LAUGHLIN, Nev.—Starting off the new year and new racing season like it has for nearly two decades, this weekend’s 18th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is an extremely popular three-day event for fans and racers, but no racers enjoy it more than six drivers who have combined for 33 classes wins in Laughlin, Nev.
Launching its 39th year as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization in 2012, Sal Fish’s SCORE International will hold the first major motorsports events of the year in the United States in Laughlin, 90 miles Southeast of Las Vegas.
With entries so far from 15 U.S states along with Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany and Mexico, Rounds 1 and 2 of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series will be held Friday through Sunday along the banks of the Colorado River in the Southern Nevada resort destination of Laughlin. Competition will be held for 20 Pro and three Sportsman classes for race buggies and trucks.
For the first time in the history of the event, each day of the two-day Laughlin gathering (Saturday and Sunday) will be separate race events for purposes of championship points, prize money and trophies.
The course is 6.25 miles long with the classes divided into groups for five multi-lap races each day. The start/finish line area and main pits will once again be located at the Laughlin Events Park just off of Casino Drive in Laughlin. The day-long races will start each day at 7 a.m.
Leading the parade of multi-class winners in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge entered this year is eight-time Class 3 winner Donald Moss of Sacramento, Calif. Las Vegas SCORE Trophy Truck racer Rob MacCachren has seven class wins in Laughlin while Adam Pfankuch, Oceanside, Calif., has six class wins and will be racing one of the two days in the unlimited Class 1 for driver of record Steven Eugenio, El Centro, Calif.
Returning this year with four class wins in Laughlin are San Diego’s Kevin Carr (Class 5) and Las Vegas racers Brian Collins (SCORE Trophy Truck) and Tim Herbst (SCORE Trophy Truck).
San Diego’s three-time winner Marc Stein returns in Stock Full while two-time class winners entered are B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas (SCORE Trophy Truck), Vic Bruckmann, El Cajon, Calif. (SCORE Lites), Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif. (Class 7), Troy Herbst, Las Vegas (SCORE Trophy Truck), Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn. (SCORE Trophy Truck and Class 1) and Gary Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore. (SCORE Trophy Truck).
The featured SCORE Trophy Trucks, the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 850 horsepower unlimited production trucks, and the unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars will both race eight laps on Saturday and Sunday with SCORE Trophy Trucks starting at 1 p.m. each day followed by Class 1 a 3 p.m. With vehicles starting one every 15 seconds in the elapsed-time race, all vehicles will have 85 minutes each day to complete their required laps to become an official finisher in each race.
The exciting event once again kicks off the 2012 desert racing season and the Martin Luther King birthday weekend.
The Laughlin event includes course practice sessions for all classes and qualifying for SCORE Trophy Truck on Friday followed by two separate and independent races, the first on Saturday and the second on Sunday.
Starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, SCORE Trophy Truck qualifying will see each entry making one timed lap over the course to determine Saturday’s starting positions. General admission is free to Friday’s SCORE Trophy Truck qualifying. Practice sessions will be held on the course Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Also on Friday, contingency and safety inspection of the entries will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Edgewater and Colorado Belle Hotels on Casino Drive in the heart of the Laughlin resort area. Racer registration will be held at the River Palms Hotel from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Media registration will also be at the River Palms on Friday, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
With general admission tickets available at the event, the three spectator areas for the event will be the start/finish line area at the Laughlin Events Park, the SCORE Hill overlooking the infield area of the start/finish line area, and the ‘Cougar Corral’ located adjacent to the west end of the course by Laughlin High School.
General admission, per person, per day, IS $10 for the start/finish and infield area, $5 for the SCORE Hill and $5 for the ‘Cougar Corral’.
While Southern California desert racer Cameron Steele received the first qualifying spot in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division, SoCal’s Damen Jefferies got a nice New Year’s gift as he received the first starting slot in the unlimited Class 1 in the drawing for starting positions last Monday for the 2012 SCORE season-opener.
