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FAST TIMES The SCORE Trophy Truck Classes Highlighted A Record-Setting 2024 San Felipe 250 Story by Stuart Bourdon, Paul Hanson, and Isaac Flores Photos by Get Some Photo If you could sum up the King Shock’s 37th SCORE San Felipe 250 race in one word, it would be fast. This year’s race saw 20 racers average more than 60 miles per hour over the racecourse. It also delivered a record-high average speed for the overall winner, Alan Ampudia, who steered his Mason-built all-wheel-drive Ford Raptor to the Overall and Unlimited Trophy Truck class win with an average speed of 70.71 miles per hour. This was also Ampudia’s first Baja race win driving solo, and his first race win since the 2019 SCORE Baja 1000.  In the premiere SCORE Trophy Truck division, Ampudia made only one stop in his team’s main pit at the Borrego highway crossing and had a dust-free and relatively trouble-free run. “I just kept it moving,” said Ampudia. I knew if we kept the truck moving, nobody would be able to get by us. The course was super-fast and rough. With the all-wheel-drive Mason truck, the silt was pretty easy, but there were lots of rocks.” “We had a good battle with Toby Price (No. 46 truck) and the rest of the guys all day.” His only real concern came in those last 20 miles before the finish line. He had lost comms with his chase crews late in the race and had no idea where any other competitors were until he finished. Because of that Ampudia decided to push as hard as he could on a punctured front tire with only nine psi to keep it on the rim, rather than stop to change it. Ampudia thanked his navigator Kyle Craft, telling us, “He killed it all day. He is an animal and I’m glad to have him in the right seat. Our Toyo tires hooked up great and the King Shocks ate up all the whoops. We can’t wait for the SCORE Baja 500.” McMillin Team Has The Beast Unleashed  Second in the Trophy Truck class and second overall was Luke McMillin. Luke had also driven the race solo. “It was a tough day, and we wrestled the truck all day,” said McMillin. “It was a handful. But we are here. We made it.” He made a couple of mistakes, earned two flats, and had to stop twice to put on new tires. Luke talked about spectators being so close to the racecourse in some places, “It was sketchy going up the lakebed with people parked right on the side of the racecourse, and we were driving through blind dust at 105 mph. It was extremely dangerous. But we are here at the finish line. I’m excited to put this race behind us and move forward to the next one.” The McMillin Team for 2024 consisting of Luke McMillin in the No. 83 Mason AWD, and Dan McMillin with cousin Andy McMillin in the No. 23 Mason AWD truck, had stirred up the competition by combining their efforts with a new sponsor. Both trucks were touting Monster Energy and “The Beast Unleashed” on their vehicles, along with new colors and logos. Dan and Andy finished in sixth place in the SCORE Trophy Truck Class.  Tavo Vildosola drove solo and finished with a third in class and third overall. He pushed his way through a troublesome race day. “We started sixth off the line and had an early flat,” said Vildosola. “Luke got by me there.” Vildosola soon passed McMillin who had stopped to change a flat tire. “I got by Bryce [Menzies] and [Chris] Polvoorde and was running physically third going into Morelia,” he said. “But then going into Chanate Wash we got a double flat. That put us down for about five minutes. It was a heartbreaker.” Vildosola managed to pass Price who had stopped on the side of the road later. “We could have been in second without that double flat, but that’s Baja. It nips you in the butt when you least expect it.” Gus Vildosola Sr. Wins Nine-In-A-Row Gustavo Vildosola Sr. was first in the SCORE Trophy Truck Legends class and 11th overall. He and co-driver Ricky Johnson are on a winning streak. The 2024 San Felipe 250 was their ninth SCORE race win in a row. Johnson started the truck that morning and according to him, the dust was thick and admitted having made a “rookie move,” getting two flats. “It’s our first race of the year, and we have more competition this year. Guys like Larry Roeseler, Clay Lawrence, Rick D. Johnson, and Rolf Helland were racing in our class, so after that downtime, I knew I needed to push as hard as possible,” said Johnson.  Johnson got passed by a lot of other drivers changing tires but managed to get back on track, eventually bringing the No. 1L truck back up to second. “I have to give it to Gus,” said Johnson. “He carried this race by going from second to first place. I was the only one that got flats. This race was unbelievably fast. I saw 135 miles per hour on the dry lakebed. Then things started getting too hot so I had to back off.” “Ricky gave me a truck in one piece as usual,” said Vildosola. “And here we are in one piece. I had no problems and no mechanical failures. Our team does a wonderful job. We are excited to start this season with a win again. We want to keep that 1L plate.” Lawrence And Roeseler Team Up Clay Lawrence had teamed up with legendary racer Larry Roeseler in the No. 85L truck, finishing second in the TT Legends class and 19th overall. Roeseler started the truck and drove it to race mile 160, where Lawrence took over the run into the finish line. “We were just trying to get a good run in here and make it a clean one,” he said. “There’s a long season ahead, and we want to at least make the carbon fiber go two races. I went fast where I could and tried not to hit too much cactus. We had to not fight the desert too hard for a while, then see where we stood with the rest of the racers.” Coming across the finish line third in the TT Legends class with an elapsed time of 5 hours, 3, minutes, and 7 seconds, was the driving team of Greg Adler and Thomas Fichter. Both have long histories in off-road and rock racing. Considering the number of experienced competitors in the TT Legends class, the team was happy with the result of their 2024 San Felipe 250 race and they are looking forward to the 2024 Baja 500. Thor Herbst Wins His First Race In a race filled with surprises, Thor Herbst, one of the third-generation scions of the Herbst family racing dynasty, won his first solo-driving race at the 2024 SCORE San Felipe 250. Crossing the finish line ahead of all other TT Spec trucks (and 10th overall), Herbst had a good day but encountered communication issues for about 10 miles early in the race. Around race mile 160 the engine hood came loose, partially blocking his view through the front window, and got it removed. Other than that, they had no problems and no flats. “We couldn’t have done it without my navigator Jeremy Munyon, and the effort of the whole Terrible Herbst Team,” said Herbst. “Everybody played a huge part in getting us to the finish line in first place.”  Second in class and 13th overall, Justin Davis who also piloted his race truck solo. At one point, he got blinded by the dust and ran over a big tree, suffering a flat tire in the process. Then after making up time, got into deep silt and ran over a big bush, getting a second flat tire. After that, he knew they had nothing to lose so he started pushing the truck harder. He was able to get past a few more competitors on his way to the finish line, with only Thor Herbst ahead of him on elapsed time. Santiago Creel took third place and 19th overall. “It was a rough course with lots of whoops,” he said. “It was very much the San Felipe racecourse we expected. The truck did well. We only had one flat getting to Borrego and it was our fault. The rock was in the middle of the racecourse. We couldn’t avoid it.” Click here to see the Official Finishers SCORE Trophy Truck Classes.  SJ

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