Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts — SNORE — is bringing its annual Knotty Pine 250 off-road race to Caliente June 8-9, complete with about 120 race cars and competitors in what has become a blockbuster gathering.
From the students of Caliente Elementary to fans and the racers, the railroad town about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas looks forward to the annual SNORE event for various reasons, including Caliente’s cooler climate, contrasted with Las Vegas’ predicted 110-degree weekend temperatures.
Then there’s the history of the town, complete with old railroad houses, great scenery, and a collection of businesses.
Caliente also provides a fascinating collection of challenges for off-road racers ranging from the traditional desert terrain, to trees and water, to a stretch heading back into town that racers refer to as “Oh My God Hill” that tests the talent of every off-road competitor in the event.
In the eyes of an off-road racer and his or her co-riders, the Knotty Pine 250 has it all, including a bridge that has no walls. Thus, there is no room for what is commonly known as “brain fade” when accepting the challenges affiliated with the Knotty Pine 250.
In addition, SNORE does a meet-and-greet session at Caliente Elementary School each year and the students love the interaction with the drivers.
The meet-and-greet took place Friday morning. According to principal Sharon Dirks. “As in the past, they love getting the autographs of the drivers. Our school started ending earlier and the students still go to the meet and greet. SNORE has always been very generous to the kids.”
Caliente has benefitted from the many years of the race, according to Knotty Pine Casino owner Bud Sanders.
“Under the study of economics, money changes hands five times a year,” said Sanders, who has owned the Knotty Pine Casino for 29 years. “Every thousand dollars brought in from outside the county adds another $5,000 to our economy. A lot of the people that off-road races bring here are first-time visitors who come back over and over again.”
Among the entries in the race is Class 1 kingpin Joe David, a veteran of the sport who also captured the overall and Class 1 titles at Caliente in 2017.
The son of former Mint 400 winner Tom Koch, David is an accomplished competitor.
“It offered everything and reminded me of Mexico,” David said after winning the 2017 Knotty Pine 250. “Some of the places on the course are very narrow. I was able to crawl through it without hurting the car and I really wondered if I was going to get caught in the bottleneck. I had to be very careful because you cannot go fast in the corners.”
The 32 year-old David, who will be first off the line, said he is racing his old Class 1 car with a little less horsepower this year.
“There are places where you need to be smart and go slow, and there are places to go fast,” David said. “If you’re not careful, you can end up in a tree or up a hill or off a cliff.”
The Knotty Pine 250 schedule also includes a fun run and barbeque from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday. Tech inspection and contingency will be from 3:15 to 7:15 p.m. at the Knotty Casino. The drivers’ meeting is set for 8 p.m. at Caliente Elementary.
Saturday’s festivities will be highlighted by the start of the race at 8 a.m. The awards and fire department barbeque is scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m.
Further information can be found by visiting www.snoreracing.net.