16th ANNUAL SCORE LAUGHLIN DESERT CHALLENGE Round one of 2010 SCORE Desert Series January 15-17, Laughlin, Nevada Driver quotes after first half of race -- Saturday, January 16 SCORE TROPHY-TRUCK ANDY McMILLIN, No. 31 (Leader after...
16th ANNUAL SCORE LAUGHLIN DESERT CHALLENGE
Round one of 2010 SCORE Desert Series
January 15-17, Laughlin, Nevada
Driver quotes after first half of race -- Saturday, January 16
ANDY McMILLIN, No. 31 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It's really good to be here at the finish. I've been feeling sick all week and had the stomach flu, but when I get in this truck, all of that goes away and all I think about it racing. I just went out and threw down some good laps and once I saw that (Gus Vildosola Jr.) was out, I just kind of cruised it in and made sure we got it here to race on Sunday. I just wanted to be top two today, so we got some time on Chad (Ragland), so we'll see tomorrow. The plan for now is for me to drive tomorrow. It was pretty muddy out there -- they watered a lot out there, so following Vildosola was pretty difficult off the start; I was getting a lot of spray. We're just going to cruise it tomorrow and get it to the finish, make sure Chad doesn't put too much time on us tomorrow. We're in for the points. I had a real good battle with Gus early. I followed him off the start and he was kind of all over the place so I was just cruising behind him and making sure I didn't make any mistakes. I passed him in a rough section coming into the infield and then about two laps later he passed me out there. We had a really good race going until he broke.
B.J. BALDWIN, No. 97 (Third after Saturday. Chad Ragland drove Saturday for Baldwin, who is competing in the Dakar Rally in Argentina but is expected to drive the truck Sunday.) -- Ragland said: It's a real good course. Sal (Fish) always gives us a challenging course and that's why we do it. You have to be smart because the trucks are faster than some of the holes now so you have to slow down for some of the holes now. No one passed us and we passed some trucks. At the start line, the intercom decides to go so I had no communication with my co-driver (Johnny Nelson). It sounds like that's not a big deal but when you rely on him, you get real insecure at the start line; you feel naked almost. Johnny had to do all these hand signals to me, which worked out fine. Hopefully, B.J. will be here tomorrow and be able to make up the time I'm down today and win this thing, that's what we're hoping for.
KORY SCHEELER, No. 51 (Fourth after Saturday.) -- Boy that was rough out there. I was just trying to make it around for eight laps. If you don't make it around today, you're not going to be in it tomorrow. That course really got rough the last couple of laps. I just drove around today and watch the tranny temperatures and just tried to keep it right and set a pace to make it finish because we lost a transmission in qualifying and we broke the rear end in practice. I'm surprised we made it around there eight laps. We didn't push it too hard, just enough to finish. We'll see where everybody finishes and try to do the same thing tomorrow.
ROB BRUCE, No. 74 (Sixth after Saturday.) -- It was a good day. We lost the transmission a couple of laps ago, lost second gear, and then we lost third gear just coming down into the infield, so we went over the jump in first gear and crawled into the finish line. Now we'll throw some parts at it. This is the first time we've ever been at this race. We've only done the Mexico races in the past. This is the first year we're going to try to do all the SCORE races. This is a little bit different. It's a lot of fun. I'm sure we'll come back next year.
MARK McMILLIN, No. 23 (Eighth after Saturday.) -- We had no problems at all; the truck ran well. I'm flying home tomorrow and going to the Chargers game. Brian Ewalt is going to drive tomorrow. The strategy was just to finish and get some points so we 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.
ROB MacCACHREN, No. 20 (12th after Saturday driving teammate Robbie Pierce's pre-runner.) -- The trucks are completely changing the line of the track. The trucks go and they just completely move all the dirt and make it a different track; the corners get moved and shaped differently. A lot of it is different -- it's like having tractors come and move the dirt. Robbie Pierce, my teammate, his driveshaft came undone about mile marker 4 and he called on the radio and I hooked up to him and pulled him into the pits so he could get the truck fixed. Everything went good with our truck today and hopefully we can post a good, consistent finish tomorrow and we're hoping to get out of here with a top-five finish for the weekend and put Rockstar and BFGoodrich in the season points championship.
