38th Tecate SCORE BAJA 500
Round 3 of six-race 2006 SCORE Desert Series
June 2-4  -- Ensenada, Mexico

Brian Collins/Larry Ragland [vehicle No. 12] powered their Chevy Silverado to a seven-minute, 16-second win over Monster rival Alan Pflueger.  Ragland notched his fourth overall SCORE Baja 500 championship, tying him for the third most all time.  In addition to claiming the overall titles in 1982 (Class 1), 1984 (Class 1), 2000 and this year, he also won class championships in 1991 (Class 8) and 2002, giving him six wins here in three different classes.  Since SCORE Trophy-Truck debuted in 1994, Ragland has logged nine race titles, trailing only Ed/Tim Herbst’s 11 wins.  Eight of those nine wins have come in Mexico, with the lone exception being last year’s SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300 with Collins.  He has the distinction of winning at least SCORE Trophy-Truck race in eight of the 13 years, the most of any driver, although he has never been a season champion in the featured class.  Collins claimed his third SCORE Trophy-Truck victory, while he was also victorious in Class 8 in the 1997 and 1998 SCORE Baja 500s.
  “We are very happy Larry Ragland took the truck home,” Collins said.  “He had wonderful day.  I had a great day, not a flat tire all day long; the truck ran perfect.  It’s nice to have a day where you have no problems - it makes it look easy but we put a lot of work into it, our sponsors put a lot of work into it.  We are very fortunate to get to win. I drove the first 155 miles; it was really scary because I was going very slow.  Larry Ragland drove the rest of the race.”
Alan Pflueger [28] finished second, just as he did in last year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.  Pflueger was the last SCORE Trophy-Truck driver to record wins in consecutive races, triumphant in the 2004 Tecate SCORE Baja 500 as well as the SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300.
 “I wish this was just half way!” Pflueger proclaimed.  “The course was good.  The biggest challenge that we had all day was just slow drivers holding us up.  We bumped some guys that didn’t get out of the way and to me, that’s unfortunate because there is a little bit of honor in this sport and I lost respect for some people out there.  But that is ok; we will just hit them harder next time and send them off the trail.  Our strategy is to attack every opportunity we have, that’s what we did all day.  We never hold back, we soloed this thing.  I do not know how many guys solo this race, I got a little sweaty but I still have some more left in me.”
Josh Baldwin [86] finished third ahead of B.J. Baldwin, (97) (No relation) for the first time this season after placing higher each race last year.
 “It was an awesome race,” Josh declared.  “We had to change a drive shaft, had one flat on these BFG tires, but it was a driver error.  Other than that we had a stellar day; we were leading for a while. Just an awesome day, couldn’t ask for more.  Actually for a while there Billy, my brother’s co-driver, my brother was here today in our hearts (Jason); he was here in this truck with us.”
B.J. Baldwin, (97)
“It was really dusty and bumpy,” B.J. observed.  “We had a handful of problems.  There were some with the spectators, and I lost the alternator and then going into the finish I started losing transmission.  Overall it was a good experience, it was great.”
Garron Cadiente [38], the winner of the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in March, placed fifth.  He was 52 seconds behind B.J. Baldwin and just over 34 minutes behind Collins and Ragland.
 “The race was good but it was tough,” explained Cadiente.  “We had a few problems; we had four flats today so that slowed us down quite a bit.  We had a flat at mile 40, we lost a lot of positions.  Later we had another flat and we were missing our jack so we had to drive on a flat for awhile.  The course was rough but it was very good.  There were a lot of people on the beach, it was a lot of fun.  It was a good experience and I loved it. “
Cameron Steele/Ed Stout [16], placed 14th in SCORE Trophy-Truck, but that was on top of his Class 22 motorcycle [48x], which finished ninth in the class, and the SCORE Lite vehicle [1227], which also placed ninth.
