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DESERT DIARIES2 BaJa Racers share what they are doing during the COVID-19 outbreak By Dominic Clark Photos by Jack Wright nMedia3 While the world is focused on the COVID-19 outbreak, we checked in on Andy, Luke, and Dan McMillin, as well as Bryce Menzies, Kristen and Wayne Matlock, Santiago Creel, Ryan Arciero, and Rick Geiser to see how they are doing and how they are preparing for when life and SCORE racing returns to normal. Here are just a few of the responses. SCORE: How are you and your family coping overall with this virus situation? Kristen Matlock: Like everyone in the world, our normal routine was drastically changed overnight. We have been following the “Stay-At-Home” order and finding things to do around the house together as a family. So far we have been hiking in the Cleveland National Forest behind our house, built a Traxxas track in our front yard, set up a game camera on the backside of our property (we caught a fox, skunk, and a few bunnies on it so far), we have been running daily since our gyms are closed and the kids follow us on their bikes, we have been target shooting, and have been organizing the house, race shop, and cabinet shop. Fortunately, our cabinet business is still considered “Essential” so we have been able to keep it running. We are missing racing though and cannot wait until we can get back down to Baja! Dan McMillin: We’re doing good, doing our part to stay socially safe from people we don’t know but enjoying good friends and family during this time. I’ve personally been spending a lot of time at our home in Arizona on the Colorado River, enjoying the open air and sunshine…and cold beers. Ryan Arciero: This is not an easy situation for anyone around the world to handle but for me and my family, we try to stay calm, stay isolated which for sure is not fun at all since we are a very outdoor family and always on the move, listen to our President and Commander and Chief, and just enjoy this time we have together as a family. I have my wife and our boy/girl twin three-year-old kids, so it has been a challenge, more so for my wife as I have been doing my best to stay busy with work. Bryce Menzies: Yes everyone is healthy at home. We are taking extra vitamins and doing our part to social distance ourselves from everyone. SCORE: How is your business handling this situation? Santiago Creel: We are facing a very difficult situation for the economy and we all hope it passes soon. Rick Geiser: Definitely a slow-down, but working 50-70 hours a week for the last 20 years it feels good to slow down a bit. We have good customers and employees that understand. Andy McMillin: Business is suffering for sure. We own apartments and three hotels, and people aren't traveling and some residents in our apartments are hanging in there for the most part. The biggest worry at this time is the hotels. Ryan Arciero: My work has slowed dramatically and we are trying to survive. There are a couple of projects that I just started a couple of weeks ago that are not affected negatively by the virus that could turn into a saving grace in the short term. We need to be as creative as we can in times like this, keep our heads up and keep pushing. I am not the guy that curls up in a ball and gives up. Bring it on and through the will of God, this too shall pass and we will be strong on the other side as individuals and as a society. Luke McMillin: Business at DLM Properties is doing well! Thankfully with his downtime in racing, I have been able to take some time and get all caught up with DLM, which is Dan and I’s company. We have a broad portfolio of multi-family property that we manage, and thankfully while working with our tenants and property managers through these hard times, we can stay afloat. With any downturn, we always have our eyes and ears open to make the best of every situation for everyone. SCORE: What is your race team and shop doing at this time? Ryan Arciero: The race team is eagerly waiting for our next event and focusing on that. Our guys at Herbst/Smith Fabrication and Terrible Herbst Motorsports are so dedicated and incredible guys and it is such a joy to be a part of this program and I can’t wait for us to get that truck back in the dirt again and for us all to be back together as a team. Most of our guys are taking care of their families and making sure they are staying healthy. We started on an abbreviated schedule but now are shut down to wait this thing out. Andy McMillin: Our race team is spread out between San Diego and Lake Elsinore. Our shop in San Diego only has two people, a mechanic and an accountant, so they are doing things around the shop, paying bills, and keeping their distances. Our two guys in Lake Elsinore are catching up on things, doing some fixes to our pre-run trucks, and our race truck in this downtime. Bryce Menzies: Our race team is doing part-time right now. We have a large shop and can separate some of the guys to work part-time right now to still provide for their families. Luke McMillin: Our entire race team took a few weeks off from working at the shop during the initial rise of the virus. But now we are focused on improving our race shop itself, our processes, organization, and other things that are tough to keep up on with a busy race schedule. We’ve also been able to spend a lot of time working on our new No. 83 AWD truck which will be completed in July and raced in 2021. SCORE: What are you doing to get some physical and mental exercise and stay