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SCORE 2021 CLASS 7XS CHAMPION The Durón off-road racing family closed a circle and gained a crown Story by Stuart Bourdon Photography by Get Some Photo “It’s satisfying for the entire family to have won the SCORE 2021 Class 7XS Championship because everyone worked hard for it,” said Armando Durón. “We are a close family team with my sons Armando Jr. and Israel driving now. The 2021 SCORE season brought the entire family full circle to the SCORE Baja 1000 my brother Sergio and I ran 38 years ago.” Durón was just 21, Sergio was 24 years old at the time, he tells us. “We were racing in the SCORE Baja 1000 all the way to La Paz, but we blew the engine about 60 miles before the finish line.” The loss hit Durón hard. “It was such a struggle,” he said. “And then to be so close to the finish and have no way to make it across. It was so disappointing that we never tried it again.” The Durón family didn’t stop racing though. They continued to compete in shorter local Mexicali and Ensenada off-road races for many years. “We got involved in SCORE again after the pandemic,” he explained. “The local races we were running had been canceled because of it. So we spent time working on the 7XS truck and getting it ready for the next race, whenever that might be. It turned out the next race was the 2021 SCORE San Felipe 250. We decided to see how the truck would do, and we won it!” The Durón team then decided to go ahead and try the SCORE Baja 500, and they won that too. “That really got us going,” said Durón. “We figured we had enough points to be in the running for the class championship. That made it worth doing the entire season, including the SCORE Baja 1000 again.” The truck the Durón’s run is a Ford Ranger they built for racing about 10 years ago in their home garage. “Perry McNeil built the roll cage and we did the rest; engine, transmission, and differentials. I did the paint, as that’s my profession. It’s a family thing. Everybody puts in time working on getting the truck ready for races.” The Durón’s 2021 season went pretty well for the entire season, but the loss they had at the SCORE Baja 1000 38 years ago, still haunted him. “We ran the first three races with no troubles, but I was worried about the truck making it to La Paz,” he said. “The 250, 500, and 400 are so much shorter and easier to manage. And you’re less likely to have mechanical failures in hard-to-reach places. The 2021 SCORE Baja 1000 was a strategically important and personally an emotional race for me. We had three drivers, my sons did the first two legs and I drove the last section. During the race, a rolled SCORE Trophy Truck was blocking the racecourse in a tight canyon near Mike’s Sky Ranch. It created a roadblock that backed up a hundred race cars. Very few could go around and most had to wait for them to clear the truck out of the way.” Luckily for the Durón team (and many other competitors that day), SCORE officials granted them two additional hours of time to complete the course because of the racecourse bottlenecks. “Dario Serrano was giving us some competition,” said Durón. “We passed each other back and forth a few times during the race. Later, we were running behind Serrano by about 30 minutes. We knew that even a second-place would get us the championship, but we wanted everything.” Team Durón wanted the race and the class championship so they kept going as fast as they could, eventually passing Serrano when a broken suspension stopped him less than 100 miles from the finish. It seemed like a repeat of their past experience, but they fixed the problem and went on. “We were a little nervous but decided that whatever comes, we will take it. Hopefully, we would win the championship and the race. We were still hurt from our first try at the SCORE Baja 1000 many years ago. But the 2021 SCORE Baja 1000 course was longer. The truck held up through every mile. And we made it through 39-hours of driving. It was nice to close the circle. Now we can tell new and better stories.” SJ

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