The 2017 Polaris RZR UTV World Championship powered by Monster Energy is now underway after the top UTV pit crews in the sport threw down in the first ever UTV World Championship Pit Crew Competition. Teams changed one front and rear tire in a head to head battle for their chance to win the Pro Eagle Jack Trophy and prizes from Rigid Industries and Impact Racing. In the end, it was Murray Racing that took home the first ever win just one second over second place #1985 Adrian Orellana.
Vendors are now set in and beers are flowing at the official UTV World Championship kick-off party at the Losers’ Lounge. Here’s a look at what to expect this weekend:
Words by Harlen Foley
The 2017 Polaris RZR UTV World Championship powered by Monster Energy continues unprecedented growth as it kicks off its race weekend with Contingency Day this Friday. With over 250 entries confirmed for the weekend of desert and short course UTV racing, the race is quickly becoming the largest and most prestigious event in off-road racing.
“Joey D.” DiGiovanni, CEO and founder of UTV Underground, is excited to see the growth the event has seen since its first showing in 2015. With one of the richest purses on the Best in the Desert Calendar, as well as giveaways, and Polaris RZRs being awarded to some of the top finishers, the event is attracting the top UTV racers in the country, as well as a huge group of fans and enthusiasts.
“The number of entries is insane,” said DiGiovanni. “Last year, we ended up with 213 UTVs. This year, we’re already at 250 UTVs with over 500 racers. This event is bigger than the Baja 500 and we’ll have more entries than the Baja 1000. We’re pushing the entry list of the Mint 400. This is up there with some of the biggest races in all of off road.”
Five Class winners will win brand new Polaris RZRs as part of their earnings: Turbo Class Desert, 1000 Class Desert, Overall Short Course, as well as Youth 170 and Unlimited 250.
“This year, Polaris and UTV Underground stepped up and we’re giving away five Polaris RZRs,” said DiGiovanni. “It just adds a little more glitz and glamour to the event and helps attract the biggest and the best UTV racers in the sport.”
Speaking of free Polaris RZRs, one lucky fan will win a brand new $60,000 Polaris RZR customized by 4 Wheel Parts/UTV Underground Garage, Method Race Wheels and Tensor Tires. Entries to win the RZR started coming in at last year’s Sand Sports Super Show, when the RZR was unveiled. Three finalists will be at the event to see if they have the winning key.
“One lucky person will go home with this Method Race Wheels/Tensor Tires/Challenger Polaris XP Turbo,” said DiGiovanni. “This is really exciting for us to be able to do this and it adds something special to the UTV World Championship event.”
Joey D said Laughlin is the perfect place to host the event. The Contingency Day on Friday, billed as the “World’s Biggest Off Road UTV Festival,” will feature vendors from all around the industry, a huge raffle with thousands of dollars in prizes and even an Easter egg hunt.
“The event has a really cool vibe by being able to put it on in a city like Laughlin,” said DiGiovanni. “Laughlin has a really fun party atmosphere to it. It’s like a miniature Las Vegas. It adds just a little more to the event because people want to come out here and race, but they also want to vacation here. So it brings out both the racers, as well as enthusiasts and fans who want to spend their Easter weekend with us.”
Easter traditions will also be in full swing. DiGiovanni’s wife, Camille, and Amy Quintero, mother of racer, Seth Quintero, will hide nearly 1,000 Easter eggs for kids of all ages to hunt.
“We were contacted by numerous parents to do something special for the kids attending the event,” said DiGiovanni. “We wanted to make sure we could carry on some of the traditions of the Easter weekend.”
Friday’s festivities kick off at 8 a.m. with a poker run around the race course. Every entry in the poker run will get five tickets for a raffle being held during Contingency at 4 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity to have a good time and see the race course,” said DiGiovanni. “The course is a little different this year; it’s two miles longer. So this will also be a good chance for racers to do a little pre running.”
Racing for the 2017 Polaris RZR UTV World Championship powered by Monster Energy starts at 6:30 a.m. PDT on Saturday with a motorcycle and quad race. UTV racing starts at 10 a.m. with the desert race, followed by youth racing and the short course race. For information, visit www.utvworldchampionship.com.