41st annual SCORE Tecate Baja 1000
Nov. 19-23, 2008 -- Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
FINAL ROUND OF THE FIVE-RACE 2008 SCORE DESERT SERIES
PRO CARS & TRUCKS
8 ROGER NORMAN/LARRY ROESELER, 1st in Class. (Larry started and drove to race-mile 400 and Norman drove from RM 400 to the finish.)
Norman said: "I got in the driver's seat in the lead thanks to Larry and I just had to bring it home. But that is easier said than done. I took it easy and kept gaining a little ground on B.J. This is the toughest and greatest race in the world and we were racing against the greatest desert racers in the world. I knew we had to have a flawless day to win and we did. We had no flats; our BFG Tires were tougher than the Baja rocks. The only little thing is we went too strong off of a jump around Valle de Trinidad and our top lights came off so we stopped for about a minute and a half to put them back on and they were fine. We're here and we have a team that won't quit and we made it to the finish line with all the body parts."
Roeseler said: "It was a fantastic day. I followed B.J. off the start. He started 20 seconds in front of us and Brian Collins was doing a heck of a job. It was exciting all the way down until we finally got by the field. We were first on the road and we kept that spot ever since. B.J. was keeping us honest. If he got back in front of us, then we would have had to have finished within 30 seconds of him. Roger did a heck of a job. He kept that five, six-minute lead all the way from when I gave him the five or six minutes. What a wonderful, wonderful race. I went all day today to the 400-mile marker with no flats and I'm pretty sure Roger went all the way to the finish with no flats, so we won the Baja 1000 with no flat tires. Winning Primm was a great race for us and great momentum for the team so coming to the 1000 with that momentum, for sure, got us going and with our pre-running and preparation, it all paid off."
97 B.J. BALDWIN, 2nd Overall and in Trophy Truck, the second-place finish gives him the Trophy Truck point championship.
B.J. said: "It was a tough day for me, driving the whole thing. It's not like a peninsula run. It's very rough. It's very technical. There were lots of places to make mistakes. You probably make twice as many left and right turns than a peninsula race, even though it is 400 miles shorter. I was battling with some brake petal things all day. We had to deal with it. We had an early flat tire and I had to play catch up the rest of the way. I was hoping to be out first by nightfall. At night, the air is thick and cold, and the dust just hangs there. And we had absolutely no wind all day. So the dust hung there. I had a hard time passing four-wheelers and motorcycle because of that element. Roger (Norman) and Larry (Roeseler) can have the 1000 win. We were racing for the championship. That was an executive discussion from the office and here. You can't be excited when you make that discussion (to concentrate on the championship points). We can't roll the truck or tear a corner off it in a race like this. We have done that before. We made that discussion early on. And they (Norman and Roeseler) were fast. It was not easy to get close with them. I was able to get by Chad (Ragland) at San Felipe. But the Norman truck was very fast today. We had some great racing today. But I didn't want to take some risks that would hurt our chances for the championship. I am getting tired of running conservatively for the last three years. Each year we start strong and hold the point lead. Then I can't really go all out at the end of the year. We also do well at Laughlin and we are right in the point battle. I would like to really run all out, but we race for the championship too."
33 CHAD RAGLAND/LARRY RAGLAND, 3rd in Class. (Larry started and drove to RM 355 and Chad took over and drove to the finish.)
Chad said: "I would love to tell you I raced all day but I just survived all day. It was nonstop dust and fog and treachery around every corner, so we just survived. Honestly, I'll bet our pre-run speeds were faster because we never had any open space -- motorcycles, quads, guys everywhere -- and I never had a chance to race. All things considered, it was a great day. No flats, the truck ran really well and it looks like both of our trucks are going to finish."
Larry said: "The course is a great course. There was nothing there that surprised us. I didn't have to deal with the fog, just the dust. I didn't have much night driving at all -- I just knocked the light bar off for Chad so he had to drive it like that. Chad and I, a few years ago, I got in a race with him, unplanned, but this was the first time we actually had a plan to drive together. It was neat."
1 MARK POST/ROB MacCACHREN, 4th in Class.
Post said: "Rob MacCachren started this race and did a fantastic job. I got in at race mile 130 when we first gassed up and we were in position and then we had communication problems. We couldn't talk, we had no navigation, no notes and we ended up getting behind a little bit there. Then Rob, when he got in his section, he was doing fine but then he lost his lights so we were going backwards for about the last 200 miles. We're happy to be in Ensenada. It's a great race, but we didn't have everything go right today to win."
34 DAN FRIEDKIN/DANNY SULLIVAN/STEVE HENGEVELD, 5th in Class and Overall in Four-Wheel Vehicles. (Sullivan drove from the start to mile 193, Friedkin to mile 353, Hengeveld to the finish.)
