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QUEST FOR THE CROWN Jason McNeil’s Run For A Championship Wasn’t Easy By Mike Vieira Photos by Get Some Photo Jason McNeil was in a prime position to capture the 2023 SCORE Trophy Truck Spec Class Championship going into the SCORE Baja 1000 race last November, and he was hoping for a good run to clinch the title. Hard luck hit early on in the race, however, which ultimately led to an 18th-place finish. Despite the setback, the points he earned by finishing the race were enough for him to take home the season championship. McNeil had started off the 2023 SCORE calendar by taking second place at the SCORE San Felipe 250. He had no real problems in that race and battled against Christopher Polvoorde for the lead throughout the contest. “The last hundred miles were really exciting,” said McNeil. “He would get a flat, and I would get by him, then I’d get a flat, and he got by me, then at the very end, I basically had a tire explode about a mile from the finish, and that’s what lost that race for us.” The SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 400 were both smooth, trouble-free races for McNeil, as he took first place in class in both races, managing to finish third overall in the 400. It all came down to the SCORE Baja 1000, where McNeil teamed up with TT Spec competitors Elijah Kiger and Justin Davis, effectively taking them out of contention for the point title, but utilizing their great talents for a win that they all wanted. According to McNeil, Kiger started the race, and within the first fifty miles crashed and seriously damaged the truck. “It took us six hours to fix that problem,” said McNeil. “It was the whole front driver’s side suspension that was damaged. We had to reconstruct that whole corner.” The team’s strategy of having another race vehicle at the ready to cannibalize parts off of paid off, and they got moving once again. Kiger finished his section without any further problems and handed the truck over to Justin Davis. Davis was moving along well but then lost a seal in the cooling system in the middle of the night. By the time McNeil took over around mile 730, the team had nearly ten hours of downtime from the two repairs. “It was just a decision to finish the race at that point,” said McNeil. They were locked in a battle with the Herbst team for the season title, and at that point thought it was out of reach. The Herbst team then blew an engine about fifty miles before the finish, putting them out of the race, and allowing the McNeil team’s 18th position to earn enough points to take the Class Championship and the Overall Truck Points Championship for the 2023 season. McNeil expects SCORE’s Trophy Truck Spec Class to grow further next year, and he’s planning to be running every race, trying to defend his title. His 16-year-old son, Connor, will be partnering with the team for the 2024 season. “He’s already won some other races here, stateside, and now we’re going to see if he’s got what it takes for Baja,” says McNeil. SJ

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