SCORE Journal


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

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FAST ISN’T FAST ENOUGH The Struggle For A Perfect Race By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, and Jose Vazquez Photos By Get Some Photo At the 2nd SCORE Baja 400 Presented by VP Racing fuels, it was evident that off-road racing has evolved to the next level with an interesting dichotomy. On one side, you have about a half-dozen drivers in the SCORE Trophy Truck division that have been racing from a very young age and are comfortable taking some calculated risks that can pay off with a race win. Combine these racers with the most high-tech AWD vehicles available, and you’ve got racers finishing within minutes or even seconds of each other. At the opposite end, there are the veteran racers, some of whom are legendary in off-road racing, who are fast but also patient. Many of them come from an era where the vehicles were not as stout and fast as they are now, and they had to learn how to protect the vehicle to finish the race. These racers, however, have the experience to keep up with any lead pack and can identify the opportunities to advance for the win. For SCORE fans, this all adds up to an exciting race where the winner is often the racer who makes the fewest mistakes and hits all the checkpoints on the course. As Bryce Menzies crossed the finish line to win the SCORE Baja 400, Luke McMillin was only three minutes and 22 seconds behind. Both were in the latest Mason AWD race vehicles. Nine minutes behind McMillin was a veteran racer and multi-time SCORE champion Rob MacCachren in a 2WD Geiser-built vehicle. Had either Menzies or McMillin garnered any flat tires on their way to the finish line, or got tagged with any course penalties, the overall winner in the class could have gone several different ways. For Luke McMillin, the race would have been better with a win, but he was happy to be in a good starting position for the 54th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts in November. “It was a good day,” said McMillin. “We came into this [race] hoping for a good starting position for the SCORE Baja 1000. We followed Bryce and were hoping he would make a mistake, but he is an awesome driver. We suffered one flat tire and that was unfortunate, but Jason (Duncan) did an amazing job changing it. I think he did it in under one minute. We had a couple of other little gremlins pop up that didn’t cost us a lot of time, but then we got eight minutes behind. We made up five of those, but it wasn’t enough. Overall, it was an amazing race. It was our second race in this all-wheel drive. Thank you to the entire McMillin Racing team, BFGoodrich tires, my co-rider, Jason Duncan, STG Suspension, Method Race Wheels, 4WP, our pit crew, and 40-50 volunteers that help us. We are thankful for that. I’m grateful for my wife, Jen, my parents– my entire family. They are amazing.” With a third-place finish in class, Rob MacCachren earned an opportunity to earn a fifth SCORE Baja 1000 career win. But after the announcement from him and Luke McMillin that they will be racing together at the SCORE Baja 1000, the possibility now seems even greater for both racers. It was at the 2020 SCORE Baja 1000 that McMillin teamed up with Lary Roeseler, a plan that worked to get McMillin his first victory in this race, and Roeseler’s 14th. Should McMillin win the 2021 SCORE Baja 1000, it would be his second and MacCachren’s 5th. “We qualified fifth and that’s what we needed to do to have a hunt and go up against these guys,” said MacCachren. “We had no flat tires thanks to BFGoodrich tires. I can’t thank SCORE enough for giving us these courses that make us so excited about our efforts during the day and our accomplishments. We got caught up behind Robby Gordon’s dust at first, but our truck was flawless. I’m excited about teaming with the McMillin team. Luke reminds me of myself – motivated. We will start preparing for the SCORE Baja 1000.” The Stage Is Set Since the SCORE Baja 400 was a qualifier for starting positions for the 54th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts, it will be truly a highly competitive race. Even though it is a peninsula run from Ensenada to La Paz, which hasn’t happened since 2017, the top racers will be grouped together like McMillin and MacCachren to form “super teams” that will help to improve their chances of winning. This team has insisted that MacCachren be the driver of record so he can have a chance to earn another SCORE Trophy Truck Championship. Bryce Menzies also teamed up with Andy McMillin to drive his No. 7 AWD Mason Truck. This in turn changes the starting position for racers such as Alan Ampudia, Dan McMillin, Cameron Steele, Gus Vildosola Sr., and Larry Roeseler. All that said, a peninsula run is much more of a logistical race as it is a fast-paced one. Teams can often win this race with optimally placed pit and refueling stops. But as this past season has demonstrated, any of the top dozen racers in this class are capable of winning. With such tough competition, winning may come down to the team or racer who makes the fewest mistakes. THREE-WINS FOR ROLF HELLAND Within the SCORE TT Legend class, Rolf Helland in the No. 37L SCORE Trophy Truck won his third race in a row and is well on his way to a 2021 Class Championship. “Rick Johnson qualified us and got us a good starting position and we had a great run,” said Helland. “He took it to about race mile 230 without any issues. We did have to put in a little bit of oil. I took it to the finish and had a pretty clean run overall. It got a little dicey at the end with the fog and the dust and it was tight and technical, but we brought it home in one piece.” Second place finisher Wade Porter in the No. 53 L truck drove the race solo. “We maintained a constant pace and hit all our notes from pre-running,” said Porter. “Everything went perfect for a change. All our crew is volunteers, and we can’t thank them enough, and KMC Wheels, Toyo tires, and VP Fuels. We look forward to the SCORE Baja 1000.” SJ

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