September 27, 2020
Presented by 4 Wheel Parts
D. McMillin takes SCORE Trophy Truck and Overall win
at BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500 desert race
Other class winners include Vanderwey in SCORE TT Legend,
C. Parkhouse in Class 1, Creel, Cafro, Tagle, Burroughs, Lesle, Proctor,
Racan, Pinuelas, Leslie, Muncey, Septien, Salvatierra, Kennedy, Robles Jr
SAN FELIPE, Baja California, Mexico – As five stars of the sport dueled in the simmering desert heat Saturday, San Diego’s third-generation desert racer Dan McMillin teamed with Las Vegas’ Justin B. Smith to earn a hard-fought overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory at the BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts. The race was held this week for just the second time in its storied history in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
McMillin, 32, and Smith, 36, split the driving in the grueling race through the rugged Baja terrain with temperatures hovering in the 90s with 60% humidity along the Sea of Cortez, covering the 493.00-mile desert race course in eight hours, 29.17 seconds with an usually high average speed of 58.08 miles per hour. They pair the No. 23 McMillin Racing Chevy C1500 built by Mason Motorsports.
With significant Biosecurity Protocols established, approved and initiated because of the COVID-19 pandemic including no spectators for the contingency, start and finish line area at the Eldorado Ranch resort in San Felipe, it was the first SCORE Baja race since last November’s SCORE Baja 1000.
The pandemic-abbreviated two-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship will conclude Nov. 17-22 in Ensenada at the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
BACK TO BAJA
San Felipe is the peaceful village on the Sea of Cortez, 125 miles south of the U.S. Border at Calexico, Calif. Both 2020 SCORE races will be held on Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the fifth consecutive year.
When the final checkered flag fell, a total of 129 vehicles left the start line early Saturday morning with racers from 19 U.S. States along with host country Mexico, Bolivia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands and New Zealand.
When the course closed at 4:06 a.m. PT on Sunday, there were 77 official finishers for a very high 59.69 finishing rate, especially considering the difficulty of the race course. The results were made official following complete data tracking review of the devices on each vehicle in the event on Sunday morning.
Competition included classes for cars, trucks UTVs, motorcycles and quads for the internationally-televised BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts.
The race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour special on the ABC Network World of X Games programming and syndicated internationally to as many as 25 countries. The shows are produced by SCORE in association with prominent SoCal company BCII TV. Announcers for this racer were SCORE Live streaming host Rat Sult and champion motorcycle racer Mark Samuels.
BIG BLUE M MACHINE
With a legacy started by the late family patriarch Corky McMillin, Daniel McMillin added to the Big Blue M rich history with his first career victory in the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for hi-tech, 950-horsepower unlimited custom trucks. Mark Racing earned two podium placements as Daniel’s brother Luke McMillin finished third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck.
Running in a pack of five monsters of the desert for the majority of the race, the duo pulled away at the end. After penalties were assessed by SCORE adjusting the finishing times of nearly all finishers, McMillin/Smith earned a victory margin of five minutes, 34 seconds over the second-place truck. Daniel McMillin started the race and ran to race-mile 329 where Smith got behind the wheel and powered to the finish line at the El Dorado Ranch resort.
With his victory, McMillin also earned at US$25,000 contingency bonus from long-time SCORE sponsor and race title sponsor BFGoodrich Tires offered to the winner of this year’s race. It marked the 33rd victory for BFGoodrich Tires-shod overall winning race vehicles.
Besides his late grandfather Corky, Daniel McMillin’s champion family members include his brother Luke McMillin, who finished third overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck in this year’s race, his dad Mark McMillin, his uncle Scott McMillin, and his cousins Andy McMillin and Jessica McMillin.
EL DORADO RANCH S/F
Following planning with and approval from city and state governments, SCORE International had all the official pre-race activities and the start/finish line compound for this year’s SCORE Baja 500 held in a restricted area at the prominent El Dorado Ranch resort with no spectators allowed.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Because of the significant health and safety Biosecurity protocols developed by SCORE in conjunction with and the approval of state and local health authorities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all race-week festivities and the start/finish line compound were restricted access only and closed to the general public.
