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LEANER AND MEANER Tavo Vildosola Returns To SCORE With A Healthier And Renewed Attitude To Win BY Dan Sanchez It’s been well over a year since Gus “Tavo” Vildosola Jr. has been behind the wheel of his SCORE Trophy Truck. Yet, he is determined now more than ever to get back into the driver’s seat and do what he loves best. “It’s been a long time since we raced, but even then, 2019 was not a memorable year for us,” said Tavo Vildosola. “At the beginning of the season we made a decision to change transmissions and we didn’t finish the first two races that year, finished fourth at the SCORE Baja 400, and didn’t finish at the SCORE Baja 1000. Then we got things fixed and were poised for the 2020 season, but COVID hit.” Vildosola is the CEO of Mexicana Logistics, a large transportation and logistics company in Mexico, that was started by his father, Gus Vildosola, who has a long history of off-road racing and was the 2015 SCORE Person Of The Year. “When the pandemic it, we felt it was not the right time to go racing for a lot of reasons,” said Vildosola. “There was a lot of uncertainty and we had to position our business to deal with the situation. We have 1400 families that depend on the business and we couldn’t distract from placing all of our attention on making sure our employees were safe in Mexico.” The responsibility of the business during the pandemic took its toll on Vildosola both physically and mentally, but he believes he’s emerged a better person. “By July of 2020, I had gained 19 pounds and felt terrible,” he said. “I decided to make a change and began to exercise, eat healthy, and slim down. Now I’m leaner than ever and I feel stronger than when I was younger. I’ll be 40 years old, and knowing that, I thought it was time to get into better shape to handle the abuse of driving a SCORE Trophy Truck again.” Heading into the 34th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE San Felipe 250 Presented by Ford, Vildosola has the experience of winning the race Overall, three times in a row (2013-2015). Despite his experience in the race and knowing the terrain well, he realizes getting back into racing will be a challenge during the 2021 season. “I have to first think about getting the truck through a tough Baja course and making it to the finish,” he said. “The playing field has changed and this makes competition a lot more difficult with a faster pace. But at the end of the day, the competition is what we focus on last. There are so many other things to do first in a race like the San Felipe 250. As a team, we understand that it has been a year and four months since we’ve raced, but with proper pre-running and now that our physical and mental preparation is different, we will also approach the race differently to win. I just have to be smarter.” Many SCORE fans are excited to see Vildosola back in action, and while he’s starting the season in the 2WD truck, there is a new Mason AWD waiting in the wings. “We have a new truck being built and it won’t be ready until after the SCORE Baja 500,” said Vildosola. “Even then, we plan to test the new truck during the summer and to have my dad test it in a few SCORE races in the Trophy Truck Legends Class to work the kinks out. We were initially shy about pulling the trigger on an AWD truck, but we did, and we’re happy with it. We just want to make sure we get enough miles on it first.” SJ

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