We All Know Who Really Won the Baja 500.... Cheat! All the Cool Kids Are Doing It! As the most penalized Trophy Truck team for "course deviation," Robbie Pierce, in the No. 35 MasterCraft Trophy Truck, shares his thoughts...
We All Know Who Really Won the Baja 500....
Cheat! All the Cool Kids Are Doing It!
As the most penalized Trophy Truck team for "course deviation," Robbie Pierce, in the No. 35 MasterCraft Trophy Truck, shares his thoughts on SCORE International's official results ruling for the 2009 Baja 500 race.
What went through your mind as you were awaiting the official Baja 500 results?
"I have to admit, as I went about my day waiting for SCORE to release the final results from the previous Saturday's race, I secretly hoped for a move up from fourth to third. While I was not excited about getting a podium finish in this way, the thought crossed my mind. After 'Black Thursday' I have had some time reflect on those thoughts. I understand now what a hollow victory that would have been. I was extremely proud of our 'unofficial' fourth place finish. The truck was prepped well, the team practiced fuel stops and tire changes, logistical plans were made and yes, I was in Mexico pre-running for at least two weeks. I was not pre-running to find 'cheater lines,' but rather to know the course well enough to pass safely or when not to lift when everyone else would be. Someone asked me, 'why so much pre-running?' My answer - These guys are good and the ones winning are down here doing their homework too."
What did you think upon hearing SCORE International's results ruling for the Baja 500?
"While I support SCORE's decision, I am unapologetic for the race that we ran or the lines that we took. I was extremely disappointed for my team as they worked so hard to get us in the top five. I am proud as Hell to have handed off my truck to Mike at race mile 225 and watched as he closed the gap on the No. 19 Trophy Truck of Herbst.
IRC mentioned to several of the racers that data would be pulled from the trackers after the race. Sal Fish also referred to the "yellow sheet" in the Baja 500 driver's info packet in regards to course deviation and speeding. Why do you think the penalties and results shake-up was still a surprise to the off-road race community?
"The problem we face as drivers is that we know the team ahead of us is using the same line or 'cut,' so in our mind we have no choice. More so, our experience tells us and trains us that no one gets penalized in anyway, its just a part of racing in Baja. The reality is the entire race was not analyzed; only select locations and teams that were clean through those areas were because they didn't do their homework.
What are your thoughts on IRC's technology and its impact on off-road racing?
"From a safety standpoint, it is an excellent tool - however I doubt the tracker's ability to detect minor course deviations. I would really like to see that overlay IRC data from the entire race. I question whether the evidence used in determining the penalties is truly based off data gathered from the IRC tracker. My guess is SCORE International is partially using photographs and video - which would explain the limited scope of course review."
How do you think the penalties will affect the teams for the Primm 300?
"I applaud SCORE for tidying up our house, I hope SCORE International continues to have clearly defined and enforced rules which will further our sport. On a personal level, what means most to me is earning the respect of my peers. We know who won, who took second and yes who took 4th. The No. 35 Trophy Truck was schooled by Robby, beat by BJ and Norman/Roeseler, but no one else. The Primm 300 is next and all will be righted in the world of SCORE desert racing."
Anything else you would like to add or comment on?
"Congratulations Robby Gordon on a great race!"
"Once again I am completely humbled by the tireless efforts and dedication shown by the team and the pit crew before, during and after the race. I would like to extend my appreciation and gratitude to everyone involved with the No. 35 MasterCraft Racing Trophy Truck. Each individual plays an important and integral role on the team and their hard work does not go unnoticed."
-credit: MasterCraft Racing