San Felipe: Series draw day report
February 13, 2011 Rd 2, 2011 SCORE Desert Series
Vanderwey in SCORE Trophy-Truck, Thornton in Motorcycles draw first Start spots for 25th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250
Greenhill receives first Class 1 start as over 275 entries expected in March 12 desert race in Mexico; Race to honor memory of long-time SCORE Mexican liaison Jose 'Pepe' Limon
LOS ANGELES--Desert racers Nick Vanderwey of Arizona and Chad Thornton of New Mexico received the pole positions for four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles in the computerized drawing for starting positions held Saturday for the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the MasterCraft SafetyTecate SCORE San Felipe 250. Vanderwey races in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division while Thornton competes in Class 22 for open motorcycles.
Round 2 of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series will be held March 10-13 in Mexico's picturesque fishing village of San Felipe, located 120 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.
As part of the festivities of the 25th anniversary of the popular SCORE 'spring-break' race, SCORE has made it a memorial race to honor long-time SCORE Mexican liaison Jose 'Pepe' Limon, who passed away last November at age 73.
With entries accepted up to race morning, over 275 entries from over 20 US States and 10 countries expected to enter the race and competition will be held in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes in the popular race. The green flag will drop at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, for the motorcycle and ATV classes, followed three hours after the last Sportsman ATV later by the car and truck classes at approximately 10 a.m. The start line and finish line for the race is scheduled to once again be the landmark San Felipe Arches on Highway 5 on the outskirts of San Felipe. One vehicle will start every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, with an 11-hour time limit to become an official finisher.
Following January's season-opening SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series will be visiting Mexico for the first of its three annual SCORE Baja races.
The start draw for Round 2 of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series determined the starting order within each of the various classes in the elapsed-time race.
Drawing the first starting slot for the unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars was David Greenhill of Crowley, Texas. Riding the first ATV off the line will be Class 25 team led by Rafael Torres, who is actually from San Felipe.
With 28 entries so far in the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 850 horsepower, unlimited production trucks, Vanderwey, 44, part of a successful family business in Phoenix, will lead a strong field in SCORE Trophy-Truck that features many of the world's top desert racers in the No. 84 Flying Dutchmen Racing Chevy Silverado. Vanderwey, who finished third in the 2010 season point standings in SCORE Trophy-Truck, races with his brothers Larry, 42, and Michael, 36.
A unique part of Saturday's drawing was the special drawing for the top 12 finishers from the nearest previous SCORE Baja race entered in the current race in both SCORE Trophy-Truck and the unlimited Class 1. Eleven of the top 12 SCORE Trophy-Trucks from last November's 43rd Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 entered the race in time for the drawing along with six racers from Class 1.
Thornton, 39, of Farmington, N.M., will ride a KTM 530KCW motorcycle in Class 22 and his co-riders will be Kyle Abney, 39, Albuquerque, N.M., and Mike Whitman, 53, also of Farmington.
Last year's overall 4-wheel, 2-wheel and ATV champions are all expected to again be part of the field. Last year's overall 4-wheel champion was the unlimited Class 1 All German Motorsports team of Armin Schwarz, Germany/Martin Christensen, Escondido, Calif. (Denmark), 2-wheel champion was the JCR Honda team of Colton Udall/Jeff Kargola, San Clemente, Calif. on a Honda CRF450X and the Overall ATV winner was the team of Wayne Matlock, El Cajon, Calif./Josh Caster, El Cajon, Calif./Wes Miller, Los Angeles, on a Honda TRX700X. Also entered is Jesse Jones, Litchfield Park, Ariz., the reigning SCORE Desert Series overall season point champion who also won the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck in this race last year in his No. 1 Jones Motorsports Ford F-150.
In Saturday's computerized drawing, SCORE Trophy-Truck had the most entries with 28, followed by the unlimited Class 1 with 18 and SCORE Lite with 10. While 135 entries were received in time for the start draw, late registration will be accepted up until race morning and as many as 150 additional entries are expected.
Among the Pro motorcycle classes, the open Class 22 had the most vehicles entered in the drawing with six.
Leading the Sportsman classes was SPT M/C 450> with 10 entries in time for the drawing.
