Baja 500 draw completed

Marc Francke gets first motorcycle start; Larry Ragland draws first start in featured SCORE Trophy-Truck For popular 36th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race Over 260 entries expected June 4-6 in Ensenada, Mexico, for Round 3 of five-race...

Marc Francke gets first motorcycle start; Larry Ragland draws first start in featured SCORE Trophy-Truck For popular 36th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race

Over 260 entries expected June 4-6 in Ensenada, Mexico, for Round 3 of five-race 2004 SCORE Desert Series

LOS ANGELES--Veteran Larry Ragland, in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division, and newcomer Marc Francke, in Class 22 for open motorcycles, have drawn the first starting positions for next month's 36th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race, it was announced today by race organizer SCORE International.

Driving the No. 12 Chevy Silverado, of Las Vegas-based Collins Motorsports, will lead the car and truck classes while Francke, racing on the No. 2x Honda XR650R, will lead the motorcycle and ATV field into the challenging and unforgiving desert in Baja California, Mexico.

With over 260 entries expected, the green flag will drop at 6 a.m. on Saturday (June 5) for the motorcycle and ATV classes, followed by the car and truck classes two hours later at approximately 8:30 a.m. The starting line area will once again be adjacent to the Riviera del Pacifico Convention Center in downtown Ensenada. The finish line will be inside the Deportivo Antonio Palacios baseball stadium at 9th Street and Guadalupe Avenue in Ensenada. It is located approximately 1.5 miles east of the start line area. The admission will be free to this special SCORE finish line celebration. Vehicles will start in 30-second intervals in the elapsed-time race.

America's foremost desert racing series will showcase 23 Pro and 5 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs in Ensenada, which is located 65 miles south of the U.S. border at San Diego on the Pacific Ocean side of the majestic peninsula.

With five class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, including three overall crowns, Ragland, 60, of Cave Creek, Ariz., has teamed this year with Las Vegas' Brian Collins. Collins, who has always been driver of record in his SCORE career, offered Ragland the position this year because Collins knew he would be missing this year's Tecate SCORE Baja 500 to attend his son's high school graduation. Collins did split the driving during the first two races of the season and is scheduled to share the wheel for the last two races as well with Ragland, who is currently seventh in SCORE Trophy-Truck points.

With the $10,000 Kartek bonus also awaiting the 2004 SCORE Overall point champion, a total of just 29 points separate the top 10 overall point leaders after the first two rounds of 2004. SCORE points are determined both on final finishing position and number of vehicles that started the race within the individual class.

A total of 19 high-tech, 750-horsepower SCORE Trophy-Trucks entered in time for the drawing, but the largest entry fields so far are Class 1-2/1600 (30), the unlimited Class 1 (26), and Class 10 and SCORE Lite (15 each).

Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., will start first in the unlimited Class 1. Hovey, 35, a veteran SCORE racer, will drive a Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car. Class 1 starts second, behind SCORE Trophy-Truck.

Two-time defending overall race winners Troy Herbst of Las Vegas and Larry Roeseler, Hesperia, Calif., will start 18th in Class 1 in the Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford-Smithbuilt. Herbst has five class wins, including two overall titles, in this race, while Roeseler is tied for second all-time with 13 class wins and 11 overall titles.

Among the other early entries in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck for unlimited production trucks are the teams of Las Vegas brothers Ed and Tim Herbst, Mark Post, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Jerry Whelchel, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Dan Smith/Dave Ashley, of Riverside, Calif., and Mexico's Gus Vildosola/Rob MacCachren.

Post/Whelchel are the SCORE Trophy-Truck point leaders after two races, including one victory, in the Riviera Racing No. 3 Ford F-150. The Herbst brothers, whose Terrible Herbst Motorsports is the only team to win four SCORE Trophy-Truck season point crowns, will drive the No. 1 Ford F-150.