 “I’m feeling good,” said the talkative Steele.  “We made the finish line in four of six vehicles that we entered in the race today for the Desert Assassins.  Under my own name, I think we made three top tens.  As I’ve seen the course change throughout the day, it’s a mess now.  The ruts are deep.  It’s very tricky, very silty.  It’s the most amazing course I’ve seen in offroad racing.  I think that is what offroad is all about.  It challenged me today.  I got my ass kicked by some of the competition and by the course.  But so be it.  I’m ready to come back to the 1000 and kick it’s ass one more time.  I drove over the finish line twice and over the start twice.  I started the bike.  I crashed that twice, passed five guys, got passed by Mikey Childress, and that was all in 15 miles.  It was pretty chaotic.  Then I started the Trophy Truck, passed a few cars, and I ran into a rock and tried to push a broken wheel, a flat tireup a hill and got stuck.  And just my day went from there.  We had some carburetor problems and the 12 car, Aaron Holly, did a great job.  He led the 12 car field all day long.  And then Cody Stewart continued to do that until Urupan, where we lost a fan belt and then they got in a bottleneck and everybody bunched up.  They lost enough fan belts to where they didn’t have alternator belts on and they ran battery power all the way in.  They stalled it a couple of times and it wouldn’t start.  So they had to rely on Stan Potter and Dan Whorley to start them up, which was really cool of those guys to do.  They bump started them and then Cody moved over to let them go because it the right thing to do.  And we are here.  I was in 3 classes today.  My experience here has been awesome.  I’d like to give Sal a big kiss right on the lips because I think he is doing a great job.  This race course is kickass and everybody at SCORE deserves a thumbs up because it is only getting better.  And if you want to race offroad, you can’t be scared.  You got to come out and do it for real.  We did it for real today.”
Troy Herbst/Larry Roeseler [112] won for the second straight SCORE race, and placed fourth overall among all four-wheeled vehicles.  In last year’s SCORE Baja 500 they were four hours behind the class winner, but this year they both moved up the on the race’s all-time ledgers.  Roeseler increased his SCORE Baja 500 class championship total to 16, just one behind leader Ivan Stewart.  Roesler, whose first win in this race came in 1972, has never gone more than five years with a class win in this race.  He has won SCORE Baja 500 titles in Class 1, Class 7 and Class 22, and is tied with Stewart with 11 SCORE Baja 500 overall titles.  Herbst tallied his seventh SCORE Baja 500 class win in the last 11 years, all in Class 1.  Herbst was kept out of the winner’s circle last year after enjoying three victories in 2004, and now has won consecutive SCORE races for the first time since 2000, when he also won in San Felipe followed by a SCORE Baja 500 victory.
 “It was a long race, I had a good time,” Herbst declared.  “Larry Roeseler drove the first half; he did a great job, great race car.  My brother was just behind us.  I´m very happy to be here.  It was a great race course.”
Dale Ebberts/Ernie Castro Jr. [104] were second in Class 1 but just the ninth overall four-wheeled vehicle to finish.
 “It was good,” Ebberts stated.  “We did have a few problems but stayed pretty much up front all day.  We had to change the computer igniter and we had one flat.  The course was good, tight, technical and very challenging, I started to get car sick.”
Mark McMillin [100] placed third for the second straight race, and it marked the fourth time in the last five SCORE races that he has been in the top three but unable to win.
 “Mark drove the first half and then I drove,” said co-driver Brian Ewalsh.  “We had some trouble with the ignition was because it kept cutting out but other than that everything was fine, we had fun.”
CLASS 1/2-1600
Gerardo Iribe [1645] chalked up his first SCORE win in his hometown.
 “I am very excited, this is a dream come true,” Iribe said.  “Thanks to my dad, my wife, my children, in general the whole family.  I think we deserved to win a 500.  We worked hard to build this car so it can race properly.  It was a tough race, very tough, but we had a lot of fun, we had some problems but at the end we won.”
Martin Casillas co-driver
 “Gerardo drived the whole race we only had two changes of copilots,” co-driver Martin Casillas added.  “It was a tough race, my eyes were hurting, we couldn’t see a thing, but we were fine, no flats, no problems.  This is very rewarding because it is the first time we win and even though we have tried it has never happened.  We are still working on this car and next race we are putting everything we got to win again.”
Caleb Gaddis [1600] placed second, 28 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher, after completing the race solo.
