Legendary Baja racing champion and San Diego-based homebuilder Mark McMillin has been named by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) as the honorary Grand Marshal for this year’s upcoming General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000. The unique fourth annual on and off-road rally is set to kick off this Saturday, April 27th in Mexicali, Baja, Mexico and will conclude at lands-end in San Jose Del Cabo on May 1.
Mark McMillin’s Grand Marshal role places him in an elite group of previous icons of the sport and industry who have enjoyed the honor. Two-time overall champion of the original NORRA Mexican 1000 rally (1971 and 1972) and Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones served as Grand Marshal in 2010, while original four-wheel Baja recor d holder and inventor of the fiberglass dune buggy Bruce Meyers was honored the following year. Highly popular motorsports television host and Baja enthusiast Dave Despain enjoyed his time as the General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 Grand Marshal last year.
McMillin, a five-time Baja 1000 overall winner, has competed in all three previous NORRA Mexican 1000 rally’s since 2010. Last year he missed defeating overall vintage winner Michael Gaughan by just over 20 seconds after four days and 1,200 miles of trans-Baja competition.
The second of three generations of racing McMillin’s, Mark will once again run the upcoming Mexican 1000 in honor of his father and Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF) inductee Corky McMillin. His brother Scott and nephew Andy McMillin, also Baja champion racers, will be at the rally to support the rally, while Mark’s son Daniel is slated to also pilot the racecar during the 1,200 mile event.
The McMillin family effort will revolve around the now-iconic “Macadu” Chenowth open wheel race car that has been restored and is lovingly maintained by the team at Mark’s shop in El Cajon, Calif. Originally built in 1978, the car took the overall Baja 1000 titles in 1981, 1983 and 1984, and features a Porsche 911 powerplant the McMillin Racing team perfected and popularized in the 1980s.
“The truth is that at this point in my racing career spending four days at the Mexican 1000 enjoying Baja and hearing the noise of that Porsche 911 engine in Macadu is as good as it gets,” shared McMillin. Like everything we do, the rally has quickly become a McMIllin family tradition and one Corky would have love if he where still here. I want to thank everyone at NORRA for this honor.”
Now in its fourth annual running, the 2013 General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 will boast a record 150-plus entries (up from 95 last year). The field will be made up of motorcycle, truck, buggy and sedan classes from an international field of countries, with a unique emphasis on vintage machinery and a distinctive spotlight on hospitality, adventure and fun.
“For the staff at NORRA, having Mark McMillin serve as this year’s Grand Marshal was a perfect choice and one we look forward to seeing come alive next week,” explained event President Mike Pearlman. “Honoring the past is an important component in the Mexican 1000′s success, and the M cMillin history of Baja racing since the mid-1970s is unprecedented. Just as significant to the success of this rally was the McMillin family participation in our very first event in 2010. Mark was one of the first Baja champion racers to jump in with both feet and help us get this thing moving in the right direction.”