This weekend in Mexico B.J. Baldwin, Kendall Norman and Wayne Matlock all Hoping for Overall repeats at Tecate SCORE Baja 500 Ensenada to host over 275 entries from 25 States, 13 countries;'live' vehicle tracking at www.racetheworld.net ...
This weekend in Mexico
B.J. Baldwin, Kendall Norman and Wayne Matlock all Hoping for Overall repeats at Tecate SCORE Baja 500
Ensenada to host over 275 entries from 25 States, 13 countries;'live' vehicle tracking at www.racetheworld.net
ENSENADA, Mexico--While defending overall champions B.J. Baldwin in 4-wheel vehicles, Kendall Norman in motorcycles and Wayne Matlock in ATVs are all looking to repeat, there will be no shortage of former overall winners in the starting grid for this weekend's 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race.
Among nearly 275 entries expected to take the green flag in Ensenada on Saturday are 16 driver/riders who have combined to win 46 overall car/truck, motorcycle and/or ATV titles, including drivers and riders from the last seven straight four-wheel, 11 of the last 12 motorcycle and last year's ATV overall winners. The field also includes 71 racers who have combined for 187 class wins in this popular summer classic.
Round 3 of the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series, the second-oldest desert race in the world and part of the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series, will feature racers competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. It will be held Thursday through Sunday in Ensenada, Mexico. Traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, over 100,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the world's best desert racers in action at this year's 41st anniversary of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
In the 4-Wheel competition, former overall winners in the field hoping to unseat Baldwin will be Larry Roeseler (11 overall wins including nine on motorcycles), Robby Gordon and Troy Herbst (3 each), Brian Collins (2) and Mike Julson (splitting driving this year with Robbie Pierce), Curt LeDuc (with Nick Vanderwey), Rob MacCachren (with Mark Post) and Alan Pflueger (1 each). All, except Troy Herbst, race in SCORE Trophy-Truck. Herbst drives in Class 1 in the legendary Smithbuilt-Ford open-wheeler.
Among the motorcycle riders, former overall winners besides Norman in the field are Steve Hengeveld (6 overall motorcycle wins), Johnny Campbell (5) and Mike Childress and Craig Smith (1 each).
With late entries accepted up to race morning, over 275 entries are expected for the 432.51-mile race from 25 U.S. States from Hawaii to Vermont along with the additional countries of Mexico, Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan and Portugal.
The green flag will drop for the race at 6 a.m. on Saturday for the motorcycle and ATV classes in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, followed by the car and truck classes three hours after the last ATV at approximately 10 a.m. With vehicles starting one every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, it will start and finish in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Boulevard Costero in the heart of Ensenada, leaving and returning into the city through the spectator-laden Arroyo Wash. While the fastest vehicles are expected to cover the course in approximately nine hours, there will be a 20-hour time limit for each vehicle to become an official finisher.
Last year, in the closest race in the 36-year history of SCORE Baja racing, Las Vegas' B.J. Baldwin won the overall 4-wheel vehicle title by a mere seven seconds over the team of Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas. Baldwin, the reigning SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion, will start third this year in his No. 1 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado while Post/MacCachren, the 2007 SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champions will start second in the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150.
With a new riding teammate this year in motocross star Tim Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif., Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., will be looking for his fourth consecutive overall motorcycle win on the No. 4x Johnny Campbell Racing Honda CRF450X. The pair won this year's Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in March.
Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif., was the 2008 SCORE Class 25 and Overall ATV season point champion and is back to defend his overall ATV win in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 on the No. 1a Honda TRX700XX. Splitting the riding with Matlock this year will be Harold Goodman, Brownstown, Mich., Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif., and Wes Miller, Fallbrook, Calif. The team, minus Miller, won this year's race riding together in San Felipe and Matlock is looking for his fifth straight SCORE Desert Series race win.
