To pull off getting a racing team ready to compete in a grueling event like this, it takes months, even years of planning. You also need support from some of the best people in the off-road industry. Before we share part I of our Vegas to Reno journey, let’s give a shout out to the businesses and sponsors that helped us make it to this year’s race:
Over 20 people were a part of our Vegas to Reno racing clan. We were all rallying behind Hogs boss Michelle Dell, bad-ass racers Lee O’Donnell, and Damon Bradshaw. Below are some words from Lee about the first 100 miles on race – we were on a roll!
“Dave Herman and I set out Sunday morning, August 11th, for our 2500 mile trek to Vegas. We picked up Marc McDonald on the way, with the Hogs & Heifers Racing UTV in the trailer. We then met up with fellow racer and team member Damon Bradshaw to get a little quick shakedown for him, it’s been awhile since he drove the car.”
“After a few runs, DB noticed the fans not coming on, but the shock tuning we did was spot on. We loaded up and headed to AR’s house for a quick fix, and mount our new Tray Co Jak. On Wednesday we had our team meeting at car owner Michelle’s house. All the crew, media and drivers where invited over to finalize plans, and pit stop strategy for the Vegas to Reno race. We’ll just skip the part where we went to Hogs & Heifers and pick it up on Thursday.”
“To say that tech/contingency was hot would be an understatement….it was brutal…had me like #sweatingfrommyballstomybuttcrack but was basically uneventful thanks to the Best in the Desert staff.”
“Raceday started early, and we were all eager to get this day going. With Michelle and I in the car, we headed to the starting line. And just like that 3…2…1…we were gone! We were holding our position, and setting a pace to reach the finish line in Reno. As we came up to pit 3, we could smell oil burning. With a quick stop to inspect the car, there were no signs of any leaking, so we chose to push it to pit 4 where we would refuel and have more eyes on the car…”
To Be Continued… Part III of the Vegas to Reno Trilogy is next!
Hogs & Heifers Racing
Co-Driver/Navigator: Michelle Dell – Owner/Proprietor of Hogs & Heifers Saloon, Inc. Michelle had her first taste of sitting in the co-drivers seat in 2016 when good friends, Lee O’Donnell and Damon Bradshaw called her 3 weeks before The MINT 400 and told her that they had a car, they would be in town, they wanted to race and would she sponsor; and with the one condition that she had to be one of the co-drivers. Michelle jumped at the chance and with Lee, Damon Tiffany and herself at the helm, they pulled together a winning team in record time, wrapped the H&H UTV and in their very first entry into “The Great American Off-Road Race”, took their place on “The Box” to accept their win of 2nd Place in The MINT 400, UTV SxS (Class 3000) and placing 52 overall out of hundreds of entrants, in multiple classes. In late 2018, Lee sent Michelle a text message to say he found THE car and did she want to buy it and start an official Hogs & Heifers Racing Team. A trip to Vegas for Lee and a discussion with Michelle over steaks at Binion’s and it was a done deal!
Co-Driver/Navigator: Tiffany Bennett – Bartender Manager of Hogs & Heifers, motorcycle rider and overall daredevil. Tiff is a Helicopter Pilot with 500-plus hours of flight time under her belt. From 2005 to present, Tiffany, AKA – “Hover Lover”, excelled from bartender, lead bartender to Bartender Manager and leads a team of 12-30 bartenders from full time staff to our part time special event crew.
Driver: Lee O’Donnell – Lee has been involved in off road racing since his early childhood when his parents raced their 53′ Jeep Willys throughout Pennsylvania. As soon as he was old enough Lee was winning races following his parents footsteps. In 1997 Lee purchased a Prolite from the short course legend Johnny Greaves and set his sights towards winning on a bigger stage. Over the next 10 years Lee had a very successful career winning numerous races in stadiums and short courses across the country. Meanwhile, while his short-course and stadium career was booming, he was also hired by Monster Jam in 2000 and was known as the best hired “shoe” in the business. …basically when someone needed to win a specific event, Lee O’Donnell is who they called. When Ford called and needed a driver to fill in for their corporate driver Linsey Weenk, Lee got the call, and delivered big time winning one of the biggest events of the year in the Georgiadome. When Marvel comics needed a driver to promote their new Ironman movie, Lee is who they called and was their driver for 7 years. Fast forward to 2016 when VP Racing Fuels came to Monster Jam and asked, “who’s your best racer?”….Lee gets the nod and man did he deliver. In 2017 Lee won the World Championship when he successfully performed the first FRONTFLIP in a monster truck and his stunt STILL garners millions of views on social media 2 years later. Just to prove a point, he went on to back that up with a series Championship in 2018.
Now that Lee is done with Monster Jam, he is looking forward to delivering the same success in desert racing. Starting with 3 podium finishes in the world’s biggest desert races with help from his good friend Michelle Dell and H&H Saloon, Lee is looking forward to continuing his winning ways.
Driver: Damon Bradshaw – Damon began racing at age 16. Winning Motocross races made Damon “the Beast from the East” Bradshaw a hero, but his aggressive style and gritty desire in both two-wheel and four-wheel racing forever established him as a legend. Damon has won multiple AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) events, as well as international wins in Canada, Japan, Sweden and throughout Europe. Behind the wheel of the Monster Energy monster truck, Damon won 53 races, 71 freestyle events, 7 Double Downs (both racing and freestyle event wins) and set a new track record as the fastest qualifier. Damon remains the youngest rider ever to sign a factory team contract and the first rider to have 9 consecutive Supercross wins.
Established racers in their industries, Lee and Damon have built a close relationship with the owners of The Mint 400 (Matt and Joshua Martelli) and King of the Hammers (Dave Cole) solidifying our credibility as a race team. Lee and Damon bring a diverse audience due to their Off Road and Supercross backgrounds.