Spectators following health and safety protocols were allowed in the open areas around the 493.00-mile race course and they were encouraged to adhere to the protocols. The start/finish line area was abnormally quiet except for the music playing, the announcers interviewing the finishers for SCORE Live streaming followed by socially distanced media interviews.
The lead pack of five SCORE Trophy Truck warriors were in each other’s dusty tracks most of the race. Including in the group were D McMillin, Tim Herbst/Pat Dean, Dan’s brother Luke McMillin, brothers Alan and Aaron Ampudia along with Robby Gordon.
Joining Daniel McMillin, who has won in other classes in SCORE races, on the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 podium were Las Vegas’ Tim Herbst/Pat Dean and Daniel’s younger brother Luke McMillin, 27, who also lives in San Diego.
From another of the legendary racing families in SCORE racing history, Las Vegas’ Tim Herbst, 57, and his second driver Pat Dean, also of Las Vegas, finished first unofficially but the review of their data tracking device automatically gave them a couple of time penalties that ultimately cost them the top spot.
With veteran Dean driving from the start to race mile 280 and Tim Herbst handling the wheel the balance of the way, the pair recorded an adjusted time of 8:34:51 in their No. 19 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Herbst-Smith built Ford F-150.
Daniel McMillin was unofficially second until the No. 19 truck was penalized more than McMillin was with onetime penalty.
San Diego’s Luke McMillin, 27, another third-generation desert racer, mixed it up with his older brother Daniel throughout the race, finishing in third place overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck with a time of 8:45:15 in the No. 83 Mark Racing Racer-built Ford F-150.
SAMUELS WINS OVERALL MOTO
Riding the No. 1x Honda CRF450X, Mark Samuels, 30, and his three-rider team and his three-rider team raced to the overall motorcycle victory for his ninth consecutive overall motorcycle win in the SCORE World Desert Championship and his fourth overall win in this race. The trio crossed the finish line in 10:50:11 at an average speed of 44.76mph.
Morgan split the riding with Justin Morgan, 30, Yucca Valley, Calif. who won his fifth overall motorcycle crown in the last six years in this race and Justin Jones, Murrieta, Calif. who won his second consecutive SCORE overall motorcycle title in this race.
Mark Samuels started and quickly switched to Justin Morgan. Justin Morgan rode to race mile 236. Mark Samuels rode from race mile 236 to race mile to 395. Justin Jones rode from race mile 395 to race mile 459. Mark Samuels rode from race mile 459 to the finish.
For Honda, it was their 22nd overall motorcycle victory in the SCORE BAja 500.
FIVE OF TOP 12 OVERALL SCORE TROPHY TRUCKS
Besides podium finishers D. McMillin, Tim Herbst and L. McMillin, five of the top 10 overall finishers were also SCORE Trophy Trucks along with three from Trophy Truck Spec and two from the unlimited
Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars.
Finishing fourth overall and in SCORE Trophy Truck was Ensenada brothers Alan Ampudia and Aaron Ampudia (No. 10 Ford 150 built by ID Designs) while eighth overall and fifth in SCORE Trophy Truck was Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C. (No. 77 Chevy Silverado (Custom).
–TROPHY TRUCK SPEC
With three finishers in the top 10 overall 4-wheel vehicles, winning Trophy Truck Spec was the team of Santiago Creel, Mexico City/Jorge Sampietro, Ensenada (No. 260 Jefferies-Chevy). Second in the class and ninth overall was the team of William Hedrick Jr and William Hedrick, both of Vicente Guerrero, Mexico (No. 295 ID-Chevy), and third in their class and 10th overall was Clay Lawrence, Banning, Calif. (No. 285 LMS-Chevy).
Winning Class 1 and finishing fifth overall was Cody Parkhouse and his father Brian Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif. (No. 127 Jimco-Chevy). Finishing second in Class 1 and seventh overall was the team of Brendan Gaughan, Las Vegas/Buddy Feldkamp, Redlands, Calif. (No. 162 HMS-Chevy). Parkhouse is a second-gen desert racer as are Gaughan and Feldkamp. Gaughan, who won his class in last year’s SCORE Baja 1000, is in his final year of NASCAR Cup racing with one race left on his farewell tour.
