SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - May 2018

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

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Page 81 of 120

MACADU RETURNS Mark McMillin Brings Back His Chenowth To Its Former Baja Winning Glory By Dan Sanchez Photos: ICON Media When Corky McMillin and his son Mark started racing in 1976, they couldn’t realize the impact they and their family would eventually have in the sport of off-road racing. Corky is an Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee and Mark has won five SCORE Baja 1000 overall victories, in 1981, ’83, ’84 ’86 and ’88. Over the years, Mark and the following generations of McMillin family members which include his sons Dan and Luke, have made their own success stories in Baja. Mark’s brother Scott and his children Andy and Jessica, have also made a name for themselves racing Trophy Trucks and winning Baja races. With the obvious abundance of race vehicles that are spread throughout the McMillin family, there’s still only one that Mark cherishes most of all. It was the first vehicle in which he and McMillin Racing claimed a Baja 1000 overall title with; a 1978 Chenowth buggy called “Macadu.” The Start Of Something Good The story of the Macadu Chenowth buggy began when McMillin got into racing. Back in the early 1970’s, he and his dad headed out to the sand dunes in Imperial Valley, California for fun. It wasn’t long before McMillin, his dad, and brother Scott visited Baja to watch Parnelli Jones and other racers. Ultimately they wanted to try their hand at racing for themselves and began a family legacy that is still going strong today. At the time, the McMillin family built a new Chenowth race car that was originally outfitted with a VW engine and a VW bus gearbox. McMillin nicknamed it Macadu, taken from former NBA star Bob Macadu that McMillin recalled from his college days. The investment proved to be a great one as the buggy raced in Class 2 and earned its first SCORE Baja 1000 win in 1981. After swapping out the VW engine for one from a Porsche, the buggy earned two additional SCORE Baja 1000 wins in 1983 and 1984. After the 1984 win, the engine was upgraded to a 3.4-liter Porsche six-cylinder and a Fortin transmission. The powertrain provided 300+ horsepower to the buggy, but as Trophy Trucks began to dominate off-road racing, the Macadu was eventually retired from racing for a faster Class One car and then some new Trophy Trucks. Although McMillin continued to compete, the Macadu still served the family for many years as a pre-runner. 1970’s Technology Still Works Great The buggy still retains its original Chenowth chassis and it's front VW link-pin suspension that won Baja. The front beams on the buggy are four inches longer than the standard VW beams that were used at the time to provide a wider track but are still supported by four Bilstein coil over shocks and Fodril front spindles. Altogether, the front suspension gives the buggy a total of 13-inches of wheel travel, which allows the set of Centerline wheels, mounted to BFGoodrich 7.50x16LT racing tires, plenty of traction and the ability to stop quickly with the set of CNC front disc brakes. At the rear, the buggy’s swing arms are outfitted with dual Bilstein coil over shocks outfitted with Eibach springs. The BFGoodrich Baja T/A 33x10.5x15 inch tires are mounted to Centerline wheels and utilize CNC disc brakes for greater stopping power. Back On The Course McMillin’s Macadu is one of the many iconic vehicles in Baja racing history. It definitely brings back great memories for the family and many other racers. The vehicle was brought back to racing condition and everyone got to see it again in action on the race course during the Vintage Racing, NORRA 50th Anniversary of the Mexican 1000. The Macadu sports its original colors and top wing that helped make it famous on the race course in Baja. Look closely at the hood and you’ll see signatures from the who's who of desert racing that McMillin collected over the years. Inside, the two-seater is a tight fit but still accommodates two Mastercraft Safety seats and harnesses. The aluminum dash features a host of VDO and Stewart Warner gauges, along with multiple switches for lights and other functions. A Momo steering wheel provides accurate control while retaining the buggy’s original ’70’s look and function. While the buggy is still vintage in appearance and function, McMillin knows it’s better to race with some modern upgrades. These include a Lowrance GPS navigation system and an AVComm Pro Series communication system. Despite the upgrades, the steel shifter lever with the beehive billet shift knob is still a great reminder of the vehicle’s “VW” days and adds to its time period in Baja racing history. According to McMillin, the vehicle performed great at the Mexican 1000 and finished second in class. McMillin also won the Bilstein Madonna Award with Macadu, for being the first vehicle to finish equipped with Bilstein Shocks. For anyone who has never heard or experienced seeing a Chenowth buggy fly down the Baja peninsula, McMillin’s Macadu is definitely the prime example of what it took to win the SCORE Baja 1000 at that time. The fact that he still has it and it’s in race ready condition, is attributed to the McMillin family’s commitment to the sport of off-road racing and preserving the history of a sport that has launched the careers of many of today’s great racers. SJ

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