17th ANNUAL SCORE LAUGHLIN DESERT CHALLENGE
Round one of 2011 SCORE Desert Series
January 14-16, Laughlin, Nevada
Driver Post-Race Quotes - Sunday, January 16
BRYCE MENZIES, No. 70 (First in class, First Overall.) -- The plan was just to cruise the first five laps and Jesse was right on me. We decided the last two laps that we were going to take it and run with it. Jesse is a really good friend of mine and it's awesome to be racing with him. Just to be up here and win Laughlin is awesome. My first (off-road) win was with Jesse, when we teamed up. It feels really good to get my first win by myself. It's a good start to the season and hopefully we come away with a championship at the end -- this is a good start for it. I think it was good that we were just pacing each other off the start and we ran away from the field. We talked to each other before the race and we said, 'Let's just run five laps consistently and then from there, let's go.' That was the plan and he was running right behind me the whole time, like right on my tail. I saw him every corner. It's the first win of the season, so it's started off right. This is my second SCORE race so to get a win in the second race is pretty good. It's good momentum to go into the year. We didn't think we were going to be up here -- we wanted to leave Laughlin with a top five but we'll take the win, for sure.
JESSE JONES, No. 1 (Second in class.) -- We lost a motor going out of the sixth lap and the last two laps we just had to drive, unfortunately. We stuck our nose in there a couple of times and let him (Bryce Menzies, No. 70) feel us but we didn't have anything for him. We had a transmission problem and lost first gear. All in all, it was good and we're fine. We definitely have to be consistent and finish every single lap of every single race and just be smart. That's the biggest thing: be smart and drive our own races and not get sucked into these things like what I did today and make the motor go away.
GUS VILDOSOLA, JR., No. 21 (Third in class.) -- We started eighth today and we just wanted to get into the top three. I think that was an ambitious goal with Bryce and Jesse being about two and a half minutes in front of us. About lap five and six when the SCORE Trophy-Trucks started dropping like flies, we decided to just kick it back a little bit and cruise it to the finish line. Rob (MacCachren, No. 20) was about a minute behind us and we knew that unless we made a mistake, he wasn't going to make that up. Third place is the best finish we've ever had here in Laughlin and we are happy going into San Felipe. After yesterday, we knew it was an outside shot for us to win but we are very happy with the result today. I think a top three is more than we expected after all the issues we had yesterday.
ROB MacCACHREN, No. 20 (Fourth in class.) -- Yesterday, with the flex plate breaking, it was cracked almost 360 degrees and it spun a little bit but there was like a little bit of tang on it that got wedged and made it keep driving, otherwise I don't know if that truck would have gone another 100 yards yesterday. The guys worked on it last night and put in a new transmission and stiffened up the suspension a little bit because we were bottoming out yesterday. I think there is something wrong with the left front shocks on the truck but we are thankful to be here and in fourth place for the weekend. We just want to win the championship and the SCORE Trophy-Truck championship key is getting out of here with a finish. The last two years, as everyone knows, this race is really tough on the cars and only being 100 miles, if you leave here with a DNF the whole season is a downer. We came in here and everything we did was all about making sure we finished and from qualifying we took care of the truck. We'll go back and do testing and improve the truck and make it better. I'm just thankful to be here and in the points championship still.
ADAM HOUSEHOLDER, No. 24 (Sixth in class.) -- We started dead last yesterday because we didn't qualify and we ended up 11th place. We went from 31st to 11th and today we are the fifth physical truck and we'll see where we end up on time. You've got to play it as safe as possible without breaking the truck and try to get a good finish out of it. It is very, very tough to do. I'm happy with the result. Some trucks were tough to pass because they were just fast enough to be in the way. You've just got to try and be a little smarter and pick a different line and be a little more aggressive. (Passing) wasn't too bad; we picked them off pretty quickly today. For the most part, we passed them coming into the infield and leaving the infield.
JUSTIN DAVIS, No. 122 (First in class.) -- We knew what we had to do and we just put it out there and just ran as hard as we could. I've got to thank SCORE for putting on a great race. Pistol Pete (Sohren, No. 121) ran it out together. The holes were getting so big that the truck had a big advantage so we just tried to hang in there. We just kept pushing. We knew (Justin Lofton, No. 107) was right behind us but I don't know where he ended up. It was a good day. A spare tire fell off and that was the only problem. I like the new car a lot. It's working real well; we're just working out the rest of the bugs for the next race. I noticed if you get on the gas a lot more, you can get over a lot of stuff where in the limited car, you're kind of stuck in it. We don't have much time on it so I just learn as I go.
