Bryce Menzies put an exclamation point on the 2013 SCORE Baja 1000, and the race hasn’t even begun yet. Menzies placed first in qualifying today at a short five-mile track just outside of Ojos Negros in Baja California, Mexico. With race times now official, Menzies beat his next closest competitor by roughly 7 seconds.
Juan Carlos Lopez finished in second place behind Menzies. Finishing in third place during qualifying was Gustavo Vildosola Jr., who said that he likes the qualifying format despite a poor qualifying attempt at the Baja 500 last June.
“Even though the first time around it didn’t exactly benefit us at the Baja 500 [because] I made a mistake, I think it’s the right thing to do,” Vildosola said. “I’ve gotten to start second at a Baja 1000 and I’ve gotten to start 25th at a Baja 1000, and luck of the draw is one thing, but when you make your own luck by coming out here and qualifying gives the sport another level. I’m happy about it, and it looks like we did okay today. Top five is what we always hope for.”
Although we were unclear while wating for official results, now that they have been released by SCORE it appears fourth-place qualifier is Robby Gordon. Gordon appeared to slow during his first qualifying session of the day on part of the track after firing off the line as usual, as a helicopter from another team cruised a little too close to the course for Gordon’s comfort. He protested his finish (which appeared to be 8th place) to SCORE’s Roger Norman, who allowed him to run another qualifying lap at the time and said they’d continue the discussion later. In an attempt to create as equal a playing field as possible, Norman actually hopped in his prerunner and tore around the course ahead of Gordon to create at least a little dust to simulate the conditions earlier in the day when multiple trucks were on the course at the same time.