Sullivan (the 1985 Indy 500 winner) said: "The team was great today. We had a few moments out there. There were a couple of times where we just had to completely stop. I couldn't see two feet in front of me. We started 27th today and the first time we hit the dirt we had dust everywhere. It was really a blast for me. What I am really happy about is that this team is young, just 16 months old. We are the only two-truck Trophy Truck team out here. And we finished third (Larry and Chad Ragland) and fifth with our two Toyota trucks. That's a great accomplishment. And it shows the potential we have with this operation."
Hengeveld said: "I just want to thank all the guys, Mr. Friedkin, Danny Sullivan and Chad for really teaching me how to do this. I'm just getting better every time. I thought the fog was going to be gone and I didn't really expect rain either. Baja is not supposed to be easy, but we made it to the finish line. I like this, this is my new chapter in life."
Chad Ragland said: "I think we're the only team out here with two SCORE Trophy-Trucks out here. We get a third and a fifth, that's pretty good. I'm real excited, I think people need to take T-Force real seriously. Danny Sullivan, the team director, has put great people that just work well together and give it 110 per cent. I think it pays off. Danny has done more than most people know."
20 Justin Lofton/Bob Loffton, 6th in Class.
Justin said: "I clipped a rock and got a right rear flat. About mile 200 we lost the brakes and drove about 120 miles with no brakes at all, just driving between first and second. Other than that, the truck ran great. First race in the SCORE Trophy-Truck, first race down in Mexico, we can't complain, we're at the finish line. I've got to thank my dad and all my crew guys, it's all volunteer work and I really appreciate all their effort and time to come down here and support us."
Bob said: "I think this is the toughest race course I've been with. The truck ran great, we had a couple of flats."
81 MARK MILLER/RYAN ARCIERO, 13th in Class. (Miller and Arciero drove the Volkswagen-Red Bull Baja Race Touareg TDI -- the first clean Turbo-diesel to run in the featured SCORE racing division.)
Arciero said: "I heard every one of the fans as we were going through the wash at the start because this Volkswagen engine is so quiet. We heard them and they were like that the entire time I was in the Touareg, it was amazing. They always come to the course and cheer us on. We had a goal to get this thing to the finish line and Mark did a heck of a job getting it here."
Miller said: "I think Volkswagen is freakin' awesome! We went the whole day with no punctures -- BFG was phenomenal. We just had a great day. It was the first race and we expected to have some adversity and we lost the clutch early, but we overcame it. It was such a team effort and I'm so happy. To come in with all this support that VW has, it's first-rate. We have big plans for the future and this is the first step for us. We finished the Baja 1000 and that was our goal and now we can work on performance and try to win one of these things."
101 CHUCK DEMPSEY/JOHN HERDER, 1st in Class. (Herder drove the first half of the race and Dempsey drove to the finish.)
Chuck said: "My day was really just going up and down and trying to get it there. It was a good day. The race was awesome. John kept it out front all day and our whole crew did a great job at every pit. They were spot on, got the tires changed, did all our fuel really good and we just stayed out front all day. It was a matter of keeping everything together. We saw a lot of stuff broken down out there all the way in. The race was awesome. It was tough -- it wasn't 1,000 miles but it was still tough."
118 HARLEY LETNER/KORY HALOPOFF, 2nd in Class.
Harley said: "It feels wonderful after a long day. Kory gave me the car in like fourth place and I went like 10 miles and wadded it up in a hole and had to dig it out for 30 minutes. I just took it easy from there. At mile 340, I lost all my rear brakes so I just drove the whole thing with the front brakes. I promised my grandpa and Kory I'd get it to the finish line and we did. We finished second and that works for me. After the problems today, we were contending for the lead. I think he was leading about mile 270 before he gave it to me. Then I got caught in that hole and got passed by one car, I dug it out and then I got passed by two more cars when I was messing with the brakes. I caught those two guys back and then they told me the lead was out of the question but I said 'I don't care, I just want to finish.' "
Kory said: "It's all about tires. We stopped a couple times because we had to pull the bar off the front for the lights. We didn't expect that we were going to get in the dark, but it worked out. The course was tight and winding, just like always. We both told ourselves we are not going to be idiots off the start, just drive normal and look what happens: You get second."
117 RON BRANT/RICHARD BOYLE/TOM KIRKMEYER, 3rd in Class. (Brant drove to San Felipe and Boyle drove it to the finish.)
Ron said: "Third's better than fourth. I'm just happy to be here at the finish line -- I don't have to go tow it out. It was kind of a nasty course out there. There was a little disaster out there in the first 20 miles. It was so silty and tight out there and there were cars on top of each other. Then there was a blockage at about mile 14, about six to eight Class 1 cars stopped in a silty ditch there. I thought there was a car broken down in there but all it was, the silt was so bad when you went through it that you couldn't see the course. The first half was a heck of a lot rougher than I thought it was going to be -- everything was just torn up down in those washes. But it was fun. Once we got down the grade, we went racing."
