This Weekend in Laughlin, Nev. Former champs Gordon & B.J. Baldwin returning from desert rally to join over 130 entries at 16th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge Pre-race festivities Friday include SCORE Trophy-Truck Qualifying and $16,000 SCORE...
This Weekend in Laughlin, Nev.
Former champs Gordon & B.J. Baldwin returning from desert rally to join over 130 entries at 16th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge
Pre-race festivities Friday include SCORE Trophy-Truck Qualifying and $16,000 SCORE Laughlin Leap
Field has six McMillin Racing entries, four from Wilson Motorsports; MacCachren, Weyhrichs, Jefferies in two classes,
Defending season SCORE Class champs Duran Bros, Parkhouse, Steele, Chamlee, Carr, Stacy, Lawrence, Matney, Lang
LAUGHLIN, Nev.--Adding some major drama and extra excitement to the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck racing division for this week's 16th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge was the announcement today that SCORE desert racing stars Robby Gordon and B.J. Baldwin will return from the international desert rally they are competing at in Argentina and Chile in time for Sunday's final day of the two-day race in Laughlin, Nev..
For the 16th straight year, motorsports fans and racers from 11 U.S. States, Mexico, Denmark and Germany will gather in Laughlin, the Southern Nevada desert resort town along the shores of the Colorado River, for the popular SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. The first major motorsports event of the year in the United States will be held Thursday through Sunday, launching the five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series, the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series.
Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., last year's overall winner in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge and the reigning SCORE Trophy-Truck and SCORE Overall point champion, and Las Vegas' B.J. Baldwin, who won this race both in 2006 and 2007, are finishing the Dakar Rally, will fly to Miami where a chartered plane will hopefully get them to the Bullhead City (Ariz.) airport for Sunday's final half of the two-day race. The featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks has 26 entries. After the rally ends on Saturday, the pair will begin the arduous 15-plus hour journey from Argentina to Laughlin.
Robby Gordon, a NASCAR Cup Series owner/driver, has entered his father Bob Gordon in the No. 1 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500 and the elder Gordon will race on Saturday while another second-generation desert racer, Chad Ragland of Phoenix, will race on Saturday in B.J. Baldwin's No. 97 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado.
"You certainly wouldn't be wrong if you said B.J. and I are passionate about SCORE desert racing," quipped Gordon, who has found time in his diverse racing career to win four SCORE season class point titles. "Saturday should be a great first half of the race, but I can assure you that we're aren't going through all this to get to Laughlin for just another Sunday drive. With this weekend being a holiday weekend, nobody should leave Laughlin early. It's a new year and a new decade and I've got lots more to prove."
One of the event's most popular features, the SCORE Laughlin Leap, revs up the fun and helps get the weekend off. Moved to a new day, the SCORE Laughlin Leap will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday. The SCORE Laughlin Leap will start with a fireworks display. General admission grandstand tickets, priced at $20 each, will be available at the gate.
Drivers will enjoy the spotlight at the Laughlin Events Park, competing for a $16,000 purse and the honor of beating the 2009 champions. The SCORE Laughlin Leap, a dirt ramp built into the middle of the stadium portion of the race course, challenges the most daring of drivers. This year's competitors will be attempting to break the event record in the SCORE Laughlin Leap of 161' 6" set this past January by Larry Roeseler in the Norman Motorsports Ford F-150.
For the third straight year, qualifying for starting positions for the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division will be held on Friday. With free admission to the grandstand seating area, SCORE Trophy-Truck qualifying will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and each truck will be timed over one solo lap of the 6.25-mile course to determine the start order in that class for Saturday's first half of the race.
Friday's pre-race activities will also include the SCORE Manufacturer's Midway and vendors village from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. SCORE Contingency, which includes each vehicle being pushed down the lanes in front of the Colorado Belle and Edgewater Hotels, alongside Casino Drive.
With 19 classes divided into five groups, the single race is divided into multi-lap segments split over two days. Starting at 7 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division will run 8 laps over the 6.25-mile course at 1 p.m. each day followed by the unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars that will run their 8 laps at 3 p.m. each day. The combined elapsed time and number of laps completed from both days will determine the final finishing position for each vehicle. Two vehicles will leave the start line every 15 seconds.
Daily general admission tickets, good for grandstand seating, are $20 each per day for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, children 10 and under are free. Daily VIP tickets are $40 each per day for the each day, good for admission to the Laughlin Hospitality Chalet, including food, beverage and special seating.
Returning to the stadium seating area once again will be the immensely popular SCOREvision Large-screen LCD display, showing live footage from virtually the entire race course.