HARLEY LETNER, No. 113 (Second in class.) -- The race went pretty good and I had no problems but I realized I wasn't going to make up the minute I needed to win so we just backed it down a little bit because it was really rough out there and I saw a lot of cars breaking. I just wanted to make it to the end and try and finish every race again this year. We are going for points. We've got the 100 plate now so finishing is key and that's what I went for today.
DAN MARTIN, No. 101 (Third in class. Martin drove Saturday and Dale Dondel drove Sunday.) -- Dale Dondel said: We were doing great until halfway through when we lost a couple of cylinders but, other than that, we were catching them until that happened. That was the only problem. It was all good from there but it was a torn-up track and I didn't get to drive yesterday. If I did, I would have stiffened the car up and it would have been a lot faster today. We did what we had to do, which was finish the race.
ARMIN SCHWARZ, No. 123 (Fourth in class. Armin Schwarz drove Saturday and Martin Christensen drove Sunday.) -- Martin Christensen said: It was a good race. I drove today and Armin drove yesterday so fresh out on the track but it is just a lot rougher today, obviously, but there were huge square bumps everywhere. With our light car, it really upsets the car and it's all over the place so we just drove a sensible race and as good as we could get without breaking a car in half. The car had no issues, just clean and we kept it together not getting too crazy.
PETE SOHREN, No. 121 (Fifth in class.) -- It couldn't be more disappointing. I thought I had it won. I passed them all and I got a flat right here in the infield and you can't go to your pit or change a tire here in the infield unless you have one on the car and I didn't have one. I had to go backwards all the way to the hot pit and get it, so I was out. It was so frustrating because I had them covered. It was only three laps in but I started in the third row and passed all five guys.
JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 107 (First-day leader but did not finish Sunday due to a mechanical failure.) -- You can't say it was heartbreaking. We went into this race doing something unknown: We put 37-inch tires on this car and there is no Jimco out there that's running 37s right now so we knew we had a weakness in the spindles. We were hoping they would live but they didn't It's no fault to Jimco's -- they built an awesome racecar and we were out there hauling it. It's just one of those things -- that's racing. We were going out on our last lap -- the end of lap seven -- and it broke right in the first sweeper in the infield, right in the center of the corner. It just popped and all of a sudden the front end was digging in and scooping dirt in our face. It's unfortunate but we got a win (Saturday) and we completed seven of the eight laps. Hey, I had fun and we broke leading and that's all that matters: we were leading the race.
DANIEL McMILLIN, No. 1605 (First in class.) -- I'm tired but it was fun out there. Arnoldo (Ramirez, No. 1649) put up a good fight for the first five laps and I passed him on the high school jumps and then I gave it all I've got to stay in front of him. The two-seaters have got bigger motors so on the fast stuff, it's pretty tough to catch them but in the corners is where I can get them. It was fast, really fast. Arnoldo and I started next to each other and I stayed with him for five laps. He stayed on me and then he hit me at the start/finish line so I don't know if they held him for a little bit but I just raced my race and gave it all I've got. He was in my mirror the whole time.
ARNOLDO RAMIREZ, No. 1649 (Second in class.) -- It went pretty good for us out there. The course was fun and we are pretty happy. Yesterday we lost a clutch in the third lap so today was a pretty nice day.
MARIO GASTELUM, No. 1610 (Third in class.) -- We had no problems today. It was a very, very clean race today though the track was totally thrashed compared to yesterday. If the track had been like yesterday, it would have been a totally different ballgame for me. Yesterday, our car sputtered for the first two laps on the low gear so I couldn't get it going too much and then I had a couple guys cutting me on the corners and trying to flip me over while I was driving the berms high. I had the opportunity to do that too but I decided that I was going to race clean.
DONALD MOSS, No. 300 (First in class.) -- As far as we know, that is the most wins for any Bronco we've seen anywhere of any kind. We had a good run and actually had a lot of fun with Marc Stein in the Stock Full class. We caught up with him and then he caught up with us and we ran nose to tail for a while and just had a lot of fun. We really had a good time. The course was a whole lot rougher today but you look for another line and work your way through there. We lost part of the exhaust and threw off the rhythm a little bit.
KEVIN CARR, No. 500 (First in class.) -- He (Victor Cesena, No. 501) gave us an excellent race today. We were pretty much in eyesight of him all day. He has got the dual carburetors and I've just got the one so he got in front of me off the start and on the first turn and that is where he stayed. I would get close to him on some of the technical stuff. I think my suspension was working better than his so we would get in the rough stuff and I would catch up to him but then we would get in a straightaway and away he would go. He did a great job; I really didn't see him make any mistakes. It was a lot of fun. This was a real race. It was a completely different course than yesterday. We're happy just to finish. It is a big thing to finish Laughlin and it looks like all three in the class finished so hopefully we'll have a good showing for Class 5 this season. We are excited.