103 ROB BRUCE/MARK WITTE, 4th in Class. (Bruce drove the entire race.)
Rob said: "I just got hit with a rock coming down by the soccer field so I'm a little sore. Someone threw a big boulder at my shoulder. We broke down right at the start -- the car caught on fire and burned up the alternator so we had to change that just a few miles into the race. After that, it was pretty much trouble-free other than a few flats. The whole car caught on fire so we had flames coming out of the back that matched (the flames painted on) the front. It (fourth place) could have been worse, that's for sure."
1646 ARNOLDO RAMIREZ/MISAEL ARAMBULA/DANIEL LOPEZ, 1st in Class.
Arambula said: "We're from Ensenada and this is the second year, consecutive, we win. I want to thank all of our fans who are here for us. This is a great win. "
303 DARREN SKILTON/CLIVE SKILTON, 1st in Class.
Darren said: "That's what racing Baja is all about -- we had no flat tires, we didn't even have to get out of the car. We only had one little problem right off the start in the dust when we got a little stuck for about eight minutes but after that, it was a clean run and we're here with a class win in Baja."
706 GUILLERMO GALVAN/RICARDO GALVAN, 1ST in Class. (Father Guillermo started the race and rolled at mile 15, Ricardo got in the truck at mile 275 and drove to the finish).
Ricardo said: "Holy smokes. I know this is Baja because I live here (Bahia de Los Angeles). But I wish I know a couple of corners better, because I lost some fenders. My dad got the car on its side early in the race. I ran out of fuel and that cost us about 30 minutes. But our crew got to me and we got back rolling down the road. This was our third time trying here. Third time was the charm with the win."
759 JOHN HOLMES/MARK LANDERSMAN, 1st in Class.
Landersman said: "I think we pulled this (win) off. I drove the last 200-some miles. I got stuck on a sand hill the first time I tried to make it and this really nice guy brought his Jeep down and rolled it right in front of us, right on the side of the hill. We were stuck there for I don't know how long and I ended up backing down to make another run at it and got up the hill. We had an excellent truck; we just destroyed the truck getting it here. For me, this was my first Baja win but I think it's John's third or fourth."
742 HEIDI STEELE/RENE BRUGGER/CAMERON STEELE, 2nd in class and 2008 Class 7SX champion. (Heidi started and drove to RM 175. Danny Street drove to RM 405 and Brugger drove from RM 405 to the finish.)
Heidi said: "I think we won (the championship) by maybe two points. They (the 759 team) got the first-place victory today and I'm really happy for them but more importantly we got the championship and that's what we've been working on all year. I'm a little choked up. Cameron met us right before checkpoint six and we watched the sun rise and we were praying for the team to get through the silt beds because they're pretty gnarly out there but everything worked out and they just stormed up the silt hills like it was no problem and here we are."
Cameron: "It's all good. We came here to win in the Trophy-Truck and win this championship so we got half of what we came here for and it's pretty sweet. It's all a big family. There are 30 guys right here who made this happen and we couldn't have done it without all of them and all of our volunteers and it means a lot to everyone."
801 JUAN C. LOPEZ/BENY CANELA, 1st in Class.
Canela said: "I'm 72 going on 73 and I've been racing since 1970. Juan Carlos is an awesome driver, he did a great job and he brought it home to the finish. He's a heck of a driver. We only had one little problem where we got stuck in the silt and we were down for a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity."
902 CISCO BIO/PANCHO BIO/JORGE MARTINEZ/FRANCISCO GUERRERO, 1st in Class in the same car that won the Baja 1000 in Class 9 in 1998.
Cisco Bio said: "My dad, Pancho, started on Friday, but he was sick. We planned to switch off every 100 miles but I ended up driving a lot more. My dad got lost at one point on the course. Something happened to the other 9 cars, because we were leading by about two hours in the early going of the race. I don't know what happened to them. They started to get closer towards the finish. We lost two front-end parts but we were lucky to get some help quickly. We only lost 15 minutes. I couldn't see anything on the coast. It was all messed up. I had to stop two or three times to let the dust clear. I have never seen it that bad. We got lucky. The General Tires were great; no flats today. This was the same car that I won the Baja with when I was 19 years old. I started working on the cars for my dad when I was about four years old. My little brother is nine and he is working on the cars. He wants to drive too."