Steele, an ESPN TV action sports announcer who lives in San Clemente, Calif., has two vehicles entered in SCORE Trophy Truck and will be the first truck to qualify, driving his new No. 14 Geiser Brothers-built GMC Sierra.
Jefferies, of Apple Valley, Calif. and a three-time SCORE season point champion including the 1998 SCORE Overall point titlist, will start first on Saturday in Class 1 in his Chevy-powered Jefferies race car.
While the starting positions for the first race (Saturday) are based on the drawing (except qualifying for SCORE Trophy Truck), starting positions for the second race (Sunday) will be based of Saturday’s placement order for classes with less than 10 finishers. For classes with 10 or more finishers there will be a random drawing of the top 10 finishers on Saturday to determine the race two starting order on Sunday. The remaining participants after 10th place will start Sunday in the order they finished on Saturday.
With entries late entries accepted up to race mornings, among the desert racing stars entered to date are 15 of the 2011 SCORE class champions Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas (SCORE Trophy Truck), Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif. (Class 1), Moss (Class 3), Carr (Class 5), Rene Brugger, San Diego (Class 6), Chamlee, (Class 7), Rafael Navarro IV, Temecula, Calif. (SCORE Lites),West Bevly III, Corpus Christi, Texas (Stock Full) and Reid Rutherford, Montrose, Colo. (Class 7-2).
Entered in different classes this year, Justin Matney won the 2011 SCORE season point championships in both Class 11 and Stock Mini while his RPM Offroad teammate Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va., is entered in different classes as well this year after winning the 2011 SCORE season point titles in Class 17 and Class 4. Luke Babb, Monrovia, Calif. (Class 9) and Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif. (Sportsman Buggy) are also entered in different classes this year, Babb as a second driver in Class 1/2-1600 and Lang as driver of record in Class 6.
With a variety of drivers and co-drivers, RPM Offroad has a race-record eight official entries in this year’s SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge.
Last year’s SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge event overall winner, Menzies is entered as a second driver for Marc Ewing, Henderson, Nev., in the No. 68 SCORE Trophy Truck.
Returning to the desert for the first time in several years in a SCORE race is NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan of Las Vegas. Gaughan, 36, of Las Vegas, is a veteran of all three of NASCAR’s elite series and this year has signed a deal to drive 10 NASCAR Nationwide Series races and eight NASCAR Truck races for Richard Childress Racing. In the 2012 SCORE Desert Series, he will be the driver of record in the Collins Motorsports No. 12 South Point Racing Dodge Ram150 with Las Vegas’ Brian Collins as the team’s second driver.
Tecate Beer is the title sponsor of November’s 45th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 which will be a peninsula run starting in Ensenada, Baja California and finishing in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
Official Sponsors of the SCORE Desert Series are:
-BFGoodrich Tires, Official Tire
-Volkswagen of America, Official Vehicle
-Sunoco Race Fuels, Official Race Fuel
-Slime, Official Tire Sealant
-Symons Ambulance Company, Official Ambulance
-Bilstein, Official Shock Absorber
-Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Official Mexican Auto Insurance
Official Sponsors of the SCORE Baja 1000 are:
-Coca-Cola, Official Soft Drink
-Volaris Airlines, Official Airline
-Lightforce Performance Lighting, Official Driving Light
Additional SCORE Sponsors are – Las Vegas Events, Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, PCI Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2012 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.
