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THE BUGGY MASTER Kyle Quinn takes home the SCORE 2022 Class 1 Championship  By Mike Vieira Photos by Get Some Photo Kyle Quinn’s 2022 SCORE season opened and closed with Class 1 wins, and combined with his third-place finishes in both the SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 400, he was able to neatly wrap up the Class 1 Points Championship for the year. The San Felipe 250 saw Quinn start the race toward the back of the pack, then move up to second on the course by the time he turned the Jimco Hammerhead over to Ronny Wilson at the 120-mile mark. An alternator problem was creating issues for the team in the early part of the race, and working on switching it out at the driver change caused them to drop back to fourth. Once back on the road, Wilson was able to pick his way past the cars ahead of them and had no further troubles during the race. Quinn says, “We ended up winning the race, and were off to a good start for the season.” The SCORE Baja 500 brought disappointment, despite a good run. Starting first on the road, Quinn had built a sizable lead before handing the car over to Ronny Wilson. That lead became important late in the race when engine troubles slowed them considerably, and the team was struggling to get the car over the finish line ahead of their nearest competitors. “We physically won the race, but I missed two VCPs at the start, and that’s what dropped us down to third place,” said Quinn. “It was a good night of celebrating, and then a tough morning to wake up and see that we didn’t win.” In the SCORE Baja 400, the team had big problems early on. Quinn says, “At about race mile 20, we lost the steering rack. It just blew apart. Luckily, we were able to pull off, but by the time we were able to get things assessed and figure out what we needed, and our crew was able to get to us after the last cars were past, we were about four hours down when we got going.  When I was coming into Ojos, I was racing the local traffic that was leaving because they thought the race was done. That was pretty eventful to do that. Our other car had an issue, so Brad Wilson ended up getting in and doing the second half because Ronny was still healing after eye surgery. Brad did the finish for us, and to our surprise, we ended up third after other people had issues and fell out of the race.” That finish allowed the team to maintain a very slim points lead over Damen Jeffries for the season going into the SCORE Baja 1000. The battle for the championship came down to the longest race of the season, and for more than 700 miles, Quinn’s team was able to stretch out a substantial lead over the rest of the field, no doubt due in part to the team’s extensive pre-running that allowed them to pinpoint and avoid the worst hazards on the course. The easy time didn’t continue, though. At around mile 730 Quinn hit a rock that damaged a control arm, although at first, he thought they just had a flat tire.  Unfortunately, the arm then split, severely limiting the vehicle’s steering control over a tight mountain section of the course. Quinn was able to limp into Ojos Crossing at mile 800, where the crew was able to repair the car in just under an hour. Their lead had dropped from about eighty miles to about thirty miles by that time but was still large enough for them to easily cruise to a victory in the SCORE Baja 1000 to clinch the championship. Looking back over the season’s races, Quinn says, “They all had something special within them. There was no single course that I said ‘this was the course of my dreams’. I like the road stuff. The mountain stuff isn’t my favorite, and it always seems like in my sections I always end up on the mountains, so it’s always a personal challenge of mine just to dig deep and get through it. I think that’s what makes Mexico so great. There’s so much different terrain, the personal challenges we have with sections we like and don’t like, and just not knowing what it’s going to throw at you come race day is always a great challenge. I think SCORE is doing a great job with the way they’re laying out courses and trying some new sections.” Quinn praises the hard work of all of the Wilson Motorsports team and crew for their success this past season in preparation for the races and in keeping them going through the tough challenges. For 2023, the team will be running the same Hammerhead with some minor improvements based on what they learned this year. “We’ll be running the number 100 and trying to back up our wins and our championship again.” SJ

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