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SHAKEN AND STIRRED Top Buggy Teams Are Rattled By BaJa’s Obstacles By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, Guilherme Torres, and Cindy Clark Photos by Get Some Photo The top four Class 1 teams entering the BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts may have at first predicted this race would be an all-out sprint to the finish. But after pre-running the course, they realized speed would have to take the back seat due to several very technical sections. With this in mind, first off the starting line were Kyle Quinn and Ronny Wilson in the No. 138 car, who won the class at the SCORE San Felipe 250. Wilson Motorsports’ teammates, Brad Wilson, in the No 153 car, followed second off the start, with NASCAR Champion and SCORE Baja 1000 Class winner Brendan Gaughan in the No. 153 car starting third. 2021 Class Champion Cody Parkhouse in the No. 100 car rounded out the top four. These racers made for some of the best talents in the class up front. These veterans all have multiple wins and championships under their belt, and they all attacked the course to keep up with the fast pace that was immediately set by the two Wilson Motorsports cars. With Quinn out front, they got past the first set of technical areas heading up to the Summit, but on the way down, poured on the speed to increase their lead over the rest of the pack. Gaughan would later suffer from mechanical issues that put him and his team out of the race. Parkhouse and his co-drivers, Brian Parkhouse and Joe David, managed to keep a good pace and remained second on the course until they were passed by Cody Reid in the No. 168 car who moved past everyone after starting fifth. The top Class 1 competitors began whittling away when, on a narrow section of the course, Brad Wilson took a wrong line they had not marked on their GPS and rolled the No. 153 car on its side off the embankment. Although Wilson and the team got it back on the road, the gap for the lead was just too great, and by the time they reached the finish, they were in sixth place. As the Class 1 competitors at the front of the pack neared the finish line, both Ronny Wilson, who was now in the No. 138 car’s driver’s seat had a wide enough gap to cross the finish line first, despite having engine problems. “We lost a motor twenty miles from the finish,” said Wilson. “We were running on three cylinders and we can’t believe it made it to the finish. Thank you to BFGoodrich Tires, King Shocks, Vision Lights, Method Wheels, and the whole crew. We bring 70 guys down here, volunteers, and the full-time guys at the shop, it is amazing what they do to these cars.” The Wilson team, however, was given a 30-minute penalty for missing a VCP. This turned their time overall into a third-place finish behind Cody Parkhouse, who finished in second with co-driver Joe David behind the wheel. “I had one flat tire, but other than that, we had a clean run,” said David. “It was very technical and we saw many cars on the side of cliffs. There were boulders and running through trees–1 a little bit of everything. I am pretty excited to be here. I think we had a great finish. I would like to thank the Parkhouse family for giving me this opportunity, Checkers Off-Road, my dad – he raced his first SCORE Baja race in 1974. This is my second SCORE Baja and my first one ever finishing.” With the fastest time and zero penalties, Cody Reid, who crossed the finish line behind Quinn, would have a one-minute faster time than Parkhouse and a two-minute faster time than Quinn to win first place in class. This was an epic race that once again proved that it takes both speed and precision on the course to win races. Class 10 Nearly half of the Class 10 competitors were able to finish the tough course this year. By mid-course, all the front starters had either dropped out, were held back at some bottlenecks and had to wait, or simply were broken down making repairs. Stan Potter in the No. 1006 car started in 17th position and made it to the finish line. Despite how the odds looked for the team at the start, he and the team persevered and kept moving forward. “It was a tough, tough race. I had my doubts that I would make it this morning,” said Potter. “We stretched our pit to try to get in front of everyone. I passed a couple of people that had flats. It was a kick-ass race. I want to thank SCORE. I don’t think people back in the United States realize that this is legit racing. There is nothing that even comes close in terms of pure ruggedness.” Starting in 24th place was one of the two Duran family teams, Marco Duran in the No. 1021 car, finished in second place. “It was a rough day, and it was my first day in the (Class) 10 car,” said co-driver Marco Duran. “My dad started the race in 24th place in the back of the pack. I got promoted to co-drive (he laughs), and I got in at race mile 160 in fifth place. Then my uncle got in and two cars passed us. From there we just tried our best. We had a great day for my first SCORE race.” The Duran team had another car, No. 1016, with Hiram Duran as Driver of Record, who also shared driving duties with Eric and Evan Duran. That car finished in fourth place. Finishing third place in class was the No. 1064 team of Justin Buckley, Justin Burleson, and Maverick Gaunt. FINISH LINE TALK Class 10 ALBERTO MENDEZ, No. 1019 (Sixth place) “We had a little issue at the start and then got stuck when a truck had a problem and blocked our way. But besides that, it all went well and we had a clean run. The course was fun, but also very demanding. It was probably the most demanding SCORE race I’ve ever been at. We’re satisfied with our result and the performance of the entire team. I’d also like to thank SCORE for their dedication to organizing events like this one.”   COREY GOIN, No. 1036 (Ninth place) “We had a little mechanical issue in the first ten minutes of the race. That put us behind in the next class and we just had to pick our way through. It was a super technical course but fun. Once you get locked in, the car just goes.” 

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