SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - June 2019

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

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Page 29 of 114

Battle Of The McMillin Clan The SCORE Trophy Truck classes fought hard with the McMillin trucks out front By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo For Luke and Dan McMillin, the 51st SCORE Baja 500 race was definitely one of their best. With Luke finishing in second place, it was bittersweet as the separation of winning the race was only a couple of seconds in corrected time behind his cousin Andy. Luke started in the fifth position and quickly ran up past Zak Langley and Ryan Arciero, as Luke and his brother Dan, were catching up to Andy. “We had a good day except for the two flat tires,” said Luke McMillin. “We lost first gear early in the race and the truck wasn’t on point all day.” Despite the challenges, McMillin is happy with the second place win and is looking forward to another opportunity to win at the Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 in September. Dan McMillin’s race didn’t end so lucky. While fans were hoping for the Andy, Luke and Dan to finish in the top three positions, Dan found himself in eighth place after his truck hit a large hole on a graded road coming into Colonet Bridge. “The three of us were flying all the way to race mile 300,” said McMillin. “We hit the hole that wasn’t marked on our GPS and it broke the ballast and it caved in all the way to my feet by the throttle and bend the linkage. The truck was down for about 30 minutes and it was a big bummer. My brother Luke got a great finish and congrats to my cousin Andy!” Shouts From The Rear A close race with the McMillin family wasn’t all that SCORE fans were cheering about during the 51st SCORE Baja 500. Demonstrating his racing skills for a spectacular third-place finish was Apdaly Lopez. Lopez had not had a great 2018 season and it continued into the 2019 SCORE San Felipe 250. While he started in 35th place in this race, behind both SCORE Trophy Truck and Trophy Truck Legends vehicles, Lopez seemed back to his three-time championship form running a blistering pace with no reported flats on the course. Despite the effort, there was not enough time or mileage to finish first, but his performance indicated to many SCORE fans that he’s back on the top of his game again. “It was a tough race and we had to stop in the silt from vehicles that just stopped and got stuck there,” said Lopez. “After that, we ran a clean race and my team and chase group did a great job.” Another dramatic finish during this SCORE Baja 500 was the performance by brothers Alan, Rodrigo and Aaron Ampudia who began the race in the 15th spot and finished the race in fourth place. While this marks the second full season that team Papas Y Beer has been competing in the SCORE Trophy Truck division, it’s obvious that they are getting into winning shape with their vehicle and logistics, and have proven they are a force to be reckoned with. “We got behind Robby Gordon and battled for a half-mile bumper to bumper,” said Alan Ampudia. “I had to slow down as I couldn’t see and ended up hitting some concrete posts with broke our tie-rod. We lost about 20-30 minutes.” Finishing in fifth place was Ed Herbst who was driving for his brother Tim and finished strong in a truck with a new and more powerful engine. Like the McMillin family, the Herbst family of racers are legendary champions in SCORE off-road racing, contributing heavily into the sport and in the development of race winning vehicles. Their SCORE Trophy Truck in this race, is a perfect example of what the Herbst brothers do, upgrading a vehicle that can successfully handle higher horsepower levels. “The truck has a big motor in it that my brother Troy and Joe Gibbs Racing put together and it has some power. We would like to win one, as we’re getting old and running out of time,” said Ed Herbst with a laugh. Right behind Herbst was Bryce Menzies who started ahead of Herbst in the 11th spot and drove hard despite a flat and being held up in the congestion on the silt beds. “I was 15 minutes down behind Andy McMillin after getting stuck and I made up 14 minutes on him,” said Menzies. “Then we got a flat and I think that cost us.” Menzies started the season in a new AWD SCORE Trophy Truck that is proving to be reliable and capable of winning. “This truck is fast and we need to figure out a couple of things,” said Menzies. “It will be hard to beat.” A Tough Time In The Desert The 2018 SCORE Baja 500 overall winner Rob MacCachren, was favored to win this year’s race too but was, unfortunately, a casualty of the deep silt pile-up two miles from the starting line. According to MacCachren, they started too far back in the field of potential race winners to catch up and take the win this time. “Around mile two, we turned the corner and saw five or six trucks stuck in the silt and we got held up,” said MacCachren. “We were down 22 minutes and so we picked up the pace from here on out. At Erendira, we lost a ring and pinion so we had to change that out and that is what put us too far back for the win.” Vehicle problems were a major factor for many of the front starters, including Zak Langley who started in fourth and had vehicle issues that put him out of the race. Mechanical problems also forced Cameron Steel and Robby Gordon to move down from their starting positions at the front of the field. Gordon managed to finish in 13th place while Steele finished in 14th. Stacy Wins In The Legend Class With the field of eight SCORE Trophy Truck Legend Class racers, Scott Baily in the number 1L truck started out the race first in class, followed by Rob Reinerston in the number 72L truck, and Russell Buehler in the number 79L truck. Although Clyde Stacy in the number 5L RPM Off-Road Chevy, started in the fourth position, they were actually the 25th vehicle off the starting line as they began the race with the SCORE Trophy Truck racers. With the help of co-driver Nick Vanderway, the 5L truck managed to work their way to the front of the class and finished first. Behind them was the 3L truck driven by Larry Roeseler and Mark Post, who had a difficult time with their vehicle. “We lost our brakes around 150-miles from the finish and we also lost third gear and reverse,” said Post. “A couple of times I thought we were done but we were fortunate and got through.” While Post and Roeseler managed to keep the truck competitive, they were hit from behind which cost them the class win. “Larry had one flat tire and I had a perfect run until I was hit, but that’s off-road racing and you have to survive; you can’t quit,” said Post. SJ

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