19th Rigid Industries SCORE Desert Challenge
September 25-28, 2014 – Plaster City, Calif.
Pro Cars & Trucks
SCORE TROPHY TRUCK
STEVEN EUGENIO, No. 7 (First in class. Eugenio drove both segments.) — We started on the second row outside and when going into turn one with I pulled ahead of Juan Carlos (Lopez) a little bit on the start. He ended up getting into the side of me and spinning me out. I ended up behind him and for the first two laps I just wanted to hang back a little bit and not push too hard and be calm. I was a little frustrated with getting spun out in the corner. At about the third lap I settled down, focused and got into racing. I’m from here in the valley so I’m a little more comfortable than everybody else in the dust so I just drove straight to the front. (Following the second segment) We won yesterday and had some time in hand so our game plan was to try and finish and get the overall win. Our plan was to run hard but not push it more than we had to. This win gives us a lot of momentum going into the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and hopefully we can do well there. This is my first SCORE Trophy Truck win and we’ve been there all year and close but we’ve had some misfortunes. Being back in my hometown, getting a SCORE Trophy Truck win here and proving that I can be on the top of the box is awesome. We never had a mistake out there today and we drove pretty hard through the dust. From start to finish we couldn’t see anything. Today was a gamble and I drove solely off of him (navigator Steve Covey.) Basically because of our starting position we were driving in the dust and off the GPS the whole day. It takes a lot of trust. We’ve been racing together for a year now and we’ve built a relationship on trust so when he calls a note I’m pretty confident that’s what it is going to be.
GUS VILDOSOLA JR., No. 21 (Second in class. Vildosola drove both segments.) – Steven (Eugenio) got us coming into the infield. Laps three and four were really dusty and we couldn’t see past our hood really. I don’t know how he was able to see but he got around us somehow. Obviously being a local boy helps. We ran a really clean first few laps and then started running into some really heavy lap traffic and Steven got around us in zero visibility. He knows his way around here and he did an excellent job. (Following the second segment) Yesterday we were fortunate enough to start first off the line and we had three and a half laps of clean air so we were able to push. We had a good run until we started catching up to the SCORE Trophy Truck Spec trucks and that slowed us down. That allowed Steven to get by us because he knows this course like the back of his hand. He had a great run yesterday and put some time on us. We are sitting in second place and most importantly, leading the points going into the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. We are one step closer to getting that number one plate on our truck which has been a dream of our family and of the race team. We want to be the first Mexican national team to win an overall championship in SCORE Trophy Truck. We’ve won the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and hopefully we will win it again and the overall championship. That would be the Cinderella story ending.
B.J. BALDWIN, No. 1 (Third in class. Baldwin drove both segments.) — We ran a very good race, I’m proud of my team and the truck was prepped to perfection. I thought is was a great idea to have a medium style short course event for desert racing but unfortunately it didn’t work out quite as well as planned but we had a good weekend overall. I’m having kind of a rough year on finishes but third place is going to have to do for this weekend and that puts us back in the hunt for the championship which is what I’m really happy about. I thought I was out of the points hunt this year because of some of the rough times I’ve had finishing races this year. I’ve really been focusing on the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and really trying to prepare myself to solo the race and hopefully get three wins in a row there.
ARMIN SCHWARZ, No. 15 (Fifth in class. Schwarz drove both segments.) — It was a difficult race course but I’m happy to be at the finish because it is our first finish this year.
ADAM BOSCH, No. 63 (Sixth in class.) — CO-DRIVER CRAIG POTTS said: (Following the first segment) It was really tough out there. We had some oil temperature issues so we had to back it off. We had radio problems and no communications for a while.
CODY PARKHOUSE, No. 100 (First in class. Parkhouse drove both segments.) — I knew we would have a tough battle coming out of the infield but luckily we got through first and led everybody around. I was surprised because I thought we would be blinded by the dust but we were actually able to see a little bit by the reflections on the cones and the lights. If you were going perpendicular to the wind it would blow the dust right off. (Following the second segment) Justin Lofton pulled us into turn one but they had just watered the track down and he braked too late, went wide and we were able to tuck underneath. I knew if we could get him out of the infield he would have a really tough time coming through our dust to pass us. Luckily we got out in front, ran a clean race and passed a whole bunch of Class 10 cars. I’ve known Justin for a few years and I knew it would be tough and I knew he is fast and I knew that it mattered to get out of the infield first.
JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 177 (Second in class. Lofton drove both segments.) — This is an awesome event and the Imperial Valley is an awesome place to hold a race. We’ve got the best race fans anywhere and it’s really cool that I get to go sleep in my own bed tonight. That makes it extra special. Aside from the conditions being just a little too dusty it’s just an awesome race course and a lot of fun. These jumps over here were a blast. You never get to catch this much air. This is a lot of fun and we are looking forward to the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. (Following the second segment) We had a good drag race off the start and on the right-hander off of pit road we had the right line on them (Cody Parkhouse) to get by but then we took mud in the face and couldn’t see a thing. I had to slow down and get it off my shield before I could keep going.
ROB ARCHIBALD, No. 104 (Third in class. Archibald drove both segments.) — I couldn’t see anything and I had to stop and adjust my lights, so the whole field passed us while I tried to set the lights. We started driving by Braille a little bit because we didn’t have much light and they were pointed the wrong direction. We just tried to get through it and bring it home in one piece. We forgot to adjust two of the lights. Our upper lights were useless so we turned them off right away but then the lower lights were pointed up and held all the dust right in front of us. I had to be intelligent about bringing the car back in one piece. (Following the second segment) Today went a lot better. Last night I had those lights that didn’t allow me to see so today I got to do my normal thing. The only change we made from the first segment was lowering the tire pressure.
JUSTIN MATNEY, No. 101 (Fourth in class. Matney drove both segments.) — Running behind (Cody) Parkhouse and Justin (Lofton) was a dust bowl and then we broke two bolts in the steering and ran a lap without steering. We got back around to the pit and got the bolts replaced and came home for a finish. That’s what really counts since we are in a championship running for the points.
MARIO GASTELUM, No. 1607 (First in class. Gastelum drove both days.) – (Following the second segment) The course was a little loose but it was pretty nice. The torsion bars in the back sagged so we had to adjust them (between race segments.) My times and sight was better than the night before. It was fun last night but I’m sure we did better today.
KEVIN SMITH, No. 1630 (Second in class. Smith drove the first segment and Sammy Ehrenberg drove the second segment.) — CO-DRIVER SAMMY EHRENBERG said: We are the point leaders and we want to stay there through the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and we did that. I knew I just needed to play it cool because we have points to think about. Kevin Smith raced last night and we lowered the car for me for today which really helped. The car did what it was supposed to do and handled really well.
ERIC SHEETZ, No. 1625 (Fourth in class. Justin Hermann drove the first segment and Sheetz the second segment.) – (Following the second segment) We were fourth off the line today and a bunch of the other guys crashed, tipped or broke. We passed three vehicles rolled over and on the last lap we did the whole lap on what we think was three cylinders. Last night we had some issues with the lights going out so we were driving in the dark and it was really hard to see in general.
RUBEN SANUDO, No. 1606 (Fifth in class. Roberto Romo drove the first segment and Sanudo drove the second.) — CO-DRIVER ROBERTO ROMO said: It was a very sandy course but very fast. We had a little problem shifting from third to second gear but that was all.
CHRISTIAN CELAYA, No. 1636 (Sixth in class. Celaya drove the first segment and Aaron Ampudia drove the second segment.) — It went pretty good but there was very loose sand and driving a Class 1/2-1600 we don’t have that much power so we were cruising at a slow pace. We tried to go as fast as we could but the sand wouldn’t let us. On the second to last lap we had a misunderstanding with our crew and we thought we had finished. They told us we had another lap so we got on the gear and went. CO-DRIVER AARON AMPUDIA said: It was super sandy in a corner and I turned the wheel but it didn’t push the car back and we put it on the side. We got out and pushed it back over but it cost us about two minutes. It was a fun race and we should have been a couple of spots up. We were losing oil pressure too, but no excuses.
DONALD MOSS, No. 300 (First in class. Moss drove both segments.) – We were dicing with some of the other traffic out there (Following segment one) because we didn’t have anybody else in our class. (Following segment two) We were doing great and then we ran out of gas on the last lap. We were using a whole lot more fuel than we calculated we would. We’ve got an auxiliary cell in here that we use for the long races and apparently there was enough fuel left in it to get us back over to the pit where we filled up.
JOSE LOPEZ, No. 509 (First in class.) — CO-DRIVER ARNOLDO GUTIERREZ SR said: We had a pretty good time and no problems at all. We are ready for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
DONALD HARPER, No. 569 (First in class. Harper drove both segments.) — It was awesome out there. It was a little dusty here and there when the cars passed us but the course was fast and well marked. There wasn’t any bumping or hitting and everybody was polite. It was good racing. The car was working really well. (Following the second segment) Our alternator light came on during the third lap but we didn’t stop and finished the race without a problem. It was an awesome day especially as today is my birthday.
