Top 3 Trophy Truck Drivers Talk Strategy for SCORE Baja 500
The Trophy Truck field in SCORE off-road racing always draws a great deal of attention. These racetrucks are the best of the best, boasting in excess of 800 horsepower each, and the class features some of the most talented drivers in racing. This year, the top three racers have a leg up on the rest of the field since they don’t have to work through the pack, and each of these three racers have tasted success in SCORE.
Starting out front is Bryce Menzies, who won the season-opening SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge and finished sixth at the San Felipe 250. Menzies says the plan is to be smart in the beginning and push it later in the race.
“I think you have to be a lot more cautious to start out front with all the booby traps and stuff, so we’re going to play it cautious until we get to mile 200 and then check on the times we have and run hard from there,” he said. “So the plan is to stay calm and get out of town safely and go from there.”
Starting just behind him is Andy McMillin, who won the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 500 with his father, Scott. This year, Andy will drive the race solo, though Dad could hop in past the halfway point if Bryce gets too fatigued.
“I have a fast guy behind me in Larry Roeseler and a pretty fast guy in front of me in Bryce Menzies, so I think us three trucks will have a little freight train going in the first 200 miles or so and hopefully put some distance on the rest of the guys behind us,” McMillin said, echoing some of the same sentiments as Menzies. “That’s really going to be my plan – just sit where I’m at and run behind Bryce’s dust, and I’m sure Larry will run behind my dust – and try and get to Borrego and see where we’re at and go racing.”
Larry Roeseler, who’s splitting driving with teammate Tim Herbst, will race the first 270 miles before changing with Tim for the final leg. Roeseler has won his share of races in Baja, many on a motorcycle before switching to four wheels. Roeseler, who leaves the line third, has 16 class wins at the Baja 500, including 11 overall victories. He knows the race won’t be won in the first 100 miles.
“In all these races patience definitely plays a big part,” he said. “Luckily for us we’re starting third, and I have Andy McMillin and Bryce Menzies right in front of me, so I’m picturing a brisk pace off the start. I’d like to imagine we’ll be cruising right along and will get out of town clean – that’s important.”
Ultimately, Roeseler’s strategy is to focus on the road ahead and not worry too much about who’s pressuring him.
“You can never worry about what’s going on behind you,” he said. “Just keep looking forward and keep moving forward.”
With the leader past the 175-mile mark, the top three have pulled away from the pack and are setting a pace the rest of the field may have a tough time matching. Though the top three have pulled from the field, Robby Gordon, Kory Scheeler, Gary Weyrich and Rob MacCachren are all in striking distance … and there’s still a long ways to go.