LAUGHLIN, NEV. - Watching and waiting as the three front runners all fell of the pace, Steve Sourapas came from behind in his Chevy-powered Jimco to capture the overall victory Sunday at the 7th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, held along...
LAUGHLIN, NEV. - Watching and waiting as the three front runners all fell of the pace, Steve Sourapas came from behind in his Chevy-powered Jimco to capture the overall victory Sunday at the 7th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, held along the banks of the Colorado river adjacent to the growing Southern Nevada resort destination of Laughlin.
Racing in the unlimited Class 1, Sourapas beat a field of 181 racers in the first major motorsports race of the year - the opening round of the five-race 20001 SCORE Desert Series, American's foremost desert racing series.
Las Vegas' Brian Collins pulled off a major upset in winning the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division in a Chevy Silverado as racers came from eight states, Mexico and Japan to launch the new racing season during the unique, four-day SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge.
Sourapas, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., fourth after Saturday's first half of the two-day race, kept himself in a position to win Sunday, finishing the 96.8-mile race run as eight laps over a 12.6-mile course in a total elapsed time of one hour, 45 minutes, six seconds, averaging 55.262 miles per hour.
"We outlasted them today, I'll go four more (laps) - I'm ready," said Sourapas, who also won SCORE's last race in Nevada - last August's SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300. "This car is limited in what it can do - you have to drive it accordingly. I drove a conservative race like I always do. I just decided Thursday before last to run this race - it's an awesome way to the start the season."
Split into two days of racing with 16 classes for desert racecars and exotic race trucks divided into seven groups for seven separate races each day. From sunrise to sunset, racers cover the 12.6-mile loop desert course in multiple-lap races with time limits of 75 or 85 minutes each. The event finishing order, by class, was based on combined two-day elapsed time of each race.
Starting Sunday, John Herder, Troy Herbst and Dale Dondel were dueling just five seconds apart in Class 1, but Herder and Dondel both did not finish Sunday and Herbst slipped to third behind runner-up Jeff Quinn, Irvine, Calif. Driving a Porsche-powered Jimco, Quinn finished in 1:48:44 while Herbst, in a Ford-powered Smithbuilt, ended up four seconds behind Quinn.
Looking for their third straight Laughlin win in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division, Las Vegas' Tim and Ed Herbst were in command after Saturday's first four laps, extending their lead on Sunday for the first three laps before fuel pump/vapor lock problems on the final lap put them out of contention.
For Collins it was his first victory SCORE Trophy-Truck as he held off the hard-charging Duralast Ford F-150 of the Dan Smith/David Ashley, of Riverside, Calif., by just 41 seconds.
Danny Anderson of Las Vegas won Class 10 for 1650cc racecars in his Toyota-powered Jimco. Fourth after the first half of the Race, Saturday, Anderson picked up his second straight Class 10 win in Laughlin.
Las Vegas' Rob MacCachren, a prominent second-generation Southern Nevada desert racer, returned to his racing roots to win Class 1-2/1600cc racecar built by Las Vegas' Bruce Fraley. Second after the first day, MacCachren ran the fastest Sunday in the class which featured a race-high 30 starters. It was the first time he raced in SCORE Class 1-2/1600 since his first season of SCORE racing in 1983. He won his class by 14 seconds over Adam Pfankuch of Carlsbad, Calif. MacCachren trailed Pfankuch by 34 seconds Saturday and finally took the lead after seven of the eight total laps.
Veteran George Seeley Jr., Glendale, Calif., continued his Class 5 winning ways in Laughlin as he cruised to his third straight win in the race and his fourth in the last five years in the class for unlimited VW Baja Bugs. His victory margin in the 96.80-mile race was 8 minutes, 26 seconds.
Chris Woodward, Chula Vista, Calif., won Class 11 for Stock VW Sedans for the second straight year.
Other class winners included: Allan Gregory, Alpine, Calif. (Class 5/1600-VW Baja Bug); Steve Barlow, Temecula, Calif. (Protruck/SS/Truck-Ford F-150); Steve Greinke, Orange, Calif. (SCORE Lite-Porter Hawk); Scott Sells, Wildomar, Calif., (Class 7-Toyota Tacoma); Joel Stankavich, Barstow, Calif. (Class 7S-Ford Ranger); Dr.. Macrae Glass, Kingman, Ariz. (Stock Mini-Ford Ranger) and Marc Stein, San Diego (Stock Full-Ford F-150).
Race weekend festivities started with the extremely popular $25,000 Laughlin Leap and Pit Crew showdown on Thursday. In the Laughlin Leap, Dondel was the overall winner with a leap of 120 feet. Rick Taylor won the Small Truck division with a 100'5" leap in a Ford Ranger and Chris Harrold, Chula Vista, Calif., won the Open Wheel division in a Jimco (97'5").
In the Pit Crew Challenge, the SCORE Lite team of Jerry Penhall, Costa Mesa, Calif., was the overall and open wheel division winner with a time of 48.03 seconds. The Terrible Herbst Motorsports crew of Tim and Ed Herbst won the truck division in 1:04:02.
All of the Laughlin Leap and Pit Crew Challenge division winners earned $3,000 each.
The SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge was taped for airing as a one hour special on the Speedvision Network by Shoemaker Production. The first airings are set for Friday March 2 (5 p.m. and 9 p.m. PST) and Saturday, March 10 (9 a.m. PST).
The 7th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge was sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Committee and the Laughlin Visitors Bureau, a division of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The race was sanctioned and produced by SCORE International of Los Angeles.