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Dan McMillin Wins The 2020 SCORE Baja 500 Realizing His Dream Of Winning In A SCORE Trophy Truck Was No Easy Feat By Larry Saavedra When the dust settled in San Felipe at the 52nd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Dan McMillin and Justin B. Smith took the Overall win with a time of eight hours, 29.17 seconds. It was McMillin’s first career SCORE Trophy Truck victory. McMillin also earned a $25,000 contingency bonus from longtime SCORE sponsor BFGoodrich Tires. The race was an epic battle from start to finish that covered 493 miles, pitting McMillin against multiple SCORE Trophy Truck racers including his brother Luke McMillin, along with legendary racers such as Rob MacCachren and Larry Roeseler. With desert temperatures in the high 90s with 60 percent humidity SCORE turned up the heat even more by creating one of the most challenging Baja 500 courses in recent memory. “We started at 7:04 a.m. and were fourth off the line,” said McMillin. “We didn’t have any issues going up north, but our pits were pretty exciting because my brother Luke and I were stacked up. At mile 260 I was running second on the road and that’s when I saw Robby Gordon in front of me. He was about 20 seconds ahead and I was gaining on him.” The 4WP McMillin Racing Chevy C1500 built by Mason Motorsports challenged Gordon for miles as the two drivers weaved through the rough course. But as things would have it, that game of cat and mouse was short-lived. McMillin suffered a flat-tire chasing Gordon which allowed Tim Herbst, Alan Ampudia, and Luke to get by. “After that incident, I made up some time,” he said. “The five of us were stacked up about a minute from each other until mile marker 330. I gave the truck to “Bean” Smith and Brady. After that driver change, Gordon seemed to fall out, Ampudia had to pit, and Luke had an issue with his truck. We again had the second position behind Herbst, eating his dust all the way.” “I got lucky on the lakebed. It was difficult to see where the course was going. I figured it out, but it was not easy because I was doing about 120 mph and it was seriously dusty.” McMillin said he ran flat out at 135 mph where he could. “I backed it off sometimes and burped the throttle when I needed to and that seemed to work for us,” he said. “Starting early in the morning helped a lot, there were no serious issues with the truck. I think we averaged about 58 mph. I was surprised at how many spectators there were out in the desert. I think everyone came down to get out of the house and watch the race. It was really good for San Felipe. People were wearing masks in town just like in the U.S., but they showed up in the desert. I remember seeing the gas stations packed with cars waiting to fill up before the race so they could go find a place to watch the event.” Unlike previous races, there were no spectators at contingency or on the start/finish line and although he missed the cheers there, McMillin congratulated SCORE for adhering to safety protocols. “I thought everything went well, the speed zones and start and finish were extremely well organized,” he added. “It was different because there were no signing shirts and taking pictures at the start and only the media at the finish. It was a little less stressful.” McMillin is now more confident than ever for the upcoming SCORE Baja 1000. “We’re starting first and that’s a huge advantage,” he said. “The San Felipe course was hot and tough, and that prepared us for the SCORE Baja 1000. Our strategy will be to see where the course goes first and then decide on who starts first. We need to be patient, drive the truck, and go win another.” SJ

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