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Page 46 of 90

FACTORY RACING RETURNS TO SCORE Polaris Introduces Factory Racing Program & Race-Built UTV By Larry Saavedra and Dan Sanchez Photos Courtesy Polaris Inc. Polaris continues to play a major role in off-road motorsports with its continued support in the SCORE World Desert Championship Series, and with the recent development of a comprehensive RZR Factory Racing program that includes a factory purpose-built race-ready UTV. The Polaris Factory Racing Program features three young and energetic racers including Cayden MacCachren, Austin Weiland, and Brock Heger. Also on the team are long-time racing veterans and team principals Craig Scanlon and Travis Clarke, founders of Scanlon Clarke Industries (SCI), and serve as the management arm of the Polaris Factory Racing Team. “Travis Clarke and I are co-owners of Polaris Factory Racing at SCI Motorsports, and we immediately found the very best people in the industry to kick it off,” said Scanlon, who is also a racer and winner of the 2019 SCORE Baja 500 in the SCORE Pro UTV FI Class. “From the back office to the front shop, these are hand-picked people that will help lead Polaris in desert racing.”  Former President of Ultra4Racing Ryan Thomas, will serve as the team’s General Manager while Adan Arsenault, owner, and operator of Broadsword Racing will be the Operations Director of the team’s 10,000-square-foot race shop in San Diego, California. Serving as Crew Chief is Johnny Nelson, former co-driver who has won multiple SCORE Baja 500 and Baja 1000 races, and has been named SCORE Mechanic OTY multiple times. Scanlon has big plans and bigger expectations for this Factory Polaris team. “I have short and long-term goals,” he said. “The short-term goal is to put together the highest-performing factory team that represents all of our sponsors. We have lots of competitive people, including our drivers. We expect to do well in every race we enter. Long-term we expect to be on the podium every race, but we are tempered in how we approach it. We want to create that expectation out of the gate, but this is not a short-term venture. We want to be the long-term players that are winning over the next three to four years.” THE DRIVERS While there are many talented and winning UTV drivers in SCORE, the team picked some young, but also capable and experienced racers. “These guys deserve this opportunity,” he said. “I think we have the perfect combination of personalities as drivers.” Scanlon says Cayden MacCachren was practically born in a racecar. “He’s on the precipice of being the next great one.” He added that Austin Weiland knows how to win in Mexico and is incredible on a side-by-side. As for Brock Heger, Scanlon said he could put him in a Prius and he can make it look fast. “We had a lot of conversations about our drivers,” said Scanlon. “We wanted a positive team dynamic and we are super excited about getting the season started with SCORE.” Cayden MacCachren is 21 and the son of off-road racing legend Rob MacCachren and finished his rookie season in SCORE in 2021 as the second driver for the Jagged X team of Brandon Schueler. MacCachren was also voted 2021 SCORE Rookie OTY and will pilot the No. 1821 SCI Motorsports Polaris RZR Pro R. “I have been racing with Polaris for the past four years,” said MacCachren. “At first it was on the short-course side. Then I moved into desert racing with Jagged X. Everyone at Polaris is talking about this new factory effort. BFGoodrich Tires is a part of it, as well as GoPro and Progressive Insurance, stepped up. These are big brands that we aren’t used to seeing in desert racing.” MacCachren thinks of it similar to what his dad Rob did in the 1990s as part of the Ford Rough Riders factory effort, but with more reach outside of desert racing. He’s citing not just the financial support that a factory effort offers, but more importantly technical, logistical, and engineering. “I’ll be racing a Polaris Factory Racing Pro R, which will eventually be brought to consumers,” said MacCachren. “There’s a lot of news about this effort, and I’m sure fans expect us to win every race. But we want to learn how to build the wall before we bust through it. We’re going to change our setup for the SCORE San Felipe 250,” he said. “But nothing is changing on the chassis. Our driving position will change, the shocks will have more up-travel, and the center of gravity will be altered to handle the whoops.” Brock Heger is 23 and comes from El Centro, California. He has over 100 wins and 200 podiums on his resume in his young career. Most recently, Heger has raced in Pro-Lite short course trucks and Production UTVs in the Champ Off Road Series, earning championships in both classes as well as most recently as the second driver in the SCORE Trophy Truck Spec class in SCORE races. At this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250, Heger will drive the No. 1896 SCI Motorsports Polaris Pro-R. Austin Weiland, is the oldest of the three, at age 30. Out of El Cajon, California, Weiland came up through the youth ranks of karts, oval dwarf cars, and eventually moved into short-course off-road racing. Weiland has been competing full-time in the SCORE Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class over the last few years. After a DNF in San Felipe last season, Weiland roared to three consecutive SCORE Pro UTV FI class wins to end the 2022 SCORE season by capturing his competitive class at the SCORE Baja 500, SCORE Baja 400, and the SCORE Baja 1000. In San Felipe this year, he will pilot the No. 1827 SCI Motorsports Polaris Pro-R. The new Polaris Factory Racing team also has sponsorship support from manufacturers such as Rockford Fosgate, Synchrony, Progressive Insurance, and GoPro. In addition, the team enjoys support from a who’s who lineup of performance brands including Fox Racing for vehicle livery and team apparel design, Fox Shocks, Polaris Engineered Lubricants, Rigid Lighting, BFGoodrich Tires, and Method Race Wheels. Reid Wilson, Vice President of Polaris Off-Road Recreation believes this new factory race team and the race-built vehicles will push the brand further forward as leaders in the industry. “Backed by nearly 70 years of innovation, Polaris is not only responsible for literally inventing the performance side-by-side category, but it also has a long and storied history of winning at the highest levels of off-road racing,” said Wilson. “It simply makes sense that we’d be driving the industry forward yet again with the first, full-fledged UTV class factory racing program.”  “Racing is integral to everything we do, driving performance innovations that inspire the products we bring to showroom floors – ultimately pushing the industry forward and advancing the consumer side-by-side market. We’re chomping at the bit to now showcase Polaris’ engineering prowess and ingenuity through our new Polaris Factory Racing team.”

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