ENSENADA, Mexico (Nov. 6, 1999) - High hopes of Toyota reclaiming the overall SCORE Baja 1000 title were dashed on Friday, Nov. 5 as both Ivan Stewart and Robby Gordon started their day trapped behind a wedged vehicle.
The problem happened when Trophy-Truck competitor Mark Post, who was first off the line, tried to pass in a narrow part of the 672.6-mile course and lodged his vehicle between a boulder and the valley wall. Race traffic, including Tundra Racing V8-powered drivers Stewart and Gordon, piled behind the stuck vehicle for at least 20 minutes before it could be moved. Four-time Baja 1000 winner Larry Ragland was in front of the incident before it happened and gained a significant lead in front of the competition.
"It is always difficult to catch Larry Ragland," explained Stewart of Alpine, Calif. "It was really hard to catch him after he made it through the backup early on. I had a lot of trouble driving in the dust all day, and I had a couple flats where we lost time. It was a tough race."
Stewart and his Precision Preparation Inc. team took the checkered flag at 11:50 p.m. after almost 15 hours of navigating through Baja Mexico's most rough and dusty terrain. He came in third behind Ragland and Larry Roeseler. Gordon, driving for his own Team Gordon, finished fifth in the Trophy-Truck division after suffering transmission problems during the day.
Bob Gordon (Robby's father) and Ryan Arciero earned Toyota's top finish with a second place in their Toyota-powered V6 buggy in Class 1.
A one-hour special on the SCORE Baja 1000 will be broadcast on Speedvision on Friday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. (PST).
(Courtesy: Toyota Motorsports)