SAN DIEGO—For Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren, winning a desert race in San Felipe, Mexico comes down to one thing-homework. Ever the student of his craft, MacCachren, a four-time winner in this race, leads a race-record 36 SCORE Trophy Trucks into next week’s 27th annual MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
While the Roger Norman era of SCORE International officially began last Friday with pre-running over the challenging 254.0-mile course, MacCachren will begin his ‘homework’ in his No. 11 Rockstar Energy MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150 hoping to win his fourth consecutive race in San Felipe racing in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for high-tech, 850-horsepower unlimited production trucks introduced in 1994 by SCORE.
As new owner of the world’s foremost desert racing organization, Norman, who himself is a SCORE Baja 1000 overall champion, will start his legacy in 2013 as SCORE International celebrates its 40th anniversary season. SCORE was founded in 1973 by the late motorsports innovator Mickey Thompson.
The season opener of the 2013 SCORE Desert Series will be held next Thursday to Sunday (March 7-10) in Mexico’s picturesque fishing village of San Felipe, located 120 miles south of the U.S. border on the East side of the Baja California peninsula along the azure waters of the tranquil Sea of Cortez. The race will herald the new chapter in SCORE history, starting the tenure of Roger Norman as the owner of the world’s foremost desert racing organization.
With entries accepted up to race morning, over 225 entries are expected to enter the 254.0-mile race. To date, entries have come from 21 US States and 10 countries as competition will be held in 40 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs in the popular race.
“The key for me in San Felipe has been doing my homework with repeated pre-running as well as developing a great suspension package,” said MacCachren, whose 11 career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins ties him with fellow Las Vegan Tim Herbst for the most race SCORE Trophy Truck race wins in the SCORE history. “For the first time in over a decade we are running our own team entirely, but we have great people in place starting with our crew chief Jim Blackmore. We also have a brand new Geiser Bros Ford F-150 to get us around the course but in racing anything can happen just like here in Las Vegas there are no sure bets.”
MacCachren won in SCORE Trophy Truck in San Felipe in 2003 driving for Mexico’s Gus Vildosola and then again in 2007 driving with Mark Post’s Riviera Racing before winning the last two years as part of Robbie Pierce’s MasterCraft Racing team. MacCachren also won the September San Felipe race SCORE had in 2011 to give him three straight SCORE race wins in San Felipe.
With a field of 36 SCORE Trophy Trucks as well as the rugged terrain of the course and the durability of his own race truck all factors that will help determine the outcome, MacCachren will be a serious favorite, but the leader board will be filled with top racers from both sides of the border.
As success breeds success, other former winners in the SCORE Trophy Truck field this year who will challenge MacCachren’s reign are Las Vegas’ three-time winner Tim Herbst racing with Larry Roeseler, Boulevard, Calif. (No. 19 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150), Mexico’s 2003 winner Gus Vildosola racing with his son Gus Vildosola Jr (No. 21 Red Bull Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor), 2007 winner Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif. (No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150) and 2010 winner Jesse Jones, Phoenix (No. 76 Jones Motorsports Ford F-150).
With a stellar all-star lineup of the premier desert racers in the world, leading the group of challengers against the former San Felipe race winners are two more Las Vegas racers, B. J. Baldwin (No. 1 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Ford F-150) and Bryce Menzies (No. 70 Red Bull Menzies Motorsports Ford F-150). While neither has won a San Felipe race, Baldwin is a three-time SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion (2006, 2008 and 2012) and Menzies won the season title in 2011.
With several entries who have moved up from other classes, among the SCORE Trophy Truck regulars also expected in the hunt for the victory include Mexico’s Juan C. Lopez (No. 18 RPM Racing Chevy Silverado), who finished third in season points last year behind Baldwin and MacCachren, Mark Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore. (No. 9 TSCO Racing Ford F-150) who finished second in last year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and drew the first start for this year’s San Felipe race, Troy Herbst, Las Vegas/Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif. (No. 49 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150) who finished third in last year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and Dan McMillin, La Mesa, Calif. (No. 23 McMillin Homes Ford F-150) who was fourth in last year’s season-finale.
