Baja 1000: Pre-event notes 2007-10-29

Nov. 11-16 in Mexico - 40th anniversary of Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 to include nearly 450 entries from 41 U.S. States and 15 Countries Internationally-televised Granddaddy of all desert races 1,296.39-mile adventure down Mexico's Baja California...

Nov. 11-16 in Mexico - 40th anniversary of Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 to include nearly 450 entries from 41 U.S. States and 15 Countries
Internationally-televised Granddaddy of all desert races

1,296.39-mile adventure down Mexico's Baja California peninsula

LOS ANGELES--From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii in the U.S, and from Canada to Japan, adventuresome racers from around the world will be part of the massive starting grid for next month's 40th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race, the granddaddy of all desert races.

To be held Nov. 11-16, this year's historic 40th anniversary odyssey of the world's longest non-stop and most famous desert race will be a grueling and memorable 1,296-39 mile adventure down Mexico's mysterious Baja California peninsula starting in Ensenada, Baja California and finishing in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Sur.

The season-finale of the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series will feature nearly 450 entries from 41 U.S. States and 15 countries. From weekend warriors to Hollywood actors and producers, the famous and not-so-famous will compete in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. Among the entries are 22 class winners from last year's race.

While all the rugged regulars in the world's foremost desert racing series will be in Mexico, the lure of this amazing race also attracts crossover racers as well as adventurers from all walks of life.

The talented field of desert-racing veterans includes 134 racers who have combined for 343 class wins in this race. In that group are 11 racers who have combined for a total of 20 overall 4-wheel vehicle wins and 12 more riders have combined for 26 overall motorcycle victories.

"SCORE is on the brink of another historic desert racing milestone and we are awed and humbled by the unbelievable field for this year's 40th anniversary of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000," said Sal Fish, SCORE CEO and President since soon after the Los Angeles-based SCORE International was founded in 1973. "The stage has clearly been set for another star-studded, record-breaking memorable event in the storied history of this magnificent motorsports spectacle. We can't wait for the green flag to drop. It will be like watching 40 Super Bowls all at once."

The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. (PST) (Tuesday, Nov. 13) with the car and truck classes starting at approximately 11 a.m. (PST), or three hours after the last ATV leaves the line. The starting line will be on Blvd. Costero in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in Ensenada. Vehicles will leave in 30-second intervals in the elapsed-time race and while the fastest finishers are expected to complete the course in approximately 23 hours.

The finish line area in Cabo San Lucas will be inside the Campos de Futbol "Yenecamu" soccer fields next to the Villa del Palmar Resort, the official SCORE race headquarters. The SCORE Media Center and SCORE Race Operations will both be located at the adjacent Villa del Palmar. Passing times from all BFGoodrich Tires pit locations, of all vehicles, will be posted there as well to assist in monitoring the race progress.

With massive crowds reaching over 300,000 anticipated to again be spread out along the point-to-point course, the race will start for the 33rd time in Ensenada and will finish for only the second time in Cabo San Lucas.

NASCAR Nextel Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., whose roots are in SCORE desert racing, returns as defending overall 4-wheel winner in the Team Gordon No. 71 Chevy CK1500 in SCORE Trophy-Truck. Gordon will pull double-duty, driving the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 before flying to Homestead, Fla., to race in the NASCAR Nextel Cup season finale.

Also returning to their racing roots are NASCAR Truck Series regular Brendan Gaughan, Las Vegas, and NASCAR Grand National West Series regular Brian Ickler, Poway, Calif.

