Randy Wilson captures Class 1
NASCAR's R. Gordon wins Overall & SCORE Trophy-Truck Point Championship in five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series
Johnson wins Overall Motorcycle crown, Christy claims Overall ATV title; SCORE Awards Night Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas
LOS ANGELES--Closing the books on the 36th year of the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series and capping a triumphant return to desert racing on a full-time basis for the first time since 1996, NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon has earned the SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck point championship for the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series.
Gordon will receive his awards Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas during the annual SCORE Awards Night celebration honoring the 2009 SCORE Desert Series point champions, the winners of the 2009 SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards and the 14 recipients of the 2009 SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards.
Amassing 424 total points, Gordon, 40, who returns to his desert racing roots as often as his NASCAR schedule allows which is every race this year, secured his first SCORE Overall point championship and his second in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck class for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks in his No. 77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500.
While assuming a big lead in the 2009 SCORE Desert Series point standings, Gordon, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., actually missed the NASCAR Cup race in Richmond on Sept. 12 to run in the SCORE race in Primm in his quest for the season championship. In 2009, Gordon earned his eighth and ninth career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins along with one second, one fifth and one seventh in the five-race season.
Winning the SCORE Class 10 season point championship with four race wins in a Lothringer-VW, Mike Lawrence, Banning Calif., finished second in SCORE overall points behind Gordon with 400 points for his second straight SCORE Class 10 season title.
"SCORE is the last, if not the last it's the best endurance racing series in the World!" proclaimed Gordon, a second generation desert racer. "Where you're allowed to use both imagineering and engineering to make your vehicle the absolute best it can be. It's so rare in motorsports today for teams to use their creativity to produce a vehicle that works for their driver or team, it makes for some really great racing and cool concepts and SCORE is a perfect example of that. I hope SCORE never changes to a spec series like NASCAR, Indy Car or F1. I'm so thankful to be a part of a series that allows the teams and drivers to choose what they want to create. It reminds me of what the Indy 500 was in the 60's and 70's. SCORE is definitely a very special series and for Robby Gordon Off-Road to build the fastest most reliable desert-racing truck in the world makes me very proud. Being the 2009 SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion means a lot to me both personally and professionally."
The 2009 SCORE Desert Series featured two races in Southern Nevada and three in Baja California, Mexico, covering a total of 1,713.76 vehicle-pounding, body-punishing rugged race miles. During the five-race series, a total of 578 different racers started at least one race.
The challenging 2009 season began with the 15th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in January and ended with the 42nd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in November. The season-ending granddaddy of all desert races had the largest field of the year with 328 starters competing in 30 Pro and 6 Sportsmen classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs.
Wilson Motorsports of Long Beach, Calif., with Randy Wilson as the driver of record, won the unlimited Class 1 season point title in a Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car while finishing eighth in the 2009 SCORE Overall point standings.
After also contending for the season title in another Class 1 car until a dnf in the SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 in September, Randy Wilson's brother Ronny joined his brother in Baja to finish third in Class 1 in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 to help Wilson Motorsports capture the season championship with consistency, even though Randy did not win a race.
In earning the first SCORE Class 1 season championship for Wilson Motorsports, Randy Wilson had two thirds, two sixths and one eighth-place finish to capture the title as well as his first SCORE Toyota Milestone Award for completing every required mile of the season.
Eric Duran, Tecate, Calif., driver of record for his family team entered the season-finale in a close third in points but with an impressive victory, captured the Class 1-2/1600 in with 397 points in a Neth-VW to finish in third in overall points for the season.
SCORE points are based on starting and finishing as well as the number of starters in each class and placement position in every race.
Fourth in overall points for the year and second in Class 1-2/1600 just one point behind the Durans was Brian Wilson, Long Beach, Calif., nephew of Randy and Ronny Wilson and part of the third generation of Wilson Motorsports racers. Brian Wilson, who had driving help from Las Vegas' Sammy Ehrenberg in a Kreger-VW had entered the season finale tied with Justin Smith and just missed the championship when the Durans won the race and Wilson finished second.
