Dave Mason Jr. took the Class 1500 Unlimited Buggy win and finished 3rd overall in the Best in the Desert Parker 425 held January 26th in Parker, AZ. With no driver or co-driver changes, Mason and his navigator [Matt Nelson] drove the Stronghold MAVTV #1529 the entire distance lasting 7hrs:05mins:38sec. It was only the second time in Mason's career driving a Class 1500 buggy.
Mason was scheduled to split driving duties with driver-of-record Brandon Bailey, but unfortunately Brandon was unable to drive due to an illness. Mason had supported the team recently, finishing 2nd together with Bailey in the famed Baja 1000. When the call came for him to drive the entire race for Stronghold Motorsports he didn't hesitate.
"There are a lot of really seasoned drivers out here with much more experience in the Unlimited Buggy than I have, so I was really honored that Brandon and Scott [Bailey] trusted me to drive for them," said Dave Mason Jr. "This was a very hard fought race against some of the best off road competition in the world. We had more than our share of challenges along the way, but Matt [Salgado] [Crew Chief for Stronghold Motorsports] held everything together and called a perfect race."
In the first two of three laps Mason raced neck and neck with Brian Parkhouse. Prior to the start of the 3rd and final lap Mason came in for a routine scheduled pit stop. During the pit stop team Stronghold found some unexpected mechanical issues with the buggy. While the team worked fast, the mechanical issues caused them to fall eight-minutes down to the leader.
Mason quickly got back on track driving hard to regain the lead, but was struck again by a damaged tire early in the final lap. The Stronghold team made a quick tire change and informed Mason he was now three-minutes down on the race leader.
It appeared 2nd place would be the most realistic finish, but Mason wasn't ready to settle for 2nd place. Driving under pressure he remained determined to get his first Parker 425 and Class 1500 Win. Mason was able to pass back for the lead, and ultimately took the win by an impressive four minutes.
“It was an awesome and exciting race. Stronghold gave me a fast car and the team did an excellent job keeping us going," expressed Mason, from the top of the podium. "We had to work for this one against a lot of other great teams and drivers. I can't thank Scott and Brandon [Bailey] enough for the opportunity. I am so glad I was able to help get the Stronghold Team and MAVTV this victory.”