SMD Motorsports Scores Eighth-Place Class Finish in 38th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico (June 6, 2006) - In its first SCORE International Off-Road Racing event of 2006, Heber, Calif.-based SMD Motorsports scored...
SMD Motorsports Scores Eighth-Place Class Finish in 38th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico (June 6, 2006) - In its first SCORE International Off-Road Racing event of 2006, Heber, Calif.-based SMD Motorsports scored an eighth-place class finish (12th overall) in the 38th running of the annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 held in Ensenada, Mexico.
Third off the starting line out of 37 Trophy Trucks, the No. 27 SMD Motorsports Ford F-150 Trophy Truck, piloted by brothers Matt and David Scaroni with navigator Tom Geviss, rocketed off the line with an early race goal of being the first Trophy Truck into the technical Pine Forest section of the course (Mile 28 - Mile 99). They achieved that goal and began working their way south before their brakes started failing and water seeped into the engine causing the motor to sputter. Through it all, the team contended for the class win and still scored an impressive top-10 finish.
"What a race," said Matt Scaroni, the 23-year-old older brother who drove the first 248 miles of the race before turning driving duty over to younger brother David. "I can't tell you how happy we are. A few days ago, we didn't even know if we would be racing. I have to give kudos to this team and to [navigator] Tom Geviss. They are the ones who stayed up all night building another motor and getting the truck down here, and Tom called a great race from the co-pilot seat. We wouldn't be here without them. This is a testament to their work ethic and dedication."
Last Wednesday, the SMD Motorsports team blew its primary motor while practicing back home in the California desert. Without a backup motor, the team worked throughout Thursday night and Friday morning back in its California race shop to build another motor. The team didn't arrive in Ensenada until Friday afternoon. Its GPS system wasn't completely fixed until minutes before the start.
"We considered it an achievement just to get to the starting line," said David Scaroni, the 20-year-old older brother who drove the last half of the race. "With all of the difficulties this team faced, we didn't know what to expect. We only got a few hours of pre-running in late Friday night. This team got us ready and did a great job in the pits getting us to the finish. I crossed the finish line without any brakes."
""After the kind of week that we had, we will take the finish," said Steve Scaroni, owner of SMD Motorsports and father of Matt and David. "It certainly could have been worse. I'm proud of the team. There is a lot to be happy about. We overcame a lot of obstacles and, when we were racing, we were very fast. We grew up coming here, and did a lot of homework and preparation prior to the race, so we felt we were better equipped than some teams to deal with the engine setback. Experience counts for a great deal in Baja, and I think that was one of the reasons why we were able to do as well as we did."
More than 150,000 fans were on hand to watch the 424.29-mile race, which was run in a clockwise direction over a tight and technical desert course with an 18-hour time limit. A record 438 racers from seven countries and 28 states competed in the race, including a record 37 in the elite Trophy Truck division. Only 222 competitors finished the race. Only 20 of the 37 Trophy Trucks completed the race.
Veteran racer and Baja legend Larry Ragland and Brian Collins won the overall and Trophy Truck class, crossing the finish line in 9:36:49 for an average speed of 44.13 mph. The Scaronis crossed the finish line in 10:38:35, for an eighth-place class finish, 12th overall.
Regulars this year on The Best of the Desert Series, SMD Motorsports currently sits in seventh place in the points standings with 134 points, only 24 points behind leader Pete Sohren. The next race on the SMD Motorsports schedule is the 10th annual TSCO "Vegas to Reno" race on the Best in the Desert series, the longest off-road race in the United States (more than 600 miles), August 24-26, 2006. The only other SCORE International Off-Road event the SMD Motorsports team will compete in this year is the famed 40th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 100 - the granddaddy of all of-road races - November 17-18, 2006.
SMD Motorsports, based in Heber, Calif. won the 2003 SCORE Baja 1000 in the Protruck division. They captured three wins in 2004, as well as the Protruck championship and the points championship in both the SCORE and Best in the Desert series - an unprecedented Triple Crown! The team moved to the elite Trophy Truck class in 2005. For more information on SMD Motorsports, visit its website at www.smdmotorsports.com.