Among the other cross-over racers who are entered to date include World Rally champion Armin Schwarz of Germany, NASCAR Nextel Cup racer Boris Said, 2007 Dakar Rally overall motorcycle champion Cyril Despres of France, former IndyCar star Danny Sullivan, former NASCAR and open-wheel racer turned TV commentator Wally Dallenbach, actor/racer Patrick Dempsey, star of the ABC TV hit show 'Grey's Anatomy', former IndyCar racer Scott Atchison, Supercross motorcycle legends Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Johnson, Freestyle Motorcross superstar Mike Metzger, father and son Pike's Peak Hill Climb champions Rod and Rhys Millen (who is also a Drifting point champ) along with fellow PPHC champion Gay Smith, former Sprint Car turned stock car racer Erin Crocker, Indy Pro Series team owner/driver Ken Losch, Rock Crawling star Tracy Jordan, Snowmobile racers Paul Thacker and Chris Burandt, Snowboarder Luke Trembath, Rally racers Ken Block and Tanner Faust, TV show creator/producer Bud Brutsman, and BMX racer/TV personality Dave Mirra.

In his first full season in the SCORE Desert Series, TV personality Jesse James, of Monster Garage fame, will drive his new No. 54 Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck.

Among the other very notable entries are Rod Hall, Reno, Nev., and Ron Bishop, Escondido, the only two individuals who have raced in all 39 previous Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 races.

The legendary Hall, of Reno, Nev., who will turn 70 on Nov. 22, has a race-record 18 career class wins in this race (including the 1969 overall 4-wheel vehicle title) and is the only driver to have competed every year in a car or truck class. Hall returns this year as the defending season point champion in a Hummer H3 in the Stock Mini class. His son's Chad and Josh will complete the Team Hummer entry, each driving different Hummers in the Stock Full Class.

Bishop, 64, who will lead a five-rider team as rider of record this year in Class 22, is the only racer who has competed every year on a motorcycle. He will be racing on a KTM 525XC motorcycle.

Garron Cadiente in SCORE Trophy-Truck and Richard Lancaster in Class 22 for open motorcycles drew the pole positions for the 40th anniversary of the desert racing classic at a 'live' drawing for starting positions at the Lake Elsinore (Calif.) Casino on Sept. 22.

Cadiente, 31, of Mesa, Ariz., was the 2006 SCORE Rookie of the year and is third in this year's SCORE Trophy-Truck season point standings after winning September's SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 in the No. 38 G&R Racing Ford F-150. There are 31 entries so far in the SCORE Trophy-Truck, the marquee SCORE racing division for 800-horsepower, high-tech, unlimited production trucks.

Lancaster, 29, Santa Margarita, Calif., will lead 24 entries (to date) in Class 22 for open motorcycles on the No. 2x Honda XR650R. His additional riders are Peter Hardy, Pozo, Calif., John Kaisersatt, Los Osos, Calif., Fred Jowett, Atascadero, Calif., and Chris Whalley, Topanga, Calif.

Drawing the first start in the ATV classes was the championship team led by Danny Prather, 27, Ramona, Calif., who will ride the No. 1a Honda TRX450R in Class 25. His teammates are Mike Cafro, Bonsall, Calif., Levi Marana, Ramona, Calif., and Marc Speath, Warner Springs, Calif.

Among the other racers entered with significant class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 are: Larry Roeseler, Hesperia, Calif., Class 1 (15), Chris Haines, Dana Point, Calif. Class 50 (12), Haines' teammate Jack Johnson, Boulder City, Calif. Class 50 (11), Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif., Class 22 (9), Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico, Class 11 (9), Mark McMillin, Chula Vista, Calif., Class 1 (8), Malcolm Smith, Riverside, Calif., Stock Full (8), Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., Class 22 (7, five straight motorcycle overalls), and Ted Hunnicutt Jr., Temecula, Calif., SCORE Trophy-Truck (7).

In what has shaped up as a movie-script duel between the 'veterans' Mark Post and Rob MacCachren and young gun B.J. Baldwin, the showdown in Mexico will decide the overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck point championships of the 2007 SCORE Desert Series. With a single point separating the top two SCORE Trophy-Truck teams of 2007 an epic showdown is expected.

After five of six events in the 2007 SCORE Desert Series, Post, 50, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.,

and MacCachren, 42, of Las Vegas, have two wins, one second and two fourths to compile 359 points to date in the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford-F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck.