KORY HALOPOFF, No. 115 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It was a good day. Really, really, really, really rough out there. The track got so bad it was crazy. We almost rolled it twice (up on back, then up on side). We're probably going to have to do a little more adjustment to the suspension (for tomorrow). Everything ran really well. No problems. I can't complain.
DAN MARTIN, No. 104 (Second after Saturday.) -- We played it pretty conservatively at the beginning. We were getting passed wholesale but it was worth waiting because everyone seemed to fall out and we kind of knew they would. We knew we had a couple of people who were going to run way faster than us so we just ran hard. I spent the first two or three laps just pacing myself and I watched a couple of people fall off the pace. This is just the halfway point. Justin Smith is going to be driving it tomorrow. He'll have 26 laps under his belt so he should really haul butt in this COPS car.
RANDY WILSON, No. 100 (Third after Saturday). -- We just paced ourselves thinking everybody was going to break. It was just really rough out there. The holes are just huge and they water the track and it changes. The water helps the dust but this thing is just like peanut butter and you spin out. You just have to go out and survive. We've got tomorrow to go still so we'll see what happens. I can hardly wait. We're looking long-term championship stuff again. We won the championship last year and we'd love to do it back-to-back. You don't get to win all these -- you try and you'd love to win, but you've got to get to the finish line.
ROBERT ROSS, No. 102 (Fourth after Saturday.) -- We were doing very well there at the beginning, but we ended up losing a tire and the tire took my front brakes out, so we were in the pits for a while. We were only riding on the two back brakes. It looked like we started gaining again and got our spots back. We were in the pits for a good five minutes. We're happy we made it. The course was good for us. This car really likes the rough stuff.
DANIEL McMILLIN, No. 118 (Fifth after Saturday.) -- It went good. I saw five cars on fire. We had no problems at all; we just cruised in. I drove about 80 percent, I'd say. I didn't really push it. All the cars running have changed the course; the holes are bigger. I raced this morning and it has changed. I'm going to drive tomorrow and do the same thing I did today, just cruise. I'm just here to race but we'll see where it goes now. Maybe we'll go for the points (championship) if we have a good run tomorrow.
SAM BERRI, No. 105 (Sixth after Saturday.) -- It was rough, rough, rough. My light car doesn't do well out there. The bigger, heavier cars and the trucks and that kind of stuff are what this course likes. We just backed out of it. A lot of guys were tipping over. This light car, it hit the dips and it goes everywhere where the heavier cars come back down quicker. I just backed out of it. Today I just figured I'd just try to get a decent finish and see what happens tomorrow. There are a lot of cars torn up. We just wanted to finish and we're having a lot of good competition so we're having a good time.
HARLEY LETNER, No. 112 (Seventh after Saturday.) -- We broke an A-arm on the fifth lap. I didn't hit anything, it was just the (course). The car was amazing up until then...it couldn't get any better. There was nothing that was going to touch that thing suspension-wise. I can almost guarantee you that I'm not going to be here tomorrow. The guy who builds that car doesn't do it anymore and he's in Dakar and I don't have any A-arms, so I might be watching and cheering on (teammate Kory) Halopoff. A team win is still a win, so I'll take it.
ROB MacCACHREN, No. 1608 (Leader after Saturday.) -- This was a great race. The track is awesome. It's really, really rough out there. Out by the high school, the whoops out there are two and three feet deep and we just had to hammer down with this little 1-2/1600 car. We're also driving the SCORE Trophy-Truck number 20 with Robbie Pierce in the No. 30. We put a deal together this year to start driving with Robbie Pierce and MasterCraft and Rockstar and BFGoodrich -- longtime sponsors of mine. We're real excited about that program for this year. We're going to go for the SCORE Trophy-Truck points championship here in 2010.
RICK BOYER, No. 1648 (Second after Saturday. Cory Boyer, Rick's son, drove Saturday and plans to drive Sunday.) -- Cory said: I think I'll stay in the car for tomorrow. The car handled good. I started second to last so I had to plow through about 15 cars. It was tough for three straight laps trying to keep up with Rob (MacCachren) on time. Second for the day is awesome. I'm very grateful that my dad let me race. We come here as a team and we want to win and my dad felt he could pull off a top five and I could probably go for the win so he did what was best for the team. I came out here to be the mechanic and I got to race.
