August 22, 2017 (Corona, CA) – Nicole Pitell-Vaughan, co-owner of TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication greeted her team in Dayton, Nevada as she crossed the finish line of the 2017 Vegas to Reno. The team had reason to celebrate – she successfully drove the entire distance of America’s longest off-road race, and brought home a solid 4th place finish.
Behind the wheel of Lil T, #7211 TOTAL CHAOS Tacoma, Pitell-Vaughan was running a flawless race before the classic Nevada silt hung up the team trying to avoid another stuck vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Lil T lost power steering fluid making the next 17 miles extremely difficult. A fix at the Tonopah pit put them back on track. Apart from two flats, the truck had no mechanical issues for the remainder of the race.
The dust was heavy and hung like fog over the course. Pitell-Vaughan and co-driver Tim Schrader stayed focused, knowing that smooth sections would give way to major washouts and vehicle-sized boulders. With the 7200 class split up on course, they knew their real competition was Nevada desert. That would prove true especially for the class leader who lost 1st in the final few miles of the race.
Underpowered in the class, the strength of the TC truck is its durability and dependability. The 7200s are typically tube chassis vehicles. However, Lil T began life as a stock Tacoma, with TOTAL CHAOS building the truck to highlight their bolt on suspension packages and parts. “It’s extremely important to us that we race what we sell and we use specific races to validate our work,” noted co-owner Matt Vaughan.
Nicole raced the Mint 400 in the spring with the goal of putting in the mileage as a test for the solo Vegas to Reno goal. The 539-mile course was a true test of her physical and mental endurance. An experienced motocross rider and all-around athlete, she trained hard while running daily operations at TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication. “We truly had a fun day, but once I hit RM 450, the fatigue started to set in. The support of our team and Locos Mocos at each of the final pits kept me motivated and focused. It has been a long standing goal to race the entire Vegas to Reno, and I have a great team, truck, and sponsors to thank for making this a reality,” explained Pitell-Vaughan