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A RACE AGAINST TIME For Class 11 Racer Luis Fernando Garcia, Winning Is Done One Mile At A Time By Dan Sanchez Photos By Jack Wright NMedia3 and Crazy Fools Motorsports Some of Baja’s most respected racers are those who choose to drive in Class 11. While the cars are nostalgic and have decades of history in SCORE, they are also the most difficult to drive in the Baja terrain, and it takes perseverance, patience, and practice to win. At the BFGoodrich Tires 34th SCORE San Felipe 250 Presented by Ford, three Class 11 racers entered, including Luis Fernando Garcia, driver of record for the Crazy Fools Motorsports team, who managed to get their #1100 car to the finish line and take the class win. “Since we were kids, my brother Luis Francisco and I had a dream to race in Baja,” said Garcia. “We bought our first car, a Class 11 bug in 2015 and we raced some local CODE races in Mexicali and San Felipe. Our first SCORE race was in 2000 in a new Class 11 car we bought in 2019 and we got to the finish, but not ahead of the cut-off time.” Garcia was competing not only against Alex Gonzales in the number 1196 car, but also against veteran Class 11 racer and champion Eric Solorzano in the number 1111 car. Add the difficult course and trying to finish the race in under the 14-hour time limit, there were many obstacles to overcome. “This course was very difficult because the terrain was very loose and had lots of large rocks,” said Garcia. “There were long climbs and large holes. After the rest of the other classes ran through the course, it was very loose and damaged.” Despite the obstacles, Garcia said the car had no mechanical problems, but other vehicles on the course were difficult to get around. “During the first 100-miles we battled with the Wide Open Baja cars because they would pass us, then stop ahead to rest, and then try to pass us again later. There aren’t many places to pass safety so we had to deal with that for a while.” As Garcia, his brother, and co-drivers Omar Beltran and Ramses Garcia pushed on mile after mile, they realized they might actually win the class late in the race. “After finishing mile after mile of the course, we realized around mile 189 that we could finish and win the class,” said Garcia. “I got back in the car around mile 260 and I was trying to take care of it as much as I could. When I finally came up to the finish line and saw the giant screen and the ramp, I finally knew we had won the race. I was so grateful for my team and also my wife Nancy Salcedo, who encouraged me unconditionally. Adrian Rodriguez from the Tejon Race Shop helped us with logistics and Peny Montana and the rest of the team who helped with chase and pits were the Fernando Ranger Crew, the Tan Boys, Fat Boys of Mexicali, Armando and Carlitos Aragon, Sergio and Juan Del Cid, Ramon Navarrete, Hugo Cerezero, Javier Rivers, Oscar Angulo, Familia Aragon, Famila Guerrero, Anika Garcia, Omar Rivera, Aaron Garcia and Arturo Rios.” Amazingly, the car had no mechanical issues, and Garcia attributes this to Amado Mayoral who prepped the motor, Benco VW Transaxles who prepped the transmission and Ruben Espinoza Sr. who was in charge of the suspension. Garcia also thanks his sponsors including BFGoodrich Tires, Gamma Zeta Alpha Delta Chapter, El Taco Taco, Border Town Sales & Services, Baja Nav, PPR Racing Nets, Decalque Vinyl Co. Calexico Bulldog Radio, Battle Born Off Road, Centinela Automotores, Tanboys, Taller Tejon, Autoservicios Rios, Amado Mayoral, Art Chong 805 Beer, and Integra Fab Works. SJ

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