16th ANNUAL SCORE LAUGHLIN DESERT CHALLENGE Round one of 2010 SCORE Desert Series January 15-17, Laughlin, Nevada Post-Race Quotes - Sunday, January 17 SCORE TROPHY-TRUCK ANDY McMILLIN, No. 31 (First in...
16th ANNUAL SCORE LAUGHLIN DESERT CHALLENGE
Round one of 2010 SCORE Desert Series
January 15-17, Laughlin, Nevada
Post-Race Quotes - Sunday, January 17
ANDY McMILLIN, No. 31 (First in class and first overall.) -- It was a great day for us out there today. Once we got out in front of Pete (Sohren, No. 2) about the first corner, I just wanted to make sure that we didn't let him or B.J. (Baldwin, No. 97) get around me. And then B.J. wasn't there after the first lap so it was cruise control all the way. It was awesome. Compared to yesterday, (I backed off) a lot. Laughlin is a race of survival so I knew I had to get to the finish line first in order to win. The last four laps, I was just cruising. The bumps were getting so big out there but it was a real fun course. Thanks to Sal (Fish) for putting on the race. I just really enjoyed myself. I've never won here at Laughlin so it really feels good. It was an awesome way to end last year (with a win in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000) and a great way to start this year off. Hopefully we'll go down to San Felipe and win that one, too. Our plan is to go test down in San Felipe next weekend so we're getting ready for the next one and hopefully we're going to go win that one, too. (How about your momentum after two consecutive wins?) I think it just counts for the team and just feeling confident. Every time I go to the start line, I know I have a chance of winning in this truck as long as I don't make a mistake. That says a lot about our team and the way they put this truck together and I couldn't be happier.
KORY SCHEELER, No. 51 (Second in class and second overall.) -- It was rough. It was like a chess game out there today. We did exactly what we knew we had to do. It would be difficult to beat B.J. (Baldwin), Pete (Sohren) or Andy (McMillin) on time so we just had to watch it and stay there and see if they broke, and the two guys behind us would have to beat us physically by a minute or so. We beat B.J. out of here and never saw him again. He was out there parked. About halfway around, about the fourth lap, Pete parked. So I knew all we had was Andy and there was no catching him so I just let the other guys go and we just drove a conservative pace. It was rough.
NICK VANDERWEY, No. 84 (Third in class and third overall.) -- It was a great day, third overall. We started the day in seventh and said if we drive that same pace we've got, we're going to end up fourth or third. First or second was just a little bit out of reach but, as it turns, out we probably could have got second. We're happy with third. That's a great way to start the year. It's a rough, rough course, there's no doubt about it. They did make a few improvements in some areas, but the wild card today was the water trucks. You go in one corner and it's dry; the next lap it's slick. We blew one or two corners on account of that but we settled down and got it. J
MARK McMILLIN, No. 23 (Fourth in class and fourth overall. McMillin drove Saturday and Brian Ewalt drove Sunday. Ewalt was overcome by the heat following the race and requested medical attention.) -- Ewalt said: It was pretty rough out there today. Our strategy today was just to finish. I just kind of went for it. I'm just whooped.
McMillin, who drove Saturday, said: I'm flying home (Sunday) and going to the Chargers game. The strategy was just to finish and get some points so (McMillin Racing) can go 1-2 in the SCORE Trophy-Truck points championship this year. We came up pretty good in points, but, boy, Andy did a good job.
ROBBY GORDON, No. 1 (Sixth in class Sunday, DNF overall. Steve Kendall drove Saturday but completed only seven of eight laps in the required time limit. Gordon drove Sunday.) -- No, I'm not happy with my result. We came here to win. I broke two wheels. It was a long trip but we had to defend our championship here and get the best (result) we could get. Unfortunately, I broke two wheels out there but they're our wheels and they're made to break. The ledges here are just so sharp and it broke the left rear twice. It's a bit of a bummer but it looks like Andy (McMillin) and myself are going to have a great race for the championship and I look forward to the challenge.
