Dan Martin

Video: COPS Racing TT#50 Fuel Stop

The COPS Racing Trophy Truck receives fuel at the BFGoodrich pits near Race Mile 747 (La Purisima) in the 2012 Baja 1000. Fifty miles down course from this pit, #50 would lose two engine cylinders (listen to the engine sound at the pits). Driver: Dan Martin.

Prerunning the Baja 1000

Some say prerunning is one of the most-fun aspects of desert racing – I have to agree. It’s much more relaxed than the race environment, and there’s always time to stop for a taco and admire the view. COPS Racing divided its chase/prerun crews into two groups: one working the top half of Baja, and one working the lower portion of Baja. We got to work the southern section, between Loreto and the finish line in La Paz.

The spring-fed rio at San Ignacio - one of the first things you see driving into town.
The spring-fed rio at San Ignacio – one of the first things you see driving into town.
Sunset west of San Ignacio.
Sunset west of San Ignacio.
Dinner: carne asada tacos from a taco stand in San Ignacio. ¡Muy bueno!
Dinner: carne asada tacos from a taco stand in San Ignacio. ¡Muy bueno!

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The San Ignacio town square is quiet, and looks like something out of a Hollywood movie set.
The San Ignacio town square is quiet, and looks like something out of a Hollywood movie set.
Mission San Ignacio was founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728 at the site of the modern town of San Ignacio.  The site proved to be highly-productive, agriculturally, and served as the base for later Jesuit expansion in central Baja.
Mission San Ignacio was founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728 at the site of the modern town of San Ignacio. The site proved to be highly-productive, agriculturally, and served as the base for later Jesuit expansion in central Baja.
The mission is still a working church, and please, no hats or flash photography, Steve.
The mission is still a working church, and please, no hats or flash photography, Steve.
A restauranteur is a fan of COPS Racing and steekers.
A restauranteur is a fan of COPS Racing and steekers.
Our chase crew had a morning to kill, so we decided to drive down to the San Ignacio Lagoon, the winter-time sanctuary of the Pacific Gray Whale.
Our chase crew had a morning to kill, so we decided to drive down to the San Ignacio Lagoon, the winter-time sanctuary of the Pacific Gray Whale.
Prerunning between San Ignacio and Loreto.
Prerunning between San Ignacio and Loreto. See the video.
Gassing up the two prerunners, Oprah and Beetlejuice, at El Medano, five miles west of Santa Rita, on Highway 1. The prerunners run on Pemex.
Gassing up the two prerunners, Oprah and Beetlejuice, at El Medano, five miles west of Santa Rita, on Highway 1. The prerunners run on Pemex.

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Josh and Dan in a prerunner, headed to La Paz.
Josh and Dan in a prerunner, headed to La Paz.
George talks to Dan in a prerunner near Punta Conejo.
George talks to Dan in a prerunner near Punta Conejo.
LEDs provide light for the prerunners during night practice. North of Loreto.
LEDs provide light for the prerunners during night practice. North of Loreto.
About three weeks prior to our arrival in Loreto, the area got hit hard by hurricane Paul. The surrounding desert was Kauai-like green, and there was flood debris along the beach.
About three weeks prior to our arrival in Loreto, the area got hit hard by hurricane Paul. The surrounding desert was Kauai-like green, and there was flood debris along the beach.

COPS Racing in the BITD Vegas to Reno

The COPS Racing Team ran two cars in the Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno Off Road Race. The Class 1 ran a nearly flawless 500 mile race, but the Class 10 DNF’d after colliding with an overturned car early in the race. No COPS team members were injured in the accident.

Zak Langley stages the COPS Class 1 car (#1593) at the start of the V2R near Pahrumph, NV. The 500 mile race course roughly parallels highway 95 all the way to Reno.
Zak Langley stages the COPS Class 1 car (#1593) at the start of the V2R near Pahrumph, NV. The 500 mile race course roughly parallels highway 95 all the way to Reno.

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John Langley started the COPS Class 10 in the V2R race. Fifty miles later, he would collide with an overturned race car hidden in dust, taking the COPS car out of the race.
John Langley started the COPS Class 10 in the V2R race. Fifty miles later, he would collide with an overturned race car hidden in dust, taking the COPS car out of the race.

