Over 300 entries expected
Pierce in SCORE Trophy-Truck, Rigsby in Class 1, Pico in M/C, Greenhaw--ATV, draw pole slots for 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 500
Round 3 of five-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series to be held May 29-June 1 in Ensenada, Mexico
LOS ANGELES--Prominent Southern California performance racing seat manufacturer Robbie Pierce, and fellow veteran desert racers Josh Rigsby, Anthony Pico and Jason Greenhaw all drew pole positions in their respective classes during Saturday's computerized drawing for starting positions in the upcoming 40th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
Round 3 of the five-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series, the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series, will feature over 300 entries, competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, will be held May 29-June 1 in Ensenada, Mexico. Traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, over 150,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the world's best desert racers in action at this year's 40th anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
With late entries excepted up to race morning, over 300 entries are expected from 24 U.S. States, Mexico, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. The green flag will drop for the race at 6 a.m. on Saturday (May 31) for the motorcycle and ATV classes in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, followed by the car and truck classes three hours after the last ATV at approximately 10 a.m. The final entry field is expected to be among the top 10 largest number of racers in event history.
Between them, the veteran racers who will start first in their respective divisions have an average age of 39.75 years.
Pierce, 48, of Santee, Calif., will drive the No. 35 MasterCraft Motorsports Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck as he continues to compete in his first full season in the marquee SCORE racing division for 800-horsepower, high-tech, unlimited production trucks.
Owner of the popular MasterCraft Company of Santee, Calif. Pierce summed up the feeling off all four racers, who will each be starting first in their different classes for the first time in their careers.
"You've got to be kidding, I think I'll retire a half-mile off the start line and go out on top" said Pierce, currently third in SCORE Trophy-Truck season points, after he heard the news. "It is honestly an unbelievable dream come true. First off the line for the 40th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 500 in a field that includes Robby Gordon, Rob MacCachren, Scott Steinberger and the rest of the best SCORE Trophy-Truck drivers in the universe. I think I'll leave tomorrow and start pre-running."
Rigsby, 37, Santa Fe, New Mexico, will start first in the unlimited Class 1 in the elapsed-time race. He is currently tied for eighth in Class 1 in a Chevy-powered Penhall open-wheel desert race car.
Pico, 38, Whittier, Calif., will lead the motorcycles into the Baja desert on a Honda CRF450X in Class 22 for open bikes. Currently listed as the only rider on his team, Pico has not yet declared if he is riding solo or not and can pick up additional riders between now and race morning.
Greenhaw, 36, Bakersfield, Calif., is leading a three-rider Class 25 ATV team on a Honda TRX450R. Splitting the riding with the eight-year veteran SCORE racer will be teammates Nick Nelson, 28, Tehachapi, Calif., and Nick Destout, 19, Oceanside, Calif.
All three overall winners from last year's race are all entered and all three have won two consecutive years. Las Vegas' Brian Collins, Las Vegas, returns seeking a third straight overall 4-Wheel vehicle victory with new teammate Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif. Collins, who drives the No. 12 Mopar Collins Motorsports Dodge Ram 1500, won the last two year with Larry Ragland as his teammate.
Returning as the two-time overall motorcycle and Class 22 champs is the team of Robby Bell, Murrieta, Calif./Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., on the No. 1x Honda CRF450X. Back to defend their overall ATV and Class 25 victory is the team of Danny Prather, Ramona, Calif./Mike Cafro, Carlsbad, Calif., on the new No. 1a Honda TRXX700. Splitting the seat time with Prather and Cafro this year will be Chad Prull, Laveen, Ariz., and Levi Marana, Hemet, Calif.
Collins/Hovey drew the eighth starting spot in SCORE Trophy-Truck while Bell/Norman will be fourth off the line in Class 22 while Prather/Cafro/Prull/Marana will start seventh in Class 25.
As of the Start draw, the Pro 4-Wheel vehicles classes with the most entries are: Class 1 (23), SCORE Trophy-Truck (22), SCORE Lite (15), Class 1-2/1600 (12) and Class 5/1600 (11).
Leading the Motorcycle classes in entries so far are Class 22 (15) and Class 30 (11).
Class 24 leads the ATV classes with nine entries to date.
Among the Sportsman classes, SPT Motorcycles over 250cc has 25 entries and SPT Motorcycles under 250cc has 10.
Drawing the first start in SCORE Lite was Brian Burgess, Riverside, Calif., in a Moulton-VW, while on the pole in Class 1-2/1600 will be twin brothers Arturo and Abel Velazco, Banning, Calif., in a Porter-VW. First off in Class 5/1600 will be the team lead by Gustavo Avina, Ensenada, Mexico, in a 1600cc VW Baja Bug.
Leading Class 30 (motorcycle riders over 30 years old) to the starting line will be the team led by Chad Erl, Huntington Beach, Calif.
First off in Class 24 will be Kyle Needham, Truckee, Calif., on a Yamaha.
Among the other early entries is venerable veteran Rod Hall, Reno, Nev., who has entered the Stock Mini class in a Hummer H3. Hall, 70, is tied for first with 17 class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Hall's son Josh and Chad will driver separate Hummers in the Stock Full class. Josh will drive a Hummer H2SUT and Chad will drive a Hummer H3Alpha.
Several crossover/celebrity racers are already entered in this year's race, led by NASCAR's Robby Gordon. A second generation desert racer, Gordon, who has won this race three times, is a NASCAR Team Owner/Driver and is entered in SCORE Trophy-Truck in the No. 77 Chevy CK1500.
Germany's Armin Schwarz, whose World Rally Championship career saw 119 starts, won Class 1 in this year's Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 with Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. and are currently fourth in Class 1 points in a Jimco-BMW. Making his SCORE race debut in Jimco-Chevy in this race will be German Rally ace Armin Kremer.
Two celebrity drivers who are all SCORE regulars are SCORE Trophy-Truck drivers Cameron Steele and Jesse James.
Steele, San Clemente, Calif., is a TV sports announcer for Supercross and X Games and until the IndyCar merger this year was a Champ Car pit reporter. The Steele family and Desert Assassins race team drew three of a kind for this race as three family members each received the second starting position in their respective classes. Cameron will drive the No. 16 GMC Sierra in SCORE Trophy-Truck, while his wife Heidi will drive a Ford Ranger in Class 7SX and his younger brother Grant will ride a Honda CRF450X in Class 22.
James, whose wife is legendary motion picture star Sandra Bullock, lives in Sunset Beach, Calif., owns the world-famous West Cost Choppers company and was the star of the old Monster Garage television series. He will drive the No. 54 Chevy Silverado.
Debuting her new race team in SCORE Lite will be prominent Automotive journalist Barbara Terry, Clover, South Carolina, who will be the driver of record in a Bunderson-VW for this race and the season-ending Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in November.
The 2008 SCORE Desert Series also includes the chase for the $20,000 Volkswagen Point Leader Bonus and the run for the Toyota Milestone Awards.