 “My drive today was dusty and long,” Gaddis wearily said.  “I think I was in the car 12 or 13 hours today.  This is my eighth SCORE race.  I soloed this race today to see if I could do it.  And I came in alright.  I flipped the car once today at El Reyo and I had to keep adding oil to it.  Other than that it was good.  I just got stuck in a couple of bottlenecks, that was about it.  But everybody else did also, I’m sure.  I am so excited for the next race.  We are leading points right now, so I can’t wait.”
Dan Chamlee/Tom Chamlee [701] tallied a two-and-a-half hour win in Class 7 after placing fourth in the season-opening race at the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
“It was a great race,” the elder Chamlee, Dan said.  “I’m a little tired.  I drove the whole thing.  It was fun.  It was so neat.  People flooded the road to make mud pits.  There were a lot of neat obstacles out there.  It was fun to overcome them.  It was great.  BF Goodrich tires always pull through for us.”

Darren Hardesty/Mark Randazzo [1008] were the 11th and final four-wheeled vehicle to average at least 40 mph (40.12), which was good enough to earn them a Class 10 championship.  Hardesty also won the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge to begin the year.
 “It was a fantastic race, we didn’t have any flats,” Hardesty recalled.  “We had a spark plug that came out right at the start so we had that fixed right away; we had a really clean run after that.  The last 100 miles we started losing oil so we had to stop and fill but the car just ran flawlessly, it was beautiful.  This is my first Baja win so it feels good.  My partner Mark Randazzo drove the first 170 miles.  He went to the pine forest, which is a very tough section, but we came in second place.  The course was awesome. I love this rough course.”
Will Higman [1007] placed third in Class 10.
 “It was a really challenging race,” Higman stated.  “We only averaged about 37 miles per hour so it was really slow.  My arms are a little tired.  It was a very challenging course, very slow, a lot of turns, a lot of breaking, rocks, water, there was everything.  I saw more things today in this race than I have seen in years of racing; it was just crazy.  I saw a car with it’s suspension ripped off, a dead cow in the middle of the road, people stuck in the water and stuck in the mud, everything, all kinds of things. The accomplishment is fun.”
Rob Reinertson/Rick D. Johnson [234] won the class championship, giving Johnson his second SCORE Baja 500 Protruck win in three years.  On top of that, Johnson also won the 1995 Class 7s title prior to winning consecutive Protruck titles in the 1998 and 1999 SCORE Baja 500s.
 “The course was very tough, very challenging,” Reinertson recalled.  “We had a lot of dust, running behind some of the other classes.  We had one flat tire.  Got off the course once and got stuck, but some of the locals pulled us out right away.  It was a good run.  I drove the first half to mile 211, El Coyote, and Rick got in and took it from there.  My experience here has been awesome.  It’s always challenging.  There’s so many things that they get you, there’s so many placed that if you’re not on the ball, you’ll get taken out real quick.  I’m tired.”
 “I don’t even know where to start, it’s just Baja,” Johnson said.  “Especially the 500 the last couple years has been brutal, absolutely brutal.  We had to deal with fog out on the beach.  It was just unbelievable.  You just can’t see.  Then you get a little dust mixed in there from a couple of slow motorcycles and it’s just brutal.  Then there were several places where there were bottlenecks, where other cars were stuck and were just stacked up, five or six waiting for someone to get out.  We did that.  That probably happened to us three times.  I can’t believe we are the first ones to cross the finish line, but we just kept moving forward.  Sometimes that is what it takes.  No flats.  No problems with our vehicle.”
Tim Noe/Tom Watson/Travis Clark [1200] won after beginning the year with a pair of thirds. 
 “It was wild,” Watson commented.  “It was a tough, tough race.  Toughest Baja I’ve ever done.  We had the fog, the dust coming back in.  Everything about it was tough.  The car ran great.  No problems.  Once it got good and dark we did good.  We had a good trail.  My co-pilot was like ‘right-three, right-two, left-two.’  Tim Noe started.  He went to 248 and I took it to the finish.”