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Zak Langley handed off the Class 1 driving duties to Dan Martin half-way through the race. Here, Martin is slowing down for a 25 mph pit speed zone.
Zak Langley handed off the Class 1 driving duties to Dan Martin half-way through the race. Here, Martin is slowing down for a 25 mph pit speed zone.

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One of the COPS pits with a gravity-fed fueling tower.
One of the COPS pits with a gravity-fed fueling tower.
IonEarth technology allows us to see other COPS chase crews along with the race cars, greatly reducing the "guess factor."
IonEarth technology allows us to see other COPS chase crews along with the race cars, greatly reducing the “guess factor.”

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Dan Martin brings the COPS Class 1 to the finish in Reno after running out of fuel only a few miles out. A helpful course worker added commercial pump fuel to the race car's fuel cell to limp it to the finish.
Dan Martin brings the COPS Class 1 to the finish in Reno after running out of fuel only a few miles out. A helpful course worker added commercial pump fuel to the race car’s fuel cell to limp it to the finish.
Post Mortem: The COPS Class 10 after the race and after the collision with a fatally-damaged front right suspension.
Post Mortem: The COPS Class 10 after the race and after the collision with a fatally-damaged front right suspension.

COPS Racing at the Parker 400

COPS Racing at the 2012, Best in the Desert, Parker 400. The course consisted of four, 100-mile laps — Zak Langley would drive the COPS Class 1 car the first two laps of the race, then Dan Martin would get in half-way to finish the race. COPS had one pit at the main pit area, plus three remote pits.

Friday night crew meeting at the COPS' main pit.
Friday night crew meeting at the COPS’ main pit.
Night-before, last-minute car prep.
Night-before, last-minute car prep.
Front and center, it's Mike Rafter, premier COPS Fueler.
Front and center, it’s Mike Rafter, premier COPS Fueler.
The main pit preparing for the inbound Class 1. Zak Langley would step out of the car after two laps and Dan Martin would replace him for the final two laps.
The main pit preparing for the inbound Class 1. Zak Langley would step out of the car after two laps and Dan Martin would replace him for the final two laps.
Bryan Collins was in attendance shooting video for Langley Productions. High-end cameras perform best in the dust and heat of desert racing.
Bryan Collins was in attendance shooting video for Langley Productions. High-end cameras perform best in the dust and heat of desert racing.
Before the Class 1 car arrived, Joe Lombardo and Dan Martin posed for a photo with Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief.
Before the Class 1 car arrived, Joe Lombardo and Dan Martin posed for a photo with Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief.
Zak bringing the Class 1 home. He will stop when his front left tire touches Joe's hand, spotting the car for fueling and driver change.
Zak bringing the Class 1 home. He will stop when his front left tire touches Joe’s hand, spotting the car for fueling and driver change.
The car is fueled, drivers are changed and minor issues are addressed.
The car is fueled, drivers are changed and minor issues are addressed.
Joe and Dan in the car, ready to go ...
Joe and Dan in the car, ready to go …
... ready to go ...
… ready to go …
... gone!
… gone!

COPS Racing at the Baja 1000

COPS Racing entered three cars in the Baja 1000: Class 1, Class 4 (aka 10), and Class 12. These pics were taken at two BFG pits – one near RM690 (La Purisima, night time) and one near RM850 (Cuidad Insurgentes, daylight). John Langley brought the Class 4 to a first-in-class finish in La Paz. Hours later, Dan Martin finished in the Class 1, but not without mechanical problems. The Class 12 ran strong until it blew its motor near RM800 and was out of the race.

Grabbing a 2 a.m. taco before the Class 12 gets to us in La Purisima.
Grabbing a 2 a.m. taco before the Class 12 gets to us in La Purisima.
Waiting and waiting at the BFG pits at La Purisima.
Waiting and waiting at the BFG pits at La Purisima.
Morgan Langley brought the Class 12 in for the fuel stop. The car started in Ensenada, 15 hours earlier, and with the exception of getting stuck in a silt bed for 30 minutes, the trip was uneventful. Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief supervises from the left.
Morgan Langley brought the Class 12 in for the fuel stop. The car started in Ensenada, 15 hours earlier, and with the exception of getting stuck in a silt bed for 30 minutes, the trip was uneventful. Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief supervises the stop from the left.

