SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - JULY 2017

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 71 of 102

TALKING DIRT WITH AARON AND TEAM AMPUDIA WITH SEVERAL CHAMPIONSHIPS TO THEIR NAME, THE AMPUDIA FAMILY TURN THEIR ATTENTION TO COMPETING IN THE TROPHY TRUCK DIVISION FOR THE FIRST TIME. By Dan Sanchez Aaron, Alan and Rodrigo Ampudia (shown above left to right) are the hometown heroes of Ensenada, Mexico who at a young age, have become off-road motorsports champions. Within SCORE, they’ve dominated in Class 1/2-1600, and Class 8, winning their last championship in 2016. It was at that time that the Ampudias tried racing the 2016 SCORE Baja 1000, jumping into the Trophy Truck division. This gave SCORE fans a good indication of their intent and the team’s next move. In 2017, the Ampudias showed up at the SCORE Baja 500 with a new Trophy Truck and managed to qualify in the first starting position for the race. While they had problems during the race and could not finish, team Papas & Beer are demonstrating their efforts to become one of the top competitors in the premier Trophy Truck division. Judging by their performance and the seriousness of their Trophy Truck campaign, it is only a matter of time before the Papas & Beer team work out the bugs, and are at their full potential. To say the least, these guys are ready to pull an upset within the SCORE Trophy Truck division. All three Ampudia brothers are young, yet they carry with them the experience of their father Rodrigo Sr. and uncle Rogerio, as well as several class championships and class wins under their belt. This makes them a serious threat to a class of racing that has some of the best drivers in the world. Despite the talent and experience to win in the SCORE Trophy Truck division, the road is still long, and the Ampudias know they have to pay their dues. Aaron Ampudia spoke frankly to SCORE Journal about team Papas & Beer’s move into the SCORE Trophy Truck division and how they’re working towards building a championship team. SJ: What is your family’s goal for the 2017 SCORE season in the Trophy Truck division? Are you going all out, experimenting, or just learning? Ampudia: For us, the 2017 SCORE season is to get used to the ID Designs Trophy Truck and make sure we are ready for the 2018 season. SJ: You went from dominating in Class 8 in 2016 to driving in the Trophy Truck Class at the 2016 SCORE Baja 1000 to finish the season. Was that on purpose? Ampudia: Yes, we clinched the Class 8 championship after winning all three SCORE races prior to the SCORE Baja 1000. So we thought it would be fun to battle with the big boys in the SCORE Trophy Truck division. SJ: What made you and your brothers, Rodrigo and Alan, want to move into the Trophy Truck class in the first place? Ampudia: I think anyone who has any knowledge of off-road racing wants to compete in the Trophy Truck class. It was always our dream to be able to race in one. The opportunity came up and we’re really grateful for the opportunity to finally be racing in this premiere SCORE division. SJ: We didn’t see you at the SCORE San Felipe 250. Was there a reason for that? Ampudia: Yes, we didn’t have the SCORE San Felipe 250 in our plans for 2017, but in 2018 we’re planning on running the full SCORE schedule and ready to do battle. SJ: At the SCORE Baja 500, your team qualified in first place and then had problems later on in the race. What happened? Ampudia: Unfortunately, we had a mechanical issue at race-mile 95, while we were still in the lead with a 40-second gap on the second place vehicle. That mechanical issue took us out of the race. SJ: Can you give us more details on the new ID Design Trophy Truck? Is it something your family works on exclusively or do you have someone working on it? Ampudia: The Trophy Truck is an ID Design chassis with the best package in the game. It features a Dougans engine, King shocks, Toyo Tires, Method Race Wheels, a Rancho Transmission and a new Glazzkraft body. We prep the truck in our shop in Ensenada, Mexico with our crew chief David Castelan and Edson Bojorquez, our fabricator. SJ: Who are some of your current sponsors with the Trophy Truck and are you making any improvements along the way? Ampudia: We have great companies that are backing us up such as Monster Energy, Toyo Tires, Method Race Wheels, King Shocks, Glazzkraft, WeedMaps and of course, Papas & Beer. From what we’ve learned so far with the vehicle, we are making lots of improvements and will have some exciting announcements coming soon for the 2018 SCORE racing season. SJ: What have you and your brothers learned so far competing in the Trophy Truck class? Ampudia: If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that we can battle with the top guys in the class! SJ: What would you have done differently at the SCORE Baja 500? Ampudia: Looking back, there’s really nothing that we thought we did wrong. We simply had a mechanical failure that put us out of the race. I honestly feel that if that had not happened, we had a good chance at winning the race. SJ: Does your team have a different strategy for winning in Trophy Truck than guys like MacCachren, McMillin, Lopez, and others? Ampudia: I think everyone in the SCORE Trophy Truck division knows what needs to be done to win. The only difference between the top teams and team Papas & Beer is that we have three drivers. Most other teams only have one or two. I think this gives us a competitive advantage. SJ: As the fan favorites in Ensenada, how important is it for you and your family to bring a win in your hometown and country? Ampudia: It’s extremely important! To bring home a win for Ensenada in the premier Trophy Truck class will be huge for our fans and family. We feel confident it will come soon. SJ: It’s great to see Mexican Trophy Truck drivers compete in SCORE at this level. Do you think teams like yours, the Vildosola’s and the Lopez’s are inspiring more Mexican nationals to compete? Ampudia: Yes. Hopefully, we can also help inspire more Mexican teams and companies to step-up and support the sport and great teams like the Vildosola’s and Lopez’s. SJ: You’ve told us in the past how important is was for your dad and uncle to help you and your brothers in your racing career. What role does your dad Rodrigo Sr. play in the development of the Trophy Truck team, and how has he contributed to your skills? Ampudia: Yes, without the passion and dedication for off-road that our dad has for it, we would not be able to do what we love. Because of his experience in Baja, my brothers and I have been able to clinch two SCORE Championships in the past three years. He’s shown us everything we know. SJ: You guys are younger, more aggressive and hungrier for a win. Do you think that’s an advantage or do you have more to learn? Ampudia: We want a SCORE Trophy Truck win, more than anyone else! Being young and hungry for a win like that is definitely a big motivation and we use it to our advantage. We also know we have to be smart and not make mistakes so that the results can come our way. The next time we’ll see the Papas & Beer team will be at the 50th Anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000. According to Ampudia, they will definitely be competing in their Trophy Truck, but some surprises are in store that they won’t reveal as of yet. One thing is for certain. This team is relentless, smart, and experienced. Once the 2018 SCORE season comes around, it would be a mistake to think they are still in a learning curve. SJ

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