Among the other entries in SCORE Trophy Truck is reality TV star Jesse James, Austin, Texas (No. 54 Chevy Silverado) and Robbie Pierce, Santee, Calif. (No. 30, MasterCraft Racing Chevy Silverado).
GENTLEMEN, MOVE OVER
Both SCORE class champions, moving up to the marquee racing division to make their first start in SCORE Trophy Truck will be the female-driver team of Heidi Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Jessica McMillin, National City, Calif. (No. 14 Monster Energy Desert Assassins Chevy Silverado).
Steele’s husband Cameron Steele drives the No. 16 Monster Energy Desert Assassins GMC Sierra while McMillin, who won the 2011 Protruck season point title, is a third generation desert racer from the legendary McMillin family of San Diego. Her father Scott and brother Andy race together in SCORE Trophy Truck (but they aren’t racing this year), her uncle Mark is a multi-time SCORE race winner and point champion and Mark’s sons Dan (SCORE Trophy Truck) and Luke McMillin (Class 1) are both current SCORE racing stars.
SCORE TROPHY TRUCKS TOUGH
SCORE Trophy Trucks have won 16 overalls in San Felipe in their 19-year history. Southern California’s Mark Post/Jerry Whelchel in 1997, San Diego’s son/father team of Andy and Scott McMillin (2005) and Armin Schwarz (Germany)/Martin Christensen (Denmark) (2010) have the only three Class 1 wins since SCORE created the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division in 1994.
OVERALL, CLASS CHAMPS RETURN
Last year’s overall 4-wheel and 2-wheel champions are also part of the field. Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren has been the overall 4-wheel and SCORE Trophy Truck champion the last two straight years while the returning 2-wheel and Class 22 champion is the Bonzana Plumbing/KTM factory team of Kurt Caselli, Murrieta, Calif./Ivan Ramirez, Ensenada, Mexico on a KTM 450SX-F.
Besides MacCachren and Caselli, a total of the 17 defending Pro class winners have entered so far this year: Luke McMillin, El Cajon, Calif. (Class 1), Cody Robinson, El Centro, Calif. (Class 1/2-1600), Donald Moss, Sacremento, Calif. (Class 3), Kevin Carr, San Diego (Class 5), Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 6), Elias Hanna, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 7SX), Rudolfo Iribe, Tijuana, Mexico (Class 8), Mike Lawrence, Sunset Beach, Calif. (Class 10), Arnoldo Ramirez, Ensenada, Mexico (SCORE Lites), Reid Rutherford, Montrose, (Class 7-2), Mike Shaffer, Oakland, Calif. (Class 4), Chad Broughton, Scotts Valley, Calif. (Class 20), Mike Johnson, El Paso, Texas (Class 30), Rafael Torres, San Felipe, Mexico (Class 24) and Marc Prince, Malibu, Calif. (Class 50).
Robinson (Class 10), Laguna (Class 1), Rutherford (Class 3000), Shaffer (Class 10) and Johnson (Class 40) are all in new classes this year while Iribe is listed as a co-driver for RPM Racing entries in Class 1 and Trophy Truck Spec.
The pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday (March 8) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the picturesque Malecon, flanked by the Sea of Cortez on one side and the popular restaurants and night clubs of San Felipe on the other. Racer registration will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday (March 8) at the Hacienda Don Jesus Hotel. Open to the public for the first time, the pre-race mandatory racer’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday (March 8) at the plaza in the heart of the Malecon.
The spectacular 254.0-mile race course runs in a counter-clockwise direction and starts and finishes at the landmark San Felipe arches. The race course goes north of Highway 3 for one of the first times ever in this race, covering over 100 miles up to the south end of Laguna Salada and back. Another major change in this year’s course is that the Zoo Road crossing has been moved west to a safer area where the terrain is more technical than the traditional high-speed ‘whoops’ which will slow the race vehicles down in an area of high spectator concentration.
The race course also includes three of the infamous Baja washes—Huatamote, Chanate and Amarillas before heading to the finish line. The course includes nearly 50 virtual checkpoints to help insure the safety and the integrity of the challenging race course.