ERIC GARCIA, No. 551 (Second in class. Garcia drove both segments.) – (Following the second segment) We had some carburetor issues between laps four and five. There was one spot where it would cut out and die but then would start getting back on it. We took the jumps good and landed well with plenty of rebound. It was awesome. It was tough to see the first two laps last night.
PETE SOHREN, No. 722 (First in class. Sohren drove both segments.) — It was windy and there was a lot of traffic so it was tough getting around them (Following the first segment.) You get dust from the other lines blowing over and it wasn’t easy. It was an interesting race at night in the short course. When we came around at lap one (during the second segment) into a big sweeping corner that was freshly watered and slick like ice and we slid off over the bank. Other than that, our race was pretty uneventful.
HEIDI STEELE, No. 714 (Second in class. Steele drove the first segment and Cameron Steele drove the second segment.) — The course was a lot of fun but I wish I had a little bit more motor. I’m running a stock motor and sometimes I get to run a SCORE Trophy Truck so this was totally different. I had to try and not slow down going into some of the corners because they are so soft. We had a great time. CO-DRIVER CAMERON STEELE said: (Following the second segment) I told my wife (Heidi) that after what I saw in the SCORE Trophy Truck race earlier in the day, that there was no reason for her to be out there because she finished second on Friday. This truck is our Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 pre-runner and Heidi and I will both be racing SCORE Trophy Trucks there. We couldn’t get both of the trucks here so she was testing in her pre-runner. I blew up her junkyard motor so I’ll have to get her another one. It got hot because we raced Pete (Sohren) off the start and he roosted mud into the radiator.
DAN CHAMLEE, No. 700 (Third in class. Chamlee drove both segments.) – Friday (during the first segment) we had to stop mid-race and put in a gallon and a half of oil into a truck that holds a gallon and a half of oil. Today (during the second segment) we had to stop twice and put in a gallon and a half of oil each time. Every time the oil pressure dropped we stopped and filled it back up. So we’ve done four oil changes during this race. I don’t have enough horsepower for this kind of sand. Driving through this stuff makes me feel like I’m plowing trenches. You can’t make the truck do what it was designed to do. I want to be on lumpy, bumpy, hard pack. That’s where this truck hauls.
MIKE MEEKS, No. 824 (First in class. Meeks drove both segments.) — This isn’t like driving a sprint car but we sure had a lot of fun. My navigator Matt Nelson did an awesome job keeping me on my toes. I let it step out a couple of times and he reeled me back in and kept me on the course. (Following the second segment) It was really dusty and when we got into lap traffic it was hard to see. There were a couple of times we had to slow down because we couldn’t see where we were going. I tried to time it to where I could catch them when the wind was blowing right. We backed off and drove so we would get the truck to the end without hurting anybody.
NOAH OSTANIK, No. 807 (Second in class. Ostanik drove the first segment and Kevin Guevara drove the second segment.) — We had a great battle with Mike (Meeks) all day long. We were right on him all day and it is going to boil down to the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 because we are neck and neck for points. They are good competition. CO-DRIVER KEVIN GUEVARA said: We were sitting at the line for 15 minutes with the lights on and the voltage started dropping. As soon as I stomped on it there wasn’t enough voltage to excite the coil and it killed the motor. We had to wait until we got enough voltage to fire it. We had a great run. We live in San Diego and come out here to test all the time so this is home for us. It’s nice to run in our backyard.
JUSTIN DAVIS, No. 1085 (First in class. Davis drove both segments.) — We started in the first row and got by the first car in a side-by-side drag race. We beat them out and it was open skies from then. We started picking off some of the Class 1 cars and lapped some Class 10 cars. It was a perfect day with no issues and the car ran great. (Following the second segment) We ran another perfect day really. On the last two laps we flipped an alternator belt and we just ran on battery.
MIKE JOHNSON, No. 1031 (Second in class. Johnson drove both segments.) — I started sixth and got the guy off the start and then had to work really hard to get the next three guys in front of me. One guy blew a corner and I got around him but we were just really fighting a lot of dust and these things don’t have the acceleration so you really have to make some moves. (Following the second segment) It was pretty much smooth sailing. Justin (Davis) and I were neck-and-neck coming out and then he got around me. I tried to stick with him for a second but we are in a points battle, and he’s not running the full series, so I just let him go and stayed out of his dust. So we hung in there and ran consecutive laps and wanted to come home and be on top because the leader ahead of me in points didn’t have the best of days. The track got a little bit rougher but I think they did a good job of watering it today. There was some mud in spots so it made the dynamics a little more interesting. It was a fun course.
