B.J. Baldwin snags SCORE Trophy-Truck crown
Las Vegas' B.J. Richardson captures Overall and Class 1 2008 SCORE Desert Series points title in Bunderson-Chevy
Bell/Kendall/Campbell sweep Overall M/C & Class 22 points; Matlock/Spaeth earn Overall ATV and Class 25 points
LOS ANGELES--After all of the dust settled following the recent 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the last man standing atop the podium with the crown of 2008 SCORE Desert Series Overall point champion was veteran Las Vegas racer B.J. Richardson.
Richardson, 43, a prominent Southern Nevada businessman and casino developer, drove the Las Vegas Dissemination Company Chevy-powered Bunderson open-wheel desert race car to the unlimited Class 1 season point title that also earned him the coveted 2008 SCORE Overall point championship as well. During the five-race season, he had second place class finishes at the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 and the SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 along with a 10th at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and a ninth in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
Racing in one of the two most competitive classes in the series, Richardson claimed the title with 414 total points. By finishing every mile of every race, Richardson also earned his first Toyota Milestone Award.
Richardson and all the 2008 SCORE Desert Series point champions will be honored Saturday during the annual SCORE Awards Night at Terrible's Resort in Primm, Nev. The evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards at 7:30 p.m.
In one of the closest overall point battles in the 35-year history of the world's foremost desert racing series, Richardson won the overall crown by just three points over fellow Las Vegan B.J. Baldwin. Baldwin, 29, won the season point championship in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division for the second time in three years in the No. 97 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado. Baldwin, whose father Bobby Baldwin finished ninth in the SCORE Trophy-Truck season points, earned his third consecutive Toyota Milestone Award.
After leading the SCORE Overall points much of the season, San Diego County racer Adam Pfankuch, 26, finished third overall while winning Class 1-2/1600 in a Mirage-VW with 403 season points. Pfankuch earned a Toyota Milestone Award as well as winning the $20,000 Volkswagen of America bonus for earning the most points of any VW-powered vehicle this season.
A total of just 36 points separated the top 10 in the final 2008 SCORE Overall point standings led by four drivers from Class 1, three from SCORE Trophy-Truck, two from Class 1-2/1600 and one from Class 5/1600.
SCORE points are based on starting and finishing as well as the number of starters in each class in every race.
"What an unbelievable season, especially when you consider I've been hanging around the desert for over 20 years," said the soft-spoken Richardson. "This was a dream season, and we were able to stay consistent, finish every race and win Class 1 and the 2008 SCORE Overall point championship without winning a race. That goes to show you how competitive SCORE desert racing is in general and our class in particular. I can't stay enough, though, about our entire Las Vegas Dissemination Company team, my teammate Pat Dean, our dear friend and sponsor John Gaughan, our co-driver T.J. Flores and the magnificent prep our cars get from Valley Performance in Las Vegas. Without all of the ingredients, we would have never won this championship."
While this is Richardson's first SCORE class point championship, it was Baldwin's second and third for Pfankuch, who owns Powerbox Transaxles. Pfankuch was the second driver for two season point championship teams. He was the second driver for the title team in Class 1-2/1600 SCORE points both in 2003 (with Eric Allen) and in 2004 (with Brian Jeffrey). In 2004, the Jeffrey/Pfankuch tandem was also the SCORE Overall Point champions. This was the first season Pfankuch won a class title as driver of record.
While Baldwin drove the entire season solo, Pfankuch did almost the same, but had help from Steven Eugenio, El Centro, Calif., in both the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
Baldwin, was second in Laughlin, seventh in San Felipe and earned his third career SCORE Trophy-Truck race win at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, slipped to 10th in Primm but kept his point lead and clinched the his second career title with a second at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks.
After impressively winning Class 1 in Mexico's season-finale, Chuck Dempsey, Oak Hills, Calif., finished the year second in Class 1 and fourth in overall points with 399 in the Speed Technologies Jefferies-Chevy.
With two class wins this season before a 10th in class at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 put him out of championship contention, Germany's World Rally Championship veteran Armin Schwarz and teammate Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif., finished fifth in overall points and third in Class 1, just two points behind Dempsey in the All German Motorsports Jimco-BMW.
With three wins in Class 5/1600 in his VW Baja Bug, Mexico's Marcos Nunez won his class point championship and finished sixth in overall points.
