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TEAM WILSON TRIUMPHS Kyle Quinn Brings Home A Class 1 Win By Mike Vieira PHOTOS BY Get Some Photo Despite having to replace a broken lower control arm, Kyle Quinn’s SCORE Baja 1000 turned out to be a pretty smooth race for his team as he clinched the SCORE Class 1 win at the 55TH BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts. It was Wilson Racing Team’s fourth win in the SCORE Baja 1000, and second win in a row. It was also Quinn’s second win personally after a Class 10 win in 2013 with teammate Brad Wilson. Quinn’s decade-and-a-half of experience competing in both Class 1 and Class 10 paid off nicely. He credited the team’s extensive pre-running for their ability to find alternate lines around most of the hazardous rocks on the course, allowing them to maintain speed and avoid major vehicle damage problems. At the start of the race, Quinn and co-driver Scott Mahelona were first on the road in class in the No. 138 car and had a smooth run in their Jimco Hammerhead to move into the lead, as both they and their teammate Brad Wilson, in the No. 153 car moved away from the rest of the field. Quinn was passed by Wilson early on, but the 153 car broke down at around mile ninety and Quinn regained the lead and held onto it throughout the race. He then turned the car over to Greg Distefano and Scott Conley at mile 250. The clean drive continued to mile 480 where Ronny Wilson and Craig Darrow took over. Around mile 680, Sammy Ehrenberg and Mike Zourski, from the disabled 153 car, got in for a short trip of about forty miles. At mile 720, Quinn and Mahelona took over again, and within about ten miles, they hit a rock that began to cause problems. “About five miles after we hit a rock, I thought we had a front flat so we pulled over, but the tires were all good,” said Quinn. “We looked and there was a dent on the front lower control arm, but nothing major. So we drove the next ninety miles with a dented arm that ended up splitting in half from the damage it sustained. There was a stress crack and it just ended up breaking. At the time, we were going up and down those mountains and through those three-point turns with a car that would not turn left very well, so we were in cruise control at that point just trying to get it through to our next pit at Ojos Crossing at 800.” It took about fifty-seven minutes for the crew to swap the broken arm out, and the team’s lead dropped from about eighty miles to about thirty miles over the next car in the class. With the repair done, Quinn got back behind the wheel. “We just knew we had to get it to the finish,” said Quinn. “We were able to get it there and ended up winning and taking the championship for the year, which was a great accomplishment for the team. We were running in the top ten overall for a while and it was looking good.” Although, the broken control arm wasn’t their only problem. The course was tough and technical. “Even though it feels easy, it’s always tough,” added Quinn. “I felt my sections were probably the easier ones after talking to our other drivers. The San Felipe washes, with all the rain they had gotten, were pretty chewed up and had lots of rain ruts, and those areas where we would normally go around rocks were not that way anymore. Finding alternate lines to get through those rocks was challenging. It takes a lot of focus to get through there. The course was definitely challenging, although it was fast. There were definitely a lot of places to throw it away, but that’s where the pre-running comes in. We did our homework the best we could and it ended up paying off.” As he reflected on his team’s back-to-back wins, Quinn thanked his team. “It’s a testament to our mechanics, our crew, and everyone that comes down and helps us out. I can’t thank Wilson Racing enough for allowing us to go down there and race. A big thanks also goes to everyone who’s crazy enough to chase us through the night and make sure we get to the finish, and to all our sponsors that help us out and support us year after year.” Although the whole team is still enjoying the satisfaction from their success this year, Quinn looks forward to the 2023 season and said, “We’re are definitely coming back and trying to back up our championship next year and going for the wins, so we’ll be down there in San Felipe to see what it brings us.”SJ

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