"What can I say except that I relish being in this position as the defending overall 4-wheel vehicle race champion and driving the No. 1 SCORE Trophy-Truck," said Baldwin, 29, who has three career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins and has won the season point crown two of the last three years in the SCORE marquee racing division for high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks.
"Competition makes everyone work harder and work smarter and I thrive on this. We have a great field in this race, but then again, we have stellar fields at all SCORE Baja races. I learned a tough lesson a few years ago, though. You can't race the competition like on a short-track. You run against the unforgiving Baja desert and sort out all of the rest after the checkered flag."
Besides Troy Herbst, expected to lead the charge in the unlimited Class 1 field in the hunt for the overall 4-wheel vehicle win are brothers Ronny and Randy Wilson along with Germany's Armin Schwarz and teammate Martin Christensen.
Both driving Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race cars, Ronny Wilson is leading the 2009 Class 1 point standings while Randy Wilson is second.
Schwarz, the veteran of 119 World Rally Championship races, and the veteran Christensen are the top returning unlimited Class 1 finishers from last year when they finished third in class and eighth overall in their All-German Motorsports Jimco-BMW.
NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., will be commuting from the NASCAR road race at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Gordon, who has committed to the entire SCORE series this year, won in Laughlin and finished second in San Felipe to lead the 2009 SCORE Trophy-Truck point standings in his No. 77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500. Gordon won this race in 2005 and finished second in 2007.
Brian Collins, Las Vegas, finished third in this race last year after winning it in both 2006 and 2007. Collins won this year's Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 for the second straight year in March driving solo and he will split the driving this year at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, like last year, with veteran Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., in the No. 12 Collins Motorsports Dodge Ram1500.
Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif., is the second driver this year for Roger Norman, Reno, Nev., in the No. 8 Norman Motorsports Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck. The duo won the last two races of the 2008 season and they are currently in 10th place in the 2009 point standings in SCORE Trophy-Truck. They were fifth overall and fourth in SCORE Trophy-Truck last year in this race, which was also their first race together.
In the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 Roeseler's 11 overall wins are the most in race history.
Besides Roeseler, who has 16 class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the other racers entered this year with the most class wins are: Richard Jackson-Class 60 and Jim O'Neal-Class 30 and Class 50 (12 each), Marcos Nunez-Class 5/1600 (8), Steve Hengeveld-Class 22 and Troy Herbst-Class 1 (7 each), Eric Solorzano-Class 11 and Nick Vanderwey-SCORE Trophy-Truck (6 each), Johnny Campbell-Class 22, Ted Hunnicutt Jr.-Class 8, Rob MacCachren-SCORE Trophy-Truck and Pancho Bio-Class 9 (5 each) and Robby Gordon-SCORE Trophy-Truck, Rick D. Johnson-SCORE Trophy-Truck and Jerry Penhall-Class 1 (4 each).
Included in nearly $400,000 in contingency posting and the cash purse for the race, Sunoco Race Fuels, the official race fuel of SCORE, has posted a special US$5,000 cash contingency bonus for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner.
For the second straight year and just the second time in the 41-year history of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race, the colorful pre-race Manufacturer's Midway and Contingency, the start and finish line will all be located in the heart of Ensenada, Mexico on Boulevard Costero adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. It will be the second time in race history that both the pre-race activities and the finish will be held on this historic boulevard.
The SCORE Manufacturer's Midway will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, on Blvd Costero. Racer registration will again be held in the Grand Ballroom of the San Nicolas Hotel. Registration hours will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
The awards celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Hotel on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Living tracking of every vehicle in the race will be available from International Race Consultants through its website www.racetheworld.net.
Live streaming several times during race week starting Wednesday will available at www. dirtnewz.com.
This popular SCORE summer race began in 1969 and SCORE began its enduring run with it on July 26, 1974. This year will be the 36th anniversary of the first SCORE race in Baja.
In addition to season point class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also racing to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 24th consecutive year, a total of 32 drivers remain eligible after Round 2 of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series.