Nov. 21, 2019
Torre Lucerne Hotel Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
Media Conference Quotes
(as recorded by Tom Blattler & Paul Hanson)
CASEY MEARS (No. 42 Team Axalta Trophy Truck) – As you know, I started in off-road, short courses, (Mickey Thompson Off-Road Gran Prix stadium series) and pre-running with my dad (Roger). I would run with Dad and Roger Jr. a bit. Then made a big left turn in my career. I didn’t know I would go the direction of open wheel and stock car racing. I was in Indy Lights, ran the CART race at Fontana and then went south to NASCAR. It was a great career path. But I have always had a passion for the off-road action. It was a perfect storm. I moved back to Scottsdale, Arizona a year and a half ago. They were looking for the next NASCAR guy to drive the Axalta truck and I filled in for Dad driving the Chenowth buggy. We did well and I drove in the NORRA 1000 too. I really enjoyed it. But this is a whole new level in the SCORE Trophy Truck. We have a great team and I’m co-driving with a veteran in Doug Fortin. I will start the race for about 350 miles and then Doug will drive at night. I want to give Doug a good, solid truck for the finish. I would love to compete in off-road racing for years to come. There are guys racing for a long time still. It could be another racing career path for me now. I’m very excited for the Baja 1000. There is so much history here and with my family too.
ROGER MEARS (Four-time SCORE Baja 1000 winner and this year’s Race Grand Marshal) – Wow, in 1973, we came down to Baja with my dad (Bill) and my brother (Rick). We had a pickup truck with our race car on a trailer, two extra spare tires and couple cans of gas. It was the Baja 500 and we asked some guys to take some gas out to a few of the checkpoints. And we were hooked on coming to race here. We just loved Mexico. We have coming down here for so years. And now Carol (his wife) and I live in Bahia de San Diego full time. This year’s race is a really big challenge for Casey because he is racing in a very tough class, Trophy Trucks. The competition is extreme tough. Casey is a good wheelman, but he doesn’t have the experience of the top SCORE Trophy Truck guys. He needs to learn the terrain. He has been in a few desert races recently and he is learning very well. But this is the Baja 1000, the world’s biggest off-road race. We are excited for him to do this event, and I plan to do a chasing during the race too. I started in buggies here, but we teamed with Mike Moore in the factory Jeep in the late 1970s and then with Nissan in the 1980s and 1990s. It is very thrilling to come back to the Baja 1000 as the Grand Marshal. Thanks to everyone at SCORE for inviting me to be a part of it this year.
SHELBY HALL (No. 2069 Ford Class 2, Grandaughter of Baja Legend Rod Hall) – I feel so honored to be a part of this team. I want to thank the Ford Performance team so much. They have put in so time and effort for the event in honor of my grandfather. I am so honored to be a part of the team with Cameron (Steele) and the Desert Assassins. And we have a great group of amazing drivers for this year’s SCORE Baja 1000. With the rain, the course is just going to be tougher. I am looking forward to the challenge this year and working with the Ford Performance operation.
CAMERON STEELE (No. 16 Trophy Truck, No. 2069 Ford Boot Class 2, 2018 SCORE Baja 1000 Overall winner) — This is a great effort with Ford Performance. On behalf of Shelby and myself, I want to thank everyone with this project for the SCORE Baja 1000. We have a superb list of drivers for this program and I am excited to be part of it. Best of luck to all of the competitors in the Baja 1000 as well as in the Boot class. We are here to engineer the car and do some testing with the new machine. And so far, it has met all expectations and we are very confident on how the car will perform in the race. Thanks again for all of the support to Ford Performance with this new project. Also, thanks to Shelby to bringing your family’s heritage to this year this year. Rod was one of my heroes growing up.
On defending his SCORE Baja 1000 overall title in the SCORE Trophy Truck class: It is exciting to have Roger Mears as the Grand Marshal. Roger was one of my favorite drivers as a kid and it feels great to have him here at the Baja 1000 this year. I am a great follower of the history of our sport. I want to thank Pat Dean for winning last year with me. We were together for five years and scored a win and several podiums together. Now, you are another team and we’ll have to beat you this year. It is great honor to team up with Ricky Johnson this year. I was being fan of motocross and Supercross growing up and now racing with Ricky is an honor. The No. 16 looks completely different this year as team up with Ricky, Larry Connor and Jeremy Johnson for this Baja 1000 effort. I’m loving the four-wheel drive truck. I’m super fired up for this opportunity with this team and the race.
ROB MacCACHREN, (No. 11 Rockstar SCORE Trophy Truck, four-time SCORE Baja 1000 overall winner) – We have been down in the Baja, pre-running for about 14 days now. But there was now rain. The last few days I have been pre-running in the south of the course near San Felipe. Justin Smith will be co-driving with me, and he’ll start the race. He’ll drive to mile 370 and then I will finish up the race. Every time I come back to Baja, I just say Holy #$%. It’s unbelievable the jumps and the parts of the course will race. I want to thank SCORE for finding new routes to use for the races. Some of the sections by San Felipe now are just beautiful. This race is going to be crazy with so many ‘super’ teams put together. It’s so fun to see Roger (Mears), who I raced against and his son, Casey, who was just 12 or so back then. With the new conditions of the course, it’s definitely going to be rewarding to get to the end and possibly win again.
