RENO, Nev. — Considered to be one of the top tier drivers of all-time in the rugged sport of desert racing, the legendary Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart has been named the grand marshal for next week’s 28th Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
Stewart will preside over the festivities of the season-opener of the five-race 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship series to be held next Thursday through Sunday. The SCORE season opener will be held in Mexico’s picturesque fishing village of San Felipe, located 125 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 start another new chapter in SCORE history, continuing the tenure of Norman as the owner of the world’s foremost desert racing organization. The race will be televised as a one-hour special one month following the event on the CBS Sports Network, in the most expansive television package in SCORE history.
With entries accepted up to 5 p.m. the evening before the race, over 200 entries from nearly 25 U.S. States and 10 countries expected to enter the race that will feature competition in 35 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs in the popular ‘spring break’ race.
“We are truly honored to have one of the all-time greatest racers in the history of our sport serve as the grand marshal of the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250,” commented Roger Norman, SCORE CEO and President. “Ivan Stewart was an amazing racer but as great a driver as he was for over two decades, he is an even better ambassador for our sport.”
“While we all grew up admiring him from as a racer, I cherish the relationship we have developed as friends the past several years. This definitely adds another touch of class to help us launch the 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship series.”
Stewart, selected four times in his illustrious career to the Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters (AARWBA) All-America motorsports team, will be a focal point of race activities starting next Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Monster Energy SCORE ‘Baja Goes Green’ party held at the base of the famed San Felipe arches entering the town. With current racers and race vehicles on hand as well as DJ party music, the public is invited to participate in the welcome event with a donation to Cruz Roja-Mexicana.
In 1973, Stewart was scheduled to co-drive in the Ensenada 300 in a Class 1-2 open-wheel car. His co-driver broke his leg, so Stewart drove the car the entire distance solo, and won the race. Hence, the legend of his ‘Ironman’ moniker had begun.
Stewart joined the Toyota factory team in 1983 for Cal Wells at Precision Preparation Inc. (PPI). He won a total of 82 victories. He won a record 17 races in Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group’s (MTEG) stadium series, a record 17 SCORE Baja 500’s, three SCORE Baja 1000s, and five SCORE season class point titles, including SCORE overall point championships in 1990 and 1993. He also won four SCORE World championships and three MTEG stadium racing titles.
Stewart retired from racing in 2000. The Ironman continued to be instrumental in desert racing, becoming a founder in the Protruck Racing Organization. Toyota introduced the Toyota Tundra pickup truck and soon afterwards produced a very limited number of trucks as the Ivan Stewart Ironman edition. These trucks featured a special Ivan Stewart signature package with Toyota Racing Development (TRD) wheels, grille, interior, and supercharger. Stewart also had fame in the video game circuit, lending his name and his style of stadium racing to a series of games entitled Super Off-Road, and he wrote a book titled Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Ultimate Off-Road Adventure Guide (Motorbooks, 2007).
Stewart was a 2006 inductee in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. In 2009, Stewart was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Breitbard Hall of Fame.
FIRST STARTS, etc.
Following last week’s live drawing for starting positions heralding the sophomore season of the Roger Norman era, SCORE International desert racing launched its 41st anniversary season with Las Vegas’ multi-time champion Troy Herbst and SoCal rookie Rodrigo Valenzuela received the pole positions for four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles during the Dirt LiveHD webcast for the upcoming 28th Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race.
Troy Herbst races in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck Division while Valenzuela competes in Open Motorcycle class.
Drawing the first starting slot for the unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars was defending class champion Cody Parkhouse. Riding the first ATV off the line will be team led by Michael Zelenka.
With 26 entries so far in the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 850 horsepower, unlimited production trucks, Troy Herbst, who splits driving time with teammate Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif., drives the No. 91 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy Truck.
Valenzuela, just 17 years old from Calexico, Calif., will ride a KTM 450EXC motorcycle in Pro Open motorcycle class.
The SCORE World Desert Championship series will be visiting Mexico for the first of three annual SCORE Baja races in 2014. This year’s race is the first as part of a new three-year contract with the Mexican government to hold the ever-popular in San Felipe.
To date, SCORE Trophy Truck has the most entries of any class with 26, followed by the Class 10 with 20, Class 19 with 14 and Class 1/2-1600 with 10. With150 official entries accepted to date continuing late registration is expected to add as many as 60 additional entries before the green flag drops.
COURSE MAP, PRERUNNING
Pre-running on the actual race course started last Friday and will continue through next Friday, Feb. 28. The course for Pro and Sportsman cars and trucks and Pro motorcycle and Pro ATV classes is one loop of approximately 274 miles and the Sportsman motorcycle and ATV classes will race one loop of approximately 250 miles. The course will include approximately 150 miles never used before in this SCORE Baja race. The course map and the course GPS files are available online on the SCORE website. For the first time in several years, the course which has three physical checkpoints, runs in a clockwise direction.
All Pro and Sportsman car and truck classes will have an 11 hour, 30 minute time limit and all Pro and Sportsman motorcycle and ATV classes will have a 10 hour, 10 minute time limit in the elapsed time race.
The pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway, contingency and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday (February 28). Contingency will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tech 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 Noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 27) and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 28) at the San Felipe Marina Resort, a few miles south of downtown San Felipe.
The season-opener of the 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship series, the 28th 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 27 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 SCOREscope
In its 41st year as the world’s foremost desert racing organization in 2014, the five-race 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship series, with three special events held in Baja California, Mexico, and two in the United States, starts with the 28th annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250. Starting and finishing in Ensenada, the 46th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 will be held June 5-8 and the third SCORE Baja race, starting in Ensenada and finishing in La Paz, the 47th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 will be held Nov. 12-16.
The two U.S. races on 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship calendar are the inaugural SCORE Imperial Valley 250 in Plaster City, Calif. (April 25-27) and the two-day, single-race Inaugural SCORE Desert Challenge, location TBA in SoCal (Sept. 25-28).
CBS SPORTS NETWORK
CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com. CBS Sports Network will run a one-hour special on all five 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship races as well as a sixth show on the special qualifying for select classes for the 2014 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 that will be held Nov. 1-4 in Las Vegas during the annual SEMA automotive industry trade show. All shows are scheduled to air in the next month following the event.
Dirt LiveHD, Roger Norman’s weekly Tuesday night internet studio show from El Cajon, Calif., also goes on-site live with expanded event coverage during SCORE events. Live event coverage in 2014 will include week-long live coverage of the entire five-race 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship series of two races in the United States and three in Baja California, Mexico. The first event of the inaugural SCORE World Desert Championship series will be the 28th Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.