Baldwin, 28, of Las Vegas, is the reigning SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion in the No. 1 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado. Just one point behind Post/MacCachren, Baldwin has one race win this year, one second, two thirds and one fourth to remain in position to become the first back-to-back SCORE Trophy-Truck point champion since Ed and Tim Herbst of Las Vegas did it in 1999 and 2000 and again in 2002 and 2003.

A total of just 33 points separate the top 10 overall point leaders after September's 12th SCORE Terrible's Primm 300.

Third in SCORE Trophy-Truck points and third overall is Garron Cadiente with 338 points after his SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 victory.

Leading Class 1-2/1600 and fourth overall with 334 points is Dave Caspino, Woodland Hills, Calif., in a VW-powered Lothringer open-wheel desert race car.

Tied for fifth overall with 332 points each are the team of Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz./Brian Collins, Las Vegas and brothers Bill Gasper, Chino Hills, Calif./Bill Gasper, Santa Barbara, Calif.. Ragland/Collins are fourth in SCORE Trophy-Truck points in the No. 12 Collins Motorsports Chevy Silverado while the Gaspers lead the unlimited Class 1 in their Porter-Chevy.

SCORE points are determined both on final finishing position and number of vehicles that started the race within the individual class.

Seventh overall and second in Class 1-2/1600 with 331 points is the team of L.J. Kennedy, Orange, Calif./Sammy Ehrenberg, Las Vegas in a ChenoSPF-VW.

In a three-way tie for eighth overall and tied for second in Class 1 with 316 points heading to Mexico's massive season finale are Larry Roeseler/Troy Herbst, Ronny Wilson and Eric Chase and his father Stuart Chase. Roeseler/Herbst, who have two race wins this year and have won Class 1 for three straight years at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, drive the No. 100 Smithbuilt-Ford, Wilson drives a Jimco-Chevy while the Chases pilot a Penhall-Chevy.

Pre-race festivities on Monday, Nov. 12, for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, including tech and contingency and the SCORE Manufacturer's Midway will be held from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (PST) adjacent to Nico Saad's San Nicolas Hotel, the official SCORE race headquarters in Ensenada. The pre-race mandatory driver/rider briefing will be held Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. (PST) at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. Racer registration will be held at the San Nicolas from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (PST) on

Sunday, Nov. 11 and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (PST) on Monday, Nov. 12.

The post-race Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Award's Celebration will be held during the SCORE Fiesta at the Playa Cascadas (adjacent to the Villa del Palmar) at noon on Friday, Nov. 16.

The four-wheel vehicle classes with the most entries to date are Class 1 (33), SCORE Trophy-Truck (31), Class 1-2/1600 (25), Class 5/1600 (23), SCORE Lite (19), Baja Challenge (18), Class 8 (14), Protruck (13), Stock Full (12) and Class 5 (11).

The motorcycle classes with the most entries so far are: Class 22 (24), Class 40 (16) and Class 30 (11).

Leading the six Sportsman classes in the race is Sportsman Motorcycle over 250cc which has 53 and Sportsman ATV with 17 entries to date.

It's the oldest and most well known of all desert races, and it remains as the single most appealing accomplishment to a driver. Since 1967, the mother of all desert races has been run over Mexico's mysterious Baja California peninsula.

This year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour NBC Sports special for the fourth consecutive year, airing on Dec. 30 on the NBC Television Network. It will also air on a delayed basis outside of the U.S. on ESPN International.

The 2007 SCORE Desert Series also includes the chase for the $75,000 Kartek Off-Road contingency bonus to be awarded to several 2007 SCORE Class point champions along with the run for the $12,000 Toyota True Grit and Toyota Milestone Awards.

The race will also include the special $40,000 cash contingency purse provided by Volkswagen of America. Top finishers in all classes where VW engines are required or allowed will be eligible.

-credit: www.score-international.com.

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