SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - JAN 2019

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

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Page 74 of 92

Wayne Matlock: 2018 SCORE Overall Points Champion Team Polaris scatters an 18-year long standing racing record By Stephen Romero Photos By Get Some Photo Wayne Matlock of Team Polaris shattered a long-standing off-road racing record to become the first-ever UTV racer to be named SCORE Overall Points Champion. His phenomenal 2018 racing season started with a first-place finish at the SCORE San Felipe 250, and at the end of the season, he had racked up enough points to take the title away from SCORE Trophy Truck racer Rob MacCachren. Matlock also ran away with SCORE Pro UTV Overall Champion honors for the year. His amazing year began with a simple strategy, which for him, was to never look back and keep the focus on the checked flag. “Our Polaris team worked really hard to get the recognition,” said Matlock. “As it worked out, the SCORE Overall Points Champion title was a byproduct of successfully racing the entire season.” 32nd SCORE San Felipe 250 This shorter endurance race proved to be the start of something big for Matlock and his co-driver/d mechanic Daniel Felix. It was a near flawless event even though as the driver of record, Matlock started at the back of the pack. “I decided to take the rear starting position because I didn’t want to set the pace,” said Matlock. “I would rather hunt than be hunted. Making my way up to the sixth position I battled with Pro UTV leader Rhys Millen and took the physical lead at mile 80. I never let up.” His wife and Pro UTV Champion Kristen Matlock, in her naturally aspirated Polaris RZR, wasn’t going to make it easy to take the UTV division overall. “She sneaked up on us. I never saw her,” he said. “But I eventually won the SCORE Pro UTV class and the Overall UTV win, while she finished first in her class. That set the year off for both of us.” 50th SCORE Baja 500 “I decided to start first,” said Matlock. “I had earned that position from the previous race. At mile 30, however, it all went downhill fast after blowing an engine belt. Felix and I had to take the clutches off the car to get it back into contention. After that incident, I dropped close to last in class. Eventually, I got going again and then passed everyone, and took the physical lead at mile 150. I held the lead from that point and crossed the finish line. But Kristen ended up taking the overall UTV win, and I finished second in class and second overall.” Lucerna Hotels & Resorts SCORE Desert Challenge By round three of this four-race SCORE series, Matlock felt confident about his season. “It’s a two-day race and I drew the first position for day one,” he said. “Unfortunately the way the starting order works I had to beat my way through the other cars that started in front of us and eventually I finished in fourth.” It was not the outcome that Matlock had expected. But the following day things began to change for the better. “On day two of the race I started last,” said Matlock. “I had a really good race going. I was up six minutes from the leader. I raced to the sixth position, then I made a huge mistake and hit a big rock trying to pass another car. It was my fault. I didn’t need to make the pass. I bent the front end of my suspension.” With the suspension A-arm destroyed, Matlock limped across the finish line and managed to take second in class. “It’s all-wheel-drive and I muscled it across,” he said. “For the damage it caused, I only lost the race by a few minutes to Millen.” 51st SCORE Baja 1000 When the green flag dropped at November’s season-ending 51st SCORE Baja 1000 Wayne Matlock was clearly on his way to making motorsports history; that was of course if he could avoid another issue like what happened at the Lucerna Hotels & Resorts Score Desert Challenge. He was tied in the series Overall Season Points race with Rob MacCachren in the Trophy Truck division, who had also run all four races this season and finished in the top three all season long. Matlock, however, had a lot of miles to race to pull off what could be the biggest victory of his career. “Again, I didn’t want to set the pace. By mile 200 I took over the lead and I had almost zero issues from there until the checkered flag,” said Matlock. “I did flat spot a wheel, but Felix got out and quickly handled it. I drove the entire race, and Rhys Millen didn’t really give me a challenge this time. He was off the pace, but Kristen did once again. By mile 280 she was two cars behind me and kept the momentum going. But it was a flawless day and because of that I took an overall UTV win.” Team Polaris in 2019 Matlock is optimistic about the future of UTVs in off-road racing and predicts that SCORE UTV classes are going to get bigger. He said the team has been testing new technologies like dynamic computer-controlled suspensions from FOX and he is looking forward to the next season of racing. “The only thing I can hope for is more of same,” said Matlock. “These wins and the championship mean a lot to us, and competing against Rob MacCachren for the season overall points championship was unbelievable.Matlock’s sponsors were particularly happy, and include Polaris, Maxxis, Fox Shox, Steel-it, Safecraft, Cognito, Baja Designs, Simpson, Cryoheat, Rugged Radios, Factory UTV, Monster Seal, Airdam Clutches, IMS, DWT, Alba, Maxima, Summers Brothers, Black Rhino, Motion Pro, NecksGen, S&B Particle Separator,, MTVTD,, Sand Craft, and CopyBoy Printing. “Everyone put in a lot of hard work to make this happen and our sponsors were really pumped that we pulled it off, said Matlock.” SJ

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