DAVE CASPINO, No. 600 (First in class.) -- We had no problems today. My tires held up the whole time and gave me the traction I needed to out-motor the competition. It was an excellent race. Jeff Holmes (No. 603) made the drive extremely hard but we still made it. We had engine problems the whole weekend; we were running on five cylinders but we still managed to pull it off.
DAN CHAMLEE, No. 700 (First in class.) -- We had to change the third member in about 20 minutes. It was super noisy on the third lap; I just heard it whine like crazy back there. We made it to the hot pits and everybody hopped in and started taking out gears. We were counting the seconds. We made it (before the course closed) by just over a minute. I could hear it in the car through my helmet it was so loud. I pulled out a handful of gears as big as your fingers but it still got me to the pits. I backed off and went really slow and made it to the pits. When we were running, we were going fast and passed a bunch of the Class 6 cars on the first lap. The course was nice and rough, much better than yesterday. Yesterday it was too smooth and today it felt like a Laughlin race.
ELIAS HANNA, No. 740 (First in class.) -- The truck was really nice. We had a little bit of a problem with the temperature on the final lap but we had a clean race and we did a good job. The team did an excellent job prepping my car in Mexico and driving all the way back here to win for the second year in a row.
JUSTIN MATNEY, No. 839 (First in class.) -- The truck ran great. Last night we did a little tuning on the shocks, the front end and changed the air pressures on the tires and it worked flawlessly for us compared to yesterday. The course was much rougher today but the suspension worked great. No complaints today.
MICHAEL LaPAGLIA, No. 1001 (First in class.) -- We had a few different problems. We must have an electrical issue with the ignition because the car keeps cutting out. It got so bad we tried to stop and restart it twice to try and reset the program. It got a little bit better but, honestly, five or six times a lap the car would just cut out completely and stop. It was kind of frustrating but we managed to get through it. The brakes had some air in them so we kept having to pump the brakes to make them work but I guess overall we were able to use no brakes and the end result is we went faster. Yesterday we had a pretty good race and today we wanted to do the same program, get off running early, have a clear track and lay down some solid laps and we were able to do that so it was smooth racing for us. SCORE LITE
JAMIE HUERTA, No. 1206 (First in class.) -- It was a very complicated race, a very tough race, but we tried our best and we came out ahead. But it was a good race for us.
FRANCISCO VILLAGOMEZ, No. 1212 (Second in class.) -- We had a problem with our accelerator but we got through the day okay. It was good to finish.
PERRY McNEIL, No. 1205 (Fourth in class.) -- Our race went really good. Yesterday wasn't so hot. We broke a header off on the first lap and we ran on what seemed like three cylinders. Today we had a good race but we started off with a broken roll cage and we were worried that we were going to break it clear off, but it held together pretty good. We were going to stop in the pits and strap the motor up so it wouldn't fall out. We were looking for the better parts of the race course trying to keep it to seven laps. It was a good race and we'll be in San Felipe (in March for the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250).
JUSTIN MATNEY, No. 1149 (First in class. Ramon Fernandez drove Saturday and Matney drove Sunday.) -- It was a pretty brutal battle in the backfield. We just changed positions back and forth. I think he (Matt Cullen) ended up getting stuck but we came out with a win so we are all pretty pleased for the weekend. It was a lot rougher today than yesterday. Everything is getting whooped up and it's a lot wetter and getting soggy in the backfield.
WES BEVLY III, No. 862 (First in class.) -- We did well today. It ran fast the whole time. It was really rough, especially for this, but it was a good time. We took our time and ran great. We wanted to win and hopefully we will.
JESSICA McMILLIN, No. 1301 (First in class.) -- We were running pretty good and I kind of just ran out of talent. We were coming into a turn and trying to pass a guy on the inside and he moved inside and I ran out of corner and I rolled it over. We landed on the passenger side and then one of the corner workers got us back on our wheels and got it started. You've got to do it once. Now I think I'm part of the club. I love it.
CLYDE STACY, No. 402 (First in class.) We had a great time out there. The race went great; we didn't have to push it at all. We got a big lead yesterday and kind of idled around today. We were just trying to make sure we finished the race. The course really changed a lot yesterday and it was worse today but it's great for racing. It makes it exciting. It was a good way to start the season.