SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - October 2018

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 118 of 127

A Colorful Future Joe Bacal gets set to drive the latest AXALTA SCORE Trophy Truck By Stephen Romero The high-octane world of SCORE Trophy Trucks is about to get a serious boost in energy as major NASCAR sponsor AXALTA, prepares for the 2018 SCORE Baja 1000 with its own vehicle and team. With the motto “We Paint Winners” emblazoned across a Geiser Bros built #86 Dodge Trophy Truck, worldwide automotive coating system manufacturer announced they will be flying their eye-popping colors in November. For many insiders, they anticipate this will be a rewarding investment for AXALTA in off-road desert racing, one that also brings more attention to the sport. SCORE Trophy Trucks have been attracting innovative sponsors for the past 25 years thanks to premiere events like the SCORE Baja 1000 and the SCORE Baja 500, where these vehicles fly across the open desert at crazy speeds. AXALTA has seized on the incredible opportunity to be able to promote their brand to an extremely diverse, enthusiastic audience of desert race fans and followers. 30 Years of Motorsports While the 150-year-old AXALTA brand may be new to desert racing, they have been sponsoring other types of professional racing for more than 30 years. This includes every motorsports racing from NASCAR and MotoGP, to F1 and IMSA racing. To lead the way in desert racing, AXALTA hand-picked winning driver, Joe Bacal, to kick things off for them. The SCORE Baja 1000 class champion, and two-time SCORE Baja 500 class champion will take the driver’s seat for AXALTA against off-road’s best drivers in a Geiser built Trophy Truck. Bacal’s transition from Stock Full Class champion to SCORE Trophy Truck driver is not a simple task, but Bacal knows some of the biggest exposure for AXALTA will come from this division, one in which he is hoping to achieve some success for AXALTA. “Off-road desert racing is getting lots of exposure,” said Bacal. “I think desert racing will be the ultimate proving grounds for AXALTA’s new Cromax® EZ paint. I come from the automotive testing world and Baja racing, and with its extreme weather conditions, this s a way to get some great data for their product.” Bacal’s past working relationship with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, while test driving for Toyota, could benefit him greatly at the 51st BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. In 2009 Bacal drove the race solo, where he placed second in his class after 29 hours in the seat. In total, Bacal acknowledges he has raced and finished six SCORE Baja 1000s consecutively in his career. Before making the decision to challenge the SCORE Trophy Truck class with AXALTA, Bacal tested the waters in the SCORE Trophy Spec class for Johnny Buss (Buss Sports Team) at the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 race to La Paz, where he drove 500 miles of the event. Geiser Bros. Team to Pit and Chase Other NASCAR sponsors may see desert racing as a viable program like AXALTA, and that’s great news for the industry, according to Bacal. “Right now this is a Geiser-built SCORE Trophy Truck with sponsors like KMC Wheels, BFGoodrich Tires, and ARB Off-Road Accessories. AXALTA is the title sponsor,” he said. “I put some miles on it recently and it felt really good. It’s running FOX shocks and a Dougans racing motor. Jeff Geiser will be my second driver in November, which means we’ll qualify at SEMA in Las Vegas and Conner Jackson will co-drive. I’ll start the SCORE Baja 1000 and then hand it off to Jeff at about race-mile 400. Jeff is a phenomenal builder and he’s an amazing driver. We’re just really great friends.” According to Bacal, Geiser Bros. will also be handling the pitting and chasing of the AXALTA SCORE Trophy Truck. “This is going to be great for the sport,” said Bacal. “I am comfortable in this situation and I understand I have the biggest, badest guys I’m going to be racing against. I’m going to put my head down and focus. I have a game plan and I will stick to it. My co-driver (Jackson) is 50 percent of this race too. It’s a complete team effort and surrounding yourself with the right people and product is what matters. At the end of the day, Baja has to be right, you’ve got to respect it. If you think you’re going to go out there and show these other guys how it is you’ve got another thing coming!” Whatever happens from here out is in the hands of Baja as Bacal knows only too well. It’s a race filled with as much excitement as it is with disappointment. But no matter what happens once the green flag drops, the 2018 SCORE Baja 1000 will be a great race to witness. SJ

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