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SCORE BAJA 500 GRAND MARSHALS Ivan Stewart And Johnny Campbell Join Sal Fish As Co-Grand Marshals By Dan Sanchez Photos by Jack Wright NMedia3 The 50th Anniversary Of SCORE-International’s Celebration continues with the second race of the 2023 Season, the BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 500. Scheduled from May 30th to June 4th, the Grand Marshals for this year’s race are three Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Famers (ORMHOF), including moto legend Johnny Campbell, off-road racing legend Ivan Stewart, and former SCORE Owner Sal Fish. Ivan Stewart is perhaps one of the most iconic racers in SCORE history. Racing since 1973, he won his first SCORE race at the 1974 SCORE Baja International in Class 2, driving with Bill Hrynko in a two-seat buggy. Stewart continued to race the Baja 500, earning additional class and overall wins. In 1983, he joined the Toyota factory racing team of Cal Wells and Precision Preparation Inc. (PPI). Here he had a total of eighty-four career off-road race victories in stadium short courses and desert. Since his first win in 1974, Stewart has had seventeen SCORE Baja 500 class wins, with ten of them being Overall. He has also won three SCORE Baja 1000 races and has five SCORE season class point championship titles, including two SCORE Overall Points Championship titles in 1990 and 1993. Stewart also competed in the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group’s (MTEG) stadium series, in which he won seventeen races. “The honor of being invited as a Grand Marshal is always huge for me,” said Stewart. “I’m not racing anymore, so I get a kick out of going to the SCORE Baja 500 and seeing my friends, the fans, the local people, and everything. This particular race has always been around my birthday on June 4th, so it made it extra special to win the Baja 500 and celebrate both at the same time.” After retiring in 2000, Stewart continued to gain accolades. He was an ORMHOF inductee in 2006, and in 2009 he was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Breitbard Hall of Fame. In 2020, he was also inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Perhaps best known for his racing career on the Honda Factory Racing team, Johnny Campbell earned five class wins and five overall wins in the SCORE Baja 500 moto division. An eleven-time Baja champion, Campbell began his career at age nine, and by the age of eighteen, he was introduced to SCORE Baja racing in 1989. He went on to win many races, catching the eye of Honda Racing Team manager Bruce Ogilvie in 1991, who mentored Campbell and passed on his knowledge of racing, catapulting Campbell to the highest levels of the sport. “I first raced the SCORE Baja 500 in ‘91. I came down with a group of buddies racing in Class 21,” said Campbell. “Together, we finished the race and I have been back so many times through the years competing with Honda.” By 2008, Campbell semi-retired from racing and started the JCR Factory Honda racing team. He passed on what he learned from Ogilvie and his own to many of SCORE’s most winning riders, including Robby Bell, Kendal Norman, Steve Hengeveld, Colton Udall, Mark Samuels, and many others who also became SCORE desert racing champions on their own. As a rider, Campbell is a hero and mentor to many motor riders and desert racers, including his good friend Cameron Steele. “He’s an icon of Baja, but I also think of him as my brother,” said Cameron Steele, Baja Champion and owner of team Desert Assassins. “We like to spend a lot of time riding our dirt bikes together and I have a lot of respect for Johnny. He can focus in on what it’s going to take to do it, and make it happen.” As co-Grand Marshal for this year’s SCORE Baja 500, Campbell is humbled by the other icons he shares the grand marshal duties with. “I have so much respect for Ivan Stewart, and to be considered a co-Grand Marshal with him at the 2023 SCORE Baja 500 is a real honor,” he said. “Ivan may be the biggest desert racing legend in Baja. For me to be teamed with him is going to be incredible.” Ironically, Campbell’s last SCORE Baja 500 as a competitor wasn’t on a bike. Instead, he teamed up with Cameron Steele in the Monster Energy Trophy Truck in 2018. “It’s a super tough race,” he said. “To be part of it as a co-Grand Marshall is going to be exciting. I can’t wait.” The 50th Anniversary Grand Marshal As a part of the 50th celebration, former SCORE President and Owner Sal Fish is the Grand Marshal for all four SCORE races during this celebratory season. “I am truly humbled and blessed by this opportunity,” said Fish. “For those that know me, you know how much I love Baja and the passion I have for SCORE and all the people that have been involved with SCORE for fifty years now. SCORE is an amazing international motorsports treasure and I am fired up to shake some more hands and tell some more tales of a lifetime of memories.” Fish’s role in desert racing was the strategy he pursued to ensure the survival of SCORE International during 1991-92, termed by economists as the worst recession since World War II. Choosing between the needs of high-profile factory racing teams and grassroots competitors, Fish chose the latter as having the most trouble coping with the economy while still racing. The policies Fish developed turned out well. Entries increased– the sport weathered the recession and is still growing.

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