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MUDDY BUGGY Kyle Quinn Overcomes A Tough Season To Win Class 1 By Mike Vieira Photos by Get Some Photo After taking home the Class 1 Championship for 2022, hard luck plagued Kyle Quinn’s Wilson Motorsports team in all the earlier SCORE races in 2023. Minor car problems prevented them from finishing any of the season’s races until their win in the BFGoodrich Tires 56th SCORE Baja 1000 presented by K&N. This made it three in a row for the team in the SCORE Baja 1000 and two in a row for Quinn and the No. 100 Wilson Motorsports buggy. For all the effort, he credits the entire team and their preparation for the success of their effort, as well as their sponsors for providing the best equipment. At the start of the race, Greg Distefano drove the first 530 miles for the team but had electrical issues early on that caused overcharging. At the first service, the team got back on the road after a battery and alternator swap and a change to the air filtration pump that failed because of electrical problems. The service stop had dropped the Jimco Hammerhead toward the back of the pack, but with everything now working properly, they were able to start making up time. John Herder got behind the wheel around mile 530 and continued picking his way toward the lead through the night. Quinn took over the driving at mile 915, behind by about 30 minutes. Almost immediately, he encountered a potential problem. Quinn recounted, “Around mile 920, there was a small water crossing, and with all the rain when we were going to the pit, we ended up stopping and walking it to see how much water there was. Everything looked good, but when I came through there, with all the trucks that had come through in front of us, some of that ledge had fallen off. So, when I came across and thought I was clear, my right rear tire kind of got hooked and pulled me into the little bit of water there.  It was a little bit frustrating because it was only like mile 3 for us, after we made the driver swap, but we got it turned around and got over the water crossing with no real problem. I took a deep breath and said, ‘We’re through.’ I wanted to get by that section cleanly because I knew that racing through the washes in San Felipe and all the rough— we had a good car for that.” Quinn kept pushing and closed the gap on the leader at the time, Brendan Gaughan. The two then battled back and forth, swapping the lead several times. “It was unexpected at 3 o’clock in the morning to be racing that hard,” said Quinn, “but it was some of the best racing I think I’ve done. With all the rain that San Felipe got, it really helped not having dust.” The time lost in the pit at mile 1070 allowed Gaughan to pull ahead by several minutes, but once Quinn was rolling again, he poured it on to catch him. “We got on top of the bumps and got right by him,” he said. From there, I knew we had a better car as far as suspension, so we were able to put some time on them and just maintain that lead and extend it further and further.” The muddy conditions Quinn encountered reminded him of his days doing short course racing. “Part of that experience kind of helped out there in knowing how to drive through the slick mud, and how to keep the car from spinning out,” he said. “Also knowing that the brakes weren’t going to be the greatest because I knew they would be packed full of mud.” The car was also packed full of mud, so much so that they had to stop to get more towels to clean things up.  “It was one of those things I didn’t expect, but looking back, it was a lot of fun,” said Quinn. “Would I do it again? Absolutely not,” he said with a laugh. It was cold and freezing. But in the moment, it was a lot of fun, and coming across the finish line knowing that we had probably won, was all worth it.” SJ

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