JUSTIN SMITH, No. 1613 (Third after Saturday.) -- It was good. It was definitely rough. They cleaned some of the stuff up last night, but it was definitely a rough course. We had a good run, just tried to land the lines. The car was awesome. The whole team is just awesome. I fumbled on my part a little bit and didn't land all the lines I wanted to, but not bad. I think we're in the top two, top three at worst, so I feel pretty good about it. (The course is) definitely going to get worse. I'm getting ready to go switch motors and tranny and run this thing in Class 12, so I've got some work to do. It's going to be a long weekend for me.
KYLE CONLON, No. 1603 (Fourth after Saturday.) -- It was fun; it was a good race. I was just trying to hold my own with Rob (MacCachren) and the others. It was a good track and I had a blast out there. I was loving it. The transmission was a little hard getting into second but that wasn't too much of a problem. Other than that, I had no problems out there. I'm trying to just stay calm and finish out there series. I'm trying to do the whole SCORE Desert Series for points so I just want to have a strong finish.
KEVIN CARR, No. 500 (Leader after Saturday.) -- At the beginning it was really torn up and really hard, a lot of holes everywhere. But it seemed as we went on everybody kind of grooved it out so it was nice and soft. The line out there is pretty marked, the right line to go down, and everybody is taking the same line so it just got faster and faster and the banks started building up so it was pretty nice. It started getting a little soft out there, but we've got plenty of torque on the bottom end so it was fine for us. We just went out and had fun and got the points. We get the points for this and we can be more aggressive for the (Tecate SCORE Baja) 500 and the 1000 and don't have to worry so much about getting the championship again.
DAVE CASPINO, No. 603 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It wasn't that bad. We just tried to drive about 80 percent. The real race is tomorrow. We had a lot of fun, basically; didn't get hurt, and didn't hurt the truck. The plan was to keep it together, work on the attrition rate of all the other cars rolling and breaking down and see how we start tomorrow. If there's a lot of competition and we don't have a huge lead, we're going to have to give 100 percent. My BFG tires got me to the finish again.
MARC BURNETT, No. 602 (Third after Saturday.) -- The transmission was overheating about the second lap or so. We had a good battle with Dave (Caspino) in the beginning but after that, we just couldn't keep up with the pace with the transmission getting so hot. Tomorrow is going to be the same thing: Go run hard. It's going to be worse, rougher out there. Hopefully we can keep the truck together and get the points; that's what I came here for.
DAN CHAMLEE, No. 700 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It was nasty out there -- like it's supposed to be in Laughlin. The answer was King Collins (shocks). There's a bunch of race desert trash talk about us racing against nobody. A bunch of the (Class) 7s jumped ship over to (Class) 6 because it was so much more competitive and faster and I took them all -- 7s and 6s. It was like 'take that.' It felt really good. The transmission was making noises so I'll probably put a new tranny in tonight and go run it tomorrow. It's bumpy out there and tomorrow, I imagine, will be worse.
ELIAS HANNA, No. 741 (Leader after Saturday after unofficial leader No. 742 Aaron Gomez was disqualified for a technical violation.) -- Our truck was not working really well the first lap. The track is rough, it's really rough for us, but we'll do our best tomorrow. We had a little problem with the temperature the first two laps. I think something happened with the connection in the radiator. We hooked it up from the bottom and started it again and the temperature went down so we were catching up. We just want to make a clean race tomorrow and make it to first place.
CLYDE STACY, No. 800 (Second after Saturday.) -- It's really a great track and I really enjoyed running out there. It was just super. I've got to thank the guys for building me a good truck.
ROBERT MORTON JR., No. 901 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It was great but real rough. A couple of those whoops are really squared off and you really hit them hard with this front end but it was fun. (On being the only vehicle in Class 9.) We just want to finish and within the time limit and bring it home in one piece. I've just got to race my own race. We're out here to have a good time and I love this; it's a lot of fun. It'd be kind of fun, though, to compete against somebody else in your class to see how you do in comparison. I think we'd hold our own. This is only my second race -- I've only had the car for about a year. I've always wanted to do this race. I've been coming here for years as a spectator and I said 'I'm going to do this one day.' The Class 9 car is a pretty good way to start off.
