Apdaly Lopez Wins the 47th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500

Jun. 07, 2015 By Josh Burns
Apdaly Lopez netted his first SCORE Baja 500 victory.

In all the years that SCORE has been holding races on the Baja Peninsula, American-born drivers have dominated the win column. Yet in 2015, no American driver has reached the top of the podium. Buoyed by their nationalistic pride, Mexican drivers have, of late, made great strides in SCORE racing, especially in the top levels of the sport. Nothing exemplifies this more than 20-year-old native Mexican Apdaly Lopez, who earned the victory today at the 47th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500. The win for Lopez means that a Mexican racer has earned every overall Trophy Truck win during 2015, which includes Gustavo "Tavo" Vildosola’s win at San Felipe and Eduardo Laguna’s victory at Baja Sur.

After posting the fifth fastest qualifying time on Thursday, Lopez stayed near the top five for much of the race until eventually leading the 31 Trophy Truck-field late in the race. The team had very little problems throughout the day, and in a class where finishing spots are separated by seconds, Lopez showed that it’s often the racer with the fewest mistakes who takes home the victory, as he crossed the finish line with the fastest time of all the vehicles today at 8 hours, 48 minutes and 38.139 seconds.

“It was good, but we lost the brakes in the original 100 [mile], and lost about five minutes,” Lopez said after the race, noting that his day wasn’t entirely free of issue. “But we pushed hard, 100 [percent] to the finish and we won.”

Although the young racer doesn’t have the experience of many of the veterans in the class, he’s been around long enough to recognize a challenging course. “It’s tough and technical, fast, everything in one course,” he said.

Unofficially, Rob MacCachren finished less than a minute behind Lopez on corrected time.

Speaking of veterans, Rob MacCachren started today’s race in the 11th position, but his great performance got his truck across the line fourth. Since the Trophy Truck drivers were spaced out 1 minute apart when leaving the starting line, he was potentially in position to earn the win. Once the times were tallied, unofficially, MacCachren finished in second place overall, less than a minute behind Lopez.

“We had a good run,” MacCachren said. “We got caught in the dust early. The first 65 miles we were losing time to the people out in front of us, and finally Jason McNeil had something go wrong and was parked in the middle of the road. We had to stop, figure out a way to get around him, and once we got around him we tried making up time on that first group and we ended up clipping a rock on the right front, got a flat tire… we got that changed but we lost two spots, [Steven] Eugenio and [Tim] Herbst/Larry Roeseler got in front of us, and we just really ran as hard as we could trying to get caught up. We ran really, really hard down in the desert and started picking up spots.”

MacCachren battled up into the top five and stayed there for much of the second half of the race, but he was unable to make up the time lost back in the pack earlier in the race.

“Man, you gotta run as hard as you can the whole race, and we did,” MacCachren added. “We tried our best. We feel good. We’d much rather win than come home second, but we made it back safe.”

MacCachren entered the race with a hyper-extended knee, and although he has trouble walking when outside of the truck, he didn’t use it as an excuse for today’s race.

“In the car it’s no problem at all,” he said. “It’s just trying to walk. Maybe it got fixed today during the race, I don’t know, we’ll see. We’ll see what happens when I get out of the car and try to walk.”

Gustavo Vildosola said he made too many mistakes today to earn the win. He finished in third place in Trophy Truck, unofficially.

The second truck across the line in Ensenada was actually Vildosola, but once times were calculated, MacCachren edged him out on time, which pushed Tavo into third place in class.

“Everyone’s looking for the perfect race, and I think that’s what gets you victories nowadays in SCORE Trophy Truck racing,” Vildosola said. “You know, unfortunately we did not have a perfect race. We had three flats and had to nurse that fourth one in to make sure that we did not get a flat. When you have that many errors it’s hard to win races. What’s important is that Apdaly [Lopez] won, Apdaly had a great race, and that makes three out of three for Mexican nationals taking SCORE races this year.”

After starting the race in 17th, veteran Jesse Jones worked his way up through the field to earn fourth place in Trophy Truck. Jones, like MacCachren, was nursing a few injuries after a crash during testing, but the 49-year-old proved he still has something for the young guns of the sport.

Jesse Jones battled up through the pack to finish fourth overall.

“You know the biggest thing was we wanted to try and obviously move as far forward as we can before we got to Borrego,” Jones said of his strategy entering the race. Unfortunately the traffic ahead of him made moving up through the pack tough on the technical sections early in the race.

“We got through Borrego, and everyone had gotten away and there was really nothing we could do,” Jones said. “We delaminated one tire on the crossover road and had to change that, and that was it.”
When asked if that was his only issue, Jones responded by saying, “Well, that and I’m 49 years old and I’ve got a broken finger and a broken toe from a crash I did pre-running, and these guys are just young studs and they out ran my ass.”

The third truck across the finish line was Jason Voss, who unofficially is fifth in Trophy Trucks.

“We had a good day. It started off good,” Voss said. “We moved up to second, we got around Luke McMillin and Kyle LeDuc, and we were behind Robby [Gordon] going into our first pit, which was at mile 150. We had a little problem with our air gun and Luke got us back, and then Luke had some nice lines out in the desert section and he put some time on us. We were getting some time back and we had a flat tire in the rear, and there’s where Bryce [Menzies] and Apdaly got by us. We charged right behind them, and that was just before Borrego. Tavo got us when we were pitting there on the highway going into Valley T. After we pitted, I was right on Tavo, and then on the highway section over there on the coast we had a front right tire go flat on the highway, so we had to stop and change that. Tavo and Apdaly put some time on us there, and we just spent the rest of the day pretty much chasing them down.”

In Class 1, Cody Parkhouse was first across the finish line and earned the unofficial victory in the class.

“This feels amazing,” Parkhouse said. “We had a perfect day, no issues whatsoever. No flats on our BFGs, our Fox shocks worked great, and the team gave us a great car.”

Be sure to check back for more updates and official results once SCORE Officials have tallied all of the tracking data.

47th Bud Light SCORE Baja 500 Underway

Robby Gordon Bests Trophy Trucks at SCORE Baja 500 Qualifying

SCORE Baja 500 Photo Gallery

Unofficial Results – 47th Bid Light SCORE Baja 500
1. Apdaly Lopez - 8:48:38.139 – Trophy Truck
2. Rob MacCachren – 8:49:28.666  – Trophy Truck
3. Gustavo Vildosola Jr. – 8:51:08.766 – Trophy Truck
4. Jesse Jones – 8:54:08.395 – Trophy Truck
5. Jason Voss – 8:55:26.045 – Trophy Truck
6. Mark Weyhrich – 9:04:04.251 – Trophy Truck
7. Tim Herbst – 9:11:35.895 – Trophy Truck
8. Steven Eugenio – 9:13:20.571 – Trophy Truck
9. Troy Herbst – 9:16:08.960 – Trophy Truck
10. Cody Parkhouse – 9:32:12.730 – Class 1
11. Tracy Graf – 9:39:43.764 – Trophy Truck
12. Nick Vanderwey – 9:44:12.821 – Trophy Truck
13. Eric Hustead – 9:50:09.575 – Trophy Truck

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