Nick Vanderway/Michael Vanderway/Larry Vanderway [801] teamed up to reclaim the SCORE Baja 500 Class 8 championship that the family won four straight years between 2001 and 2004.  Last year they were just over 12 minutes shy of winning the title, but this year their fortunes were reversed and they staked out a five-plus minute win.  The Vanderways also started out the year with a win in the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
 “It was a great course,” Nick stated.  “Larry did the first half and I did the second half.  So I did the same ‘ol same ‘ol.  My brother did all the new and hard stuff.  He was right on time.  Only a couple of log jams.  Kinda put us behind, that is why we are finishing late.  This truck runs great.  This truck belongs in the SCORE Baja 500.  Five wins in class 8, (that achievement has) never been done before in class 8.”
David Bonner/Rob Roy [501] won the class championship, ending the two-year stranglehold by George Seeley [502], who had won five of the previous seven SCORE Baja 500s coming into this year.
 “The fog was really bad along the coast and coming in here,” co-driver Drew Pelk said.  “We got lost a couple of times but thanks to the GPS we made it.  We just lost one headlight and that was the only problem we had, everything else was perfect.  The road was kind of rough your typical Baja 500 race. David did all the heavy lifting, he had the tough part.  All I had to do is bring it home, he drove the first 211 miles then we switched, he had a 30 minute lead so all I had to do was finish.”
CLASS 5/1600
Marcos Nunez/Norberto Rivera [550] won the class after finishing second in both last year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500 as well as the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in March.  Nunez claimed his eighth SCORE Baja 500 title, tying him for fifth all time.
There were no finishers for the third time in four years.
There were no finishers for the second straight year.
Eric Fisher [900] won for the fourth straight year and fifth time overall, having also won in 1995.
For the second straight year there were no official finishers, equaling the total times that happened from 1974-2004.
Terry Henn/Eric Henn [865] won the class championship after placing third in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge to kick the year off.
Rod Hall/Larry Webster [779] won the class championship, becoming just the second winner in the SCORE Baja 500 in this class since 1998.  Only one year in that span (2001) has there been a winner, with all the rest of the years having no official finishers.  Hall was the last class champion to cross the finish line, with a time of 17:46:24, taking the flag less than 15 minutes before the course closed.
In the fourth year of this class, there were no official finishers for the second straight time.
Steven Looney/Mike Ballard [1504] won the Sportsman Truck class for the second time this year, also victorious in the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
 “It was a very interesting race,” Ballard explained.  “Just everything that Mexico throws at you, and it’s a lot.  It’s unbelievable; you would never know it unless you did it.  It was fun.  I drove to 140.  Steve drove to 280, then I drove it home.”
Robby Bell/Kendall Norman [6x] were the only riders to finish the course in under half the allotted time, taking the checkered flag at 8:59:04 with an average speed of 47.224 mph.  Their average speed was just under 1.1 mph slower than last year’s top motorcycle finisher (48.3 mph).  Kendall Norman has been part of several winning teams, including the 2004 SCORE Baja 1000.  This duo also won the first motorcycle race of the year at the Tecate SCORE SAN Felipe 250 in March.
 “It was a lot of fun out there.  The start was really cool.  It was tighter so it wasn´t as dusty.  Mike´s Loop is fun.  It´s getting rough, but I enjoyed it.  I know we had a big lead, but a win won´t sink in until they cross the line more than six minutes behind us.  I teamed with Kendall Norman.  He rode the pine forest section and the coast.  He was on fire.  He rode really well.  He put a lot of time on Steve (Hengeveld).  So I was able to take it easy coming into the finish.  All I did was watch out for booby traps and livestock.  I passed a few cows, but they were on the opposite way, which was a good thing.  The bike ran flawless.  Honda and Precision Concepts built an amazing bike.  It ran strong from start to finish.  I´m stoked.  This win will hit a little harder when it sinks in.  Right now it is just awesome to be able to win it.  Winning is pretty cool and a good shot to get the number 1x.  You have all this rivalry between the Honda teams.  To be 1x would be awesome.  It´s been Johnny´s (Campbell’s) number for so long and he just retired and stepped up to be the Honda team manager.  To one day have his number would be awesome because for the last couple of years he has kind of taken me under his wing and taught me everything he knows.  Kendall walked up to me after this race and the second we saw each other, it was like ´holy crap, we did it.´ It is still not going to hit me until a little later, but seeing Steve (Hengeveld) cross the line behind us is just pretty awesome.  Mike´s loop was the toughest part of the course on my body because it is so rough out there.  But coming into the finish, I was trying to negotiate the course, since I wasn´t able to pre-run it earlier in the week, so I blew a couple of corners, almost hit a couple of Mexicans, but it wouldn’t be good unless you had some kind of story.”
