The 2011 off-road racing season kicked off in Laughlin, Nevada, at the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. With the New Year came some new sponsors, and a few of the heavy-hitters in the trophy truck class were representing new brands this year.

Toward the end of last year, news broke just before the SEMA show that Robby Gordon had started a new energy drink company called Speed Energy. Well, his team vehicles, be it his trophy truck or his Team Hummer vehicle he raced at Dakar, are now plastered in bright-orange Speed Energy for 2011. Since his race in Dakar didn’t go as well as hoped, Gordon made the trek back to the States to race in the Laughlin Desert Challenge and posted the fastest qualifying time on Friday – and almost won the Laughlin Leap – which put him on the front row with the other fastest qualifier in BJ Baldwin. Unfortunately the weekend didn’t turn out so well (read full coverage here) for Gordon.

BJ Baldwin and father Bobby are sporting new Monster logos on their trucks for 2011. Photo: Josh Burns

Speaking of “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin, he enters 2011 with a new high-profile sponsor in Monster Energy. Monster is now co-title sponsor of Baldwin along with General Tire, and both BJ and father Bobby will be rocking new green on their trucks this year.

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“The addition of Monster Energy to Baldwin Motorsports is the optimal way to start off the 2011 race season with a bang,” Baldwin said in a recent press release. “Monster Energy’s commitment to the off-road motorsports community is unprecedented; the addition of the leader in energy drink sales will certainly elevate our off-road program for this race season and beyond. Baldwin Motorsports is committed to making 2011 an eventful year. We are proud to have Monster Energy on board and look forward to sharing our unbridled enthusiasm for the brand with the legions of fans who follow off-road racing and the Baldwin Motorsports program.”

Does it sound like another round of energy drink wars for 2011? Well, that just might be the case when you consider that young upstart racer Bryce Menzies is the newest member of the Red Bull team. That’s right, Menzies was at Laughlin with his newest sponsor, joining Gustavo Vildosola Jr. and Sr. as another off-road racer supported by Red Bull. Team Menzies even held a get-together at the Harrah’s in Laughlin to introduce his new team and his plans for the year ahead.

Although there are plenty of other racers already sporting energy drink sponsorships, such as Rob MacCachren and Robbie Pierce with Rockstar, Cameron Steele with Monster and others, these three racers made some of the biggest headline with the recent changes … and maybe it’s no surprise they were all in the front two rows on the front row for the start of the race.

For more on the 2011 SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, click here.

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