Festivities will start on Thursday night in the start line area at the San Felipe arches with a special SCORE launch party. Open to the public with a $2 donation to Mexico’s Cruz Roja (Red Cross), from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. there will be a racer autograph session followed by the celebratory party at 7 p.m., which will be fueled by Monster Energy Drink and Tecate.
Pre-running is allowed on the actual race course from last Friday (Feb. 22) through Friday, March 8.
The green flag will drop at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, for the motorcycle and ATV classes, followed three and one-half hours later after the last Sportsman ATV by the car and truck classes at approximately 10:30 a.m. The start line and finish line for the race is scheduled to once again be the landmark San Felipe Arches on Highway 5 on the outskirts of San Felipe. One vehicle will start every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, with a 12-hour time limit to become an official finisher.
The season-opener of the 2013 SCORE Desert Series, the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, annually provides a greater economic impact to San Felipe than the popular six-week-long ‘Spring Break’.
The race began in 1982 and was not held between 1985 and 1989, the first five years of the seven-year combined High Desert Racing Association-HDRA/SCORE Desert Series of US and Baja races. It has been held consecutively each year since 1990.
In its first 26 years, the race has been held in San Felipe all but 2007 when political issues forced a last minute move by SCORE, starting it in Ensenada and finishing it in Santo Tomas. Ironically, 2007 saw a race-record 394 starters and a race-record 288 finishers even though the race was moved and the course changed just 10 days before the event. The records when the race actually started and finished in San Felipe are 341 for starters in 2006 and 220 for finishers, also in 2006.
ON THE BAJAscope
In its 40th year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization in 2013, the three-race 2013 SCORE Desert Series, with all three massive special events held in Baja California, Mexico, starts with the 27th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250. Both starting and finishing in Ensenada, the other two events will be the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 (May 31-June 2) and the 46th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 (Nov. 14-17).
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF DESERT RACING
The 2013 SCORE Desert Series will also be part of the quickly-evolving World Championship of Desert Racing, which will combine points accumulated in the three SCORE Baja races along with points earned from three of the four-race 2013 HDRA Series, all held in the United States. Both the SCORE and HDRA series will crown their own individual class and overall point champions as well with a bonus purse for those racers who qualify for the World Championship of Desert Racing points bonus purse program to earn a desert racing World Champion title.
With a growing total, for the inaugural World Championship of Desert Racing bonus purse, an official total of $45,000 has been posted to date from new SCORE sponsors Amber Racing Services ($25,000), King Shocks ($10,000) and Rigid Industries ($10,000).
For car and truck classes with at least five starters in each qualifying race in 2013, the World Champion titles will be decided on combined points from the three SCORE races and three HDRA races with the bonus purse paid using the same formula based on total purse and number of starters in each class as is used currently for each SCORE race.
For the pro motorcycle and ATV classes, the World Championship of Desert Racing will include points earned in the three SCORE Baja races as well as the AMA National Hare and Hound race to be held during the HDRA Reno 500.
In addition to season class point championships and World Championship titles, the racers are also competing for part of the nearly $400,000 in cash purse and contingency postings each race. There are also annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year Awards including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Award that also receives a $2,000 cash bonus and custom-made driver’s race suit.
Norman, 49, a Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 overall winner himself, acquired ownership of the world-renown SCORE International on Dec. 20, 2012 from Sal Fish, 73, the iconic godfather of desert racing who ran SCORE for 39 years.
As a hotel/casino owner in northern Nevada, business developer and a champion racer, Norman re-started the High Desert Racing Association, (HDRA) in 2011. HDRA was highly regarded when it was active originally in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Norman is a regular with his ‘Pit Stop with Roger’ segment on his new weekly webcast internet show on www.score-international.com-Dirt Live.