physically sharp during this challenging time? Bryce Menzies: I’ve gone out in my Polaris RZR a few times. I also work out with my wife at our home gym. As for mental exercise, breathing workouts, meditation, and reading. Kristen Matlock: While the gyms have been closed, we have taken up running outdoors when the weather permits and we purchased a treadmill for the rainy days. We also started doing a daily weight training routine in our living room that even our kids enjoy doing with us! To keep our mental focus sharp, we just stay active, eat healthy, take our vitamins/immunity boosters, and play brain-stimulating games with the kids. Occasionally we hide behind a door and jump out at each other to keep our reaction times strong! Santiago Creel: Yes, every morning I try to do exercise and then I have to work at home, so we got that covered. Andy McMillin: Doing workouts from home, going on walks and runs with my wife, chasing our kids around outside. It's been tough for sure. Staying at home and not going to work, helping my wife with both of our kids is draining and tiring for sure, haha! But it's a special time I get to spend with the family so I'm just trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation. Ryan Arciero: I take my fitness very seriously as I believe this is a very important part of being a successful race car driver. It is not just the physical side of training by the mental side as well. I ride my road bike and put in about 100 miles a week into my training and have been concentrating on interval workouts to keep me in good shape for endurance racing which is what we do. SCORE: What is your best race memory of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship? Ryan Arciero: By far the most memorable was winning the inaugural Lucerna Baja 400 overall. was such an incredible race and one of the closest races with so many TT’s at the end capable of winning. Dan McMillin: My best memory from the 2019 SCORE season was probably passing Robby Gordon at the SCORE San Felipe 250, and being right there on time to take the win. As a kid I loved watching the show Robby would put on, and still do. He’s a legend and showman. So that was pretty cool. I don’t think I took a breath the last 30 miles, Josh (Burrows-navigator) and I were pushing so hard. We ended up second overall after starting like 39th or something, but a time penalty (25 in a 20 mph zone…) bumped us into third place. Still an incredible run and we still finished on the podium. Andy McMillin: My best memory is probably the SCORE Baja 500 win. That is such a big race and to start in front, stay out front and win the race from the pole position was extremely gratifying. It was a very close race right to the end too so that made it even more satisfying. Luke McMillin: Leading the SCORE Baja 1000 for a few hundred miles is definitely at the top of the 2019 list for me. Even though we ended up third overall, we had a great race and it was a lot of fun. I enjoy night driving and the mystique of the SCORE Baja 1000. SCORE: Which SCORE Baja race is your most favorite and why? Wayne Matlock: For me, it is the SCORE San Felipe 250. Kristen and I have managed to take back to back wins at this event, I have won it three straight years now and I love the atmosphere in the town of San Felipe. Dan McMillin: Easy, the SCORE Baja 1000 peninsula run. Nothing like that race. The distance, the patience, the planning, the strategy, the pre-running, and the thousands of fans down the peninsula. I’m conservatively-fast so the SCORE Baja 1000 is my kind of race. I’m winning it this year, even if it is a loop race. Rick Geiser: It would be the SCORE Baja 500. That race is just the right length and size for me. Andy McMillin: The SCORE Baja 500 is probably my favorite race to race. It is the perfect mileage to where it separates the men from the boys, and the logistics are relatively easy as compared to say the SCORE Baja 1000. That said, the race I want to win every year is the SCORE Baja 1000. We are strategizing now on how to get back in the winner's circle at the SCORE Baja 1000 and the rest of this year we will dedicate ourselves to winning the SCORE Baja 1000. Luke McMillin: This is tough. I can come up with a reason why each one of the three traditional SCORE Baja races is my favorite between the SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE Baja 500, and the SCORE Baja 1000… But at the end of the day, nothing beats the SCORE Baja 1000. Bryce Menzies: I enjoy racing the SCORE Baja 500 the most for a few reasons. I feel like the mileage is perfect for a sprint race in Baja. We also get to drive across the pacific coast and see so many different types of terrain in a short distance. Pre-running is also one of my favorite activities that we can do in Baja. Knowing the racecourse gives us the advantage to push our truck to its potential. Ryan Arciero: Without a doubt, the SCORE Baja 1000 is my favorite and the one I look forward to every year. I have been very fortunate to have won this race three times, once in Class 1 with Bob Gordon and twice in 2003 and 2004 with Mark Miller in SCORE Trophy Truck and so so so many close seconds, thirds, fourths and not to mention the DNF’s and heartbreaks. This race has a big way of humbling you and one of the toughest races in the world to try and win. This is a race that the world takes notice of and one of few races in the world that a win in it overshadows a lot of championships.SJ

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