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CHAMLEE’S NINETEENTH Dan Chamlee Retains his Class 7 Championship Title By Larry Saavedra After 20-plus years of desert racing Dan Chamlee in the No. 700 Class 7 Ford picked up his 19th SCORE Class 7 Championship, after the dust settled at the 56th BFGoodrich SCORE Baja 1000 presented by K&N. He says he owes it all to the strategy that every race counts and finishing is the name of the game. “There’s been a lot of serious competition at times that wanted to kick us off the leaderboard, but I never had any doubt that I could persevere if I focused on finishing at all costs,” he said, after taking another class title. Winning has never been easy, however, as he emphatically commented, especially considering he’s a privateer who is sometimes pitted against factory-backed efforts. Looking back, here’s how the 2023 World Desert Championship season unfolded for him. 36th SCORE San Felipe 250 “I have a home in San Felipe so I was able to pre-run the course from start to finish,” he said. “But because I pre-run a side-by-side it’s not the same as the race truck. I wish I had a second race truck to pre-run, but over the years I’ve got to know the terrain well.” Chamlee said the truck ran fine, but the steering was sloppy nearing the finish. When he finally got the truck on a lift he realized that the tie-rod was hanging on by a thread. 55th SCORE Baja 500 Chamlee would rather forget the ‘23 SCORE Baja 500, because he says it wasn’t his best effort. “It was the first race in six years that I didn’t finish. Coming down off the summit I started hearing noises and felt vibrations. I drove it until it stopped.” At first, Chamlee figured it was the rear-end. He took it out and had everything cleaned by the time his crew arrived with a fresh one. He jumped back in the truck, put it in gear, and that’s when the transmission let loose. “What are the odds of that happening,” he questioned. “I think what happened was a big chunk of gear went into the transmission and seized it.” According to Chamlee they replaced the transmission and in doing so misaligned the torque converter spline, and that ultimately put an end to his day. 4th SCORE Baja 400 After a disappointing DNF at the previous race, Chamlee knew he was down in points to the current leader at the time, Gaspar N. Espindola in the No. 716 Ford. “I knew I was a lot faster than Espindola,” he said. “I ran a clean race and he timed out by several minutes. It could have been a different outcome if he was slightly faster.” 56th SCORE Baja 1000 While the field was larger in Class 7, Chamlee took the lead early and kept the pace until race mile 550. “The front snout snapped off the truck and I spent five hours trying to repair it,” he said. Chamlee’s lead was gone, and he was in last place in class, allowing Mike Shaffer in the No. 710 Chevy to take the lead and hold it until the finish. Because Espindola was having problems too, Chamlee was able to put himself in second place behind Shaffer to be on the podium, and earn enough points to give him the class title. “Every single race, the goal is the championship,” he said. “It’s always about the points, not the individual races.”

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