Official Sponsors of the SCORE Desert Series are fueled by Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink: Tecate Beer-Official Beer/Official Race Sponsor, BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Amber Racing Services-Official Race Fuels (F&L, VP), Rigid Industries-Official Lights, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Coca-Cola-Official Soft Drink, Wide Open Excursions-Official Tour Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino, Volaris Airlines-Official Airline, MasterCraft Safety-Official Safety Seats, Fox Car Rental-Official Rent-A-Car, Graham Watchmakers-Official Timekeeper, SatellitePhoneStore.com-Official Satellite Phone Rental Company, Slime-Official Tire Sealant, Symons Ambulance Company-Official Ambulance, Azunia Tequila-Official Tequila, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-Official Mexican Auto Insurance.
Additional SCORE Sponsors are – Visit Baja California Sur, Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Blue C Advertising, PCI Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
For more information, visit the official website of the new SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.
27th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250
207–Official Entries (21 U.S. States, 10 countries)
(By Class Starting Order-as of 2/27/13)
Pro Cars & Trucks
SCORE TROPHY TRUCK (Unlimited Production Trucks)–
9 Mark Weyhrich, 43/Gary Weyhrich, 45, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150
23 Dan McMillin, 25, La Mesa, Calif., Ford F-150
1 B.J. Baldwin, 33, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado
70 Bryce Menzies, 25, Las Vegas/Jesse Jones, 47, Phoenix, Ford F-150
18 Juan C. Lopez, 38, Tecate, Mexico, Chevy Silverado
2 Pete Sohren, 46, Glendale, Ariz., Ford F-150
84 Nick Vanderwey, 46, Phoenix/Larry Vanderwey, 43, Litchfield Park, Ariz.
49 Troy Herbst, 46, Las Vegas/Ryan Arciero, 39, Foothill Ranch, Calif., Ford F-150
88 Sergio Salgado, 36, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford Raptor
21 Gus Vildosola, 59/Gus Vildosola Jr, 30, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford Raptor
48 Jimmy Knuckles, 45, Brawley, Calif., Ford F-150
7 Steven Eugenio, 32, Vista, Calif., Chevy Silverado
11 Rob MacCachren, 47, Las Vegas, Ford F-150
57 Mike Palmer, 50, Denver, Chevy Silverado
78 Jesse Ashcraft, 34, San Marcos, Calif./Adam Ashcraft, 30, Vista, Calif.
85 Justin Davis, 19, Chino Hills, Calif., Ford F-150
55 Mark Workentine, 36, Fresno, Calif., Chevy Silverado
35 Jason Voss, 26/Rich Voss, 55, Cupertino, Calif., Ford F-150
19 Tim Herbst, 49, Las Vegas/Larry Roeseler, 55, Boulevard, Calif., Ford F-150
76 Jesse Jones, 47, Phoenix/Bryce Menzies, 25, Las Vegas, Ford F-250
36 Glen Greer, 48, Green Valley, Ariz./Bruce Greer Jr, 49, Tucson, Ariz., Dodge Ram1500
28 Alan Pflueger, 45, Honolulu, Chevy Silverado
50 Zak Langley, 37, Santa Monica, Calif., Ford F-150
98 Gary Weyhrich, 45/Mark Weyhrich, 43, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150
15 Armin Schwarz, 49, Germany/Martin Christensen, 44, Escondido, Calif. (Denmark), BMW XJ-6
10 Greg Nunley, 41, Tulare, Calif., Chevy Silverado
59 Craig Potts, 41, Scottsdale, Ariz., Chevy Silverado
16 Cameron Steele, 45, San Clemente, Calif., GMC Sierra
54 Jesse James, 43, Austin, Texas, Chevy Silverado
33 Todd Romano, 42, Park City, Utah
34 Ken Losch, 52, Phoenix, Chevy Silverado
30 Robbie Pierce, 53, Santee, Calif., Chevy Silverado
4 Valerio Gonzalez, 45/Rodimiro Amaya, 22, San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, Ford F-150
3 Mark Post, 55, Laguna Beach, Calif., Ford F-150
14 Heidi Steele, 41, San Clemente, Calif./Jessica McMillin, 27, National City, Calif., Chevy Silverado
52 Gonzalo Pirron, 40, Lancaster, Calif., Chevy Silverado