Phil's Inc Baja 1000 summary

Evanston, IL -- Chris Raffo from Arlington Heights, Illinois and his California Tomato Growers/Phil's Inc./Philips Excavating sponsored Chevy Blazer conquered the 2004 Tecate Baja 1000. Chris Raffo, on his third try at this historic event, ...

Evanston, IL -- Chris Raffo from Arlington Heights, Illinois and his California Tomato Growers/Phil's Inc./Philips Excavating sponsored Chevy Blazer conquered the 2004 Tecate Baja 1000.

Chris Raffo, on his third try at this historic event, finished 4th in Class 3. Of the 273 entrants, only 153 finished the event in the allloted 36 hour time limit. This year's course covered 800 miles of terrain on the Baja California peninsula.

Chris Raffo and co-driver Dennis Chencharick of Pennsylvania, almost didn't make it to the start line--. "During contingency on Thursday the engine overheated on the California Tomatoes Chevy Blazer! At about 7 PM we began to tear apart the engine and discovered 4 burnt valves. At 9:20 PM I was able to convince the guy at Auto Zone to open his locked door so I could talk to him. Eventually he called a guy who called a guy who came to the store to look at our burnt valves. We went to his family's "machine shop" and began searching for good valves and guides amongst the piles of junk and the 5 gallon buckets. Using worn out antiquated tools our engine builder, Dennis, was able to scrounge the needed parts by 11:30 PM. We then proceeded back to Estero Beach and the car and rebuilt the top 1/2 of the engine by 4:30 AM. At 6: 30 AM we were at Tech Inspection ready to go!" -- Chris Raffo

The team had a few problems during race, running out of gas just a few miles from the first fuel stop, and later a getting stuck in a silt bed, but continued to battle finishing in just under 30 hours.

The race truck and team was equipped with select parts from Phil's Inc., including Powerstop cross-drilled brake rotors and brake pads, Prothane Urethane suspension bushings and engine mounts, Ringers Drivers-X gloves and Authentic Mechanics gloves.

Chris and his team are looking to go back to Baja in spring to compete in the Tecate San Felipe 250.

For more information on the 2003 Tecate Baja 1000, visit www.off-road.com.

-pi-

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