SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - OCTOBER 2017

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

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Page 15 of 225

RPM OFF ROAD SWEEPS THE PODIUM JOSH DANIEL, APDALY LOPEZ, AND EDUARDO LAGUNA OF TEAM RPM OFF ROAD TAKE THE TOP THREE POSITIONS AT THE 21ST TIJUANA SCORE DESERT CHALLENGE By Dan Sanchez Photos by Get Some Photo Once fans and racers saw three orange trucks cross the finish line, it didn’t take long before they realized the RPM Off Road racing team had crushed the competition in Tijuana. Justin Matney, owner of RPM Off Road, couldn’t attend the race and had Josh Daniel drive his 4WD Chevy Trophy Truck. The team also had other driver swaps including Lalo Laguna who drove Armin Schwarz’s number 9 truck and Jeff Geiser who drove for Clyde Stacy the number 5 Trophy Truck in the Legends class. The three joined Apdaly Lopez in the number 1 Trophy Truck, who was the favorite to win the race. “We are always adapting to different courses and terrain,” said Matney. “This year, due to a schedule change, I was unable to make the race. Josh and I have been working together for the SCORE Baja 1000 this year, and Armin also was unable to make the race due to business obligations. So I wanted Lalo to fill in for him.” Daniel had a fast pace which put him approximately three minutes faster than Lopez, and ultimately held on for the overall win. “I had to keep a tight pace with Apdaly,” said Daniel. “He’s a champ for a reason so you just can’t let him run away with it. He had to put three minutes on us today. He could do that, not easily, but he could. I knew I just had to sit there and be patient.” While the veteran drivers all have many Baja wins under their belts, the Tijuana course was the perfect scenario for Apdaly Lopez, who excels on shorter courses. “Apdaly is an extremely talented driver in all terrain,” says Matney. “He enjoys the short course as we all do to be able to give it 100 percent to the finish. Our team has always worked hard to be the best and it’s starting to pay off. This starts with the techs, the planning, and driving.” Lopez finished in second place after Daniel and ran a very fast pace. “I definitely prefer the longer races because I have more time to play with one strategy,” said Lopez. “But short course races are more fun because you can give it all.” In the overall championship points standings, Lopez still has a good chance to wrap up another SCORE Trophy Truck championship in 2017 heading into the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. “The last two years I didn’t come thru the finish line of the SCORE Baja 1000 as the point leader, and we won the championship anyway,” said Lopez. “So this year, it doesn’t have to be different. But if I don’t win, I am pretty sure that my teammate Justin Matney will win. That would be great for RPM as the championship can stay in the team.” Matney finished fourth at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and second at the SCORE Baja 500, putting him very close in points to Rob MacCachren in season points. This win in Tijuana puts Matney in the lead going into the 50th Anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000 with a 4WD truck that has proven to be more reliable than in years past. “The R4 truck has been a prototype since day one,” said Matney. “We worked tirelessly with Geiser on making this platform the best. Over the course of this year, I think we have proven that the vehicle has what it takes to win.” The third place overall finisher in the race was Lalo Laguna driving for Armin Schwarz. Laguna wasn’t present in the first two races this season but was happy to be driving in Tijuana. “I have been racing in different places this year, and haven’t had the opportunity to race in Mexico until the TJ race,” said Laguna. “I feel honored Armin picked me to race his truck after he had some conflict with the race schedule.” Laguna plans on also competing with the RPM Off-Road team at the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000, teaming up with Schwarz in his Trophy Truck. “Armin and myself have talked about doing something together for a long time now,” said Laguna. “We are going to team-up in the number 9 Trophy Truck and we will charge hard for that win!” Jeff Geiser drove the number 5 RPM Off Road Trophy Truck to win the Legends Class and rounded out the team’s win for the day. “We started behind the Trophy Trucks and a great run today,” said Geiser “I had my daughter (Lindsey) out there with me, trying to teach her the ropes and get her ready for next year. We’re definitely ready for the Baja 1000.” Reid Takes Class 1 After posting a DNF at the SCORE San Felipe 250, and finishing fourth at the SCORE Baja 500, Shelby Reid’s first-place finish in Class 1 puts her in tight competition with Brad Wilson for the Class 1 championship this season. Shelby’s win didn’t come without some unexpected twists. “I missed a corner on the first lap and I couldn’t get it to the right so we started going sideways,” said Reid. “I kept gassing it and the car kept going more sideways until we were going to be backward in the course. So, I spun it back around and, luckily, found another little trail there.” On the second day, Reid’s vehicle had a problem with one of the bead locks on the wheel and had to change it. Fortunately, they managed to pull out the win and are looking towards the BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000. “We want points but the SCORE Baja 1000 win is something I’ve been trying to get for a long time,” said Danny Ebberts, co-driver. “RPI has done it with the Class 10 car so, hopefully, Shelby, my brothers, and I can carry this momentum into the Baja 1000 and try to get a win there.” Hanna Wins Three In A Row Elias Hanna showed he’s the guy to beat in Trophy Truck Spec, winning his third SCORE race in a row. Hanna edged out nine other starters after starting in the seventh position but managed to get so far out in front by day two, that he finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of second place class finisher Brian Goldstein. “My truck was working so good that I had to push,” said Hanna. “It was just catching them one-by-one. I started seventh and when I was just having fun out there.”

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