ROBBIE PIERCE, No. 30 (First in class on Sunday, DNF overall.) -- We were two laps down with nothing to lose, so we said we're going to let it go and let everybody know what this MasterCraft/Rockstar truck could do. That's what we wanted to do today is show them what we could do. Yesterday on the third lap we lost the driveshaft. We got it into the pits and changed the driveshaft, but we couldn't get enough laps in and we DNFed. So all we could do today was just hang it out and get some extra lap points. We had a blast.
KORY HALOPOFF, No. 115 (First in class and fifth overall.) -- It was a good run. Everything worked well. It was just rough out there -- really rough. I have no idea (about the time differential). I hope I got it. That would be awesome. We had no problems. The course was rough. I don't think they graded the back much. They were letting me know (where Robert Ross was). I know he was flying down the backstretch. I know he had me. I was hoping he'd make a mistake or something and I'd be able to get him.
ROBERT ROSS, No. 102 (Second in class and sixth overall.) -- We had a rim fall apart (Saturday) and knock out our tire and also the brakes. We were in the pits for seven minutes but then we got back out there and got back in the top four, so we did good. Today, it was awesome. That's the advantage of this car; the rougher it is out there, the better. We're really hooking up with this BFG tire ... we're really doing good. We had no problems today. We just set a nice pace to get our momentum going and just try to keep up in the front. We weren't too worried about Josh (Daniel, No. 114) or anybody else because they didn't finish yesterday. I just went out there and whatever it was, it was. We knew as long as we could keep ourselves up in front, we could gain points. Our goal is to go for the whole SCORE season points. We're good with either first or second.
DANIEL McMILLIN, No. 118 (Third in class and eighth overall.) -- We had no problems today. It may have been boring, but that's OK, right? We just drove about 85 percent both days and picked them off one by one. The strategy was just to finish. We just cruised both days and we had a good finish. Hopefully now we'll run for the points championship. We'll see. This is a good start. (On the family legacy.) The whole McMillin thing, it's a passion of ours. It's kind of a hobby but we really enjoy it and we take it seriously and we come to win and we did our best this weekend.
SAM BERRI, No. 105 (Fourth in class and 10th overall.) -- I might have picked up the pace a little bit today but a light car like this doesn't do like the heavy stuff out there. Inside the infield and on the short, flat stuff it did all right but in the real deep stuff, I couldn't keep the front end on the ground -- it would shoot straight to the moon. We did all right. We didn't have any problems. We didn't push hard, we just got a pace that would bring it in and see what happens. I do all my own work so I try not to tear it up and as far as I can tell, it's all in one piece. It ran all the laps and made it to the finish.
ROB MacCACHREN, No. 1608 (First in class. MacCachren earned his record-tying seventh career Laughlin Desert Challenge class win.) -- There is no other class that's here today that runs as hard as we did this morning. I've raced a lot of different classes but I can tell you, these guys run really, really hard. I was racing as hard as I possibly could -- and it wasn't enough at times. At the beginning, Cory (Boyer, No. 1648) was getting away from me and we started catching him as the race went on but in the beginning I thought we didn't have anything for him. Then I got in a big battle with Justin (Smith, No. 13) for a lap and a half or so and I couldn't get by him. They were watering the track as we went around there and he would splash water onto my shield and then I couldn't see so I would keep getting close to him and then I'd get covered with mud ... and I thought I'd never be able to catch him and go around him. Finally I was able to get by him without being mudded out and then we started focusing on Cory to get to him. I could tell I was gaining ground on him by the end. (On winning his seventh Laughlin class title.) It's great. I love coming here to race in Laughlin. The track, the people coming out, it's really neat. SCORE puts on a great event and that's why we keep coming back. I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Hopefully we can keep winning races because I love doing it.