1000 LOBSAM YEE, 1st in Class.
Yee said: "I'm from Tijuana but all these people here who help me are from Ensenada. It was a great race for us. We had electrical problems and we lost about 30 minutes fixing that. It was a cable and computer and it took us long to find out the problem and then after that, it was OK. I didn't race for the championship this year, just this race and the Baja 500. It's a lot better winning the Baja 1000 than the championship, for sure."
1210 RICK ST. JOHN/DEAN BAYERLE/RAMSEY EL WARDANI, 1st in Class. (St. John, the team owner, started and drove the final mile.)
St. John said: "It was a long day. We were fighting fuel pick-up problems all night long. It took about a half a dozen stops to figure out what it was. We finally figured it out and got it solved but the problem kind of cost us the overall Volkswagen money but at least we got the 12-car championship. I've been racing for almost 20 years now and I never had a win. This year, I won Laughlin, I won the Baja 500 in June and then I won the 1000 -- all in one year. I can retire now, I guess."
1100 RAMON FERNANDEZ/TOMAS FERNANDEZ, 1st in Class 11. (The Fernandez brothers, from Ensenada, won for the straight consecutive year in Class 11 with their VW Bug.)
Tomas said: "This is our second Baja 1000 win. We tried some new Fox shocks at the beginning of the race but they just didn't work on our car. So we put the old shocks back on the car and it ran great. We were fast on the backside of the course. Ramon and I are very happy to win again. We had a good crowd of friends and family here."
861 CHAD HALL, 1st in Class.
Chad said: "This one's pretty tough to win but I think this one, you've got to learn how to win. You've got to hang back and let everybody else do what they're going to do to themselves and step on in for the win. That's win number seven -- 13 more and maybe I can catch up with my dad. But I'm not sure my body is going to keep doing that. I've got to thank everybody -- all of my crew, General Motors, Hummer, my wife, everybody -- we've won a lot of races and we're going to relish it. This is the kind of day you hope for."
779 GAVIN SKILTON, 1st in Class and Honda Ridgeline's first SCORE Baja 1000 win.
Gavin said: "I held a six- minute lead but I made a mistake. I got caught in the silt. Kenny Koker pulled me out when my cash ran out trying to get help from the locals. There was enough muscle power with them. But he pulled me out of the hole. I had to make up about six minutes and I couldn't do it. I broke my vehicle trying to catch the leader. But the competitor (Ryan Millen) broke his vehicle even worse. He broke one mile from my final breaking point. We replaced the axle and he is still sitting there. I had a great race up to mile 570. I dropped my right front wheel in the hole. We had one small flat when I slammed into a road crossing. That was the only time I was out of the truck since noon yesterday. I knew it wouldn't be easy. It was a shorter race, but the terrain was tough. Never underestimate it, ever. I thought my race was over four miles from the finish. And three miles from the finish, my competitor is stuck in a hole. We always say, 'Don't give up,' and today was proof of that motto. The Honda Ridgeline was the best handling truck in our class today. It's great to win this event for them."
760 ROD HALL/MIKE WINKEL, 2nd in Class. (Today was Hall's 71st birthday as he sought his 20th Baja 1000 class victory this year.)
Hall said: "We were down for about an hour and 45 minutes, so we got behind. I clipped a rock and put us down. Thanks for the birthday wishes. At my age, I take it one day at a time. And, with the Baja, I take it one year at a time. I'm just happy to be coming here each year. Every year, there is something new and different."
JASON VOSS/RICH VOSS, 1st in Class.
Jason said: "The course was just as I expected. My dad did the start to just after mile 290. He handed the truck off to me at about 6 or 6:30 and he had a huge lead for me so I just pretty much had to take it easy on the San Felipe loop and not tear the truck up. I cruised it into the finish problem-free all day until about 10 miles out, I drove it off the edge and got stuck in some tall stuff and I had to get pulled out. But that was the only problem of the day. Things went smooth, no flats on our Generals, nothing. This is my first Baja 1000 win. We won the 500 this year and we won Laughlin this year so I believe we get the Protruck Championship for the year. We won the SCORE championship last year and we wanted to win the 1000 this year."
BC13 CHRIS KEMP/JAMES DeGAINE/DANIEL ELKINS/VINCENT TRINO/PAT McCLEISH/DINO CRESCENTINI, 1st in Class.
Crescentini said: "I'm stoked. I can't believe it. I'm so tired and exhausted and beat and happy -- I don't know what to say. I normally race in the boat races and I got into this by my friend Chris Kemp. I couldn't have done it without all of my teammates and I couldn't be happier. We had a problem on the first leg with James, he ran into a post and broke a steel arm bar, but we got it fixed pretty quickly and we just made up some time and got it done."