18th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge
Rounds 1 & 2 of five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series
Jan. 13-15 — Laughlin, Nevada
(from 15 States, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany & Mexico) (as of 1/10/12)
(By Class Starting Order)
Pro Cars & Trucks
SCORE TROPHY TRUCK (Unlimited Production Trucks)—
(Starting order for SCORE Trophy Truck to be determined by Friday’s pre-race qualifying)
2 Pete Sohren, Glendale, Ariz., Ford F-150
9 Mark Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150
10 Greg Nunley, Tulare, Calif., Chevy Silverado
12 Brendan Gaughan/Brian Collins, Las Vegas, Dodge Ram1500
14 Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Cody Stuart, Capistrano Beach, Calif., GMC Sierra
15 Armin Schwarz, Germany/Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. (Denmark), Chevy Silverado
16 Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Cody Stuart, Capistrano Beach, Calif., GMC Sierra
18 Juan Carlos Lopez, Tecate, Mexico/Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn., Chevy Silverado
19 Tim Herbst, Las Vegas, Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif., Ford F-150
20 Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, Ford F-150
30 Robbie Pierce, Santee, Calif., Ford F-150
34 Ken Losch, Tempe, Ariz./John Pickett, Tulare, Calif., Chevy Silverado
35 Jason Voss/Rich Voss, Cupertino, Calif., Ford F-150
47 James Bult, Monee, Ill/Jacob Bult, Sand Point, Idaho, Dodge Ram2500
65 Lloyd Sproule/Derrick Sproule, Canada, Ford F-150
68 Marc Ewing, Henderson, Nev./Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas, Ford F-150
84 Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix/Larry Vanderwey, Litchfield Park, Ariz., Chevy Silverado
94 Steven Strobel, Clarks, Neb., Ford F-150
95 Scott Whipple/Scott Gailey, Norco, Calif., Ford F-150
96 Bobby Baldwin, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado
97 B.J. Baldwin/Bobby Baldwin, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado
98 Gary Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150
CLASS 1 (Unlimited single or two-seaters)—
101 Damen Jefferies, Apple Valley, Calif./Rob Bruce, Turner, Ore.., Jefferies-Chevy
102 Brian Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco-Chevy
103 Derrick Sproule/Lloyd Sproule, Canada, Racer-Chevy
100 Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif., ESM-Chevy
105 Cody Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco-Chevy
106 Eric Hardin/Jared Hardin, Garden Grove, Calif., RPS-Chevy
107 Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, Calif./Randy Wilson, Lakewood, Calif., Jimco-Chevy
108 Steve Appleton, Boise, Idaho/Mike Julson, Santee, Calif., Jimco-Chevy
109 Conan Barker, Whittier, Calif./Scott Zeppenfeldt, Brea, Calif., Porter-Chevy
110 Monica Greenhill/David Greenhill, Crowley, Texas, Jimco-Chevy
111 Grant Lenk, Newport Beach, Calif./Brent Lenk, Costa Mesa, Calif., Penhall-Chevy
112 Harley Letner, Orange, Calif., Alpha-Chevy
113 Steven Eugenio, Alpine, Calif./Adam Pfankuch, Oceanside, Calif., Jimco-Chevy
114 Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va./Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn., Geiser-Chevy
115 Robert Archibald, El Cajon, Calif., Porter-Chevy
116 Tony Miglini, Dallas, Jimco-Chevy
117 Michael LaPaglia, Murrieta, Calif.
118 Pete Sohren, Glendale, Ariz., Geiser-Ford
148 Kevin Thompson, Seguin, Texas/Dana Pearce, Thousand Oaks, Calif., Jimco-Chevy
149 Louie Serna/Antoinette Serna, Grand Canyon, Ariz., Tatum-Chevy
CLASS 1/2-1600 (VW-powered, single or two-seaters to 1600cc)—
1601 Cody Robinson, El Centro, Calif./Roberto Romo, Mexicali, Mexico, Romo
1602 Brad Wilson, Long Beach, Calif./Justin Munyon, San Clemente, Calif., Kreger
1603 Andrew Myers/Steve Myers, Newport Beach, Calif., Lothringer
1604 Brian Wilson/Kyle Quinn, Irvine, Calif., Kreger
1605 J.J. Schnarr, Reno, Nev.,Levco
1606 Robert S. Archibald, El Cajon, Calif., Mirage
1607 Jason Markham, Ventura, Calif., Lothringer
1608 Kevin J. Walsh, Manchester, Mo./Luke Babb, Monrovia, Calif., Penhall
1609 Jesus Velez, Mexicali, Mexico, Curry
CLASS 3 (Short wheelbase 4X4)—
300 Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif., Ford Bronco
349 Billy Bunch, La Quinta, Calif., Jeep Wrangler
CLASS 5 (Unlimited VW Baja Bugs)—
500 Kevin Carr, San Diego
501 Victor Cesena, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
CLASS 5/1600 (1600cc VW Baja Bugs)—
551 Erich Reisen/Ross Burden, Canada
CLASS 6 (Unlimited, production mini trucks)—
601 Jose Grijalva, Ensenada, Mexico/Chris Cummings, Brentwood, Tenn., Chevy Colorado
603 Jeffery Holmes, Monte Sereno, Calif., Ford Ranger
604 Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif.