Smith and Ashley, the all-time SCORE multiple season class point champions with 24 (Smith-14, Ashley-10), won the SCORE Trophy-Truck division in 2001 and the 2001 Tecate SCORE Baja 500 in the Enduro Racing No. 8 Ford F-150.

Vildosola has one SCORE Trophy-Truck race victory while MacCachren, the point champion of the marquee class when it debuted in 1994, has four SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins. The pair is currently in fourth place in their class points in the Vildosola Racing No. 4 Ford F-150.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year as World's Foremost Desert Racing Series, the SCORE Desert Series heads South to Mexico for the second of three races held annually in Baja California.

The oldest driver in the race--veteran Corky McMillin, 75, of Bonita, Calif., leads the unique three-generation McMillin Racing team, which has entered three vehicles in Class 1. Driving for the prominent San Diego-based team will not only be family patriarch Corky McMillin, but his youngest son Scott, 43, who will split driving duties in another Class 1 car with his son, Andy McMillin, 16, and Mark McMillin, 47, the oldest son of Corky, will drive the third McMillin Racing entry. Between them, McMillin Racing has 12 class wins in this race, including six overall. Corky, Scott and Mark each have two overall titles, the most recent by Mark McMillin in 2001. Mark was the Class 1 winner in February's Tecate SCORE San Felipe, just one second faster than his brother Scott and nephew Andy.

Among the early entries in this year's race is Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif., who has 11 class wins in this summer classic. Jackson is once again entered in Class 50 for motorcycle riders over 50, where he has won three straight years on his No. 500 Honda XR650.

Noted apparel manufacturer Jim O'Neal, Chatsworth, Calif., who made history in 2002 in this race by winning both Class 30 and Class 40 age-group motorcycle classes, returns to lead two more teams on his Honda XR650 motorcycles.

Leading the motorcycle classes overall and the open Class 22 points is American Honda factory teammates Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., and Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif. After winning February's motorcycle season-opener in San Felipe, the pair has now won eight consecutive SCORE races together on their No. 1x Honda XR650R. In the Tecate SCORE Baja 500. Starting second in the class, they have each won the overall motorcycle portion of the event four times and are the two-time defending overall race winners for their only victories together in this race.

The five undefeated class leaders after two races in 2004 who will be all racing in Mexico are: Dave Raimonde, Phoenix (Class 8, Chevy C1500), Donald Moss, Sacramento (Class 3, Ford Bronco), Bob Graham, Yorba Linda, Calif./Mike Horner, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Class 7S, Toyota Tacoma), Rich Severson, Mesa, Ariz. (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger) and Eric Fisher, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 9, Garibay-VW).

Among the other racers who will start first in their respective classes is ESPN sportscaster Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif., in Class 1-2/1600 along with Mexico's Gustavo Avina in Class 5 for unlimited VW Baja Bugs, Victor Herrera, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Tom Bryant (Class 10), Ken Stroud (SCORE Lite) and Juan Valdez (Class 25 for open ATVs).

Pre-race festivities for the 36th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 will center around the Riviera del Pacifico convention center in downtown Ensenada on Friday (June 4). Traditionally drawing thousands of spectators, the pre-race Manufacturer's Midway and display off all the race vehicles will be held adjacent to the San Nicolas Hotel, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday (June 4). The post-race awards celebration will be held at the Riviera del Pacifico on Sunday (June 6) at 10 a.m.

SCORE official sponsors for 2004 are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Southern California Ford Dealers-official vehicle and CL Bryant-official fuel supplier. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Fram, Autolite, Prestone, Bilstein, Signpros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie's, and Advanced Color Graphics.

Associate sponsors for the 36th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 are the Fideicomiso Publico para la Promocion Turistica de Ensenada and Cotuco.

-www.score-international.com.

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Series Score
Drivers Rob MacCachren , Steve Hengeveld , Larry Roeseler , Mark Post , Larry Ragland , Tim Herbst , Mark McMillin , Troy Herbst , Johnny Campbell