LUKE McMILLIN (No. 83 Mark Racing SCORE Trophy Truck); co-driverLARRY ROESELER, 13-time SCORE Baja 1000 overall winner) — Everyone has been talking about the ‘super teams’ and what it takes to win here. The McMillin family is an icon in this sport. It’s really an honor to be a part of that team. Luke (McMillin, Roeseler’s co-driver) is a third-generation racer here in the Baja. My first Baja 1000 was 45 years ago. And to keep doing this at this level is an honor. I feel really blessed to be part of it. I have three overall rings from BFG, but I want a fourth, like Rob MacCachren, for a full brass knuckle! I have ten overall wins in motorcycles, but they didn’t give out rings back then. It’s the Baja 1000. It’s our toughest race. It’s our Indy 500. You can have a tough year, but if you win the Baja 1000, it is still great. I think I have a few more good races in me at my age, and I really want to win one more overall. Luke and I start tenth and I will drive the first 340 miles. A few days ago, I was doing a rain dance and I think I danced a little too long. Now I’m praying for some sunshine. When I go around the world, people know me as a Baja race and winner. With the Baja 1000 and Ensenada, I wouldn’t be who I am. Thank you so much.
On the course: I’m starting to mile marker 340. That first 300 miles is super technical. We don’t know what we have in store for us with the weather and some of the potential course changes. Luke prefers the desert. The last few years I’ve done the night portion. and he’s done the start but we decided to mix it up this year. We are super excited to be a part of it. We know dust won’t be an issue, but mud may be. We don’t want any bottlenecks; we all want to race.
JEFF PROCTOR (No. 709 Honda Ridgeline Class 7) — I first would like to thank SCORE International, Roger (Norman) and the entire SCORE Ops team. We love coming to Baja and racing in these events. This is our fifth year in the factory Honda Ridgeline team. We plan to run a two-vehicle effort in 2020. We are starting a driver development program with some young guns in the side-by-side car, the Class 7 and then ultimately a Trophy Truck. We have Alexander Rossi, Indy 500 winner, back with us this year. Alex will start for us, run about 200 miles and then I will jump in. Then Pat Dailey will finish for us.
Co-Driver ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 709 Honda Ridgeline Class 7, 2016 Indy 500 winner) — We have been pre-running with the Honda Ridgeline and I really enjoy the terrain down here. The Honda team is outstanding and I’m anxious to get started as I will run the first 200 miles for the Ridgeline effort. What is cool is that I have a much better understand of the Baja 1000 and what goes on through the event. It’s a huge honor to be here with Honda, Jeff and Pat in the Class 7 Ridgeline. This is an event I knew very little about, but I have fallen in love with it now. It’s great what SCORE does in the Baja and I enjoy the whole off-road community. We are looking for forward to the race and there will be some wild scenarios on there this time. We want to bring it home P1.
SARA PRICE (No. 204 RPM Racing Trophy Truck Spec, current Class point leader) — I’m extremely blessed to be here and I’m like a little girl in a candy store driving this great RPM truck. We have driven to an incredible season so far, getting second in every race this year. So, we are first loser. But we want to be the first across the finish line in our class this time. We have had a consistent season and consistency is the key to winning championships. This race is changing by the moment with the rain. You need to be prepared for the most non-prepared moments. We think it will take us 18 to 20 hours to the finish line if everything goes well. This class is very competitive as we showed in the 400. We were drafting off other trucks to finish second. It’s the longest I have ever been behind the wheel of a truck.
MARC BURNETT (No. 2905 Monster Energy Can-Am Class Pro UTV Forced Induction) – It’s going to be a muddy one out there. We just pre-ran some of the course, and it’s not going to be easy. A lot of people will be getting stuck. It’s going to be narly. I’m going to be an Ironman for this race too. It’s going to be challenging and much more difficult with the new course conditions. I think there are going to be a lot of log jams out there. It’s going to be Polaris against Can-Am again this time. A great battle. We have finished second several times and we want to get over the hump and win the Baja 1000.
JESSE GLICKENHAUS, owner (No. 2022 Ford Reboot Bronco R Class 2) –It’s such an honor to be returning to the Baja 1000 with a remake of the historical machine that raced the first NORRA 1000 in 1967. The original that race back then is coming back for the starting line this year. We have been racing in many endurance races including eight 24-hours at Nurburgring. And sports car racing, the Nurburgring is the craziest, toughest, most challenging race in the world. And we said, ’Let’s find something more challenging than the Nurburgring.’ And the only thing we found was the SCORE Baja 1000. We want to thank everyone who has put in the work on the course and the entire race event. To be racing for the Ford team and with the Bronco 50 years later is a great honor. We want to bring people’s attention from all over the world to the Baja 1000 with the famed Ford Bronco.
TROY HERBST (No. 54 SCORE Trophy Truck); PAT DEAN, CO-DRIVER SAID — We are usually a two truck team but for this race we are bringing one truck. Tim Herbst will start and drive to mile marker 340. Then I will drive the second section to mile marker 560 and Troy Herbst will be finishing the race. Luckily my section is in San Felipe and they have had wonderful weather, but in Tim’s section it has been raining non-stop and it has us scratching our heads on what’s going to go on.