Smith, San Clemente, Calif., who won two races in his class this season, finished third in Class 1-2/1600 for the year and fifth in overall points with 386 in a Fraley-VW.
Finishing fourth in Class 1-21/600 and sixth in overall points was Cody Robinson, El Centro, Calif., in a TL-VW.
Earning his fifth consecutive season point championship in Class 7 in a Ford Ranger, Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif., won four races in 2009 while finishing seventh in overall points.
Tied for eighth in overall points for 2009 with Randy Wilson, SCORE Lite season point champion Brent Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif., won two races in a Moulton-VW.
Finishing the year second in Class 1 just three points behind Randy Wilson, All German Motorsports teammates Armin Schwarz of Germany and Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. (Denmark) drove a Jimco-BMW to one race win and a 10th place in the final 2009 SCORE Overall point standings.
One of two female regular racers this season, Heidi Steele, San Clemente, Calif., used a season-ending win in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 to claim the Class 6 point crown in the Desert Assassins Ford Ranger. She also won a SCORE season point title last year was in Class 7SX and has one Class 6 race win this year. Steele's husband Cameron Steele was fourth in the final 2009 SCORE Trophy-Truck points.
Among the 2009 SCORE point champions in car and truck classes are: John Holmes, Olivenhain, Calif. (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger), Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va.. (Class 8, Chevy Silverado), Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif. (Class 3, Ford Bronco), Kevin Carr, San Deigo (Class 5, unlimited VW Baja Bug), Alonso Angulo, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 5/1600, 1600cc VW Baja Bug), Justin Matney, Briston, Tenn. (Stock Full, Dodge Ram1500), Pancho Bio, El Cajon, Calif. (Class 9, Tubular Design-VW) and Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 11, stock VW Sedan).
For Solorzano, it was his ninth career SCORE class season title while it was the seventh for Moss, fifth for Chamlee, third for both Holmes and Bio and second for Carr.
With motorcycles and ATVs racing in the three SCORE Baja races, the overall motorcycle and Class 30 (motorcycle riders 30 years old and older) champions with three class wins in 2009 is the team of Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas/Rex Cameron, Albuquerque, N.M., with 292 points on a Honda CRF450X.
Winning his fourth Class 22 season crown for open motorcycles and his third straight was the Johnny Campbell Racing team led by Kendall Norman on a Honda CRF450X. Norman's teammates this year were Tim Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif., and Quinn Cody, Los Olivos, Calif.
Claiming the 2009 SCORE Overall ATV championship and his second straight Class 24 season crown with two class race wins and 282 points is the team led Craig Christy, Burbank, Calif., on a Honda TRX450R.
Winning Class 25 open ATV championship for the second consecutive year is the team led by rider of record Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif., with two race wins on a Honda TRX700XX and 276 points. His teammates this year were Harold Goodman, Brownstown, Mich., Marc Spaeth, Ramona, Calif./Wes Miller, Fallbrook, Calif. and Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif.
Among the other 2009 SCORE motorcycle class point champions are Ronnie Wilson, Glendale, Calif. (Class 21, Honda CRF250X), Jim O'Neal, Simi Valley, Calif. (Class 50, Honda CRF450X), Brian Campbell, Bakersfield, Calif. (Class 40, KTM 450XCF), Jesus Rios, Calexico, Calif. (Class 20, Honda CRF250X) and Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif. (Class 60, Honda CRF450X).
Competing in age group motorcycle classes, O'Neal now has 14 career SCORE class point championships, tying him with Dan Smith and Rod Hall with the most in SCORE history.
Another prominent age group motorcycle racer, Jackson earned his 11th career SCORE class season point title. He won this year in Class 60 for racers 60 years old and over.
In addition to season class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes also raced to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 24th consecutive year, a total of 14 drivers earned the honor in 2009.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels -official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant and Red Bull--official energy drink. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Terrible Herbst Inc., Blue C Enthusiast Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie's Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
Additional sponsors in Baja are the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada.