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

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A PERFECT STORM . A Flawless Race Starts Luke McMillin On Course To Another SCORE Championship   . Story by Stuart Bourdon .Photos by Get Some Photo . When the dust settled on the King Shocks 36th SCORE San Felipe 250 presented by Baja Vida Snacks, Luke McMillin had nailed another overall and SCORE Trophy Truck class win. Luke won the same race last year and went on to finish the 2022 racing season with the SCORE Trophy Truck Championship. His Overall and class win at this year’s SCORE San Felipe 250 set McMillin and his team up with a great start for the 50th Anniversary season of SCORE off-road racing. . “I have to admit, it was a pretty uneventful day,” said McMillin. “Everything went perfectly. We started fourth off the line and took off pretty fast because we wanted to put pressure on the guys ahead of us. Tavo [Vildosola] took off from the start really hard on the gas, pulled the truck up on three wheels, burned rubber, and was running full blast. The chase was on, but it didn’t take us long to settle into our groove.” . Fast-Paced Race . Even for the average speeds SCORE Trophy Truck teams usually push through the San Felipe desert, the pace was extremely fast. “We were running at a pretty good pace, picking up a little bit of time on everyone early in the race,” said McMillin. Just before El Chinero, McMillin passed Vildosola Jr., who was pulled over with a flat tire. About ten miles farther down, Bryce Menzies was also off the course with a flat tire, and McMillin got ahead of him. . One of McMillin’s tough competitors in this race was Toby Price and Paul Weel in the No. 46 truck, who had qualified first for the start of the race. To McMillin’s surprise, he came around Price about forty miles down the course, who was stopped due to an issue with the engine. “I was driving the truck at about ninety percent up to that point,” said McMillin. “But after we got past Toby and knew we were out front, I backed it off to about eighty percent and we just paced ourselves all the way to Borrego. Tavo had gotten back on the course pretty fast and was not all that far behind us, but we were continually picking up time on him.” . By the second half of the race, McMillin had about an eight-minute lead. “From then on, we just cruised it and stayed out of trouble. We didn’t have a single issue during the entire race. Our only stop lasted for eighteen seconds while getting refueled. We never changed a tire, start to finish.” McMillin finished the race in four hours, twenty-nine minutes, and twenty-seven seconds, averaging a brisk 62.91 miles per hour over the rough and challenging 260-plus mile-long racecourse.    . . . The Mini-Summit Bypass . The 2023 San Felipe 250 race course originally contained a stretch called the “mini-summit” that looked more like a rock-crawling Jeep trail than a desert racecourse. When it became obvious it would likely create a racecourse roadblock (which has in the past caused long delays for many racers), a bypass to go around it was mapped out. . Just before race day, however, SCORE officials had decided to cut out the mini-summit completely. McMillin had pre-run the mini-summit and said, “I think I could have driven it, because we knew it well, but it was still pretty gnarly. It wasn’t really a function of skill because you could slowly pick your way through it. The uncontrollable factor was the sheer size of the rocks that drivers would have to slide down on the truck’s (or car’s) belly, hoping nothing underneath got damaged.” . “In the end, I applaud Jose G. for trying something different and bringing the mini-summit back into the course, but I think pulling it out and making the bypass the official course was a good choice.” . . . Luke’s Favorite Race . When asked about racing the San Felipe 250, McMillin said, “I love San Felipe. I actually wish we had another race that started in San Felipe. The race is short and very rough, but our team camps on the beach, and we stay there for the entire week leading up to the race.” . Luke added, “It’s the atmosphere and the people. San Felipe is a small town with a really good vibe and good food, and it’s a relaxing place to be. The SCORE Baja 1000 is my favorite race because it’s ‘the Baja 1000’ and is known worldwide. But the San Felipe 250 is one of off-road racing’s most iconic races and is the one I probably enjoy the most.” SJ .

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