CORY BOYER, No. 1648 (Second in class.) -- I tried as hard as I could. I'm really grateful my dad let me drive the car today. Bean (Justin Smith, No. 1613) and I started right next to each other, I was able to pull him right off the start and I could see his shadow the whole time. I was just trying to stay in front the whole time. I could see (Rob MacCachren, No. 1608) and I'd put a few seconds on him and then he would put more seconds on me so it was a good race.J
JUSTIN SMITH, No. 1613 (Third in class.) -- We had a good day. The car went good, we had some good lines and the motor pulled really hard. We hooked up everywhere with the Yokohama tires, but I couldn't get the car to work real well. I think I had some adjustments out on the front of the car; it just wasn't working as good. We had a clean race and I think we ended up third for the weekend. I'm a little disappointed but we're all within 30 seconds of each other, it sounds like. No problems; the car just wasn't working that good. It kicked my ass a little bit.
LUKE McMILLIN, No. 1609 (Fifth in class.) -- I'm the youngest (at 16; Mark's son). I've been racing for about a year and a half but I've been driving the car since I was 12, 13 years old. I just run my hardest and see where I end up. (On the family's racing tradition.) We've got five cars out here and they're all pretty fast, but it's in our blood. And grandpa (the late Corky McMillin) is watching and he's with me all the time.
KEVIN CARR, No. 500 (First in class.) -- The course was pretty good. It was a lot nicer and softer than yesterday. We had a good race today. We were racing up in the 12s and everything and doing well. We stopped to help the COPs guys roll back over. It was fun. There were like six 12s in a pack and I was right in the middle of them keeping up with them so that was fun. We helped the COPs guys roll back over and then we started going and started having problems. It started making funny noises so I figured, hey, we better take it easy and see what's going on and just finish (with a broken manifold and CV boot). It all happened the last lap, so that's okay.
DAVE CASPINO, No. 603 (First in class.) -- It was great. I just drove the car 70 percent because I've got another race in two weeks. It came down to the wire, came down to (44) seconds. I didn't push it at all because I had to keep the car together. This was just a fun race for us; if we win, we win, if we lose, we lose. It's a hell of a race. The course was the same as yesterday -- brutal. My BFG tires just held up -- not a flat the whole weekend and no problems at all. I'm really happy to race here with SCORE this year.
ROBERT PICKERING, No. 604 (Second in class. Pickering drove Saturday and Josh Quintero drove Sunday.) -- Quintero said: It was a lot better than yesterday. (Saturday), the backside was so rough everybody was flipping. They graded it, though, and it was kind of a surprise going through there and having it smooth. We were a minute behind Dave (Caspino, No. 603). We were trying to catch that minute up and hopefully we got it. We didn't have any problems. It was perfect. Yesterday, we broke a brake caliper right at the finish line. We started right next to each other and I was trying to keep (Caspino) a minute behind us.
ELIAS HANNA, No. 741 (First in class.) -- It was a really nice day. I just cruised to the finish because finishing was first place for us. We got the first place so we're happy. (Surprised when first-day leader Aaron Gomez was disqualified?) Yeah, but if you're gonna race you've got to race legal. That's the way I look at it. We come all the way from Mexico, Ensenada, to come and do a good job and we prep our car. Legal is racing. That's a fair fight. We did a good race.
JUAN C. LOPEZ, No. 801 (First in class.) -- Everything went well today and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there were few racers in my class. We had no problems at all; everything was perfect. This is my second time here. I love the track and I'm planning on coming back next year. Two years ago here, I won the first day and the second day, I had transmission problems.
ROBERT MORTON JR., No. 901 (First in class.) -- We had no problems. The sun kind of got in your eyes a little bit and there was a lot of water and mud. It was rutty after the SCORE Trophy-Trucks yesterday; that was a little different. But it just held together. For sure we'll run Primm and maybe San Felipe. We'll see how it goes from here.
MIKE LAWRENCE, No. 1000 (First in class.) -- We had a pretty good run. I drove my race and tried to stay out in front of the 12 cars. They can stay on top of it a little bit better than me. It was awesome, a great race, a good start to the season. The grading made it (backside of course) a lot better. But it's pretty soft for us under-powered cars. This was the only (SCORE) race I didn't win last year. There were no problems today. We figured out the motor problem was an alternator wire that was halfway in yesterday. Today it ran awesome.