Steve Hengeveld/Mike Childress [1x] placed second in the class, marking the first time this century that the winning team in the SCORE Baja 500 Class 22 did not include either of these two riders.
 “I haven’t seen Mike (Childress) since I got the bike from him at Trinidad,” Hengeveld said.  “Mike started and rode to mile 50 and then I got on and rode to mile 150.  He got on and rode to the loop around Mike’s and back to Trinidad.  That’s when I last picked it up from him.  It appears Mike broke his collarbone on his ride up to Mike’s loop.  My ride was fine.  I was trying to make up time and the bike isn’t handling all too well.  It was probably all bent up because of when Mikey went down.  I was just trying to get here healthy.  The course was a really good, technical, Baja course.  That’s what it’s all about. “
Logan Holladay/Quinn Cody [13x] were third in the class and fifth overall among motorcycles.  Holladay is a 17-year old.
 “It was tough; I crashed about eight miles from the start this morning,” Cody said.  “We tried to do some work on the bike and then work my way back and pass some people to make it here. Logan Holladay drove from El Rio to the bottom of Mike’s Sky Ranch and then from Valle Trinidad to Ojos Negros.  I wish I didn´t crash but what can you do?”
Jimmy Lewis/Dave Donatoni [15x] finished fourth in the class and eighth among motorcycles.  They posted the best ever finish for a BMW bike, on their BMW BP2.
Jason Trubey/Luke Dodson [107x] won the class, becoming the sixth different winner in Class 21 in this race in the last six years.
 “It was a good ride, but we had a lot of issues in the first 140 miles,” Trubey reflected.  “Our pit crew didn´t make it to the pit at mile 50.  I had to bum gas which took about ten minutes because no one wanted to give me gas.  Then about ten miles after that I hit a booby trap and went over the bars.  It destroyed the bike, the muffler.  So I had to ride to about mile 100 where I replaced the muffler and checked and straightened everything out.  After that everything went smooth.  My partners Luke and Zack Dalton and I split up the ride evenly, each doing roughly 140 miles.  Zack started the race and rode to mile 30.  I rode from 30 to 140.  Luke rode from mile 140 to 290.  Zack got on again and rode from 290 to 395.  Then I rode from there to the finish for 30 miles.  It was wild out there, just like Baja is supposed to be.  It was a good time.  We had a lot of fun.”
Shaun Hanson/Jim McKay [106x] finished third in the class, improving on their fourth-place showing at the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 race in March.
 “Shaun Hanson started the race and went for 25 miles,” McKay said.  “I got on and went through the pine forest down to Trinidad.  After I got off there, Terry got on and did Mike´s Loop.  Jason Lindstrom came around then and took it to the coast.  He got the bike back to me and I brought it to the finish.  Everything was really good except right off the start Shawn crashed going up to Ojos and basically took himself out of the race.  We had to piece it together by riding a couple of sections we weren´t planning on riding.  But we got it together and salvaged a race out of it.”
 “The course was fast and flawless,” said co-driver Jason Lindstrom.  “There had been lots of pre-running and that made it perfect (by opening up the course).  No problems with the bike while I was on it.  This is the best race I´ve ever had.  Channel and focus is what I use to come up with a speed to get a place standing in a prestigious race like this.”
Brian Pinard/Taber Murphy [301x] and Ron Wilson/Scott Myers [313x] both crossed the finish line in exactly 9:45:10, creating a two-way tie for first place in the class.  Pinard and Murphy were 11th in Class 22 in last year’s race here, but have now won their second consecutive race after winning Class 30 in the Tecate SCORE SAN Felipe 250.  Wilson and Myers were on the Class 30 winning team in the 2005 SCORE Baja 1000, riding that race along with Brian Pinard.
