Laughlin: Race report

Herder wins Class 1 Las Vegas's B.J. Baldwin repeats Overall & SCORE Trophy-Truck win Over 226 dusty desert racers at 13th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge MacCachren masters Class 1-2/1600 as other class winners include Potter in SCORE Lite,...

Herder wins Class 1

Las Vegas's B.J. Baldwin repeats Overall & SCORE Trophy-Truck win Over 226 dusty desert racers at 13th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge

MacCachren masters Class 1-2/1600 as other class winners include Potter in SCORE Lite, Halls in Stock Full and Stock Mini

LAUGHLIN, Nev. - Starting the new year like he did a year ago, Las Vegas desert racer B.J. Baldwin pulled off a come-from-behind Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory at the 13th annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge which concluded Sunday in Laughlin, Nev. Baldwin led a near race-record field in his No. 1 Chevy Silverado by covering six laps of the abbreviated 6-mile course two consecutive days in a combined elapsed time of one hour, 31 minutes and 31 seconds, averaging 47.21 miles per hour over the surprisingly rugged race course.

With a record crowd of nearly 40,000 enthusiastic desert-racing fans on hand during the three-day event, Baldwin won and impressive margin of nearly three minutes to earn his second career SCORE race win as well as helping launch the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series, the world's foremost desert racing series. Baldwin is also the reigning season point champion in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division, for high-tech, 800 horsepower unlimited production trucks.

SCORE Trophy-Trucks put on a dazzling display and power and poise in Laughlin, earning the top seven overall finishing positions and eight of the top 10.

Second overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck was Garron Cadiente, Mesa, Ariz., in a Ford F-150, two minutes, and 46 seconds behind B.J. Baldwin. Third overall and third in SCORE Trophy-Truck was Honolulu's Alan Pflueger who overcame a flat tire in the infield section of the course to finish just 16 seconds behind Cadiente.

"We did a different ring gear and made a few suspension changes, we thought it would be rougher today, obviously," said Baldwin, 27, who won here first SCORE race in Laughlin last year in a new truck and this year ran with a new Kroyer Racing built Chevy engine. "I think we did just the right ingredients to get the win here today. You never get used to winning. I love it, I can't get enough of it. I've been racing for 10 years. Last year was actually my first real competitive win."

On winning this race again, Baldwin added after becoming the first back-to-back overall winner in the history of the race, "It has absolutely nothing to do with me, it has to do with my team. Collins Motorsports and all my chase guys with Baldwin Motorsports, they are directly responsible for this victory. I am just doing the same thing I have been doing for years. We took fourth place on Saturday and were 19 seconds out of the lead. We came back today and I pulled it off again - unbelievable."

The event featured a near race-record 226 starters from 15 States, Mexico, Canada and New Zealand, who competed in 17 Pro and two Sportsman classes for cars and trucks for nearly $400,000 in prize money and contingency postings. The classes were split into seven groups in Laughlin, each running as part of one of eight races of three to six laps each over the much-abbreviated 6-mile loop each day.

Mark Post, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., finished fourth overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck with the help of his new co-driver Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas. The veteran MacCachren drove the Riviera Racing No. 3 Ford F-150 on Saturday to the lead and Post was 10th in Sunday's second half of the race for the team's fourth-place finish in their first race together.

MacCachren, a seven-time SCORE season class point champion, also won Class 1-2/1600 for the second straight year, earning his sixth class win in Laughlin. He took the lead early in a barrowed Fraley-VW on Saturday and then returned to the front Sunday, earning a narrow, but conclusive 30-second victory over Matt Gumz, of Barstow, Calif.

Fifth, sixth and seventh in the overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck results went respectively to Kory Sheeler, Las Vegas in a Chevy Silverado, Josh Baldwin, Newport Beach, Calif., in a Ford F-350, and the team of Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz./Brian Collins, Las Vegas, in a Chevy Silverado.

The first non-SCORE Trophy-Truck finisher was John Herder, Tucson, Ariz., who finished eighth overall and won Class 1 in a Jimco-Chevy. Herder also won the class for unlimited open-wheel desert race cars in 1998 in Laughlin.

Another pair of Las Vegas racers rounded out the top 10 overall finishers as B.J. Richardson was second in Class 1 in a Bunderson-Chevy, and Tim Herbst finished eighth in SCORE Trophy-Truck in a Ford F-150.

George Seeley, Glendale, Calif., came from behind with consistent racing both days with a pair of seconds to win Class 5 on elapsed time, earning a race-record seventh career win in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in his VW Baja Bug.

The Stock Full and Stock Mini classes became a family affair as Josh Hall won Stock Full in a Hummer H2 and his father Rod and brother Chad split the driving to win Stock Mini in a Hummer H3. The successful Team Hummer based in Reno, Nev., returned to the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge for the first time in several years.

In one of the closest class races in SCORE history, John Holmes, Olivenhain, Calif. picked up his second career SCORE Laughlin win in a Ford Ranger, posting a one-second victory over Tim Lawrence, Santee, Calif., in another Ford Ranger.

In two of the larger classes in the race, the team of Stan Potter, San Marcos, Calif./Dan Worley, Encinitas, Calif., beat a field of 22 starters in SCORE Lite in a Jimco-VW and Mexico's Lobsam Yee, topped a field of 17 starters in Class 10 in a Jimco-Honda.

Among the other class winners crowned Sunday were: Jason Jernigan, Imperial, Calif., Ford Ranger (Class 7), Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix, GMC Sierra (Class 8), Raul Solano, Pomona, Calif., VW Baja Bug (Class 5/1600); Mike Horner, Mission Viejo, Calif., Toyota Tacoma (Class 7S), Ken Leavitt, Jerome, Idaho, Ford Bronco (Class 3) and Alan Levinson, Blue Diamond, Nev., Ford F-150 (Protruck).

A total of 107 of the near race-record 226 starters in the race were official finishers in the two-day race.

The race also began 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 stadium seating area included the immensely popular SCOREvision large-screen LCD display, showing live footage from nearly the entire race course.

The Laughlin Events Park with grandstand seating, vendor's village and food court included an infield full of switchbacks, whoop-t-doos, minijumps and the Laughlin Leap. Nearly 40,000 spectators watched this year's three-day event, the most in its popular history.

Round 2 of the 2007 SCORE Desert Series will be the 21st Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, March 9-11 in Baja California, Mexico.

-credit: score

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Series Score
Drivers Rob MacCachren , Tim Lawrence , B.J. Baldwin , Mark Post , Larry Ragland , Tim Herbst