FRANCISCO VILLAGOMEZ, No. 1216 (First in class.) -- I'm very, very happy to find out that I was first -- especially coming from Baja Sur and representing the state. I had a very aggressive strategy: either go for everything or break the car. I had electrical problems the first three laps but we fixed the master and that was it. This is my first time racing here and I'm very happy. We're going to become frequent fliers now!
JUSTIN DAVIS, No. 1207 (Second in class. Daniel Folts drove Saturday and Davis drove Sunday.) -- The tranny started screwing up on the last couple of laps and it kept popping out of gear. It was mayhem the first couple of laps but I found my rhythm and it all seemed to work out for the good. We try to always win but we just wanted to get a good, clean finish so we're OK in points and it all worked out pretty good. This finish should put us in good position for the points. I saw the guy (Francisco Villagomez) who was going to win this thing and I was pushing and pushing and then I had him and then the tranny started screwing up and he got by me and then I got by him. I had a great time; I always love the battle.
BRENT PARKHOUSE, No. 1200 (Third in class. Parkhouse drove Saturday and Brian Burgess drove Sunday.) -- Burgess said: "It's all right. It's Laughlin. The course is torn up. It's almost not fun to be on it. The edges are way too sharp. It's hard on your body. If we can come out of here with a top three or four, we're fine. It's just big-picture racing. We've got to finish. This race is really hard because if you break down you don't have much time to fix it, and if you DNF you don't get those big points that we're after. Other than that it was kind of a boring weekend. It really is a survival race, even though it's short. I personally think it's harder to win here than the Tecate SCORE Baja1000.
MATT LAUGHLIN, No. 1249 (Fifth in class.) -- It was great. They smoothed out some sections, but there were still some really rough sections out there. We just went as fast as we were willing to go. The car would go faster if I had the balls to do it. The car did well. I don't know (if we'll run the series). We'll probably just pick and choose, at least for the first year. This was our first race ever, a brand-new car. It can only get better. This was the deadline to have the car done for this race. We live here in town and we said 'we have to do it.' We've been wanting to do it a long time.
JOE BACAL, No. 879 (First in class.) -- This Lexus was just killing it this weekend. We got T-boned the first lap and had major body damage. This is a tough course but what are you going to do? It was a really good, tough race against Justin Matney (No. 860) in the Dodge. We really didn't know what to expect -- I've never raced this course before. This truck only has four races on it and we've finished every race so far we've entered. I really wanted to see what Justin was going to do and on the start, we just pulled him. I didn't realize we'd have that much power over him. We had the lead until he hit me in that second corner and he got by us ... but we got back by him in the next couple of corners. This truck is set up pretty well and we just ran our own race and kept it fresh. We're all about getting it to the finish line. We're going to keep winning races and keep people nervous, I hope.
TROY VEST, No. 1301 (First in class.) -- It went real good today. The suspension got a little soft there at the end but we just slowed down a little and everything was good. We didn't push it too hard, we just cruised at a good, medium pace and our laps times were pretty consistent for all six laps. We feel good. (On being only vehicle in the class.) We drove pretty much like we were racing so we did well and we're comfortable. We changed the suspension a little bit last night and made it a little better for the course so we picked our times up probably 15, 18 seconds a lap. We're real happy.
WILLIAM ERIKSEN, No. 201 (First in class. Eriksen has won both SCORE races he has entered in Class 2.) -- I approached today to go a little harder but it was really gnarly out there today, so we really got tested. What amazes me is how they make a car that can go this fast, be this economical and be this reliable -- Predator is doing an unbelievable job. For somebody who wants to get into racing, this is where they need to start. The car handled well and now we're two-for-two in this car. We need to get some drivers out here; the class needs to be built. I just think you can't get a better car, especially if you're just starting out. I was just having so much fun out there.
REID RUTHERFORD, No. 721 (First in class.) -- Another good run. The truck ran great and we got to pass a lot of 6s. It was fun. My daughter wasn't yelling at me as much (to go faster). No problems. There are a few people broken down out there, though. But everything went good for us. We're going to run the whole series in class 7-2. We rented this truck; we're trying them all to try to find the best truck to win the class in. We're going to try one of Pistol Pete's (Sohren) trucks next and pick the best one.