ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – (While the world continues its ferocious fight against the vicious virus called COVID-19, SCORE has been checking in on several of its racers during this shutdown to see how they are doing and how are they are preparing for when life returns to the new normal in this final chapter in a special series called SCORE Desert Diaries—Biding Time.)
A third generation desert racer from one of the all-time great first families in the sport, USA’s champion driver Andy McMillin has emerged from the shadow of his iconic late grandfather Corky McMillin, his champion father Scott McMillin and his champion uncle Mark McMillin to enter the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship as the reigning SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck season point champion.
With a family desert racing legacy like the ‘Big Blue M’ machine has built over the last 45 years in the desert, Andy McMillin is etching his own fabled mark in SCORE racing along with his cousins Dan McMillin and Luke McMillin and his sister Jessica McMillin. Family patriarch Corky McMillin was inducted in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006 and Corky’s son Mark McMillin earned his lasting place in history by being inducted to ORMHOF in 2018.
With the 2020 season reduced to three races while the battle rages against Coronavirus (COVID-19), desert racers around the world are hoping to start the 2020 SCORE season at the 52nd annual BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4Wheel Parts, in Baja California.
Launching its 47th season as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, the season-opening event of the three-race internationally-televised 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship has been moved to July 14-19 in Ensenada. Ensenada is a coastal city on the Bahia de Todos Santos area of the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of the U.S. border at San Diego.
Most the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s celebration of one of the top 10 motorsports events in the entire world. All three 2020 SCORE races will be run on the northern part of Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the fifth consecutive year. ANDY ACCOLADES
After building up a huge lead following his tenacious victories in the 33rd SCORE San Felipe 250 and the 51st SCORE Baja 500 along with his second place finish in a brand new race truck at the Inaugural Lucerna SCORE Baja 400, San Diego’s ‘youthful’ veteran third-generation desert racer Andy McMillin held on in the season-finale at the 52nd SCORE Baja 1000 to earn the SCORE Overall and the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck season point championship in the four-race 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship.
Andy McMillin, 32, started his successful march to the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck point championship with his San Felipe win in his No. 31 Chevy Silverado. He also won the overall and the unlimited Class 1 title in this race in 2005 in San Felipe while splitting the driving with his father Scott McMillin.
Splitting the driving with Las Vegas’ champion desert racer Bryce Menzies in the 2019 season finale, Andy McMillin overcame a rollover and other mechanical issues to finish 13th in the weather-delayed BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, to clinch his first season point championship.
Andy McMillin finished second behind Ryan Arciero in the SCORE Baja 400 in a field of 189 starters for the first-time race including 36 in the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division. McMillin drove the No. 31 McMillin Motorsports Mason-built all-wheel drive Chevy Silverado and finished with a strong 455 season points after his twin wins, one second place and one 13th place to earn the championship by a comfortable margin of 22 points.
Andy McMillin enters 2020 with 11 career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins. He is tied for second all-time with Robby Gordon, Ed Herbst/Tim Herbst and Larry Ragland. The group trails Las Vegas’ Hall of Famer Rob MacCachren who has 17 career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins.
In 2006, Andy McMillin became the youngest overall 4-wheel vehicle winner at just 18 years old in the history of the SCORE Baja 1000 as the second driver for Robby Gordon.
Andy McMillin and his father Scott McMillin are two of just nine drivers in the long history of SCORE who have won the SCORE Triple Crown of Baja, presented by BFGoodrich Tires. The award is presented to those racers who have won the overall 4-wheel vehicle title in the three traditional SCORE Baja races—SCORE San Felipe 250, SCORE Baja 500 and the SCORE Baja 1000.
A great example of the amazing impact of the ‘Big Blue M’ machine in SCORE racing is in the SCORE Baja 1000 where to date the McMillin family 20 class wins including 12 overall victories in the granddaddy of all desert races. Mark McMillin has eight class wins (including 5 overalls), Andy McMillin has five class wins (all five are overalls), Scott McMillin has four class wins (including 2 overalls), Luke McMillin has two class wins and Corky McMillin had one.