Defeating 36 total UTVs to win the overall UTV win title and her Pro UTV NA (Naturally Aspirated) in this year’s race was Kristen Matlock, 39, Alpine, Calif., a racing mother of two and wife of PRO UTV FI star Wayne Matlock, who are from Alpine, Calif., with a winning time of 10:49:02 in her No. 2971 Polaris RZR XP4 1000. No stranger to the SCORE winner’s circle and podium, she amazing once again drove solo to the victory.
Enjoying his victory celebration at the finish line, Smith said, “Dan McMillin started the race and he did a phenomenal job, got us the truck in the top-five. He did great, so when we got in we just tried to play it smart, push what we could push and bring it to the finish. We tried to go fast when we could go fast and just save the truck when we had to do it.”
“Our goal here was to get a good starting spot for the SCORE Baja 1000 and it looks like we’re there. We played it smart and we will start the SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of them all, in a good spot. The whole team did awesome and I’d like to thank all of them for the great job and also to thank SCORE for making this happen. There were a lot of doubts out there and they put on a great race for us in the lovely town of San Felipe, so it was good.”
Leading his team to its ninth consecutive overall and Pro Moto Unlimited race, Samuels said at the finish line, “That was a really brutal SCORE Baja 500. The heat, how hard it is on your bike and everything connected to it, it was really, really tough. There was a great turnout, spectators were everywhere (except at start/finish). It was awesome to see that, we weren’t sure how the turnout would be, but there was a ton of spectators cheering us on and it felt great. There’s nothing like the SCORE Baja fans and nothing in the world like racing in SCORE Baja races. We really appreciate everything that Mexico and SCORE did to make this event happen and succeed. Viva Baja.”
The first lady of SCORE desert racers, Matlock joyfully expressed at the finish line, “I started at the very back of the class and ended up passing all the UTVs from all four classes, including my husband (Wayne Matlock, No. 2971 who finished third in Pro UTV FI). He was leading the race for the majority of the day until race mile 395.”
“The last hundred miles is when I knew I had the overall lead and therefore I decided to take it a little bit easier, but every time I slow down it throws me off my rhythm a little bit, so I was still pushing it, but being careful to make sure I would finish. It was an awesome day, we didn’t have any trouble and nailed all of the lines we wanted to nail.”
“I’m stoked, I can’t even express it in words. I was really nervous when I heard the SCORE Baja 500 would be in San Felipe just because of the whoops and that training down here is pretty rough and I was concerned about the vehicle. It was definitely trying at times, but we pushed as hard as we could, we took care of the car and our bodies and it all worked out well in the end. We love Baja and it is so awesome to be back SCORE Baja racing here. We can’t wait for the SCORE Baja 1000 in November.”
SCORE TT LEGEND
In the SCORE Legend class for SCORE Trophy Truck drivers over 50 years old, Phoenix’s Nick Vanderwey survived the carnage in his class of five starters to win his class as the substitute driver for driver of record Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va., in their RPM Racing No. 5L Chevy V16 built by Geiser Brothers. Vanderwey drove from the start to race-mile 360 and Jeff Geiser took it from there to the finish for the team’s second straight victory in the SCORE Baja 500.
The race featured a course, finalized and plotted by SCORE President/Race Director Jose A. Grijalva of 493.00 miles. It ran both North and South of San Felipe in a counterclockwise direction on the East side of the Baja California peninsula.
The historic race course was another memorable example of all that Mexico’s Baja California has to offer, including high-speed dirt trails, sandy, rocky and silty natural terrain, dry lake beds, majestic Baja washes and canyons, stretches along the ocean with elevations from sea level to over 3,000 feet. The course was another jewel reflecting the stark beauty of Baja California.
There were three physical full-stop checkpoints and 198 virtual checkpoints. Checkpoint 1 is at race mile 155.63 (Laguna Salada), CP2 is at rm278.11 (Laguna Amarga) and CP3 is at rm459.11 (Camino altura Percebu). There were just six speed zones for a total of only 8.65 miles.
Much of the course ran through Laguna Salada as well as going through parts of four of Baja California’s infamously magnificent washes: Amarillas, Chanate, Huatamote and Azufre.
All Sportsman classes along with Pro classes 7SX, 11 and 9 ran an abbreviated course of 433.34 miles.
The SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. It was started originally in 1969 by the NORRA organization.
With tremendous assistance from Ensenada tourism advocate Nico Saad, Mickey Thompson and his fledgling SCORE International organization were invited by the Mexican government to take over the event starting in 1974. Sal Fish ran and later owned and produced the SCORE Baja 500 for 39 years until he sold SCORE in December of 2012.
Prior to this year, only four times has the race not been held in Ensenada at all. Because of continuing friction between the government and land owners, Sal Fish moved the 1984 race to the desert near Barstow, Calif., USA and again in 1989 for the same reason Fish moved the race to San Felipe.
With no spectators allowed because of the Biosecurity Protocols, this year’s race started and finished at the El Dorado Ranch resort in San Felipe.
While this was just the second time for the SCORE Baja 500 to be held in San Felipe, the SCORE San Felipe 250, which was not held in 2020 because of the pandemic, has been held in San Felipe for 32 of its 33-year history.
A distinguished group of Mexican dignitaries, led by Baja California State Governor Jaime Bonilla Valdes, visited San Felipe for the start of the race to welcome the racers back to Baja and world-wide fans via live streaming of the race.
Joining Governor Bonilla were Mexicali Mayor Marina del Pilar Olmedo, Secretary General of Mexicali Netzhualcoyotl Jauregui, State Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism Mario Escobedo Carignan, State Undersecretary of Tourism Ivette Casilla Rivera and Ensenada Mayor Aramando Ayala Robles.
Joined by several Cabinet members at the race, Governor Bonilla held an extensive live streaming media conference in the Pavilion at the Eldorado Ranch Resort where the raced started and finished.
The group lauded SCORE for all of its efforts in putting together the first SCORE Baja race since last November’s SCORE Baja 1000 in Ensenada, especially adhering to the strict Baja BioSecurity protocols in place during this challenging time of the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 SCORE SKED
- BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—
November 17-22, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
ABC TV AGAIN IN 2020
For the second straight year, the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship will air on the ABC family of networks. The two-races will air as specials on ABC TV’s World of X Games program with replays on ESPN2.
ABC first covered the 1967 and 1968 Baja 1000 races on the old ABC Wide World of Sports show with Jim McKay and again in the late 1980s with veteran motorsports journalist Sam Posey.
All of the SCORE race coverage shows also continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International. The shows are co-produced by SCORE International and SoCal’s award-winning BCII TV.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and Race Title Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, 4 Wheel Parts-Official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner, Ford-Official Truck and SUV, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, The Satellite Phone Store, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Lucerna Hotel.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism, XXIII Ensenada Municipal Government, XXIII Mexicali Municipal Government, Mexicali and San Felipe COTUCO, Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.#
(1969 thru 2020)
1969—Bud Ekins/Guy Jones, Baja Boot-Olds
Doug Douglas/Jim McClurg, Ducati
1970—Parnelli Jones, Ford
Bill Silverthorn/Gene Fetty, Husqvarna
1971—Bobby Ferro, Funco-VW
Malcolm Smith/J.N. Roberts, Husqvarna
1972—Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Gene Fetty/Bill Silverthorn, Honda
1973—Parnelli Jones, Ford
Howard Utsey/Mickey Quade, Husqvarna
1974—Bobby Ferro, Sandmaster-VW
Mitch Mayes/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna
1975—Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Harley-Davidson
1976—Bobby Ferro/Ivan Stewart, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/A.C. Bakken, Husqvarna
1977—Ivan Stewart, Chenowth-VW
Larry Roeseler/Jack Johnson, Husqvarna
1978—Bud Feldkamp/Malcolm Smith, Funco-VW
