14th ANNUAL SCORE LAUGHLIN DESERT CHALLENGE Round one of 2008 SCORE Desert Series January 24-27, Laughlin, Nevada Driver quotes after first of two days--Saturday, January 26 SCORE TROPHY-TRUCK Gus Vildosola Jr., No. 4 (in first place after...
14th ANNUAL SCORE LAUGHLIN DESERT CHALLENGE
Round one of 2008 SCORE Desert Series
January 24-27, Laughlin, Nevada
Driver quotes after first of two days--Saturday, January 26
Gus Vildosola Jr., No. 4 (in first place after Saturday) -- You know yesterday we had a rough day as most of you know we ended up rolling it off the first jump here. We turned and my co-pilot here (Javier Valenzuela) had a concussion and was knocked out for like five minutes when we were upside down and he ended up going to the hospital. He got checked out at 8:00 at night. The boys from the crew, everyone worked really hard putting this truck back together until 2:00 in the morning. We had to cut and weld and replace parts, it was a long night but it was worth it obviously. It held strong for eight laps, but just eight laps at that. We started 20th today, and we thought we'd just cruise around and hopefully finish in the top 10 and then tomorrow start in the top 10 and move our way up. We didn't think we were going to finish in the top five for the weekend. There is a lot of tough competition here, some of the best drivers in SCORE Trophy Truck and off-road racing. We realistically thought top five for the weekend we'd be looking good, so we're really proud of what happened today. At the start of the race, both my shoulders hurt, my knees hurt, my neck hurt. I didn't want to let anyone know what was happening but adrenaline gets you though it. We knew we were doing good, we didn't know we were leading, but the pain goes away. There's a plateau over here and we cleared the plateau and cleared the landing area and landed on the other side where the burm is and we hit the burm sideways in the air and it just tipped us over. We did 2 and 0x00be turns and ended up I was up and my co-pilot was down. We're going to get this truck fixed and repeat our performance.
RICH RONCO, No. 45 (second) -- That was a great race. The track was fast and rough; I just loved it. This is a brand-new truck and it ran great. I have to say I was surprised. We're keeping up with the Joneses. We've got some fast guys out here, a lot of competition, and it was just a great day. We didn't have to work on anything and that's the best day of racing. We had to get by a few people. We got a little bit into the back of Rob MacCachren in a corner. It was two lines and it came down into one. I had the inside and I backed off a little bit, but I got his back bumper. The course stayed pretty consistent. There's getting to be two grooves in the corners and that's helping a lot. You can get by people now.
KORY SCHEELER, No. 51 (fourth) -- It was a pretty good run. The rear suspension started to get a little tired after three or four laps, so we started babying it in. There's trucks parked all over out there, it looks like a wrecking yard, so we just wanted to make it in. We might have broke the rear sway bar. The rear suspension definitely went away. It's a rough course. It's one of a kind.
BOBBY BALDWIN, No. 96 (fifth) -- The course was actually delightful. On Saturdays it's always a good run. The course is groomed and the guys, SCORE does a lot of work to make sure the course is safe and well-groomed. The trucks bomb the course out obviously. When you have a 6,ooo-pound truck digging out every corner and you do eight laps, it makes it pretty rough for the 1 car guys to follow us. Every lap is different. The line you took the first time around may not be any good the next time around. In Laughlin you have to have a lot of imagination. There are actually 27 turns here, and those turns have different characteristics almost every lap. It's not like Baja, where you know that road's been there for 200 years and it hasn't changed much. I don't know the gameplan for tomorrow yet, I'm going to talk to my son, have a conference with him and see what his strategy is and what he thinks is best for me.
B.J. BALDWIN, No. 97 (sixth) -- We were kind of just trying to set a pace and not get too aggressive the first day. Carl (Renezeder) was kicking my butt for the first two laps and then he pulled off. I tried to pick it up a little bit and ended up getting a flat and limped it from the back three jumps all the way to the hot pit so the pit crew could change the flat. Josh (Baldwin) passed me right about four and a half and we had a good race going there for a few miles. I got around him, and the start of the second to last lap I lost the transmission and then I was just limping it in. We're still in good shape. We may make some (set-up) changes. (What's key to success here?) Survival. Everybody thinks this is a sprint. It's not. You've got to really take care of your equipment. I've won it two years in a row and I'm trying to keep up with these guys that were really pushing it instead of just hanging out and I ended broke my truck; I lost my transmission. I should have been smart and used my head.
