Baja 1000: Season finale preview

Nearly 450 total entries 32 SCORE Trophy-Trucks and 31 unlimited Class 1 cars set for overall 4-wheel quest at 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Five of the last six overall 4-wheel winners entered in 1,296.39-mile adventure down Mexico's Baja ...

Nearly 450 total entries
32 SCORE Trophy-Trucks and 31 unlimited Class 1 cars set for overall 4-wheel quest at 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000

Five of the last six overall 4-wheel winners entered in 1,296.39-mile adventure down Mexico's Baja California peninsula

LOS ANGELES--While it's certain that much of the focus next week will be on season point championships to be won, all eyes will be watching to see if a SCORE Trophy-Truck or an unlimited Class 1 car wins the overall 4-wheel title in 40th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the world's most famous and infamous desert race.

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 43 U.S. States and 16 countries, competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs.

In the 13-plus year history of the marquee SCORE Trophy-Trucks those 800-horsepower, high-tech, unlimited production trucks were the fastest 4-wheel vehicle for seven straight years (1994-2000), but the unlimited Class 1 desert race cars have stormed back to win the overall four of the last six years.

The star-studded SCORE Trophy-Truck field includes nine of the 13 season point champions in the class history along with 68 of the 84 race winners and eight of the 13 class winners in this race, including two overall winners.

In class 1, nine of the last 10 class winners with five overall wins as well as eight of the last 10 season point champions in the high-speed open-wheel class are in the starting grid.

Las Vegas brothers Ed and Tim Herbst are the winningest team in the history of SCORE Trophy-Truck with 11 race wins in the No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150, while second is Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz., with 10.

Ragland is again racing with veteran Brian Collins of Las Vegas, who has four race wins. The Ragland/Collins team will debut the No. 12 Collins Motorsports Dodge Ram in this race. For this race, Collins Motorsports has added a third driver, Chuck Hovey, a Class 1 racer from Escondido, Calif.

Returning as defending race and overall 4-wheel vehicle champions, but driving in separate SCORE Trophy-Trucks this year are NASCAR team owner/driver Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C. (No. 71 Chevy CK1500) and third-generation driver Andy McMillin, San Diego (No. 31 Chevy Silverado). Also back is 2006 season point champion B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas (No. 1 Chevy Silverado).

Gordon, who pull double duty again racing in next weekend's NASCAR season finale in Homestead, Fla., after his Mexican run, will have his father Bob Gordon, who has two overall wins in this race, as his second driver.

Andy McMillin will have his father Scott McMillin and Andy's high school basketball teammate Brian Ickler, a NASCAR Grand National West Series regular, as his other two drivers in this marathon race. Ickler, Poway, Calif., who started his racing career as a desert racer, was the 2003 SCORE Rookie of the Year in winning the SCORE Lite season point title. Andy was the 2004 SCORE Rookie of the Year.

At the top of the talented racer list in Class 1 is the team of Larry Roeseler, Hesperia, Calif./Troy Herbst, Las Vegas, who will be seeking their fourth consecutive Class 1 win in the No. 100 Smithbuilt-Ford. Roeseler has a record 12 overall wins in this race, 10 on a motorcycle and two more in 2004 and 2005 with Troy Herbst, who has five Class 1 wins in this race.

Doug Fortin, El Cajon, Calif., who won this race overall in both 2001 and 2003 is entered this year as the third driver with brothers Gary and Mark Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., and will be first off the line in Class 1 in the No. 101 Jimco-Chevy.

Mike Julson, owner of renown Jimco Race Cars of Santee, Calif., won Class 1 and the overall in 2002 and will be the third driver for the McMillin Racing team led by 8-time Class 1 winner Mark McMilin, El Cajon, Calif. in the No. 113 Jimco-Chevy. McMillin also has five overall crowns.

Bob Lofton, Westmorland, Calif., who was the second driver in 2002 with Julson, is the third driver this year for the No. 118 Jimco-Chevy driven by Steve Strobel, Clarks, Neb., and Gay Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Current Class 1 SCORE Desert Series Point leaders Billy Gapser, Chino Hills, Calif. and his brother Dave Gasper of Santa Barbara, will be driving the No. 105 Porter-Chevy.

One of the other many teams to watch in Class 1 will be led by Germany's Armin Schwarz, the seven-time World Rally Championship race winner, with the help of SCORE veteran Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. They will be behind the wheel of the No. 104 Jimco-BMW.

NASCAR Truck Series regular Brendan Gaughan, Las Vegas, will be returning to his racing roots, driving the No. 119 Kreger-Chevy in Class 1.

Tied for second in Class 1 points, Ronny Wilson, Long Beach Calif., has brought in both of his brothers, Randy, Lakewood, Calif., and Rick, Long Beach to run for the win in the No. 114 Jimco-Chevy.

The son and father team of Eric Chase and Stuart Chase, of Burbank, Calif., are tied with Wilson and Roeseler for second in Class 1 points in their No. 124 Penhall-Chevy.

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, Mesa, Ariz., with 338 points after his SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 victory in the No. 38 Ford-F-150

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.

One of the new teams making it's debut in SCORE Trophy-Truck will be the No. 33 Toyota Tundra driven by Chad Ragland, Carlsbad, Calif./Danny Sullivan, Pebble Beach, Calif./Dan Friedkin, Houston. Ragland is a veteran desert racer who learned from his father Larry Ragland, Sullivan was the 1985 Indy 500 champion and Friedkin is team owner and a Texas businessman.

One of the new Class 1 teams will be the No. 131 Penhall-Chevy of Ed Hullinger, Thousand Oaks, Calif., who co-drivers include NHRA Top Fuel drag racers J.R. Todd and Morgan Lucas, both of Avon, Ind.

Among the other serious contenders in SCORE Trophy-Truck will be the 'Flyin' Hawaiin' Alan Pflueger who has Supercross legend Ricky Johnson as his primary back-up driver in the No. 28 Chevy Silverado.

A late addition this week to the three-driver SCORE Trophy-Truck team for Las Vegas Hotel executive Bobby Baldwin, is veteran nine-time SCORE Baja 1000 class winner Walker Evans, Riverside, Calif. The second driver for the No. 96 Chevy Silverado will be Las Vegas' Larry Job.

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.

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 SCORE Trophy-Truck (32), Class 1 (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 54 and Sportsman ATV with 17 entries to date.

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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