Besides the Jones, Udall and Matlock teams, the other defending class winners entered so far this year are: David Caspino, Woodland Hills, Calif. (Class 6), Dan Chamlee, Cupertino, Calif. (Class 7), Dave Crinklaw, Fawn Finchum, Mesa, Ariz. (Class 7-2), Adam Neuwirth, Los Angeles (Class 21), Francisco Septien, Ensenada, Mexico (Class 30), Donald Lewis, Marlborough, Conn. (Class 60), Jason Trubey, Henderson, Nev. (Class 20, but has moved to Class 22 this year) and returning with teammate Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif., as rider of record is Lou Franco, Sherman Oaks, Calif. (Class 40).
Three teams, McMillins, Wilsons and RPM Offroad, each have five entries in the race.
Andy McMillin, National City, Calif., and his father Scott, race in SCORE Trophy-Truck, while Scott's daughter Jessica McMillin is racing in Protruck. Scott's brother Mark McMillin, El Cajon, Calif., is also racing in SCORE Trophy-Truck while Mark's sons Daniel (Class 1) and Luke (Class 1-2/1600) are also entered in this year's event.
Brothers Randy and Ronny Wilson, of Long Beach and Lakewood, Calif. each have cars in Class 1 while third generation brothers Brad and Brian are both racing in Class 1-2/1600 and Las Vegas' Sammy Ehrenberg is driving the team's SCORE Lite entry with Ronny Wilson listed as a co-driver.
Traveling all the way from Bristol, Tenn. and Bristol, Va., RPM's Justin Matney is driver of record in both Class 8 and Class 11 (two classes he won in January's SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge), Clyde Stacy is racing in both SCORE Trophy-Truck and Class 4 (which he won in Laughlin) and Justin's father John Matney will be driving the RPM entry in the Stock Full class.
This year's race will use a race course of just under 250 miles that is very similar to the past two years with a few modifications beyond those caused by normal weather conditions. Running in a counter clockwise direction out of San Felipe up to and then parallel to Highway 3 (south side) and then south back down through three of the most picturesque and challenging washes in all of Baja.
After the start at the landmark San Felipe Arches, the race will proceed north and then Northwest and then south to the entrance of majestic Matomi Wash. After Matomi, the challenging course will run through two more of the infamous Baja canyons--Huatomote and Chanate before heading back Northwest for the final sprint to the finish line.
The pre-race Manufacturer's Midway and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday, March 11 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.
As if winning his first overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck race in just his second try wasn't enough, rookie Bryce Menzies of Las Vegas also finds himself atop the SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck point leader board after the recent season-opening SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge.
After coming from behind midway through the two-day race to earn the victory over another typical star-studded SCORE race field, Menzies, 23, leads defending SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion Jesse Jones, 67-61. Menzies, who finished seventh in his first SCORE Trophy-Truck race last June at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, drives the No. 70 Red Bull Ford F-150 for Menzies Motorsports while Jones, 45, pilots the No. 1 Jones Motorsports Ford F-150.
With just 27 points separating the top 25 in 2011 SCORE Overall points after Laughlin's season-opener, SCORE racers are now preparing to begin official pre-running of the MasterCraft Safety Teacate SCORE San Felipe 250 which opens on Saturday, Feb. 26.
After his surprising victory in Laughlin in the unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars, tied for second in overall points with Jones is 17-year old Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif., last year's SCORE Lite season point champion, in a Chevy-powered ESM open wheeler.
After a strong third-place finish overall and in SCORE Trophy-Truck in Laughlin, Mexico's Gus Vildosola Jr., who won last year's legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 peninsula run with his father Gus Vildosola Sr., is fourth in overall points with 57 in the No. 21 Red Bull Ford F-150 of Vildosola Racing while fifth overall and second in Class 1 points with 55 is third-generation desert racer Harley Letner, Orange, Calif., who drives an Alpha-Chevy.
Round 2 of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series, the MasterCraft Safety 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 24 years, the race was 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.
In addition to season class point championships, the racers are also competing for part of the nearly $400,000 in cash purse and contingency postings in this event. Drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also attempting to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season. Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 26th consecutive year, a total of 72 drivers remain eligible after Round 1 of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series. Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award, which includes a $2,000 MasterCraft bonus.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels -official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant and Red Bull--official energy drink. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie's Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
While MasterCraft Safety and Tecate are co-title sponsors of the 25th MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, additional race sponsors are: the Tourism and Convention Bureau of Mexicali/San Felipe and Cotuco. Additional sponsors in Baja are the Office of the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.