It was at about this time that the electrical issues mysteriously vanished. Joe got the Lexus going at full speed as the whoop-dee-doos ended, and we were on straight two-lane dirt roads. This part of the drive contained smooth, sweeping turns and straight stretches where he could run flat-out. This was also where I could truly appreciate the deep growl of the exhaust, and felt the power that the 5.7-liter V-8 offered in a race truck that weighs less than the stock LX -- and the stock model gets to 60 in about 6.5 seconds. There were often times when all four wheels were off the ground, and the landings were soft and smooth. I called out directions that the dirt road was taking, often saying little more than "right" or "left" and adding details like how far ahead the turn was coming, and how sharp it appeared to be. As we sped on, spectators cheered from spots alongside the course, and the sun, which was in our eyes, grew low in the sky.
Time flew by in the race truck, and amazingly, once I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of being a co-driver, it was time for me to get out. Mike Jarboe was feeling better, so after we stopped, I got out (again, quickly) and he got in. I was exhausted, exhilarated, sad to be out of the truck, and thrilled that I was able to ride along as much as I did. From this point on, we would go back to listening to updates on the team radio and hoping for the best, but for now it seemed, the electrical gremlin was gone.
The sun went down, and we were back on Highway 3, chasing #861 in the white Lexus. We left the chase and continued on to downtown Ensenada, where we waited for updates as Joe and Mike zoomed through the last 200 miles by the light of the KC HiLites on the grille and roof.
There were some stops and starts, but by a little after 3:15 a.m., Joe and Mike had finished the race. Tacoma #779 finished at about 6:20 a.m., and as the only vehicle in its class, was the winner and received all possible points. The next big question would how the time penalties would affect the Lexus.
We found out the next morning. Even though Joe was tenacious and finished the race, the time penalties were too great, and SCORE determined that vehicle #861 DNF-ed. Despite that, Joe and the team showed tremendous determination and proved that when this Lexus is gremlin-free, it's quite an impressive vehicle.