SCORE Journal


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

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Page 19 of 111

BLINK AND YOU MISSED IT SCORE Trophy Truck Racers Run Wide Open By Dan Sanchez, Paul Hanson, and Jose Vazquez Photos by Get Some Photo and Jack Wright NMedia3 As with any SCORE Baja race, it’s ultimately anyone’s to win. No matter how fast or conservative you are, it still takes luck, skill, and a vehicle that can survive the harsh course. In this class, some racers prefer to push their vehicles to the limits, risking everything for a win, while others lay back like predators, waiting for an opportunity for a competitor to make a mistake, and pounce ahead for the win.   This mixture of driving styles makes for great off-road racing not seen anywhere else but in Baja. Knowing what their teams and vehicles are capable of, some of the top contenders for the King Shocks 35th SCORE San Felipe 250 included 2021 race winner Bryce Menzies, Luke McMillin, Andy McMillin, and Alan Ampudia. These racers have consistently been the fastest on the course, but in driving all-out, they are also at greater risk of failure. One mistake, a flat tire, mechanical issue, or any mishap on the course can take them out of contention for a win. Veteran racers such as Rob MacCachren, Tim Herbst, Ryan Arciero, Cameron Steele, and Tavo Vildosola take a more cautious approach. Although they can be just as fast on the course, their risk-to-reward is more calculated and it often leads to a win simply because they stayed at a winning pace while others drop out. In the past, all racers could calculate which were the top five teams that could win any given race. Now, there are more than double the teams, making any SCORE Baja race that much more difficult to win. When the green flag dropped on the starting line, Bryce Menzies took off first after having the fastest qualifying time. He was followed by Justin Lofton and Luke McMillin who quickly set themselves to Menzie’s fast pace. Lofton got a flat early on the course, leaving Menzies and McMillin to battle for position. It was something both of them had done in previous races, finishing within seconds of each other for the win. Any mistake would be a costly one for either racer but Menzies developed a rear flat tire, allowing McMillin to take the lead. “We put on the pressure and chased him back down and eventually got by him, but I made a mistake, caught a rock, and got a flat,” said Menzies. “Luke got by me again and we couldn’t pass him on the run.” With only 277 miles on the course, McMillin kept the lead with Menzies only two minutes behind him. “It was just cat and mouse all day,” said Luke McMillin. “I want to give a big shout-out to BFGoodrich Tires. This is their 100th SCORE race win and that’s amazing. They really helped us win this race today alongside our partners. They’re a key ingredient. It was rocky and rough, this is a heavy truck and the tires held on.” Mike Walser with co-driver Jax Redline had one of their best SCORE races, finishing in third place. 2021 Champion Rob MacCachren finished fourth after starting in 13th position, showing that he is still a force to be reckoned with. SCORE TT LEGEND The SCORE Trophy Truck Legend-class pitted champion Gus Vildosola Sr. against 2021 SCORE TT Legend Champion Rolf Helland. Vildosola had co-driver Ricky Johnson qualify and got the first starting position and both kept it all day until the team reached the finish line to win the class. Helland finished in second place followed by Clay Lawrence. “What a terrific course,” said Vildosola Sr. “It was very difficult but our team stepped up to the challenge. I’m so happy with them and the truck, which worked pretty well. My co-driver Ricky Johnson did a fantastic job driving the first half of the race flawlessly, he handed me the car without a single scratch. He’s a great