Laughlin: Round one preview

This Weekend in Laughlin, Nev. B.J. Baldwin going for 3-peat; Post/MacCachren begin defense Of season point title at 14th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge Over 150 entries ready to start 2008 SCORE Desert Series on Thursday with $16,000 Laughlin...

This Weekend in Laughlin, Nev.
B.J. Baldwin going for 3-peat; Post/MacCachren begin defense Of season point title at 14th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge

Over 150 entries ready to start 2008 SCORE Desert Series on Thursday with $16,000 Laughlin Leap; SCORE Trophy-Truck qualifying on Friday, third spectator area added for event; Play-by-play audio of SCORE Trophy-Truck/Class 1 races to be streamed by Totally Off-Road Radio on www.race-dezert.com

LAUGHLIN, Nev.--B. J. Baldwin is looking for a three-peat and the team of Mark Post/Rob MacCachren will begin defense of their 2007 overall season point championship as over 150 entries are ready to launch the new desert racing year at this weekend's season-opening 2008 SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in Laughlin, Nev.

For the 14th straight year, motorsports fans and racers from 17 states, Mexico and Germany will converge on Laughlin, the desert resort town along the banks of the Colorado River for the popular SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. The first major motorsports event of the year will launch the 2008 SCORE Desert Series, the world's foremost desert racing series.

A total of 17 Pro and two Sportsman classes for cars and trucks will be split into five groups in Laughlin, each running as part of one of separate multiple-lap races over the much-abbreviated 6-mile loop each day. Racing action will run from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday as the winners and finishing order will be deciding on the total elapsed time for the two days of racing. Racers will compete for nearly $400,000 in prize money and contingency postings.

Besides B.J. Baldwin, of Las Vegas, in the No. 97 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado and Post, Laguna, Beach, Calif./MacCachren, Las Vegas, in the No. 1 Riviera Racing Ford F-150, many of the other top desert racers in the world are entered in the SCORE Trophy-Truck division. Baldwin's two career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins were the last two years in Laughlin while Post and MacCachren each have seven career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins, including three in 2007.

Among the other SCORE Trophy-Truck entries are: NASCAR Cup owner/driver Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., seven career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins (No. 77 Chevy CK1500), Brian Collins, Las Vegas, four career race wins (No. 12 Chevy Silverado), Jerry Whelchel, Portola Hills, Calif., four wins (No. 40 Chevy C1500 as second driver with Chet Huffman, Northridge, Calif.), Mexico's Gus Vildosola Jr./Gus Vildosola Sr., (No. 4, Ford F-150), Carl Renezeder, Laguna Beach, Calif. (No. 17 Chevy Silverado), Josh Baldwin, Newport Beach, Calif. (No. 86 Ford F-150), Damien Jefferies, Apple Valley, Calif. (No. 22 Chevy Silverado), TV sportscaster Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif. (No. 16 Cadillac Escalade) and TV star Jesse James, Sunset Beach, Calif. (No. 54 Chevy Silverado).

The marquee racing division is SCORE Trophy-Truck, featuring high-tech, 800-horsepower, unlimited production trucks along with the unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars. Those two featured classes will run the final two races each day with SCORE Trophy-Truck at 1 p.m. followed by Class 1 at 3 p.m. Each will run 8 laps each day, two more than last year.

The colorful $16,000 SCORE Laughlin Leap competition will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Racers will attempt to break the record of 160' 6" set in 2004 by Mark Post.

From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, the first qualifying for SCORE Trophy-Truck start positions will be held, with each of the 31 entries in the class allowed to run one lap at race speed or accept starting positions by random draw after the qualifying starting slots have been determined.

Daily general admission tickets for the primary infield stadium grandstand seating are $20 each for each day (Thursday, Saturday and Sunday), children five and under are free. Daily VIP tickets are $40 each for each day, good for admission to the Laughlin Hospitality Chalet, including food, beverage and special seating.

The stadium seating area will once again include the extremely popular SCOREvision large-screen LCD display, showing live footage from the SCORE Laughlin Leap on Thursday and live footage from approximately 95 percent of the race course on race days.

Tickets for the grandstand and VIP areas at Laughlin Events Park are on sale at 800.308.2253.

The two other spectator areas for the race are SCORE Hill and the 'Cougar Corral' and tickets for them will be available only at their respective entrances.

Overlooking the infield area and the main pits, general admission to SCORE Hill will be $5 per person.

The new 'Cougar Corral' is located on the west side of the course adjacent to Laughlin High School. With easy view of over one-mile of the race course, admission to the Cougar Corral will be $10 per vehicle for day use one on a first-come, first-served basis each day. The only entrance and exit to this new spectator area will be on Cougar drive off of Highway 95.

For the first time in event history, the pre-race SCORE Manufacturer's Midway and contingency will be held away from the start/finish line area. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, this year's display of all the participating vehicles in the race will be held on Bruce Woodbury Way, starting at Casino Drive in the heart of the Laughlin resort district.

Brothers Bill and Dave Gasper will start defense of their 2007 unlimited SCORE Class 1 season point title in their No. 100 Chevy-powered Porter open-wheel desert race car. Other top contenders in Class 1 include two-time overall race winner Dale Ebberts, Canyon Lake, Calif., who will drive this year with team owner Brad Etter, Villa Park, Calif., in another Porter-Chevy, Las Vegas teammates Pat Dean and B.J. Richardson in identically-equipped Bunderson-Chevy race cars, seven-time race winner in the World Rally Championship, Germany's Armin Schwarz, who drives with team owner Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif., in a Jimco-BMW, 2007 SCORE Rookie of the Year Eric Chase, San Diego, who races with his father Stuart Chase in a Penhall-Chevy and third-generation desert racer Harley Letner, Orange, Calif., in a Alpha-Chevy.

Scheduled to make his SCORE Class 1 debut will be 10-time XGames medal winner Brian Deegan, Temecula Calif., in a Playtech-Chevy.

SCORE Trophy-Truck regular Josh Baldwin will also race in Class 1, where he finished fourth last year in his Jimco-Chevy.

Leading the multiple class winners in this race who are in the starting grid are George Seeley Jr., Glendale, Calif., who has seven wins in Class 5 in a VW Baja Bug, Las Vegas' Rob MacCachren (6 class wins), Donald Moss, Sacramento Calif. (5) in Class 3 in a Ford Bronco, and with four class wins each: Las Vegas' Brian Collins (SCORE Trophy-Truck) and Mexico's Eric Solorzano (Class 11).

Besides Baldwin, MacCachren is also entered in two classes this year. Besides SCORE Trophy-Truck, he will drive Saturday in SCORE Lite for four-time defending series class point champion Tom Watson, San Diego, in a Jimco-VW.

Starting its 35th year in 2008, SCORE has also announced that audio streaming coverage of the event will be broadcast on the internet. With live play-by-play of both Saturday and Sunday's SCORE Trophy-Truck and Class 1 races along with recaps of the other classes each day through the services Totally Off-Road Radio, the streaming will be available at www.race-dezert.com.

-credit: www.score-international.com.

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Series Score
Drivers Robby Gordon , Rob MacCachren , Armin Schwarz , B.J. Baldwin , Mark Post , Jesse James , Brian Deegan