Racing is well underway after the four-wheeled vehicles left the line this morning for the 46th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. We spoke to a number of the lead Trophy Truck and Class 1 teams this morning about the race and how they felt before leaving the line. Most of them all talked about the difficulty this rough course will present .

Tavo Vildosola, who hopes to earn another Baja 1000 win this year with his Farther Gustavo Sr., knows the importance of this year regardless of the team’s peformacne thus far in 2013.

“The Baja 1000, for everyone here in off-road, is like our Daytona or our Indy race,” Vildosola said. “As we say, you can do badly all year but if you win the Baja 1000 it was a successful year. It’s an amazing event, and we’ve had the privilege of winning it once outright and once on the course even though it wasn’t on paper. But today is going to be a tough race. It is going to be a tough, technical, rocky, silty, just gnarly race, and the top six trucks that are lined up here all have excellent drivers, and it is going to be a battle to the finish. I look forward to it. This is what it is all about. It’s what the fans want, and this is what qualifying is all about, putting the top six, top 10 guys up front and letting them run.”

Rob MacCachren has partnered up with previous Baja 1000 winner Andy McMillin for this year’s race, and he thinks it gives him a big advantage to have such a good young racer on his team.

“When I found out the race was probably going to be a big one and that Andy McMillin and his family probably weren’t racing this year, I instantly picked up the phone and called Andy and said, ‘Hey, if you’re really not racing I want to put you on my team and have you drive with me,’” MacCacheren said. “He was super stoked about that, and we ended up putting this deal together. The race is going to be very difficult, technical and tight, which is playing right into a strategy that we have with two drivers. I’m happy. He’s definitely a talent down here in Baja. He has done his homework, and I have done mine.”

After struggling with technical issues with the new All German Motorsports Trophy Truck, Armin Schwarz thinks the team might finally be ready to get the results to match all of the work the team has put into developing the BMW-inspired Trophy Truck.

“I think we have a pretty good chance,” Schwarz said. “The truck is better in the technical stuff than in the faster stuff because we are quite a lot lighter than some of the other trucks. We didn’t have, so far, a very good season, so what we want is to go on reliability, just get through. We just want to try and run it through as smooth as possible and hopefully put it on the podium.”

For veteran racer Larry Roeseler, who’s seen many different Baja 1000 courses over his career, the track may be slightly different this year, but his strategy to be aggressive in spots and patient in others remains unchanged.

“Obviously, I feel like our chances to win are excellent,” Roeseler said. “It’s a super, super technical course. Some of the stuff we have never been on. Some of it we haven’t been on since 2007. The fact that it is way more technical than normal, I think, does favor me. It’s like riding a motorcycle. You’ve got to really know where to pull the reins back, be precise. You really can’t be sloppy at all. It’s going to be interesting. You’ve got to keep air in the tires, and you’ve got to keep the car on the road. And then there are places where you can really let ‘em run. It’s going to be a long day and a long night. I’d like to be a few more positions up than we are, but if you look at the guys in front me, at least I don’t have to worry about anybody holding me up.”

Motocross legend Ricky Johnson will be driving in the 101 Geiser Class 1 with driver of record Justin Matney, and the champ still sets lofty goals for himself.

“I’d be satisfied with a top-five overall, winning Class 1, and no flat tires,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to be consistent. The smart guy is going to win this race, not the guy that just goes out and runs at 100 percent. You’ve got to save your rig. It’s a long day.”

Second off the line behind Matney is Ronny Wilson, who has both a Baja 1000 win and a championship on his mind today.

“It’s still the Baja 1000,” Wilson said. “But hopefully we will set a good pace against the trucks and the buggies as well.”

With the Class 1 Championship on the line, Wilson said that the team planned to execute a conservative to make it to the finish.

“Winning Class 1 would be great, and winning the Class 1 Championship would be awesome today,” Wilson said. “We’re going to be at a slower pace to try to get those two things done.”

Photo Highlights of the 2013 SCORE Baja 1000

Bryce Menzies Earns Fastest Qualifying Time for Baja 1000

Video: Gustavo Vildosola on Baja 1000 Strategy

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