person and an amazing racer.” SCORE TT SPEC A total of 36 SCORE TT Spec racers entered the King Shocks 35th SCORE San Felipe 250, making the competition extremely difficult, even for 2021 race winner Jason Coleman and 2021 Class Champion Jason McNeil. After qualifying Ryan Hancock started first, followed by McNeil in second, Duston Grabowski in third, and Christopher Polvoorde who started in fourth. The level of competition was high, and right from the start, the lead changed several times. Hancock had issues leaving McNeil out front. Then Grabowski had issues allowing Polvoorde to easily move into second place. After McNeil had issues Polvoorde maintained the lead but was challenged by Jason Coleman and Christian Sourapas who were moving up the pack quickly. By the later part of the race, Polvoorde and Sourapas battled for the lead but ten miles out from the finish, Sourapas ran out of fuel and finished 20th. This left Polvoorde with the class win, his first ever in SCORE. “It was a short race, but such a long day, with so many variables,” he said. “We started off horribly and I thought that our day was over at about mile 50. To win here now doesn’t seem real. I screwed up big and when they told me I was in contention, I couldn’t believe it. It’s my first SCORE San Felipe 250 and they were not lying about the whoops, those things are insane. I got some flats and had some issues with cactuses and had a little crash with another truck. It was an eventful day but luck was on our side today.”  Meanwhile, Jason Coleman held on to his position to finish in second place. “We lost some positions at the beginning because of some bad line choices but just kept charging and trying to fight the dust,” said Coleman. “The second half of the race went better and we managed to charge to the end. I just tried to get here as fast as I could. I’m stoked to take this truck to the podium.” Pierce Herbst had an amazing race starting last in class to ultimately finish in third place. “I didn’t finish qualifying but finished the race and that’s what matters,” said Herbst. “We got a flat within the first ten miles, but changed it pretty fast and got back. We started 36th and finished well, so it was a great day. This was definitely a tough course, but it was the most fun I’ve ever had in a race making my way up the field.”  FINISH LINE TALK Rob MacCachren 4th Place: “We got caught in the dust of other people a couple of times and that held us back twice. The second time cost us quite some time and trying to make up time coming down at Matomi I clipped a rock and got a flat tire. But other than that, the truck did great. It was an awesome course, with a super-fast pace. It was definitely a good run.”  Tim Herbst 5th Place: “We did pretty well. We had to change a driveline out there that slowed us down quite a bit but other than that, we ran pretty well. I think Pat hit a tree and we took the roof off when we changed drivers, but that wasn’t a big deal. This truck is really nimble and did great.” Alan Ampudia 7th Place: “We started 34th, picked up a couple of guys at the beginning, but there was something wrong with the engine. We were down about 40 percent on power and it was hard coming out on slower turns. We lost a lot of time on that and also had a couple of flats. When the dust would let us, we’d pass some people and that’s the best we could do. We made it to the finish and salvaged a really bad day in qualifying.” Kyle Jergensen 11 Place: “It was a day with mechanical issues for us. We’re on our third drive shaft, so what can we do? Every time we get in any whoops, it just shuts the drive shaft off. But besides that, it was really smooth. We had no flats or anything major. But we had to just baby it from mile 80 on. We wanted to get the finish for the start at the SCORE Baja 500. This year’s challenges were all the bumps and I think it took a toll