Mills Motorsports Takes a Hard Fought Win at Vegas to Reno
This year’s Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno was a lot of things to a lot of teams, but for Mills Motorsports it marked a long awaited trip to the winner’s circle. From their start in 2012 with their humble Baja Lite the Mills boys have enjoyed podium success, even winning their class at the unforgiving Baja 1000 in their first ever attempt. After that the team from Corpus Christi, Texas went on to win races and class championships in both class 6100 and class 8. Since the beginning the Mills team has been no stranger to success in the desert!
Vegas to Reno marked an important race for the team in blue. For team owner Gary Mills this year’s race would fall on the 28th wedding anniversary of him and his bride Vickye. Gary’s wife Vickye had been battling cancer for more than 6 years and sadly had succumbed to the terrible disease just one month prior to Vegas to Reno. Vickye Mills was the team’s biggest supporter and while her illness often kept her from attending the races, she was adamant that her husband Gary (father of drivers Nick and Taylor Mills) be at every race. Success at this race for Gary and Vickye was heavy on the hearts of every member of the Mills Motorsports team and it was with them at the forefront of their minds that they went to battle at Vegas to Reno.
When Best in the Desert decided to make this year’s race a two day stage race it set all of the teams into strategy mode. Even though the race was 644 miles, making it the longest desert race in the United States, the two day format offered a chance to re-prep the race vehicles at the halfway point. For some teams this allowed them to repair a vehicle that might not have otherwise finished the entire race. For the Mills team it was simply a chance to give each truck a once over, change some fluids and clean them up before setting them off once again through the silty Nevada desert.
The Mills boys ran the trucks hard on day one. Even though Taylor Mills experienced some fluke mechanical issues that put his number 81 Trick Truck back in the pack, both his truck and the 6178 of brother Nick Mills showed up in Tonopah in great shape. In fact the Mills 6100 entry blasted across the finish on the first day with a nice lead over second place Bevly Wilson Racing. Interestingly, the Mills truck was driven to the finish by none other than Billy Wilson, the “Wilson” in Bevly Wilson Racing. Wilson, who is also from Texas, and the Mills brothers have been racing together since the beginning and it was a great addition to have Billy sharing driving duties with Nick Mills.
Day two brought with it a chaotic and controversial start. It was determined that the vehicles would start the second day in the order they placed (on time) at the finish of day one. This meant that many faster vehicles would start the race behind slower class cars. Unfortunately for Taylor Mills this would be his fate as he was to start behind a slew of UTV’s on day two. That fact combined with a blown head gasket would considerably slow his pace and ultimately find him in 22nd place in class after the dust settled in Reno. Not where the team hoped to finish, but all agreed that it was a solid finish considering the adversity the 81 truck experienced all weekend.
While the second day didn’t go as planned for Taylor Mills, day two was a textbook race for Nick Mills and Billy Wilson. Good starting position and a blistering pace kept the blue Geiser Bros. 6100 at the top of the field the entire day. Aside from a driver induced flat, the truck took nothing but gas at each pit. Excellent prep and smart fast driving would pay off all weekend as the Mills Motorsports 6178 put on a clinic for the other drivers in their class.
At the finish in Reno, Mills Motorsports stood alone atop the class 6100 podium. Once again showing the determination of the young team from Texas. Gary Mills stood proud as he watched his team come together and give whatever it takes to achieve success. The race and win would be dedicated to Gary and his wife Vickye on their anniversary, a fitting tribute to a couple who exemplify teamwork and commitment.
Mills Motorsports would like to thank BFGoodrich Tires, Method Race Wheels, Baja Designs, Geiser Brothers, Fox, Jamar Brakes, FST Performance, SDHQ, BITD and all of the team and volunteers that do whatever it takes to achieve success for the Mills Motorsports team. Visit www.mills-motorsports.com for more info and sponsor opportunities.
Word and photography by Tom Leigh.
What an exciting accomplishment! Congrats to a great team!
Now that's what I'm talking about right there !!! What a great bunch of guys you made Vickye very proud !!
Holy shit batman..... You guys ROCK!
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