Local off-road team picking up speed

Steve Menzies sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into creating a major desert racing team three years ago.

He expanded his then-year-old operation to field six drivers in the Championship Off-Road Racing Series, which staged short-track desert stadium races on the West Coast.

Menzies Motorsports had all the traveling amenities of a NASCAR team. Its drivers ranged from veteran all-star Rob MacCachren to Menzies' son, Bryce. The team even built its own test track near Boulder City.

But CORR folded that year because of financial problems, and Menzies' operation shut down with it.

After running limited races in 2009 in the new Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Menzies rebuilt and competed successfully on a full-time basis in the short-track series last year. Bryce Menzies finished third in points in the featured Pro 2 truck class, and current teammate Larry Job of Las Vegas won the Pro Buggy Unlimited championship.

The team will compete in only two Lucas Oil races this year as it heads in a new direction with major sponsorship from Red Bull.

The relationship with the energy drink company started perfectly last weekend when Bryce Menzies, 23, won the overall and Trophy-Truck titles in the Laughlin Desert Challenge, only his second SCORE event.

The five-driver Menzies team plans to run all five SCORE events and also concentrate on The Off Road Championship series, which will stage eight races at venues from Texas to North Carolina.

"Red Bull wants us to focus on TORC," said Bryce Menzies, a 2007 Coronado High School graduate. "My dad's goal has been to fund it only for so long until we could find a major sponsor to help pay for it. After three, four years, it's finally paying off so we don't have to spend as much out of our pockets."

He expects to gain more exposure through Red Bull promotions with other drivers the company sponsors, possibly trading rides with Kasey Kahne around the time of the March 6 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"NASCAR is where the money's at, and it would be cool to do something like that at some point," Bryce Menzies said. "But desert stuff is my passion, and I want to stick with it for a while."

Menzies' next race will be the March 13 SCORE race in San Felipe, Mexico.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.