ROBBIE PIERCE, No. 35 (seventh) -- It was great. This is my first Laughlin race in anything, much less a SCORE Trophy-Truck, and to come out here and do this right off the get go ... I've never done a short-course race like this, and having Damen (Jefferies) in front of me throwing rocks into my face just pumps you up. It was awesome. It was yeah, welcome to SCORE Trophy-Trucks, pal. We had a great time. I was trying to stay with them. We know it's about attrition. We lost first and second gear about the third lap or so, so we just left it in high and conserved it; nurse it through. That's all we could do. This is Jimco's first SCORE Trophy-Truck (bought it from Mike Julson).
BILL McBEATH, No. 91 (10th) -- First race in this truck. We took it real easy, we came out the first couple practice laps and ran it hard and then we turned it upside down. We decided that we didn't get much of a pre-run so we came out here and decided the first three laps we'd work the truck out and get a feel for it. It was just delivered on Wednesday. We started picking up the last couple laps and we'll go hard tomorrow. There's a lot of carnage out on the course. We were getting a lot faster, taking better lines. The truck really took it easy the first laps, almost like a pre-run. (going to push it more tomorrow) Oh, for sure, for sure.J
PAT DEAN, No. 107 (first) -- It wasn't really very good. It started out really fast and then it got really rough. It was only 48 miles or something, but it felt like the Baja 1000 out there. But it was pretty fun. The course by the end (was bad), you were on the front bumper, the back bumper, the front bumper. It was out of control. Tomorrow will be unbelievable. We can't wait, though. It's equal for everybody. We'll go back and figure out what we broke today and have it fixed tomorrow. I stalled right before the start-finish line (for lap seven) and maybe that cost us 45 seconds or something and that was it. Other than that we had a great day going.
B.J. RICHARDSON, No. 118 (second) -- The course is chewed up, it's beat up pretty bad. The SCORE Trophy-Trucks go before us and they leave big ruts out there. It's a rough course. As you can see there aren't a lot of cars rolling in here. It's a lot of attrition. Were there a lot of guys parked out there? I don't know because I didn't have the chance to look at anybody. We had to pass a lot of cars out there, it was just constant, all the way through. It was a tough pace out there today, it was between this car, (Dale) Ebberts and our other car, our Las Vegas Insemination car for the lead today and then we'll see what happens tomorrow because its going to get a lot rougher.
DALE EBBERTS, No. 159 (third) -- We had entered under Brad Etter's name, the car owner, but ended up changing at the last minute. We were 120 and dropped back to the very back, 159. We did that for points reasons. Brad can't make it to San Felipe so we used my name. (Starting in back) it was a challenge. We got blasted by dirt trying to get by other people. It was a thrill. The car worked great. It's just a real rough course. It was just a matter of trying to find the right lines. We were down some time right off the bat. We just kept picking up our lap speeds and got up to second, I guess. I don't really think there's much we could do to improve it other than if they take the grader out there. It's a matter of finding the right lines. The holes are so big it wouldn't matter what you did. You just have to do your best to miss the biggest ones and go on from there.
JOHN HARRAH, No. 109 (seventh) -- It was rough. It's very, very deep. I'm not sure (about changes to car). It worked pretty good. It's just ... deep and sandy. No problems whatsoever. It ran very, very well. Mike Olson is going to drive tomorrow.
DONALD MOSS, No. 301 (only starter) -- It was pretty good. It sure got a lot rougher at the end there. We had no problems at all. We were behind another truck that rolled over right in front of us on that first lap. That was kind of interesting. (When only car in class, set other goals to keep motivated?) Yeah, you kind of find somebody that you want to race with a little bit and try to get around them, pass them. But for the most part, it's just taking care of the equipment and try to keep out of the other guy's way.
