Clouds of dust and checkered flags


Posted Mon, Jul 10, 2017

Carlos Banegas and Joey Sanchez collecting their First Place win after a day of racing. [Photo: Eric Uran]

COLORADO SPRING, COLO. – The sun has just risen and the pits are alive with movement as teams prepare for a day of off-road racing. It is apparent there is camaraderie here at the races with tools being lent out from one team to another with no questions asked. Shelley Krehbiel, the W.E. Rock and Dirt Riot events manager said, “We have doctors, lawyers and everyone in between here racing. When we are here, we are a group of offroaders and friends.”

Seven years ago, Rich Klein, CEO and president of W.E. Rock Events and Dirt Riot, and Krehbiel did a three race test series and a year later, they were holding races full time. Currently there are 18 races a year between the two series.

First time announcer Jeff Denis who has been around the off road scene for many years said it is important to “have fun out there, that is what it is all about.” While Denis does not race himself, he did notice that while

In the 4400 Class, No. 72 catches some air time on the short course section of the course. [Photo: Eric Uran]

announcing he really got to enjoy the race and paid much more attention as the race went on. With all the various race classes that were racing that day, there was a lot to keep track of.

Driver Carlos Banegas and Co-driver Joey Sanchez are gearing up for the race in their 1985 Toyota 4-Runner. Banegas and Sanchez are racing in the stock modified class these days and have been racing the Dirt Riot series for four years, starting out in the stock class placed first in the first two years.

Racing the same truck for 14 years, Banegas said, “I kept it straight for a lot of years, stock drivetrain with 5.29 gears. We are running Maxxis tires, Raceline wheels and Radflo shocks.” One of their main sponsors is, which is owned by Co-driver Sanchez.

Carlos Banega and Joey Sanchez in their 1985 Toyota 4Runner in the “little Moab” section of the course. [Photo: Eric Uran]

A true testament to grassroots racing, Banegas and Sanchez have raced in every race in all three series of the Dirt Riot race series, they are getting as much experience as they can, having put on over 20,000 miles this year. With future goals of racing in the Mint 400 or King of the Hammers in a new racecar they are building which is a 1983 Toyota pickup truck. With the future goals set, they still keep the same mentality, that in order to win the races, you must complete the races, according to race promotor Rich Klein, “we have the most race runs and finishes, our main goal is to finish,” Banegas said.

Banegas and Sanchez wrapped up their day with a first-place finish and are currently sitting in second place in the national points standings. With four more races to go, Banegas and Sanchez are shooting for the number one overall position, as they are only 28 points behind the lead.

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About Eric Uran

Eric Uran is a Denver-area writer and a U.S. Navy veteran

View all posts by Eric Uran

3 Responses to “Clouds of dust and checkered flags”

  1. Shaun Says:

    Great work Eric! Your passion for the sport shows in your writing.


  2. Mariah Says:

    Great story! I like the scene you set up, and the content is interesting and very informative! Super fun read.


  3. Arrick Says:

    I never knew how serious off road racing could be here in Colorado. Where I’m from they have a little race track and people do get passionate about it so it does make sense to me. Overall a great read! Thanks for sharing.


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