Brent Wallingsford/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1979—Malcolm Smith/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Jack Johnson, Husqvarna
1980—Bob Gordon, Chenowth-Chevy
Bruce Ogilvie/Chuck Miller, Yamaha
1981—Malcolm Smith/Bill Newbury, Chenowth-Chevy
Larry Roeseler/Bruce Ogilvie, Yamaha
1982—Larry Ragland, Funco-VW
Larry Roeseler/Chuck Miller, Yamaha
1983—Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-VW
Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna
1984—Larry Ragland, Chaparral-VW
Dan Smith/Dan Ashcraft, Husqvarna
1985—Ron Gardner/Bud Feldkamp, Funco-VW
Kurt Pfeiffer/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1986—Corky & Scott McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Garth Sweetland/Scot Harden, Husqvarna
1987—Bob Gordon/Tim Crabtree, Chenowth-Porsche
Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr, Kawasaki
1988—Mark McMillin, Chenowth-Porsche
Dan Ashcraft/Kurt Pfeiffer, Yamaha
1989—Robby Gordon, Ford
1990—Robby Gordon, Ford
Larry Roeseler/Danny LaPorte, Kawasaki
1991—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Garth Sweetland/Paul Krause, Kawasaki
1992—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr/Paul Krause, Kawasaki
1993—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Danny Hamel/Larry Roeseler/Ted Hunnicutt Jr, Kawasaki
1994—Ivan Stewart, Toyota (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Dave Ashley/Dan Smith, Ford
Paul Krause/Ted Hunnicutt Jr, Kawasaki
1995—Curt LeDuc, Jeep (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Mike Julson/Bob Lofton, Jimco-VW
Paul Krause/Craig Smith, Kawasaki
1996—Rob MacCachren, Ford (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Troy Herbst, Smithbuilt, Smithbuilt-Porsche
Paul Krause/Ty Davis, Kawasaki
1997—Ivan Stewart, Toyota (SCORE Trophy Truck)
Mark McMillin, Jimco-Porsche
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda
1998—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Johnny Campbell/Bruce Ogilvie, Honda
1999—Ivan Stewart, Toyota
Jonah Street/Torsten Borstrom, Honda
2000—Larry Ragland, Chevy
Jonah Street/Steve Hengeveld, Honda
2001—Mark McMillin, Jimco-Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Jonah Street, Honda
2002—Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2003—Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler, Smithbuilt-Ford
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2004—Alan Pflueger, Chevy
Steve Hengeveld/Johnny Campbell, Honda
2005—Robby Gordon, Chevy
Mike Childress/Mouse McCoy, Honda
2006—Brian Collins/Larry Ragland, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda
2007—Larry Ragland/Brian Collins, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman/Steve Hengeveld, Honda
2008—B.J. Baldwin, Chevy
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman, Honda
2009—Harley Letner/Kory Halopoff, Tatum-Chevy
Bill Boyer/Donnie De Arman/Nicholas Blais/Rudy Iribe, Honda
2010—Andy McMillin/Scott McMillin, Ford
Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody, Honda
2011—Bryce Menzies, Ford
Kendall Norman/Quinn Cody, Honda
2012—Bryce Menzies, Ford
Robby Bell/David Pearson/Steve Hengeveld, Kawasaki
2013—Robby Gordon, Chevy
Timmy Weigand/Colton Udall/David Kamo, Honda
2014—Bryce Menzies, Ford
Ricky Brabec/David Pearson/Max Eddy Jr, Kawasaki
2015—Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, Chevy
Ricky Brabec/Max Eddy Jr/Justin Morgan/Ian Young, Kawasaki
2016—Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, Ford
Colton Udall, Mark Samuels, Honda
2017—Andy McMillin, Ford
Francisco Arredondo/Shane Esposito/Justin Morgan/Roberto Villalobos, Honda
2018—Rob MacCachren, Ford
Justin Morgan/Mark Samuels/Justin Jones, Honda
2019—Andy McMillin, Chevy
Justin Morgan/Mark Samuels/Max Eddy Jr, Honda
2020—Dan McMillin/Justin B. Smith, Chevy
Mark Samuels/Justin Morgan/Justin Jones, Honda
NOTE: From 1994 through 1997 SCORE Trophy Truck ran as its own series
SCORE Baja 500 Overall Champions
Cars & Trucks
Justin B. Smith
Gus Vildosola Jr
*9 on motorcycle
**1 on motorcycle
Ted Hunnicutt Jr
Max Eddy Jr
Overall 4wheel Vehicle Trucks/SUVs*
*Includes 1994-97 (55 Total)
*Includes 1994-97 (55 Total)
Overall Engine Winners
Cars & Trucks*
*Includes 1994-97 (55 total)
(missing 4 early years)
Western Auto Tires