MIKE LAWRENCE, No. 1000 (Leader after Saturday.) -- I love this track. It's pretty rough right now with them running that race the other week, but it looks like Sal (Fish) has got some bulldozers out to smooth it out every once in a while so it's pretty good. Yesterday in practice it was so rough my boy Harley (Letner) bent a rim on his tire. For some reason, right off the start (today) the motor was sputtering so I was working with it, flipping coils and fuel pumps and batteries. It cleared out and then came back in and cleared out and came back in, so I was kind of fighting it. We'll take a look at it.
DAVID GREENHILL, No. 1003 (Second after Saturday.) -- It was a good day. The car handled pretty well on the suspension. I had the brakes adjusted a little too tight, so they weren't releasing and going deep into the corners we got on the brakes really hard. But other than that the car ran pretty well. It was a lot of fun.
JUSTIN SMITH, No. 1215 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It's getting rougher and rougher out there. I want to give a big thanks to all my guys for taking the 1600 car and swapping it over to (SCORE LITE). We went and there and did well and Cody and I are pretty close on time. We'll see what happens. I'm racing solo in both 1600 and (SCORE LITE) and I'm racing the Class 1 tomorrow with Dan Martin. It was definitely rougher (in the SCORE LITE). The bigger motor helped us carry over some stuff but it was a lot rougher course, a lot more squared edges and just brutal. I try to stay in shape because (racing both classes) takes its toll not only on the car but me as well. It's definitely hard.
CODY FREEMAN, No. 1204 (Second after Saturday.) -- It was really good. We kind of had a strategy -- we're going to do the whole season this year. In the past, we've come out and just run 120 percent and DNF one day. We came out here today just trying to get a good podium finish and then we're going to go for it tomorrow. We didn't have any problems at all. We're going to see what the times look like and we're going to try to play our strategy depending on how much time we've got. We're going to go on how the results show up. We'll go hard if we're close and if there's a lot of time between me and Justin, we'll take it a little easy.
JAIME HUERTA, No. 1213 (Third after Saturday.) -- It was a good run and we had no problems. Tomorrow I'm going to try to go a little faster now that I know the course. This is my first time here.
TOM WATSON, No. 1218 (Sixth after Saturday.) -- It went well; it was pretty fun and I had a good time. The course wasn't too bad; it was better than I thought it was going to be. The motor was missing a little bit on me. We had a little problem but I'm not sure what it was.
BRENT PARKHOUSE, No. 1200 (Seventh after Saturday.) -- There was some good racing out there. It was a lot of fun. It takes you some time to figure out the lines because it all changed over the night with a little blading and a little water but you start getting on the third lap and you start getting comfortable what you want to drive. We're just going to put on the suit and hit it again. It's a long series. Last year we got a Toyota Milestone Award and finished every mile of every race so sometimes you've got to think of the whole package. You'd love to win every race but it's still a long season ahead of us.
JOE BACAL, No. 879 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It was insane, it was crazy. The first corner the Dodge (860, Justin Matney) just smacked me and we almost went over. The whole back side of the truck is gone, totally messed up. It is what it is. But we got a win. I just hope I can get this thing running for tomorrow, otherwise it won't do any good. I just turned it off and now it won't start, it won't run. It was great. This Lexus is a rocket ship. This is a tough race, you've got to be smart, and I think we did a good job. I'm happy with that.
TROY VEST, No. 1301 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It went very well today. We didn't pre-run yesterday. We're the only Protruck here so we took it easy, moved over and let the guys by. We got a good feel for the track. Tomorrow we may pick the pace up a little better but we still want to finish and see how it goes.
WILLIAM ERIKSEN, No. 201 (Leader after Saturday.) -- I thought things went absolutely great. I enjoyed the trail -- I don't know if everyone else did but I thought it was absolutely great. The car handled great. It got a little bit up in the air every now and then. This car here doesn't like the kickers very well and I lost my brakes out there a little bit. Something went wrong somewhere. I'm looking forward tomorrow to going a little faster now that I've got a little handle on the car a little bit more. This is only my second time in the car. I ran the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 (in November) so I'm still getting used to the car.
REID RUTHERFORD, No. 721 (Leader after Saturday.) -- It is rough out there -- a lot rougher than last year. There are a lot of holes and some mud. We had a blast. Jessica (his daughter and rider) is over there, like all 17 year olds are, 'punch it, dad, punch it; faster, faster.' It was a blast. We had a great time. We just go as hard as we can the whole time. It was a blast.