on a lot of the trucks.” Andy McMillin 16th Place: “It wasn’t the best day. The course was the roughest I’ve ever seen. We got a limited time for pre-running and it was so brutal out there, almost undrivable. Unfortunately, we had transmission issues and it was a long day for us. Sometimes it’s your day, sometimes it’s not your day and we’ll pick up the pieces, do some tests and try to be ready to win the SCORE Baja 500.” Dan McMillin 22th Place: “We were doing really well until about race mile 170 when we pitted. We were running right behind Luke (McMillin, No. 83) and Bryce (Menzies, No. 7) but started to get hot converted temps. We don’t know what happened, it seems that something internal got us. We changed it in the middle of nowhere and we’re here.” SCORE TT Spec Vincent Muñoz 5th Place: “We qualified 14th and had a pretty solid race until mile 150 when we had a flat. We picked up another one at about mile 210 and were running out of gas a few miles away from the finish line. We had an awesome day and just loved it.” Jorge Sampietro 7th Place: “We tried to keep the truck on the course, but in San Felipe, it’s always rough. We missed a couple of turns and a couple of flats early in the race, but we ran smoothly and we’re glad we’re here at the finish line. I was expecting a bottleneck at Matomi wash, but it went really smooth there. The whoops are very different from what we had on pre-running.” Christian Sourapas 20th Place: “We were battling Polvoorde (Christian, No. 204) for the win, but we ran out of gas just ten miles away from the finish line. We sat for one hour and that killed us. We made it, but we definitely have a sour taste in our mouths, considering how great the day went. It’s a bummer.”   Official Finishers SCORE TROPHY TRUCK (Unlimited Custom Trucks including Builder) (Starters 42, Finishers 25) 1. 83 Luke McMillin, 29, San Diego, Chevy 1500 (Mason), 04:25:21 (62.63 Miles Per Hour) 2. 7 Bryce Menzies, 34, Las Vegas, Ford Raptor (Mason), 04:27:29 3. 89 Mike Walser, 55, Comfort, TX/Jax Redline, 17, Amarillo, TX, Chevy Silverado (Mason), 04:29:19 4. 1 Rob MacCachren, 57, Las Vegas, Ford F-150 (Geiser), 04:31:01 5. 19 Tim Herbst, 58, Las Vegas/Pat Dean, 51, Las Vegas, Ford F-150 (Herbst/Smith), 04:40:52 6. 38 Eric Husted, 51, St. George, UT, Ford F-150 (Custom), 04:40:57 7. 10 Alan Ampudia, 31, Ensenada, MX/Aaron Ampudia, 29, Ensenada, MX, Ford Raptor (ID), 04:42:04 8. 82 Sam Baldi, 57, Beaumont, CA/Jake Johnson, 44, Yucaipa, CA, Chevy Silverado (Baldi), 04:47:37 9. 45 Gary Magness, 68, Denver/Jett Blackwell, Oklahoma City, Ford Raptor (Herbst/Smith), 04:59:38 10. 87 Dallas Luttrell, 40, Las Vegas,/Billy Goerke, 47, Las Vegas, Dodge Ram (Collins), 05:07:20; 11. 44 Kyle Jergensen, 26, Phelan, CA, Chevy Silverado (Brenthel), 05:08:55 12. 85 Mikey Lawrence, 34, Banning, CA/ Ford Raptor (Herbst/Smith), 05:16:09 13. 2 Chad Broughton, 26, Lompico, CA/Paul Broughton, 54, Scotts Valley, CA, Ford F-150 (Custom), 05:16:08 14. 70 Kevin Thompson, 48, New Braunfels, TX/Harley Letner, 39, Corona, CA, Chevy Silverado (Herbst/Smith), 05:37:22 15. 90 Raul Gomez, 42, Placerville, CA/, Ford Raptor (Geiser), 06:15;11 16. 31 Andy McMillin, 34, San Diego, Chevy Silverado (Mason), 06:49:20 17. 92 Paul Nauleau, 25, Los Gatos, CA (France)/Joe Desrosiers, 52, San Marcos, CA, Chevy Silverado (Custom), 06:56:19 18. 65 Dan Myers, 43, Newport Beach, CA/Steve Myers, 55, Newport Beach, CA, Toyota Tundra (R. Gordon),07:06:34 19. 34 Broc Dickerson, 20, Brawley, CA/Jeff Dickerson, 46, Brawley, CA, Ford Raptor (TSCO), 07:15:19 20. 58 Tracy Graf, 58, Canada/Justin B. Smith, 38, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado (Racer),07:34:32 21. 26 Dave Taylor, 48, Page, AZ, Chevy Silverado (Geiser), 07:37:56 22. 23 Dan McMillin, 34, San Diego, Chevy 1500 (Mason), 07:56:43 23. 18 JP Gomez, 37, Placerville, CA, Ford Raptor (Geiser), 07:56:47 24. 