Teams prepare for Laughlin challenge

Ed & Tim Herbst Draws First Start in SCORE Trophy-Truck For 8th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge Jan. 24-27 Event Starts with $25,000 Laughlin Leap & Pit Crew Showdown on Jan. 24 LOS ANGELES--Already the winningest drivers in the event's...

Ed & Tim Herbst Draws First Start in SCORE Trophy-Truck For 8th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge

Jan. 24-27
Event Starts with $25,000 Laughlin Leap & Pit Crew Showdown on Jan. 24

LOS ANGELES--Already the winningest drivers in the event's history, Las Vegas racing brothers Ed and Tim Herbst have drawn the first starting position in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division for the upcoming 8th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. The No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsport Ford F-150 was the first vehicle assigned a starting position in the computerized drawing held last Friday at the SCORE International headquarters in Los Angeles.

Getting a major head start on the new year in motorsports, thousands of desert racing fans will join nearly 150 racers at the increasingly popular, January 24-27, along the banks of the Colorado river adjacent to the growing Southern Nevada resort destination of Laughlin.

Being held 90 miles south of Las Vegas, the first major motorsports race of the year will be the opening round of the 2002 Duralast SCORE Desert Series, America's foremost desert racing series. Racers from across the U.S., Mexico and Japan will launch the new racing season during the unique, four-day SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, which features the $25,000 Laughlin Leap and Pit Crew Showdown. A total of 16 different classes, including the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck and unlimited Class 1 divisions, will compete in the event.

"It's great to start first, especially in a special race like the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge," said Ed Herbst, who along with his brother Tim, are two of only four four-time winners in the first seven years of this race. "We've won this race three out of the last five years, but one little mistake on either day and you're out of the hunt. Terrible Herbst really enjoys this event, from the pre-race events through the race, but especially for how the Laughlin resort community is so pro-active in promoting this event and how well they treat all of us racers."

Unique in format in all of desert racing, the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge kicks off Thursday, Jan. 24 with the $25,000 Laughlin Leap and Pit Crew Showdown.

The race itself is split into two days of action (Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26-27) with the 16 classes for desert race cars and exotic race trucks divided into seven groups for seven separate races each day. From sunrise to sunset, SCORE desert racers will heat up the abbreviated 13-mile loop desert course in multiple-lap races with time limits of 75 or 85 minutes each. The event finishing order, by class, will be based on the combined two-day elapsed time of each racer.

Besides Ed and Tim Herbst, who have teamed up to win this race in 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2000, the only other four-time winners, Brian Collins and George Seeley Jr., are also entered this year.

Las Vegas' Collins, who won the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division last year for his third straight SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, picked up his first victory in 1996. His first three wins were in Class 8.

Seeley Jr., Glendale, Calif., has also won three straight after earning his first title in 1997. All of his wins have been in Class 5 for unlimited VW Baja Bugs and he has entered his VW Rabbit in the same class this year.

Besides Seeley Jr., who has won the SCORE Class 5 season crown three straight years and four of the last five, nine other defending point champions in the Duralast SCORE Desert Series are entered so far.

Leading the group of reigning SCORE season champions is Las Vegas' Troy Herbst, the youngest of the three racing Herbst brothers, who has won a record five consecutive titles in the unlimited Class 1 division.

Other 2001 SCORE champions entered are: David Ahsley/Dan Smith, Riverside, Calif. (SCORE Trophy-Truck, Ford F-150); Allan Gregory, Alpine, Calif. (Class 5/1600, 1600cc VW Baja Bugs); Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, Calif. (Class 7, Ford Ranger); Doug Siewert, Oceanside, Calif./Cory Susag, Dana Point, Calif. (Class 7S, Chevy S-10); Ron Dalke, Tucson, Ariz. (SCORE Lites, Tatum); Eric Solorzano, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 11, VW Sedans); Dr. Macrae Glass, Kingman, Ariz. (Stock Mini, Ford Ranger); John Griffin, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Stock Full, AM General Hummer) and Scott Steinberger, Cypress, Calif. (Protruck, Ford F-150).

The start/finish line area will be at the Laughlin Events Park at Thomas Edison Drive and Bruce Woodbury Way. In front of grandstands, a vendor's village and food court, the stadium-style course will include the Laughlin Leap, switchback turns, mini-jumps and moguls, helping to give spectators the rare opportunity to cheer their favorite racers up-close.

On Friday, Jan. 25, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., fans can meet and greet their favorite racers and check out their high-tech racing machines throughout the day at the manufacturer's midway and technical inspection held in the start/finish line area.

Race weekend festivities will once again start with the extremely popular $25,000 Laughlin Leap and Pit Crew showdown on Thursday, Jan. 24. Starting with the Pit Crew battle at 6 p.m. at the Laughlin Events Park Stadium followed by the bodacious Laughlin Leap, drivers and crews will test their own skills and the quality of their race vehicles. Participants will attempt to beat the existing records. The fastest pit stop was performed in 2000 by the crew of Dale Ebberts, Canyon Lake, Calif., in a record 44.96 seconds. The longest Laughlin Leap was recorded last year by Dale Dondel, Hemet, Calif., whose Nye Frank race car went airborne for a distance of 120 feet.

The biggest stars in the sport of desert racing are expected to compete. While drawing for starting positions within each class has been late entries will be accepted through the close of on-site registration on Friday, Jan. 25.

General Admission tickets for grandstand seats in the Laughlin Events Park will be $10 each for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. By mandate of the Bureau of Land Management, the start/finish line area is the only "designated" spectator area on the course. To place ticket orders or for more information, contact the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce at (800) 227-5245 or (702) 298-2214.

The 8th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Committee and the Laughlin Visitors Bureau, a division of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Las Vegas Events. The race is sanctioned and produced by SCORE International of Los Angeles.

SCORE can be reached at (818) 225-8402 or through its website at www.score-international.com.

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Drivers Tim Herbst