Second straight Baja 500 for Mark Miller Racing teams Mark Miller of Carefree, AZ and Ryan Arciero of Foothill Ranch, CA, drove the UMI/Mark Miller Racing Trophy Truck to a first place finish in last weekend's Baja 500. The win marks the second...
Second straight Baja 500 for Mark Miller Racing teams
Mark Miller of Carefree, AZ and Ryan Arciero of Foothill Ranch, CA, drove the UMI/Mark Miller Racing Trophy Truck to a first place finish in last weekend's Baja 500. The win marks the second year in the row that Mark Miller Racing Teams has topped the Baja 500, as well as the second win this year for the drivers, having taken the Parker 425 earlier this Spring.
Miller and Arciero dominated the 35th running of the famed SCORE International Baja 500 much of the off-road race. Considered by many to be one of the roughest Baja 500 courses in recent memory, the team took advantage of its front starting position and jumped to an early lead.
By race mile 117, there was only one Trophy truck within a minute of their position, and by the 150 mile mark, the team began to build a serious lead - as much as 10 minutes - on the field. The furious pace came thanks to a UMI prepared General Motors Vortec 6Liter V-8 engine package that has been designed exclusively by Scott Urschel at UMI Racing.
"Unlike many of the teams out there, we're using what is basically a stock GM engine and parts purchased through local GM dealers. The savings [over modified race engines] allows us to put more resources into race logistics and team operations - which paid off greatly this year."
Indeed, as Miller drove, a worn washer caused a rear break failure, and forced him to gingerly manage the car 55 miles into the pits prior to the driver change. "We had a race plan that contemplated a problem like this and we stuck to the plan, my stint for the first half of the race was scripted to force a pace that was uncomfortable, it seemed to take a toll" As Arciero slipped into the seat, the team - lead by manager Don Tebbe - deftly made repairs.
With the truck back to 100%, and a one-minute lead departing the pits, Arciero set off on a blistering pace. Within 120 miles, (mile 341) he was again over 9 minutes ahead of the second place vehicle.
"I was actually driving a pretty conservative pace for me, saving the truck. In spite of that, and even with a flat tire that we had to fix, we were maintaining a very nice lead over everyone."
Roughly 150 miles from the finish, bad luck struck again when an internal fuel pump malfunctioned. Thankfully, co-driver and navigator Chris Crampton saved the day by diagnosing the problem and figuring out a way to bypass the fuel system through the external pumps. Though the break cost the team nearly 45 minutes, and the overall race lead, the UMI truck was still a good deal in front of any other in its class, and crossed the finish line as Trophy Truck Champions.
Wade Weaver, Miller's co-driver and navigator commented, "This team perfectly executed every aspect of the plan - from the drivers, co-drivers, to the pit crew and chase personnel. Everyone worked quickly and intelligently. It's no wonder we'll be celebrating tonight."
About Mark Miller/Mark Miller Racing: Mark Miller continues a storied career in many types of racing. Miller's has won races such as the Baja 1000 on a motorcycle, eight podiums and the Ultra Wheels Super Truck Series Championship on paved ovals, the African Stage of the Atlas Rally, the Nevada 2000 in a Trophy Truck, two Baja 500 Trophy Truck Championships, set a qualifying record at the International Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the luxury class (in a Northstar Systems Cadillac Seville) and took home four new records, 1st in Class, and 19th overall at the famed Paris to Dakar Rally. 2003 has seen the wins continue with a victory in the BITD Parker 425 and SCORE Baja 500. His plans are to return to the Paris to Dakar Rally later in the year. More information on Mark Miller and Mark Miller Racing can be found at www.markmillerracing.com. About Ryan Arciero:
Ryan Arciero's racing career includes a wide array of accomplishments, both off-road, on road courses, and most recently in the NASCAR ladder. Some of these accomplishments include victories in the Baja 1000, Nevada 2000, Baja 500, Parker 425, the BIDT Championship, 5 wins in 8 Russell/USAC Championship Series races, as well as numerous wins and a record-setting number of pole positions in the Ultra Wheels Super Truck Series. Arciero, the grandson of legendary CART team owner Frank Arciero, and son of Off-Road Champion Frank Arciero, Jr., is currently running a limited number of NASCAR Southwest Tour Races en route to a full schedule in a NASCAR series next year. More info can be found at www.ryanarciero.com .