In the SCORE Baja 500 the marvelous McMillins have 21 class wins including 11 overall victories. Scott McMillin has six class wins (including 3 overalls), Mark McMillin has five class wins (including 3 overalls), Andy McMillin has four class wins (including 3 overalls), Corky McMillin had three class wins (including 2 overalls), Luke McMillin has two class wins and Jessica McMillin has one class win in the SCORE Baja 500. SOME Q&A
Andy McMillin shares responses for the McMillin Racing team responding to some questions from SCORE regarding this down time from life as we have known it. SCORE:How are you and your family coping overall with this virus situation? AM: We are doing well. Keeping our safe distances and going out to our river cabin in Arizona to help clear our minds and get away from things. SCORE: Is everybody healthy at home? AM: We are all healthy and doing well, and we hope our off-road family is the same. SCORE: How are your parents?
Doing well, we are hanging in there and dealing with this as best as possible. SCORE: How is your business handling this situation? AM: Business is suffering for sure. We own apartments and three hotels, and people aren’t traveling and some residents in our apartments are hanging in there for the most part. The biggest worry at this time is the hotels. SCORE: What are you doing with your race team during this time? AM: Our race team is spread out between San Diego and Lake Elsinore. Our shop in San Diego only has two people, a mechanic and an accountant, so they are doing things around the shop, paying bills, and keeping their distances. Our two guys in Lake Elsinore are catching up on things, doing some fixes to our pre-run trucks and our race truck in this down time. SCORE:How are you keeping in touch with your race team? AM: Via email, phone and video conferencing. SCORE:Have you done or are planning to do any form of vehicle testing in the near future? AM: We were, but given the current state of the economy and stress everyone is feeling, we have postponed all testing at this time until this all goes away. SCORE:Have you had a chance to play the new SCORE Baja Big Air Game yet on Apple Apps or Google Play? If so, how did you do? AM: I haven’t, but I’m pretty sure that I will at some point. SCORE:How hard has the adjustment been for you to just sit and wait while the virus is eradicated? AM: It’s been tough for sure. Staying at home and not going to work, helping my wife with both of our kids is draining and tiring for sure, haha! But it’s special time I get to spend with the family so I’m just trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation. SCORE:What are you doing to get some physical and mental exercise and stay physically sharp during this challenging time? AM: Doing workouts from home, going on walks and runs with my wife, chasing our kids around outside. SCORE:What is your best race memory of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship? AM: My best memory is probably the SCORE Baja 500 win. That is such a big race and to start out front, stay out front and win the race from the pole position was extremely gratifying. It was a very close race right to the end too so that made it even more satisfying. SCORE: Which SCORE Baja race is your most favorite and why? AM: The SCORE Baja 500 is probably my favorite race to race. It is the perfect mileage to where it separates the men from the boys, and the logistics are relatively easy as compared to say the SCORE Baja 1000. That said, the race I want to win every year is the SCORE Baja 1000. We are already strategizing now on how to get back in the winner’s circle at the SCORE Baja 1000 and the rest of this year we will dedicate ourselves to winning the SCORE Baja 1000. GRAN HISTORIA
The SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. It was started originally in 1969 by the NORRA organization. Mickey Thompson and his 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.
The first Baja 500 organized and produced by SCORE was held on July 26, 1974 as the first of over 150 SCORE Baja races.
Ensenada is the heart and soul of the SCORE Baja 500 as the popular summertime race will start for the 47th time there and finish for the 43rd time there. BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
As part of their massive SCORE Contingency program for 2020, long-time SCORE sponsor partner BFGoodrich Tires is offering a large contingency bonus for each overall winner in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. For the 52nd annual SCORE Baja 500, the contingency bonus is US$25,000. BFGoodrich Tires is entering its 44th year as the Official Tire of SCORE and in 2020 the company will also be the title sponsor of both the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 and the 53rd SCORE Baja 1000.
Presenting sponsor of both of those iconic races will be 4 Wheel Parts.
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating over four decades as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for over four decades, BFGoodrich Tires has now produced the tire of choice for 30 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the SCORE Baja 1000, including 30 of the last 34 years along with a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005. In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now be the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 92 SCORE Baja races including 32 in the SCORE Baja 500. SCOREscope 2020 SCHEDULE
Here is the REVISED three-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship (as of April 29, 2020) schedule of events, for the fifth consecutive year all races will be held in Baja California, Mexico:
Nov.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 three-races air as one-hour 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. SCORE SPONSORS… 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.