fueled by determination, the truck was fine-tuned and prepped for the afternoon’s race. When the green flagged dropped, the months of work and anticipation were all justified. The truck was running great, and Jason was gaining positions. Several laps in, the #50 FiberwerX ProLite suffered a front flat right tire and came into the hot pits. After a quick tire change, the truck re-entered the course, at this point to continue to gain seat time. A few laps later, the truck began to lose power and eventually was forced to pull off track with what was thought to be a blown transmission.
Back in the FiberwerX Camp, the truck was instantly torn down. After pulling the transmission, it was later determined that the torque converter failed and ended Saturday’s race early. Without a spare unit on hand, the crew began searching for a resolution that would get the truck back on the track to finish the weekend. That is when we truly began to experience the camaraderie short course racing is known for. The amount of advice we received from veterans of the sport was inspiring. When FiberwerX friends and customer Person Racing stepped up and offered one of their spare converters, the team finally felt a bit of relief. With the Las Vegas heat bearing down, everyone decided to call it a day and start fresh in the morning.
They may be rookies to short course racing, but our vehicle and mechanical knowledge has been honed in the desert for decades. Simply put, FiberwerX knows exactly what it takes to compete. When Sunday morning came around, the sun had barely risen over the horizon, and the team mechanics were already turning wrenches. The new torque converter was installed, transmission assembled, and everything was all bolted in. The truck was nearly buttoned up before most in the pits were thinking about breakfast.
Once again the team was feeling optimistic for Sunday’s Qualifying Session. Jason entered the track and worked his way up to speed. Pushing himself and driving the truck on the edge continued to improve performance and turned some decent lap times. “We were able to focus on track conditions, line choice, shift points, and all the things we believe will help us perform in the final race,” Jason described his qualifying effort. The FiberwerX ProLite was able to complete 9 laps, however the truck pulled off the course prior to the checkered flag due to yet another complication.
After returning to the pit, it was determined that the truck had lost 3rdgear and reverse. This transmission was done. The short course family stepped up once again, as Jason’s program received a blessing from Person Racing in the form of a spare transmission. With help from Automatic Transmission Design Inc. the transmission was once again removed and swapped out with Person Racing’s spare.
Going into the final race of the weekend, the team was pretty much burnt out, hot, dirty, and tired. The circumstances did not hold them back or slow them down in any way. In fact, Jason put on his strongest showing of the weekend. Starting in 20thposition, McNeil took the green flag and quickly found himself fighting through the chaos of a race start and barreling into turn 1. The FiberwerX #50 drove high on the outside and went onto pass a number of competitors on the very first lap. As Jason was racing wheel-to-wheel with the 26 other trucks, it was here where he found the groove. His lines were crisper and the corners were attacked as McNeil pushed the truck into the top half of the field.
Mid-way into the race, and perhaps feeling a bit too confident in his still developing vehicle control, Jason’s truck caught an edge going through the high speed turn #5. The FiberwerX truck flipped into a nice barrel roll but landed upright and on the wheels. Back on its feet, and with all the Dodge Dakota ProLite body panels intact, Jason instantly fired the truck up and pulled right back into the race. Mounting another charge forward, the truck soon began to lose voltage and heat up. Not wanting to risk further damage, McNeil wisely pulled off and called it a weekend.
We want to thank everyone that came out to support the race effort and recognize all the awesome people and companies that helped get us on the track; Person Racing, Automatic Transmission Design INC., Fox Racing Shox, SD Custom T’s, VP Racing Fuel, and Lucas Oil Products.
We were also backed by a young man named Parker Shaw, this incredibly strong 6 year old boy is battling stage 4 cancer. FiberwerX along with friends & family is putting together a heart warming event. On June 15th Parker Palooza will take place at the Sycuan Casino. Details are still being put together but there will be an array of activities and live music by Slightly Stoopid and friends for everyone to enjoy while supporting Parker’s journey through treatment. We urge everyone to take a little bit of time and effort to support Team Parker. Please visit the Team Parker 4 Life Facebook Pagefor more information.
For now, FiberwerX is regrouping back at the race shop in order to prepare for the next event. We will back at to compete in Rounds 5 & 6 at the exciting short course track at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park on May 18th and 19th. Visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com for more information.
Action photography by Jason Zindroski
High Rev Photography- www.highrevphoto.com