Ryan Arciero stormed to overall victory in the 2022 Method Race Wheels Casey Folks Vegas to Reno desert race, piloting his #32 2WD Herbst Smith Fabrication trick truck equipped with Live Valve in an elapsed time of 06:23:39.598. He beat the motorcycle of Skyler Howes by 11 minutes, and finished ahead of FOX driver Bryce Menzies in 2nd place by about eight minutes.
After seeing his truck totally burn to the ground at the 2020 Vegas to Reno, Arcerio, 49, has come back to win Vegas to Reno in both 2021 and 2022.
“We had a great race thanks to no mistakes and no flats,” he said. “The truck ran flawlessly. Upgrading to Live Valve a week before the race made it fun to drive, allowing the truck to do everything I wanted it to do. There was more forward bite, with the truck settling quicker and allowing me to get on the gas faster. Transitions from one turn to another were faster.”
Coincidentally, Arciero was part of our first major Baja overall podium on Live Valve when he teamed with Cameron Steele at last year’s Baja 1000, where they got 3rd overall. That was their first race on Live Valve in Cameron’s TT, Arciero’s first experience with Live Valve, and the start of getting him to switch the #32 truck over from a competitor’s suspension.
“For me, that forward bite is a game changer for 2WD trucks,” Arciero added. “My team and I were all smiles after our earlier Las Vegas test, and the changes made from Cameron’s truck at San Felipe to Vegas To Reno were incredible; my truck drove like butter – hats off to FOX!”
Ryan Arciero interview: Upgrading to Live Valve
Congratulations on taking the checkered flag in Reno! Tell us how everything came together during this year’s race.
“Vegas to Reno is not an easy one to finish, let alone win,” Arciero explained. “Usually with triple digit outside temps, long hard fast pulls on the engine and drive train, there are so many elements to finishing this race. You have to have the combination of the right team, right vehicle, right parts and equipment, right driver and right navigator and meld them all together to have a shot at winning this race. This year we did it, and not only did we beat the unforgiving Nevada desert, we beat all of our competition as well as back-to-back wins at this race.
“Every time I step foot into the #32 Draganfly Trick Truck, I have a smile ear to ear driving it. The combination of a well-designed and built chassis, BFGoodrich tires, a fire-breathing engine package in the Gibbs power plant to one of the most critical parts on an off-road vehicle to achieve success: my new FOX Live Valve shocks. Having all the right equipment is a huge part of beating my competition and allowing me to do my thing in the driver’s seat.
“My goal entering this race was to take our 2WD against the best AWD Trick Trucks in the field and show them and the fans that the right 2WD can still beat them on a straight-up battle. I don’t mind being the underdog; it makes me work harder and be more focused than my competition and if you want to win in today’s field against some of the best drivers and equipment in the world, you have to be on your game from green flag to checkered flag. We did it!”
Walk us through the process to get Live Valve dialed onto your truck. We understand there wasn’t much of a lead time…?
“Putting Live Valve on the #32 was a huge step in the right direction to improve this truck even more to run against the AWDs,” Arciero explained. “The boys at FOX have been working their butts off to help improve the handling of these shocks. We tested for the first time on this truck one week before the Vegas to Reno race. That’s not a lot of time before an event to work with an entirely new setup and hope to get it close to handling the way I want it to.
“From the minute we unloaded the truck off the trailer, we were well within the ballpark of how I wanted it to react and handle,” he added. “I was surprised we were that close out of the box because that usually doesn’t happen. FOX tuners made a couple ride height changes both front and rear for my liking, which were the only mechanical changes made to the truck during the entire test. Every other change was done on a laptop to change the algorithm, which changed the compression and rebound settings to give it just a bit more of what I like and want to feel.
“By the end of the test – which was about 130 miles of running on and off – we had a spot-on setup and a smile on my face that you couldn’t erase. I was beyond happy with how we ended that test and the different settings we were able to achieve that gave me options during the race. Being able to run at over 120 mph through 3- to 4-foot whoops with the truck and me asking for more was incredible! It was so cool to see, experience and work side by side with the FOX engineers to achieve this in such little time.”
What performance advantages did you achieve with Live Valve this race compared to others without it?
“I really believe Live Valve is a game changer for our sport and for our truck,” Arciero said. “There’s an advantage to having adjustability on the fly and have different setup changes all done electronically on my steering wheel so I can make adjustments as the terrain changes mile to mile; also how the vehicle changes from full fuel loads to empty fuel loads.
“With Live Valve we have more forward front and rear bite/traction than we have ever had before, exactly what we need in order to keep the AWDs in check and beat them. Our truck was so predictable from start to finish and as things changed I could get the vehicle to change and adapt to the conditions – all at the touch of my finger tips.
“As a competitor and someone focused on winning all the time, I’m always looking for ways to improve as a driver, ways to improve our vehicle and gain an edge on the competition. For me that edge comes with Live Valve and I can’t wait to make more improvements in the future to take it to another level. It takes a company like FOX to allow me to accomplish my dreams and goals in motorsports.”
Justin Lofton has taken overall wins on Live Valve at the BlueWater Desert Challenge and the Laughlin Desert Classic, both short sprint races. Arciero’s Vegas to Reno victory is our first major endurance race overall win on Live Valve.
How the race unfolded
After FOX drivers swept the top four trick truck spots in the Friday time trials in Primm, Nevada, Lofton battled with Menzies most of this race with Arciero keeping right on their heels on corrected time. Ultimately, a couple flats and a jack issue made them lose time and fall out of podium contention behind Arciero’s near flawless performance. Lofton finished in 6th, nearly 32 minutes behind Arciero. Dan McMillin and Tracy Graf finished 4th and 5th with FOX, respectively.
Jason Coleman also won the 6100 Class with FOX suspension, a double Herbst Smith Fabrication premiere victory for us.
In the UTV N/A Pro class, the top four vehicles were suspended by FOX. Max Eddy piloted his #1930 RZR to victory in 08:54:04.515, ahead of Ethan Groom (RZR), Kaden Wells (RZR) and Elias Hanna (Honda).
The top six places in UTV Turbo Pro class were taken by FOX drivers, with Vito Ranuio piloting his Can-Am to first in 08:10:10.066, followed by Phil Blurton (Can-Am), Branden Sims (RZR), Dustin Jones (Can-Am), Jason Murray (Can-am) and AJ Jones (Can-Am) rounding out the rest.
After having to alter the racecourse multiple times – and adding a transfer to avoid monster water traps created by monsoon rains not seen in Nevada for 30 years – race organizers hailed the 2022 Method Race Wheels Casey Folks Vegas to Reno race a success. More than 300 racers launched from the start line early Friday morning. Positive comments from the finish line had racers saying the 2022 V2R was one of the most challenging ever run. Vegas to Reno featured all the desert has to offer – slippery mud, dust-like silt, giant rocks, deep streams, and some very, very fast sections.
Television coverage of the 2022 Method Race Wheels Casey Folks Vegas to Reno will air on August 28 and September 4 on the CBS Sports Network.
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