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Morning tule fog in the desert cut visibility to only 25' at times.
Morning tule fog in the desert cut visibility to only 25′ at times.
At the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes, Ron Martin discovers a sheared bolt on the Class 1's front suspension.
At the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes, Ron Martin discovers a sheared bolt on the Class 1’s front suspension.
Dan Martin, driver, and Brian Martin, co-driver, cousin, depart the BFG pits.
Dan Martin, driver, and Brian Martin, co-driver, cousin, depart the BFG pits.
The Class 4 arrives at the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes.
The Class 4 arrives at the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes.
Mike Howel handled co-driving chores; Zak Langley was the driver. At the next stop, Zak would hand the wheel over to John Langley.
Mike Howel handled co-driving chores; Zak Langley was the driver. At the next stop, Zak would hand the wheel over to team owner, John Langley. John would ultimately bring the car to a first-in-class finish in La Paz.
Craig Casey inspects the Class 4 before departure. He also blew the dust out of my Tacoma's air filter (thanks!).
Craig Casey inspects the Class 4 before departure. He also blew the dust out of my Tacoma’s air filter (thanks!).

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Prerunning the Baja 1000

We went to Baja to prerun the Baja 1000 a week before the race with COPS Racing. Our section of the course to practice was between Loreto and La Paz – the lower third of the course, around 300 miles of Baja nastiness. Dan Martin practiced for his race-day Class 1 run, and John Langley reconned the course for his Class 4 car. Those of us chasing, practiced waiting and being patient. The race would start in Ensenada on Thursday morning, but wouldn’t reach us, 800 miles down-course, until early Friday morning.

One of the things chase crews are good at: waiting, telling stories, and being patient.
One of the things chase crews are good at: waiting, telling stories, and being patient.

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The Sea of Cortez out the hotel window. We stayed in the (said condescendingly) "golf course" section of town.
The Sea of Cortez out the hotel window. We stayed in the (said condescendingly) “golf course” section of town.
While prerunning, Bill and John stop for some minor electrical problems. As always, locals come out of nowhere.
While prerunning, Bill and John stop for some minor electrical problems. As always, locals come out of nowhere.
Some local cops ran out of gas, so we helped them get back to base.
Some local cops ran out of gas, so we helped them get back to base.
The motto of a good chaser: rest when you can.
The motto of a good chaser: rest when you can.

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The La Paz malecón.
The La Paz malecón.

SCORE Terrible’s Primm 300

COPS Racing entered four cars in the 300 mile SCORE race: two Class 1s, the Class 4 (aka Class 10), and the Class 12. The Class 4 and 12 would start the race at 7 a.m, while the Class 1s would start in the afternoon with the other faster classes. The course consisted of three, 100-mile loops in the desert. The COPS main pit was at the start/finish, plus four, smaller, out-lying pits.

Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief, sees the Class 12 car off the starting line.
Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief, sees the Class 12 car off the starting line.
The COPS Class 4 staging at the start of the race. The car was driven by team owner, John Langley, with co-driver Bill Young.
The COPS Class 4 staging at the start of the race. The car was driven by team owner, John Langley, with co-driver Bill Young.
The COPS heli-video crew.
The COPS heli-video crew.

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The Class 1 cars are given last-minute prep at the main pits.
The Class 1 cars are given last-minute prep at the main pits.
Dan Martin pilots the new Racer Engineering Class 1 car. Brian Martin is his co-driver.
Dan Martin pilots the new Racer Engineering Class 1 car. Brian Martin is his co-driver.
John Langley brought the COPS Class 4 car to a flawless class win.
John Langley brought the COPS Class 4 car to a flawless class win.
On-course pit area speed zones.
On-course pit area speed zones.
Bean Smith rolls past in the Penhill-built Class 1.
Bean Smith rolls past in the Penhill-built Class 1.

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Smith is interviewed at the finish by the media after a well-run race.
Smith is interviewed at the finish by the media after a well-run race.