Tickets, priced at $5 each per person, will also be available each race day for 'SCORE Hill', which overlooks the infield, start/finish area and the main pits. The SCORE Hill will have grandstands and standing room areas along with vendors, concessions and the other public safety services available. Grandstand GA tickets also have access to SCORE Hill during the two race days.
The Laughlin Tourism Commission is also selling three-day general admission passes for $50 and three-day VIP passes for $100. With the purchase of a general admission or VIP ticket, spectators can also buy pit passes for an additional $10 per day.
The newest spectator area, opened in 2008 adjacent to Laughlin High School off of Cougar Drive, allows entry at $10 per vehicle, as space allows, to the backside of the course with a view of much of the 6.25-mile loop. Tickets for the Laughlin High spectator area will be available only on each day of racing at the entrance off of Cougar Drive.
The Laughlin Events Park, with grandstand seating, vendor's village and food court is just minutes from the destinations eight resorts and includes an infield with switchbacks, whoops, minijumps and the SCORE Laughlin Leap.
McMillin and Wilson, two of the biggest family names in the world of desert racing, have both made big plans for the new decade, starting with commitments to run high-profile, multi-vehicle teams in the 2010 SCORE Desert Series, the world's foremost desert racing series.
Both with second and third generation drivers, McMillin Racing of San Diego and Wilson Motorsports of Long Beach, Calif., the McMillins have six entries and the Wilson's four in the2010 SCOREJseason-opener. Combined, the two prominent desert racing families have two vehicles in SCORE Trophy-Truck, three in the unlimited Class 1, four in Class 1-2/1600 and one vehicle in SCORE Lite.
Besides Gordon, B.J. Baldwin, Phoenix's Nick Vanderwey, who will be first vehicle to qualify Friday, and Las Vegas' Rob MacCachren, who has six career class wins in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, among the other regulars who were also officially in SCORE Trophy-Truck (26 entries to date) are Andy McMilllin, Mark McMillin, Roger Norman, Cameron Steele, Gus Vildosola, Ed Stout, Damen Jefferies, Bobby Baldwin, Robbie Pierce, Pete Sohren, Bill McBeath, Adam Householder and Gary and Mark Weyhrich.
Over 130 expected entries will compete in 19 classes for cars and trucks for nearly $300,000 in prize money and contingency postings during the four-day SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. Besides defending season point champion Randy Wilson, among the other SCORE regulars who have officially entered in Class 1 (24 entries) are: Ronny Wilson, Armin Schwarz, Brian Parkhouse, Danny and Dale Ebberts, Pat Dean/Danny Anderson, Harley Letner and Daniel McMillin. Dale Ebberts has three class wins in Laughlin, including the overall wins in 2003 and 2005.
MacCachren, whose Laughlin wins include SCORE Trophy-Truck in 1996 and both Class 1-2/1600 and SCORE Lite in 2004, will start eighth in Class 1-2/1600 (20 entries) as well as race in the No. 21 SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Among the others entered in two classes are Damen Jefferies (SCORE Trophy-Truck and Class 1), the Weyhrich brothers Gary and Mark (SCORE Trophy-Truck and Class 1), Cameron Steele (SCORE Trophy-Truck and Sportsman Truck), Rob Bruce (SCORE Trophy-Truck and Class 1), Daniel McMillin (Class 1 and Class 1-2/1600) and Justin Smith (Class 1-2/1600 and SCORE Lite).
With late entries accepted until race morning, the 2009 SCORE season class point champions entered are Randy Wilson, Long Beach, Calif. (Class 1), Duran brothers Hiram and Eric, Tecate, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600), Kevin Carr, San Diego (Class 5), Heidi Steele, San Clemente, Calif. (Class 6), Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif. (Class 7), Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va. (Class 8), Mike Lawrence, Banning, Calif. (Class 10), Brent Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif. (SCORE Lite), Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn. (Stock Full), Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif. (Sportsman Car) and Joe Aguayo, San Jacinto, Calif. (Sportsman Truck).
In addition to Gordon, Carr, Steele and Chamlee, the other defending class winners from last year's SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge who are entered this year are: Danny Anderson, Las Vegas (Class 1, second driver this year for Pat Dean, Las Vegas) and Steven Eugenio, El Centro, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600).
The field also includes three female drivers of record. Besides defending SCORE Class 6 season point champion Heidi Steele, also listed as driver of record for this year's race are Talya Dodson and Jessica McMillin in the SCORE Lite class.
The 16th annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Commission and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in association with Las Vegas Events. The race is sanctioned and produced by SCORE International of Los Angeles.
More event information is available at www.visitlaughlin.com.