CODY ROBINSON, No. 1016 (Third in class. Robinson drove the first segment and Roberto Romo drove the second segment.) — CO-DRIVER ROBERTO ROMO said: We ran a really good race but there was a lot of dust and it is hard to catch other cars.
MIKE LAWRENCE, No. 1006 (Fourth in class.) — It is really hard to keep up with all of these single-seaters out in the tight and sandy stuff so we did all we could. We threw out everything but the spare tire and put my wife in because she is light. I probably didn’t have the right gearing. I have the Mexico gearing for this track. Right now I have it set up more for more torque in the hills than for speed.
TROPHY TRUCK SPEC
TAYLOR MILLS, No. 841 (First in class. Mills drove both segments.) — Starting out first behind the SCORE Trophy Trucks they were a little bit faster so being out front we had that gap in the middle where we had pretty clean air. A couple of the trucks that were making dust and dirt for us ended up pulling off for whatever reason so it opened up that window a little more. It was pretty clean and we were just out there on our own. (Following the second segment) I think we were a little bit more comfortable and a little bit more relaxed and I think we ran a little faster. It felt good. We didn’t change a single thing (between segments) just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a nap.
EDUARDO LAGUNA, No. 844 (Second in class. Laguna drove both sections.) — We started the first segment at the back of the class and it was super dusty out there so we did our best to avoid crashing the truck. The starting positions were inverted for the second segment and we knew that we had to push as hard as we could to make this finish possible. It was fun and we enjoyed it.
BILLY WILSON, N0. 848 (Third in class. Wilson drove both segments.) – (Following the second segment) We ran as hard as we could and had a really good time. We removed the front end of the truck before this race because it was broken from the first race so we opted to go without it.
REID RUTHERFORD, No. 3000 (First in class. Rutherford drove both sections.) — It got really soft (during the first segment) and we got behind some dust and rolled the truck onto its side. At that time we had about a six-minute lead and SCORE retrieval was there quickly and got us pulled back onto our wheels. We only lost about three minutes. (Following the second segment) We took off our spare tire because we knew we wouldn’t need it and put some lead in the back of the truck for weight balance but it is less than the weight of a spare tire so we saved 40 pounds. The mud was slippery in some of the infield sections but it got better as the race went on.
PAIGE SOHREN, No. 3002 (Second in class.) – (Following the first segment) My primary fuel pump doesn’t work right all the time so I had to switch to the secondary but we didn’t do that until about lap three. We were already really far behind by then.
CARLOS FONSECA, No. 8036 (First in class. Fonseca drove the first segment and Jorge Ortega drove the second segment.) — We’ve been prepping hard for this race. It has been a long journey and we are finally here. This is one hell of an event and I think we should dub it the hottest race of the year. During lap three we had some heating issues. The engine management system started protecting itself right after a corner. We stopped for a bit, looked things over and we accelerated and it got better. CO-DRIVER JORGE ORTEGA said: Carlos left us with a pretty good lead on Friday night. Today was a challenging day. I broke the ring and pinion and managed to putt-putt it back to the main pit. We fixed it and got going again and didn’t look back.
MATT PARKS, No. 1932 (First in class. Brandon Schueler drove in both segments.) — CO-DRIVER BRANDON SCHUELER said: It was fantastic out there. It was just rough enough and just smooth enough. We just barely got around those guys (John Angal 1920) a couple of laps back and it has been a tight one since. He’s been right on our tail the whole time. (Following the second segment) It was a little bit rougher today but we actually picked up our average speed a little bit. I don’t know how we did it but we picked up our speed by about five miles an hour. Angal was about 20 seconds behind us most of the day and the last two laps he picked it up but didn’t catch us. We started side by side and pulled him off the line and led the whole way.