94 Steve Strobel, 58, Clarks, Neb./Christian Strobel, 16, Clarks, Neb., Ford Raptor (Strobel), 08:03:12 25.  98 Jose Mendez, 34, Guadalajara, MX/Robbie Pierce, 60, Santee, CA/Barry Karakas, Oak Hills, CA, Ford Raptor (Geiser), 09:26:43  SCORE TT LEGEND Unlimited Custom Trucks, including builder, Drivers over 50 years old) (Starters 8, Finishers 6) 1. 21L Gustavo Vildosola Sr, 68, Mexicali, MX/Ricky Johnson, 57, Trabuco Canyon, CA, Ford Raptor (Mason), 04:46:43 (57.97 Miles Per Hour)  2. 37L Rolf Helland, 62, Morris, Ill./Rick D. Johnson, 56, Barstow, CA, Ford Raptor (Mason), 04:48:03 3. 85L Clay Lawrence, 59, Banning, CA/Steve Lawler, 62, Upland, CALouis Mayers, 35, Perris, CA/Costa Gialamus, 41, Aguanga, CA, Herbst/Smith-Chevy, 05:31:40 4. 39L Bud Pecoy, 55, W. Des Moines, IA, Chevy Silverado (Brenthel), 06:11:19 5. 61L David Payne, 61, St. Louis, Mo./Ryan Williams, Peoria, AZ, Chevy Silverado (Brenthel), 06:17:31 6. 25L Mark Winkelman, 63, Cedar Hill, TX/Rudy Iribe, 54, Ensenada, MX/Ted Moncure, 53, Long Beach, CA/Charles Manchester, 59, Lake Tahoe, NV, Ford F-150 (Custom), 07:41:25 SCORE TROPHY TRUCK SPEC (unlimited Truck/SUV, stock, sealed engines) (Starters 36, Finishers 27) 1. 204 Christopher Polvoorde, 21, Hemet, CA, Mason-Ford, 04:53:34 (56.61 Miles Per Hour) 2. 292 Jason Coleman, 37, Huntington Beach, CA/Brady Melin, 30, Huntington Beach, CA, Herbst/Smith-Ford, 05:04:43 3. 264 Pierce Herbst, 19, Las Vegas/Thor Herbst, 20, Las Vegas, Herbst/Smith-Chevy, 05:08:09; 4. 261 Dan Fresh, 54, San Juan Capistrano, CA/Dan Fresh Jr, San Juan Capistrano, CA, Brenthel-Chevy, 05:08:23  5. 294 Vincent Munoz, 35, Yucaipa, CA/Roy Tomkins, 34, Redlands, CA, ODR-Chevy, 05:14:30 6. 207 Mason Cullen, 22, Long Beach, CA/Matt Cullen, 54, Long Beach, CA, Geiser-Chevy, 05:15:46 7. 297 Jorge Sampietro, 31, Ensenada, MX/Santiago Creel, 34, Mexico City, Mason-Chevy, 05:17:46 8. 263 EJ Herbst, 21, Las Vegas/Ed Herbst, 60, Las Vegas, Herbst/Smith-Chevy, 05:18:35 9. 277 Travis Williams, 47, Avondale, AZ/Pete Tolar, 45, Phoenix, Geiser-Chevy, 05:20:13 10. 240 Chris Miller, 48, Rancho Santa Fe, CA/Chasen Gaunt, 27, Torrance, CA, Mason-Chevy, 05:20:23 11.  282 Brent Fox, 53, Highland, UT, Herbst/Smith-Chevy, 05:22:42 12. 278 Carlos Ibarra, 44, Ensenada, Mexico/Moises Murqus, 42, Ensenada, Mexico/Gabriel Rosas, 50, Ensenada, Mexico, Ford Raptor (Padmur), 05:28:09 13. 228 Ryan Hancock, 46, Yuma, AZ/Brock Heger, 21, El Centro, CA/Jordan Poole, 32, Las Vegas, TSCO-Ford,05:32:18 14. 249 Dustin Swanson, 43, Honolulu, TSCO-Chevy, 05:34:12 15. 236 Michael Marsal, 33, Millbrook, N.Y./Hudson Hall, 29, New Braunfels, TX, Brenthel-Chevy, 05:35:11 16. 213 Karl Ebdrup, 50, Canada/Marc Ebdrup, 47, Canada, Brenthel-Chevy, 05:49:49 17. 266 David Ziegler, 46, Reno, NV/Paul Ziegler, 51, Reno, NV, Brenthel-Chevy, 06:05:42 18. 247 Scott Shields, 45, San Diego/Kevin Shields, San Diego, Alumi Craft-Chevy, 06:16:21 19. 299 Charles Dorrance, 46, Austin, TX/Larry Job, 55, Las Vegas, Geiser-Chevy, 06:17:17 20. 219 Christian Sourapas, 25, Rancho Santa Fe, CA/Brett Sourapas, 25, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, Herbst/Smith-Ford, 06:17:47 21. 225 John McNeil, 31, Mesa, AZ/Scott McNeil, 32, Mesa, AZ, Geiser-Ford, 06:19:57 22. 229 Danny Lopez, 32, Guadalajara, Mexico/Jorge Lopez, Guadalajara, MX, Jimco-Chevy, 06:39:49 23. 273 Jordan Brenthel, 35, Temecula, CA/Jonathan Brenthel, 42, La Cresta, CA, Brenthel-Chevy, 07:03:00 24. 238 Elijah Kiger, 22, Kirby, Pa./Sean Bogdan, 28, Kirby, Pa./Christopher King, 26, Kirby, Pa., TSCO-Chevy, 07:21:46 25. 284 Jose Contreras, 37, Tecate, Mexico/Eduardo Arellano, Tijuana, Mexico, Berman-Chevy, 08:02:13 26. 272 Dustin Grabowski, 25, Upland, CA, Herbst/Smith-Chevy, 08:05:06 27. 254 Mike Perez, 39, Houston/Jose David Castelan, 31, Ensenada, Mexico, Brenthel-Chevy, 08:26:18

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