GEORGE SEELEY, No. 501 (first) -- We're looking for win number eight here, this has always been our best track. We kind of dusted it off after the 1000 because we didn't really have a good finish there. We like the way the track was going, we got an early lead. We just tried to keep it. We had good competition with the 12's and the 10's. It was a good class grouping for us. Sal (Fish) always puts on a great venue here. It was funny because they kind of groomed it for the first couple laps, then we got dug in. After we got going in the middle laps there was a blue groove all through the whole track. In addition, the sky jumps back by the school; it was really good for the crowd and good for the drivers, I thought that was a good addition. Tomorrow we just want to try and get out ahead of these guys early and stay out in front of them.
DAN CHAMLEE, No. 700 (first) -- It's getting bumpy out there, but it's a lot of fun, though. I really like the way they did the course this year. They widened it up a little bit and there's a lot of room for passing. I really like the way coming into these corners (near start-finish), you pull a lot of g's coming up on the bank there and it's tons of fun. It's (the vehicle) holding together. For a beat-up old truck it's looking good. My brakes are on the floor, but that's minor. Who needs to stop anyway? That was for most of the race. I can pump them up and get a little bit. But slowing down is for wusses anyway.
A.J. RODRIGUEZ, No. 702 (second) -- It was great until I stalled my car at the starting line when I was in first. It was on the fourth lap. I was sitting there for about four minutes. It took me awhile to get restarted and I only had two laps to try to catch the leader. I almost caught him, but maybe tomorrow. Outside of that, it ran like a top. We're going to change a couple of little things; nothing major.
JOHN HOLMES, No. 742 (first) -- We had a clean run. We had my daughter (Courtney) ride with me. It was the first time she has ever ridden in a race, so it was a lot of fun to have her ride with me. Our biggest trouble was getting the 7 Opens out of the way. It was hard to get them to move. We had a couple of the upper class cars that wouldn't move over, but other than that it was clean. (On whether they will make any changes for tomorrow) No, we're good. The truck felt good. I think we'll be fine tomorrow. It looks like we have a 5-minute lead (5:07). That's huge. In 36 miles, that's huge. It looks like we beat all the 7 Opens except for one. My partner Mark (Anderson) is going to drive tomorrow.
JUAN LOPEZ, No. 802 (first) -- Co-driver Beny Canela said: We just lost the muffler and that's about it. (On what happened to 803, who was leading) Just before the straightaway he was down. I could smell smoke. We lost a muffler and that's about it. The course was chopped up quite a bit. We're pretty happy. We just need to fix that muffler. We changed two transmissions on this thing yesterday. We finally took the tranny out of my truck and put it in here and it worked great.
CORY BOYER, No. 1649 (first) -- It was good. We were actually having motor problems all day long. Every whoop and turn we'd go into I'd have to downshift and clear out the motor and then keep going. We decided Wednesday morning that we were coming out to this race and we started prepping the car. We cleaned it, checked every nut and bolt, threw a motor and tranny in it, CVs and axles, and came out and raced and ended up first by a whole second. We've already made a carburetor change and worked with the needle and seat and float level and stuff like that. We're going to go out to the hills and make sure everything is worked out. If not, we'll be working late on it. It was a great race even though we had those problems. I'd feel a lot better if we got the motor fixed before tomorrow and then we can really show them how we can do. The top end, as soon as we hit some whoops, it wants to bobble and cut out. Sometimes it takes three to five seconds to clear out, every whoop, every turn.
ADAM PFANKUCH, No. 1609 (second) -- It was fun. There was a lot of lapped traffic which is a big problem with us racing so tight. The course was all right. Everything ran well; just got to try to make the car a little faster for tomorrow. It's (course) going to be bad tomorrow. We're going to change the setup a little bit; we're going to run it a little stiffer and make sure it tracks to the ground a little better. Other than that, we're ready to go.
DAVE CASPINO, No. 1600 (fourth) -- We ran out of gas out there; still finished though. I've got tomorrow.
CODY ROBINSON, No. 1617 (seventh) -- (Robinson is 16 years old) It was good. We rolled, barely on its side, and got it back over in about 30 seconds. Some people flipped us back over; made sure we were all right and flipped us right back over. It's a fun race. The course was good; a little rougher than pre-running, but it was fun. (Changes for tomorrow?) Just the driver (to Roberto Romo).