COLTON UDALL, No. 1x (First in class. Udall rode both sections.) – (Following the first segment) I don’t think either of us (Robby Bell 4x) were blistering fast but it is going to be gnarly tomorrow because it’s going to be really rough. The start was crazy with very limited visibility and I knew I had to get the jump on the dust to get in front of Ricky (Brabec.) He got the jump on me and was manipulating a lot of it until one of the big jumps when he shut off and I just sailed it because I knew that was what I had to do. I got out into the desert first. This course doesn’t have any separators so you just hold it wide open in the corners and it’s just about who isn’t scared as much. (Following the second segment) I knew I had to beat Ricky by five and a half seconds today and I know they are a solid team so I just pinned it. That was the most nervous I’ve been in a long time. If they had won this race all they would have to do is finish (the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 to win the championship.) I love settling it (the championship) at the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. It is the ironman of races and I’m really looking forward to November. Building this team, preparing and giving Kawasaki a challenge is great. We’ve been working hard for a long time and it’s paying off. Everything worked out in my favor today. Yesterday was pretty tough but they got water on the track and it was three times better than yesterday. The recon run of the course made a huge difference. It’s really important to see the course after the trucks beat it up because they make big berms and whoops. We go wide open and don’t have a cage or 18-inch suspension so we need to know the lines. We’ve got to be smart on the dirt bike. The recon run was really good for me and I did my homework a little better than they did. I was able to get around Ricky (Brabec) on an outside line instead of going through the truck line.
RICKY BRABEC, No. 4x (Second in class. Brabec shared riding duties with Robby Bell for both segments.) — CO-RIDER ROBBY BELL said: (Following the first segment) I heard that Ricky got the hole shot but Colton (Udall) out jumped him on one of the ski jumps and Colton led for the first half of the race. After about four and a half laps both of us pitted. I hopped on and got out of the pits right behind Colton but I was able to out-accelerate him out of a corner. I don’t think he knew I was behind him so I caught him by surprise. From there I was able to maintain the lead. It was squirrelly with the lap bikes and quads. It was a tough day and tomorrow is going to be even tougher. (Following the second segment) Ricky did an awesome job this morning and when I got on the bike it took me a lap or two to get the flow of the course but I couldn’t quite reel him (Udall) in. We are looking forward to settling it (the championship) at the granddaddy of all events, the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.
THOMAS HARRIS, No. 110x (First in class. Harris solo rode both segments.) – (Following the first section) I practiced on Friday and the course was really wide open and it got a little torn up after cars raced last night. I’m excited to get some more technical stuff because it is hard to run wide open for eight laps straight. Once it is technical I think I can bring up my speed. (Following the second segment) There were more square edges and it was a lot more technical. The trucks built up big berms on the outside and they built whoops. Some of the corners were actually faster to hop over the berm and rail the outside. You have to pound through the whoops and square edges to get through. It was a more enjoyable ride to my style of riding today. I think my lap time might have slowed down a little bit today but I’m happy with the ride.
MARK WINKELMAN, No. 310x (First in class. Shane Esposito, Jim O’Neal and Kevin Murphy shared riding duties for both segments.) — CO-RIDER SHANE ESPOSITO said: (Following the first segment) The wind wasn’t bad but the dust in the sun made it tough early on. CO-RIDER KEVIN MURPHY said: (Following the first segment) We had smooth sailing today. It wasn’t as windy or dusty as it was yesterday but there was a little chop out there. There were some whoops, ruts and square edge, which works well for the bike. Yesterday was more flat track but it was still fun. We came down here for some points and succeeded in what we were trying to do.
GIOVANNI SPINALI, No. 410x (First in class. Spinali shared riding duties with Paul Thomas and John Griffin shared riding duties.) – (Following the first segment) The track, for a bike, was too easy. It was wide open. It was hard to separate anybody. Normally, in a Baja race, you have real technical sections and you have really wide-open spots. We I pre-ran it, it was a graded course and just flat but now it is starting to get choppy and berms in the turns but hopefully tomorrow it will be tougher. CO-RIDER JOHN GRIFFIN said: (Following the second section) It was quite a bit rougher today and that made it a little bit more fun for the motorcycles. Line choice became more important than yesterday.
TONY GERA, No. 702x (First in class.) – It was pretty rough. I expected the course to be a little more whooped out but it ended up being smoother. I was slowing down in some of the spots where I felt I shouldn’t have slowed down. I started picking up the pace after the second or third lap. It was already too late to make up a bunch of ground. (Following the second segment) I was a little bit better today because now I know the course but we had an issue as a result of the recon run. We forgot to tighten up the carburetor and we sucked a little bit of dirt into the carb but we got that figured out before the start of the race. The course was a little bit more fun and challenging today because I like riding whoops and berms.
JAVIER ROBLES JR., No. 10a (First in class. Robles and Jorie Williams rode the first segment. Josh Row and Mike Cafro rode the second segment.) — CO-RIDER MIKE CAFRO said: We actually came into the race today down by 36 seconds and by the third lap we had a decent lead and our competition ended up breaking (Adolfo Arellano 1a) so we put it on cruise control for the rest of the race and made sure we got the points. It was a nice easy one for us.
SCORE MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic Clark, email@example.com