LOS ANGELES—While Southern California desert racer Cameron Steele received the first qualifying spot in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division, SoCal’s Damen Jefferies got a nice New Year’s gift as he received the first starting slot in the unlimited Class 1 in Monday’s drawing for starting positions for the upcoming 18th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge.

Launching into its 39th year as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization in 2012, Sal Fish’s SCORE International will hold the first major motorsports events of the year in the United States.

With entries accepted so far from 11 U.S States along with Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany and Mexico, Rounds 1 and 2 of the five-race 2012 SCORE Desert Series will be held January 13-15 along the banks of the Colorado River in the Southern Nevada resort destination of Laughlin.

For the first time in the history of the event, each day of the two-day Laughlin event (Jan. 14, Jan. 15) will be separate race events for purposes of championship points, prize money and trophies.

The SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is the first race of the five-event off-road desert race series, but more importantly it serves as a kick-start to a new year of off-road racing. New sponsor stickers are plastered over cars, some new teams are tackling different classes, and much like the New Year is for dieters hoping to shed a few pounds, this first event gives racers the hope of starting off a championship drive by winning the first race of the season.

The Laughlin Desert Challenge is unique to the longer, more tedious races SCORE puts on south of the border. This race, which is held at the Laughlin Event Park just off Casino Drive, features a 6.25-mile loop course. The event at one point consisted of two days of racing with each serving as individual events, but SCORE now combines the racing from both days to determing the overall winner. More on that when racing begins tomorrow.