Baja 1000: Riders Locked & Loaded

2010 Baja 1000

With entries already received from 34 US States and 13 countries, the computerized drawing for starting positions, by class, will be held Saturday for next month’s 43rd annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races.

Early pre-running of the course will start Friday for the bottom two-thirds of the point-to-point course giving adventurers from around the globe added practice time on the challenging course.

This year’s legendary desert classic, the final event of the five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series, will be held Nov. 16-20 in Mexico.

The world’s most famous desert race will start in Ensenada, Baja California and the rugged course will run on both sides of the majestic peninsula all the way down to La Paz in Baja California Sur. The final distance will be more than 1050 miles.

It’s the oldest and most well known of all desert races, and it remains as the single most appealing accomplishment to a driver.

Since 1967, the mother of all desert races has been run over the mysterious and majestic Baja California peninsula.

The computerized drawing for starting positions, by class, for the nearly 300 expected entries for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes in the internationally televised race, will be held Saturday at the SCORE headquarters in Los Angeles.

In addition to the 34 States, racers have already officially entered from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the US Territory of Guam.

Allowing a larger window of time than ever before, SCORE, completing its 37th year as the world’s foremost desert racing sanctioning body, has also announced that pre-running of the course will officially start this Friday, from San Felipe all the way to La Paz.

Practice on the race course from Ojos Negros to La Paz will begin Wednesday, Oct. 27 and pre-running from the start line in Ensenada to Ojos Negros will be allowed only on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 16 and 17.

A unique part of Saturday’s drawing will be the special drawing for the top 10 finishers from the nearest previous SCORE Baja race entered in the current race in both SCORE Trophy-Truck and the unlimited Class 1.

For this race it will be the top 10 finishers from this year’s 42nd Tecate SCORE Baja 500 held June 6.

The top 10 finishers in SCORE Trophy-Truck from the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 500 were: Andy McMillin, Gus Vildosola Jr, B.J. Baldwin, Roger Norman, Nick Vanderwey, Rick D. Johnson, Bryce Menzies, Gary Weyhrich, Mark McMillin and Chet Huffman.

In the unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars, the top 10 finishers from the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 500 were: Steve Appleton, Ronny Wilson, Kory Halopoff, Jose Arzate, Dennis Boyle, Daniel McMillin, Josh Rigsby, Adam Ashcraft, Steve Garcia and Sean Meacham.

The challenging race course for this year is very similar to 2006, the last time the race finished in La Paz, although the terrain has obviously changed significantly because of weather conditions and natural use.

With 10 mandatory checkpoints spread down the peninsula, the course starts on the Pacific Ocean-side of Baja California in Ensenada and heads southeast to San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez before heading south through Coco’s Corner, Bahia de Los Angeles, San Ignacio, back to the Pacific at San Juanico, then back to the Sea of Cortez at Loreto, back to the Pacific at Ciudad Insurgentes heading down along the Pacific through Santa Rita before turning back east and down into La Paz for the finish.

All entries are provided with GPS programs defining the course and all are required to utilize special data recording devices that plot the actual route and speeds each vehicle takes during the mammoth race.

This year will be the 36th time in the first 43 years of the storied race that it has started in Ensenada and it will be the 18th time in has finished in La Paz.

With two wins in the first three races this season, Andy McMillin jumped to a significant lead in the SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck point standings in the No. 31 McMillin Realty Ford F-150, but a combination of mechanical problems for McMillin and Jesse Jones’ second SCORE Trophy-Truck race win of the year at the 15th SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Primm 300 on Sept. 11 and only six points separate the two frontrunners heading into the massive season finale in Mexico.

Starting the 2010 SCORE season off with an impressive victory in Laughlin in January and then winning to the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, McMillin, of National City, Calif., he now has four career race wins in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck class for high-tech, 850-horsepower, unlimited production trucks.

After winning in Laughlin driving solo, in Round 2 in San Felipe on March 13, he split the driving with his father Scott McMillin and they survived mechanical issues to finish sixth in class and then split the driving again in Ensenada on June 6 with his father.

Mechanical issues pushed him back to an eighth-place finish out of 30 starters in Primm, keeping his SCORE Overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck point lead with 321 championship points.

Andy McMillin won this race in 2006,the last time it finished in La Paz, driving the second half of the race for NASCAR’s Robby Gordon, who will drive solo this year in his No. 1 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500. Andy and Scott McMillin teamed up to win last year’s race that started and finished in Ensenada.

Second in overall points and in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck standings is Jones, of Litchfield Park, Ariz., who won the San Felipe and then the Primm races. The owner of an aerospace technology company and the 2001 SCORE Class 8 season point champion is just six points behind Andy McMillin with 315 points in his No. 76 Ford F-150.

Third in overall points and in SCORE Trophy-Truck following a third in Laughlin and a 16th in San Felipe, a fifth in class at the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 and 11th in Primm is Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix with 283 points in his No. 84 Vanderwey Racing Chevy Silverado.

This year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour NBC Sports special for the seventh consecutive year, airing on Dec. 19 on the NBC Television Network.

It will also air on a delayed basis outside of the U.S. on ESPN International. It is being produced again by Aura360, SCORE’s electronic media partner, in association with SCORE International.

As a special incentive to help bolster entries for the relatively new Class 4 in this race, Langley Productions owner and SCORE racer John Langley has posted a Special winner-take-all $10,000 SCORE/COPS Racing/BFG Tires bonus for the first-place finisher in the class for unlimited open-wheel, single or two seat desert race cars with a limited 2.2-liter sealed engine.

COPS Racing, named for the popular television series produced by Langley Productions, has three vehicles entered in this year’s race in three different classes.

In addition to season point class point championships, drivers in the Pro car and truck classes are also racing to earn prestigious SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards given to all car and truck class drivers who complete every required mile of the five-race season.

Being presented by Toyota Motorsports for the 25th consecutive year, a total of 17 drivers remain eligible after Round 3 of the 2010 SCORE Desert Series. Racers are also competing for the annual SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year awards, including the MasterCraft Safety SCORE Rookie of the Year award.

Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant and Red Bull-official energy drink. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, MasterCraft Safety, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.

Additional sponsors in Baja are the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California and ProTurismo de Ensenada and Secretary of Tourism of Baja California Sur.

For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402.