A pair of talented SCORE Trophy-Truck teams ended up seventh and eighth in 2008 SCORE Overall points--Norman Motorsports and Riviera Racing.
Winning the last two races of the season, Roger Norman, Reno, Nev. and Larry Roeseler, Irvine, Calif., made a major impression in their first year in SCORE Trophy-Truck, finishing second behind Baldwin with 391 points in the No. 8 Norman Motorsports Ford F-150.
After dominating the SCORE Trophy-Truck class in 2007 with three race wins including the 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, still managed to finish third in SCORE Trophy-Truck season points this year with 386 in the No. 1 Riviera Racing Ford F-150.
Completing the top 10 in 2008 SCORE Overall points was rookie Corey Boyer, Bakersfield, Calif., a second generation desert racer who raced with his father and brother, earning one class win and finishing second to Pfankuch with 384 points in a Lothringer-VW.
With motorcycles and ATVs racing in the three SCORE Baja races, the team of Robby Bell, Sun City, Calif./Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif., once again dominated the overall motorcycle and open Class 22 standings with 303 points after all three Baja races on the factory-supported No. 1x Johnny Campbell Racing Honda CRF450X. For the Baja legend Campbell, it was his 11th career SCORE win while it was the third for Bell and the second for Norman.
Sweeping all three SCORE Baja races, the overall ATV champions are led by rider of record Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif., on a Honda TRX700XX. Riding with Matlock all season was Marc Spaeth, Ramona, Calif., while aiding the cause with some riding in the two longer Baja races were Harold Goodman and Wes Miller.
With four class wins this season, Mexico's Ramon Fernandez won his second straight Class 11 title and was 11th overall in a stock VW Sedan.
Winning Class 3 for the sixth time in seven years in their sturdy Ford Bronco, brothers Donald (Sacramento, Calif.) and Kenneth Moss (Marysville, Calif.) won four of five races, have 29 in their career and finished 13th in the 2008 SCORE Overall points.
Setting a pair of SCORE records along the way, Heidi Steele, San Clemente, Calif., was the driver of record for a team that won two races and the Class 7SX season point championship in the Desert Assassins Ford Ranger. For Steele, whose husband Cameron Steele races in SCORE Trophy-Truck, she became the first female driver of record to win a SCORE truck season title and the first female driver to win a prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Award as her team finished every required mile of the season.
While Steele became the first female driver of record to win a SCORE truck class season title, Anna Cody, Simi Valley, Calif., became the first female rider of record to win a SCORE motorcycle class title.
Cody led an all female team to the Class 20 title on a Honda CRF250X. Other team regulars were co-riders: Stacy Doerkson, Apple Valley, Calif./Cathy Duncan, Los Alamos, Calif./Sarah Kritch, Bakersfield, Calif.
Truly a family sport, Rod Hall, Reno, Nev. and his youngest son Chad Hall became the first father and son racers to win a SCORE season championship in the same season.J Both also SCORE Toyota Milestone winners from Reno, Nev., the venerable Rod Hall, 71, won the Stock Mini class for the third straight year in a Hummer H3 for his 14th career SCORE class season point title while Chad Hall, 45, won three races this year in a Rod Hall Racing Hummer H3Alpha to earn the Stock Full season title, his first as driver of record.
Among the car and truck classes, other point champions include: Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif. (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Mike Lawrence, Brea, Calif. (Class 10, Lothringer-VW), Rick St. John, Encinitas, Calif. (SCORE Lite, Duvel-VW). It was Chamlee's fourth career Class 7 season title, while it was the first for both Lawrence and St. John.
Among the other motorcycle class champions, four defending season class champions won their respective classes again in 2008: Jim O'Neal, Simi Valley, Calif. (Class 30, Honda CRF450X and Class 50, Honda CRF450X0, Carlos Casas, Chula Vista, Calif. (Class 21, KTM 450CXF), Brett Helm, Poway, Calif. (Class 40, Honda XR650R) and Donald Lewis, Marlborough, Conn. (Class 60, Honda CRF450X).
Putting together all-star age group teams, O'Neal, the prominent apparel manufacturer, now has 13 career SCORE class motorcycle season point crowns, 12 of which have come in the last eight years.
Casas, Helm and Lewis, along with their talented co-riders, each have now won two career SCORE motorcycle season titles.
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, Off-Road, American Suzuki, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie's Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.