SCORE 2006 Terrible's Cup II Preview
July 28 and 29 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
SCORE and the Herbst family had so much fun with the Terrible’s Cup I in July of 2005 that they decided to do it again this year. Of course, the racers who participated had fun too, and so did the spectators.
The event makes uses of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s dirt track. But that’s just the beginning. They will build an off-road course with seven turns, some moguls, and a couple of flying leaps that will be wound around the dirt track. The great thing about this course is that 99 percent of it will be in full view of the spectators. The grandstands hold 8,000 people, all of whom will be able to see all the action. They were jammed full both nights last year.
The event uses up a whole weekend, starting on Thursday actually, when some of the vehicles will have a brief practice. Then they will all trek to downtown Las Vegas and in the confines of the Fremont Street area, there will be a “meet the drivers” event, with autographs and that kind of fun, and then they’ll have a Trophy Truck pit crew challenge at 8 p.m.
Friday will be more practice, and then the stadium gates open at 5 p.m., and there will be autographs on the infield from 6 p.m. to 7:30. This happens both days, giving all the fans two chances to get their favorite guy’s signature on their t-shirts. It also gives the fans an opportunity to get a close up look at the race cars, and maybe get a chance to talk to some of the racers.
All the vehicles racing will be real desert race cars, and the regular SCORE rules will be in effect. They are allowed to use slightly smaller tire, but there are limits. The Trophy Trucks, for example, can’t go smaller than 35 inches, nor can Class 1. The 1600 buggies can’t go smaller than 31 ½, Class 10 and SCORE Lite have to run at least 33” tires, and all the small trucks (7, 7S and 7SX) are limited to 33”. The cars will look like desert cars, but the drivers will have lightened them up by removing weight in any way possible. Some might mess with their gearing a bit, and they’ll surely do some adjusting on the shocks. Still, the rules won’t allow a CORR (Championship Off Road Racing) car to enter and run away with the game. Any vehicle entered is supposed to have raced a couple of desert races previous to entering here. If by chance it hasn’t done that, maybe because it’s a new vehicle, it has to pass inspection and be declared a desert vehicle. SCORE is acutely aware of the CORR trucks in various garages, and the drivers who’d love to use one to their advantage at Las Vegas. They’re determined not to let that happen.
NO CORR trucks allowed at SCORE Terrible's Cup II
This isn’t part of the SCORE desert series, so it’s not a points race, but there’s some cash to be handed out on Saturday after the racing is done. It’s not yet clear how the winners will be determined. It might all hang on Saturday’s final race, or it may be that somehow the finishes in the three previous heats will be figured in. At the time of this writing, that was still undecided. In any event, the winning Trophy Truck driver stands to go home with $15,000, second place is good for $6,000 and third place will earn $4,000. That’s a nice purse for a no-entry-fee event. Class 1 will earn the same money. The 1600 cars will split $5000 three ways, and the Class 10, SCORE Lite and all the little trucks (which race combined) will each share a $3000 purse.
There will be two nights of racing – Friday and Saturday. Each night will be split into two halves, with a five or six lap heat for each class in each half. So a driver who keeps his car running will theoretically have run in four heats by the end of Saturday’s racing. The heats last only ten or 15 minutes, but it’s like watching a three-ring circus with enough happening to make it hard to see everything. Then, at the end of each evening, there will be a firework show presented by the Herbsts.
Last year some of the fireworks were on the course. Because it’s relatively narrow (some Trophy Truck drivers thought it was too narrow) there gets to be a lot of banging in the turns. And there was one tight hairpin (Turn 2) last year that spelled disaster for a few drivers. If a front-runner got a bit sideways he’d be plowed into by those coming from behind, and before long the traffic would be jammed solid. Those in the very front would be long gone while those behind the “accident” could do nothing but wait for the cars to be untangled.
Marty Coyne was the winner in the Trophy Truck class last year, displaying serious short-course skills learned during his years racing the Mickey Thompson series. He’s entered again this year, along with 15 others, most of whom raced in 2005. Coyne, as always, will be fun to watch, but a savvy spectator wouldn’t want to overlook many of the others. Scott Steinberger will be trying to redeem himself after spending most of one heat with his truck parked on its side. B. J. Baldwin got himself high-centered on one of the huge tractor tires used as a course marker and his dad, Bobby, tried to push him off with his truck, raising clouds of tire smoke and dust that created photo ops for the spectators and the professionals. Meanwhile, Rob MacCachren, in Gus Vildosola’s truck, and Cameron Steele had a terrific duel, for a few laps. Coyne emerged at the top of the heap at the end of the race which had included two red flags and two re-starts.
Possibly the most exciting driver to enter in the Trophy Truck class this year is Robby Gordon, who just happens to have the weekend off from NASCAR racing. Gordon’s always fun to watch, whether in the desert or at a short-course event, and here the fans will get a first class opportunity to watch him do what he does best. Should be terrific spectating!
In the Class 1 race last year Rich Ronco piloted his Chevy powered Tatum to the win, chased hard by Pat Dean in a Chevy Bunderson. The two have both entered this year again, but so has Troy Herbst with his Truggy, and Danny Anderson and Steve Sourapas, who weren’t there last year, have decided to give it a try this year.
In the 1600 class about a third of last year’s racers have returned as of this writing. There’s still room for more, but the field looks exciting already, with both Bryan and Cody Freeman, the Boyer brothers, Cory and Rick, and also Brian Jeffrey and Kevin Graves who’ve recently tried their hand at short course racing in Chula Vista. Cameron Steele will add excitement in that class.
Last year the best racing went on in the Class 7 ranks, between Larry Roeseler in his Ford and Barry Karakas in his Toyota. They’re both back this year, so keep an eye on them and expect to see some very close competition. All told, there will be at least ten small trucks.
As we’ve already mentioned, Marty Coyne won the Trophy Truck division last year, while Jesse Jones took second place. Rich Ronco was the Class 1 winner, and Pat Dean took second. Arden Dennington won the 1600 purse, with the Freeman brothers finishing second and third behind him. In Class 10 the win went to Rob MacCachren in a Honda Jimco, with Darren Hardesty second. Vic Bruckmann, with his wife, Michelle, riding along, took the SCORE Lite win, and Robert Naughton (recently graduated to a CORR truck) was second, followed by Jim Greenway. Larry Roeseler was the small truck class winner, and Barry Karakas was second.
With many of last year’s winners returning, as well as those who raced against them, we can be sure the racing will be hot and heavy again this year. Spectators should have a great weekend of fun at the Terrible’s event.