SMD Motorsports Baja 1000 summary
SMD Motorsports Wins Protruck "Triple Crown" Finishes 3rd Place in Baja 1000 Heber, CA - The season ending SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race for SMD Motorsports was nothing short of exciting, especially with the ...
SMD Motorsports Wins Protruck "Triple Crown"
Finishes 3rd Place in Baja 1000
Heber, CA - The season ending SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race for SMD Motorsports was nothing short of exciting, especially with the Protruck and SCORE class titles hinging on the end result of the race. When it was all said and done, the SMD Motorsports team had once again accomplished their objective with a strong 3rd place finish, and subsequently took the prestigious Protruck and SCORE points championships. SMD prevailed in their quest to win three different points championships in a single season with the addition of the Best in the Desert points championship having already been secured in the previous Las Vegas 200 race. This year's Baja 1000 course ran the gauntlet down the entire Baja peninsula. This year's race was the traditional format due to the fact that the entire race was conceived on who could make it from one end of the peninsula down to the other in the shortest time possible. In the early races, post offices on each tip of the peninsula were used as official records of how long it took to complete the daunting challenge. This year SCORE implemented, for the first time, a GLS tracking system on each vehicle in the premier classes to ensure speed limits on highways were enforced and course cutting was eliminated.
The race started in Ensenada and 1,016 grueling miles later ended in La Paz. SMD Motorsports was given an unenvied 9th place starting spot in the Protruck class. Matt Scaroni, along with co-driver Mark Cowan, took the green flag to start the race at approximately 10:45 am local time. With the sheer length of the course and the ever-present dust factor, it was decided that Matt should take a measured approach in his section to El Crucero (race mile 327) where he would give the truck to his brother and fellow driver David Scaroni and co-rider Carlo Caya. The race was going smoothly for SMD Motorsports with the exception of reports that fuel was not delivered to several designated pits along the course. With only one flat hindering their progress, Matt handed off the truck to David at El Crucero still very much in contention. As more reports filtered in, the fuel situation was becoming a mounting issue. There were increasing unknowns as to whether SMD Motorsports would have fuel waiting for them at the designated pit stops or if they would be forced to improvise with actions that could potentially cost them the win and more importantly a finish to secure the dual points championships. With this in mind, David and Carlo forged ahead until approximately 50 miles into their stint when they entered a high speed corner and the brake pedal went to the floor. After recovering, they determined that the rear brakes were no longer working and would have to be repaired at the next pit stop Vizcaino (race mile 512). Toward the end of their section there was a nasty silt section that was discovered in the prior weeks' preruns that could potentially leave the Protruck buried for hours. To combat this potential catastrophe, SMD team members were dispatched to the area to lead the Protruck through a trail that would decrease their chances of getting stuck. After nursing the truck, while at the same time trying to keep a strong pace up to stay in contention, David and Carlo finally reached the point where team patriarch Steve Scaroni and co-rider Mike Mounts would take over. After a quick but thorough check on the truck by the heads-up SMD crew, it was determined that the truck would require approximately 15 minutes to execute repairs. After the repairs were completed, Steve and Mike roared off to complete their section and hand off the truck to David and Carlo once again at Santa Rita. Earlier reports of fuel trucks not making their scheduled drops at the pits proved to be true. Precious time was lost as Steve and Mike were forced to use all their powers of persuasion to borrow fuel from any team that would give them some. "We literally went from pit to pit getting any amount of fuel we could talk people out of" commented Steve Scaroni. "We pulled into one pit at San Carlos on fumes and yelled out for a fill-up, and the obliging pit crew promptly filled us out of their excess fuel supply". Neither Steve nor Mike knew who the obliging pit crew was at the time, but it was discovered at a later time that it was a pit set up by Loreto resident Stan Burns. With this race-saving fill-up SMD Motorsports was able to continue on towards La Paz. With the amount of fuel problems and additional downtime to replace a leaking wheel seal, Steve and Mike handed the SMD Protruck back off to David and Carlo at Santa Rita (race mile 901). David and Carlo knew there was a very slim chance that the race could still be won. Still, they raced on. The last 100 miles were trouble free with more silt beds and the rising sun being their only causes for concern. The SMD Motorsports Protruck arrived at the finish line at approximately 7:30 am with an elapsed time of 20 hours, 50 minutes, and 48 seconds, resulting in an average speed of 48.8 mph.
The 2004 season was a year that saw the emergence of SMD Motorsports in Protruck competition. The team has grown closer and is working together better than ever. The whole year was a battle of tough competition and the usual challenges of running a championship season. The team took it all in stride. They continually worked towards a common goal that culminated at the finish line that morning in La Paz, after yet another hard fought race. Throughout the entire season, with numerous races that were competed in, the SMD Motorsports Protruck never once finished out of the top three. This is a statistic that only SMD Motorsports can lay claim to. The SMD Team placed 1st in the Primm 300, only to repeat with another win a month later at the Vegas 200, followed that same day by a MDR Superstition 250 night race overall win. Matt Scaroni's name may appear on the prestigious Protruck Bilstein trophy and the respective SCORE and Best in the Desert awards, but every team member knows that they gave their best and each championship is theirs.
SMD would like to acknowledge the loyal and over the top support of the entire SMD Team. We also want to thank the McMillin racing team for their support all year, along with Pflueger Racing, Stan Burns, and MAG 7. Without their help of emergency fuel we would never have finished this year's Baja 1000.
Our sponsors include Leon Patton Racing Engines, John Wood Automotive, Fortin Transaxles, Howe Performance Power Steering and Mastercraft seats.
SkyBitz GLS tracking, as well as Players Drink and their Product Support played a big part in the success of SMD Motorsports in 2004.
Steve, Brenda, Matt, and David Scaroni would like to thank all of the employees of the Scaroni family businesses (Aadvanced Wireless, Inc., Valley Harvesting & Packing, Inc., Fresh Harvest, Inc., and SMD Logistics, Inc.) that have allowed us to follow our dreams and see them come true. It is the relentless stride of teamwork from every employee that has allowed the Scaroni businesses to succeed the way they have. The family would like to especially thank all of the employees from Administration to the Maintenance Shop to the Race Shop that made this Baja 1000 and the 2004 racing season happen.
Wide Open Baja 1000 summary
Toyota True Grit & Milestone Award winners announced