616 Dan Holtz, Los Angeles/Rick McGeorge, Garden Grove, Calif., Ford Ranger
600 Rene Brugger, San Diego, Ford Ranger
618 Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico/Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va., Chevy Colorado
619 Josh Quintero, El Centro, Calif., Ford Raptor
CLASS 7 (Open, production mini trucks)—
700 Dan Chamlee, Summerland, Calif./Tom Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif., Ford Ranger
701 Jose Gonzalez, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford Ranger
CLASS 7SX (Modified, open mini trucks)—
741 Justin Fisher, San Ysidro, Calif., Ford Ranger
742 Rich Severson, Tucson, Ariz., Ford Ranger
759 Jon Anderson, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Brandt Anderson, Ladera Ranch, Calif./Mike Horner, Mission Viejo, Calif., Toyota Tacoma
CLASS 8 (Full-sized two-wheel drive trucks)—
839 Rodolfo Iribe, San Ysidro, Calif./Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn., Chevy Silverado
CLASS 10 (Single or two-seaters to 1650cc)—
1001 Peter Hajas, Wayzata, Minn./Steven Hajas, Delano, Minn., Kreger-Chevy
1002 Perry McNeil, Lemon Grove, Calif., Lothringer-VW
1003 Matt Cullen, Long Beach, Calif./Chuck Sacks, Canyon Lake, Calif., AlumiCraft-Honda
SCORE LITES (VW-powered, Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc)—
1200 Rafael Navarro IV, Temecula, Calif./Vic Bruckmann, Lemon Grove, Calif., Jimco
1201 Jeff Sanca/Herb Ruppe, Canada, Porter
1202 Brent Parkhouse, Long Beach/Brian Burgess, Riverside, Calif., Moulton
1203 Matt Laughlin, Laughlin, Nev., Penhall
1204 Lobsam Yee, Tijuana, Mexico, Curry
STOCK FULL (Stock, Full-sized trucks)—
861 Marc Stein, San Diego, Ford F-150
862 Joe Bacal, Anthem, Ariz., Lexus LX570, Lexus
860 Wes Bevly III, Corpus Christi, Texas, Ford F-150
STOCK MINI (Stock, mini trucks)—
779 Andy Bell/Ted Moncure, Long Beach, Calif., Toyota Tacoma
CLASS 7-2 (Unlimited Mini-Truck, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine)—
721 Dana Dague, Huntington Beach, Calif./Harley Letner, Orange, Calif., Mason-Chevy
720 Reid Rutherford, Montrose, Colo., Mason-Chevy
723 Billy Wilson/Wes Bevly IV, Corpus Christi, Texas, BajaLite-Chevy
CLASS 4 (Unlimited open-wheel car, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine)—
401 Mike Shaffer, Oakland, Calif./Shawn Twitchell, Nampa, Idaho, Custom-Chevy
419 Derek Fletcher, Abingdon, Va., PSD-Chevy
CLASS 2 (Unlimited open-wheel, car/truck, 3.5-Liter Turbo or supercharged)—
201 Jon Anderson, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Scott Anderson, Sandy, Utah/Brandt Anderson, Ladera Ranch, Calif., Toyota Tacoma
1419 Jim Bunn/John Matney, Bristol, Va., RGBuggy-Chevy
1549 Nick Tonelli, Huntington Beach, Calif., Ford Ranger
599 Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va./Thomas Fernandez, Ensenada, Mexico, VW Baja Bug