Baja 1000: Pre-race notes

ENSENADA, Mexico--Colorful pre-race festivities start Sunday for the 40th Anniversary celebration of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race, but when the green flag drops on Tuesday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, the racing...

ENSENADA, Mexico--Colorful pre-race festivities start Sunday for the 40th Anniversary celebration of the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race, but when the green flag drops on Tuesday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, the racing will be as intense as it gets with 2007 SCORE Desert Series season point championships on the line.

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 majestic 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 features nearly 450 entries from 43 U.S. States and 16 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 rs 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 motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. (PST) (Tuesday) 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 talented field of desert-racing veterans includes 138 racers who have combined for 358 class wins in this race. In that group are 12 racers who have combined for a total of 21 overall 4-wheel vehicle wins and 12 more riders have combined for 26 overall motorcycle victories.

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.

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.

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.

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 right after racing in Phoenix and just before flying to Homestead, Fla., to race in the NASCAR Nextel Cup season finale. Driving nearly 300 miles of the middle section of the race will be 2003 SCORE Overall point champion Dale Ebberts, Canyon Lake, Calif.

Just 14 points separate 11th through 15th overall with a tie at 13th in the standings. At 11th overall with 309 points is the team of Daniel McMillin, El Cajon, Calif./Caleb Gaddis, El Centro, Calif., who are third in Class 1-2/1600 in a Jimco-VW. B.J. Richardson, Las Vegas, who was leading the overall and Class 1 point standings before a DNF in Primm, is 12th overall and fifth in Class 1 with 304 points in a Bunderson-Chevy.

The team of Tim Noe, San Diego/Tom Watson, El Centro, Calif., is the new point leader in SCORE Lite and tied for 13th overall with 297 points in a Jimco-VW with Dan Myers, Newport Beach, Calif., who is sixth in Class 1 in a Porter-Chevy.

Just two more points back at 295 in 15th overall and second in SCORE Lite is the team of Stan Potter, San Marcos, Calif./Dan Worley, Encinitas, Calif., in another Jimco-VW.

Two racers in 4-wheel vehicle classes who started the 2007 season with three straight wins and continue to lead the points in their respective classes are Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix (Class 8, Chevy Silverado) and Lobsam Yee, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 10, Jimco-Honda).

With one race left in the 2007 SCORE Desert Series, other 4-wheel class point leaders include: Dylan Evans, Anaheim Hills, Calif. (Class 3, Toyota FJ Cruiser), George Seeley, Glendale, Calif. (Class 5, VW Baja Bug), Mario Reynoso, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 5/1600, VW Baja Bug), Dan Chamlee, Summerland, Calif. (Ford Ranger, Class 7), Rich Severson, Mesa, Ariz. (Ford Ranger, Class 7SX), Ramon Fernandez, Ensenada, Mexico (VW Sedan, Class 11), John Griffin, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Ford F-350, Stock Full), Gavin Skilton, Orange, Calif. (Honda Ridgeline, Stock Mini) and Jason Voss/Rich Voss, Cupertino, Calif. (Ford F-150, Protruck).

With motorcycles and ATV classes joining the cars and trucks in SCORE races in Mexico, the overall point leaders after two of three races are the Robby Bell-led team in motorcycles and the Danny Prather-led team in ATVs.

Bell, Murrieta, Calif. and teammates Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., have 180 points on the No. 1x American Honda Racing CRF450X. The trio defeated a motorcycle race-high field of 24 starters in Class 22 at the SCORE Baja 500, the most starters in the open motorcycle class in over a decade. It was their second straight win this SCORE season.

Prather, Ramona, Calif., and his teammates Mike Cafro, Carlsbad, Calif., Levi Marana, Hemet, Calif. and Marc Spaeth, Warner, Calif., have two wins and 169 points to lead Class 25 on their Honda TRX450R.

Among the other motorcycle classes, veteran Jim O'Neal, 60, Chatsworth, Calif., and his put together two teams of talented riders and leads the points in both age group classes. O'Neal and his merry men lead both Class 30 (riders over 30 years old) on a Honda CRF450X and Class 50 (riders over 50 years old) on an O'Neal Racing Honda XR650R. O'Neal's teams have won both races this year in Class 30 and one in Class 50.

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 including 12 Overall wins), Chris Haines, Dana Point, Calif. Class 50 (12), Haines' teammate Jack Johnson, Boulder City, Calif. Class 50 (11, 4 overalls), Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif., Class 22 (9, all motorcycle overalls), Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., Class 22 (9, five straight motorcycle overalls), Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico, Class 11 (9), Mark McMillin, Chula Vista, Calif., Class 1 (8, 5 overalls), Malcolm Smith, Riverside, Calif., Stock Full (8, 5 overalls), and Ted Hunnicutt Jr., Temecula, Calif., SCORE Trophy-Truck (7).

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.

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: score

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