CHRIS HARROLD, No. 1007 (first) -- It was a blast out there, a lot of fun. When I started there were like five cars in front that I had to pass. I didn't have any problem with dust and that. I had plenty of room to get over. I didn't have to hit anybody. I didn'thave any (traffic) problems. There was a couple I was worried about coming into corners, but I think once they saw you were there, they let everything go. It was a lot of fun. The course is getting pretty rough out there. (Any changes for tomorrow) I'm going to look everything over and see, but it felt pretty good overall. I don't know if I'm going to do anything with the suspension because it's going to be rougher tomorrow. I may tighten a little bit of stuff up. We hit it pretty close. We have a new motor package (a Kenny Majors-built Honda) that works really well. Last year this car was brand new and we had tranny problems. We had problems on Friday, we rebuilt it and I ended up winning on Sunday by a couple of seconds over my old race car. That was fun.
MIKEY LAWRENCE, No. 1005 (third) -- It was fun. It's going to be really rough, though. Tomorrow's going to be quite fun. It's really, really choppy. It's beating up the co-driver, but the driver is fine. No problems at all, it ran great. (Changes?) No, just get some good sleep and that's it.
TOM WATSON, No. 1200 (first) --It (the course) was good. It's getting a little tore up, but not bad. I thought it would be worse, but it's good. The first lap went a little crazy passing so many cars. This car over here was on two wheels and I was on two wheels so it was pretty fun. The car the last few laps had a skip in it and it would quit running,, when I started downshifting so I don't know if it got hot or what, so we need to work on that tonight. But the car is fast. I thought they cleaned it (the course) up a little bit from the practice, and it wasn't bad. I had a good time. We just need to work on the motor. I was getting a little nervous there at the end. We have a little lead, not much, but (Rob) McCachren is driving tomorrow so he should be able to win it. We've gotten beat by a few seconds every year in Laughlin, two or three seconds, so it would be nice to come away with a victory. But we're a long way away from it right now, tomorrow is going to be another race.
DAVID CALLAWAY, No. 1203 (second) -- We lost third gear the second lap. We started off pretty good. The second lap we lost third gear and we couldn't keep the momentum going. There's a couple of sand washes that we couldn't pull because we were in between gears. All of a sudden toward the end we got third gear back and then I lost first at the start-finish line and couldn't get going, so I was just hoping and praying that the trans was going to hold on until the finish.
RICK ST. JOHN, No. 1204 (third) -- It went good; it was a fun track and I had a good time. On this pass up here I got myself stuck on the side of the hill. Just teetering on two wheels, but made it back. I had to come to a complete stop. Motor ran good, tranny ran good. It's getting bad (the course), each lap you could see the difference and I can only imagine that tomorrow is going to be real rough. The course is evolving lap by lap. Tomorrow I put my fast driver in; Adam Pfankuch is driving, who just won 16's this morning.
BILL HERNQUIST, No. 1201 (sixth) -- It's rough. We were running really strong, I think we were the first car for the first three laps, and then I lose something in the motor. So I just nursed it for the last three. I have no idea (what the engine problem is). We'll have it fixed for tomorrow.
TODD LUCERO, No. 1102 (second) -- No problems. Jake Mueller, right behind us in another class 11 car, hit us right in the corner. That was not very good. It bent the back bumper (but didn't affect the handling). Basically I had no brakes at all, so I was doing a lot of shifting. The course is rough, but I thought it was going to be rougher than it was because all the SCORE Trophy-Trucks qualified yesterday. You can tell they smoothed some stuff out.
JAKE MUELLER, No. 1104 (third) -- We (he and 1102) were running close all day, then our coil wire fell off. They started before us and on the second lap we passed behind him again and we were like bumper to bumper, and then our coil wire fell off.
JOHN GRIFFIN, No. 860 (first) -- No problems. I stalled it at the start-finish for about 30 seconds but that was about it, on the second lap. I had to play catch-up. The course was fantastic.
DAN VANCE, No. 1548 (first) -- There were no problems at all. The course is great, the truck ran good, everything was good. We're going to do a little (shock) valving change because it's going to get rougher. We're going to stiffen it up a hair. I have to get a new Parker Pumper hose. I lost that on the first lap and it was a little hot in my helmet all day. That was the only problem I had. Other than that it was a beautiful race. There was a lot of traffic, but everybody passed clean and everybody stayed out of everybody's way. It was a real good day.