SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - December 2018

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

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Page 47 of 112

Thunder On The Starting Line The SCORE Trophy Trucks Scream Across The Baja Desert By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo Six and a half hours after the motorcycle racers left the starting line, the SCORE Trophy Trucks roared to life as they prepared for the 51st SCORE Baja 1000. The first truck up was the number 6, Team C, Mason Chevrolet headed by Larry Connor and co-driven by motocross champion Ricky Johnson and his son Luke Johnson. As the SCORE Trophy Trucks rolled up to the start and waited on the green flag, each team had their own plan on how they would attempt to win the race. Experienced racers know, however, that Baja doesn’t follow any plan but its own. SCORE fans have their favorites, however, like Rob MacCachren in the number 11 Rockstar Energy Ford who teamed up once again with Jason Voss. In the past, these two together, have won the SCORE Baja 1000 twice, with MacCachren winning it four times in his career. As expected MacCachren and Voss maneuvered their way from starting in seventh to being first on the course within the four-wheel division. Fans also had their eye on certain teams and racers who have also won this race before. One was a “dream team” of sorts, the number 31 Red Bull Chevy with Andy McMillin and Tavo Vildosola behind the wheel. They demonstrated their driving skills and Baja experience by moving up to the lead pack of vehicles, after starting towards the back of the pack in 15th place. Another driver that people were keeping a close eye on with SCORE’s live tracking at the event, was the three-time SCORE Trophy Truck Champion Apdaly Lopez. Lopez had not had a great 2018 season and got behind the wheel of the number 1 RPM Off-Road Unlimited Chevy with his dad Juan Carlos Lopez as co-driver. Lopez started in 13th place, and according to other racers on the course, he was charging harder than they had ever seen him before. It wasn’t until about half-way through the race, that Cameron Steele had moved his way from starting in 12th place to being second behind Rob MacCachren on the course. While Steele’s team kept telling him he was ahead in time, he wasn’t able to catch MacCachren for the physical lead but knew upon crossing the finish line that his time would be enough to give Steele his second victory this year, and his first SCORE Baja 1000 win in a Trophy Truck. Despite MacCachren crossing the finish line first, penalties had cost him and Voss the race forcing them to a third-place finish. The veteran champ took it humbly and was thankful for his team’s efforts and the experience. “These races are tough. They are tough to win,” said MacCachren. “The competitors are incredibly strong nowadays. Andy, Tavo, Bryce, Ricky, Luke…they were first on the road crossing Santo Tomas and it looks like Luke McMillin got crossways and he was jammed up in a ditch. We didn’t have any problems with the truck all day long, a testament to the crew and the guys that work at the shop.” Andy McMillin and Tavo Vildosola ended up finishing second, despite having some flat tires and a tough time in the silt. “Andy was in second place before he had two flats, both around race mile 405 and 407, back to back,” said Vildosola. “He gave us the truck in fourth place and as soon as I got in it, I knew it was running a little low on power from running through all that silt around race mile 380. So as soon as I hit my first silt bed the truck died. It wouldn’t go faster than 25 mph. We finally were able to stop and clean the air filters. Then it ran well after that but by then, Cam passed us. This was a really rough SCORE Baja 1000 and we were glad to team up with Andy again.” Finishing fourth in the SCORE Trophy Truck division, was Dan McMillin in the number 23 Red Bull Ford F-150. “We had two slow-leaking flats that our pit crew had to change early on during the race,” said McMillin. “Then we had another flat, and we had to get out and change it ourselves on the course. There was a lot of dust and no wind from about race mile 380 to race mile 480 so it was standing still in the air. Then Gary got in and had another slow-leaking flat that we were able to change. So that was our race, just a couple of flat tires and a lot of dust, but we are happy to be here.” Luke McMillin who had started in second place, had mechanical issues and couldn’t finish, posting a DNF. Lopez, who was charging hard throughout the race, had quickly moved up in position but mechanical issues kept him from charging hard for the lead. Ultimately Lopez with his dad Juan Carlos Lopez finished in 12th place. Stacy, Todd, and Schwarz Take The TT Legend Class During qualifying in early November, Armin Schwarz in the number 5L RPM Off-Road Trophy Truck rolled the vehicle but managed to put he and team owner Clyde Stacy, with co-driver Todd Riley, in the number one starting position for the Trophy Truck Legend class. Riley, Schwarz, and Stacy drove hard and stayed well in front of the competition to win the class with their four-wheel drive, Geiser built the truck. The win was their first victory of the SCORE season. “Armin did a great job, Todd did a good job, and we brought it home,” said Stacy. “The silt was bad, but Todd did a good job running through it. We have four-wheel drive so the silt didn’t bother us as much as other teams.” Finishing in second place, was the number 72L truck of Rob Reinertson and Mike Salimbeni, followed by the number 81L truck driven by David Westhem, Tony and John McCormack, John Swift and Randy Salmont who finished third in class. Top Competitors In Trophy Truck Spec SCORE fans were amazed to see 29 SCORE Trophy Truck Spec vehicles compete at the SCORE Baja 1000 this year. The class has seen some growth over the past years and within it, some extremely tough competition. Bryce Swaim and William Hedrick Jr. have gone head to head all season long, but at the SCORE Baja 1000, it was Swaim in the number 242 TSCO Chevy, who took the class win, with co-drivers Austin Jones and Garrett Stone. “It was fantastic,” said Jones about the race. “I was getting a little pressure from the back but all we had to do was keep our pace for a SCORE Baja 1000 win. So we are pretty stoked about it.” Finishing second in class was Elias Hanna in the number 200 HN Chevy, who drove solo had his best finish all season long. “It was a rough day and I charged really hard the first couple miles to get the lead,” said Hanna. “Unfortunately I blew a corner and got a flat tire so that took me a little bit longer to get the lead, but by race mile 200 we were battling back in forth for the lead until pretty much the final miles.” Behind Hanna, finishing in third place, was Jason McNeil driving with Jerry Larimore in the number 234 Geiser Ford. “This is a truck we barely got together in time so we definitely had some issues,” said McNeil. “Especially with the fuel filling. We started in the back so all in all for what we had, I think we did a good job.” Chad Dohrman in the number 218 Get Ford, finished fourth, followed by Hedrick Jr. in his number 295 ID Chevy, with co-drivers Vicente Guerrero, and dad William Hedrick. SJ

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