 “I started today,” Murphy said.  “I rode the first 150 miles and passed it off to Jonah Street, who rode back down to Trinidad.  Then Brian Pinard got on and rode it back to the coast and handed the bike back to me at Ojos and I brought it back in.  It was a clean ride except there’s no water in the bike.  We poked a hole in the radiator at the Valle de Trinidad but it’s a (Honda XR650), it doesn’t need water to run.  This morning the ride was super, super hard with the sun coming up, the fog, really, really dusty and I just had to work my way through traffic and ride smart and not pitch the bike away and just let Brian go to work.  I feel really good to be back at the finish line.  I’m looking for a nice, cold Tecate though.  It’s really good to be back in Ensenada.  It’s a lot cooler here.”
 “Taber (Murphy) took it from the start and handed it off to Jonah Street, who is a veteran down here,” Pinhard said.  “He gave the bike to me with about two minutes on Ron Wilson and then Ron caught me because he is an excellent rider and former teammate.  Then he had a problem and I got around him and then I had a problem with Baja.  I crashed when I hit a rock and couldn’t get the bike started for a second.  I made it to Ojos and gave the bike back to Taber, who came into the finish very close to the Wilson team.  I think this is the first time there is a tie (for first place) so I can’t complain.  This is a challenging and fun course.”
 “Ron (Wilson) got off the bike,” Myers recapped.  “I don’t know if he crashed and got hurt.  He just handed me the bike at Ojos which was unplanned and I put my gear on and he came in and I think he was hurting.  I’m not too sure.  And I took the bike and have done the best I could.  I rode the first 140 miles to Pandencia and Steve Parnett got on and did Mike’s loop and then Ron got on and did the Coast and handed it back to me at Ojos.  The bike was unbelievable, we rode a 450x.  It was so perfect.  I tore open my right arm sleeve on a tree.  I caught a little branch which happens a lot.  I didn’t hit any animals, people, trucks, nothing.  It was a good year.  It was a good course.  I loved it especially from mile 50 to the 140 mark.  That part made it the best course ever.  It was really dusty but really fun.”
J. David Ruvalcaba/Rogelio Pando [317x] are both from Ensenada and owned the distinction of being the first Mexicans to come across the finish line, completing the course in 10:38:23. 
 “This was a very good experience,” Ruvalcaba exclaimed.  “I am very happy to be here and to be the first Mexican to get to the finish line. The road was difficult, a lot of fog in the morning and also there was a lot of dust, but fortunately we are here.”
Baron Pickett/Steve Grieb [311x]
 “I raced the first part to Ojos Negros and changed drivers several times,” Pickett recanted. “Sal (Fish) put a great course together.  Off road it was a great course.  I can’t say enough about it - we had a blast.”
Jim O’Neal/Craig Adams/Tom Willis/Eric Brown [400x] won Class 40, extending Jim O’Neal’s claim as having the longest current winning streak in SCORE Baja 500 races as he has garnered a win each year since 2001.  O’Neal won his eighth title in this race as he also won in Class 50.  That total puts him in fifth all-time in that category, and he is the only person to win two classes in two different years (2002 and 2006).  O’Neal’s trophy case now includes six trophies from SCORE San Felipe 250 races and from the last two SCORE Baja 1000 races in addition to his eight here.  Adams has a long history of being part of winning teams, while Willis and Brown were last-minute add-ons to O’Neal’s team.
 “It was a very good experience,” Adams said.  “Dusty, very dusty.  I fell a couple of times in the dust.  There was still race traffic going out in the finish. Overall it was a good ride, very dusty, the bike ran good, it held together.  I rode the first 150 miles.”
Jim O’Neal/Doug Heil/Mike Sixberry/Rick Dill/Andy Kircker/Robert Hanson [500x] came in first in Class 50.
Danny Prather/Mike Cafro [10a] not only won their class and were the first ATV finishers, only five motorcycles beat their elapsed time of 10:23:45.  They averaged 40.81 mph after placing 10th in the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.  Cafro was the driver of record for three previous SCORE Baja 500 races, in 1994, 1995 and 2002.
 “I am a mess,” observed Prather.  “It was a long day; we have been shifting from second to first the whole day.  We rode our hearts out - we needed to win and we got it!  Wayne Matlock was an excellent competitor; he is a good friend of mine.  Mike Cafro started and did the first 30 miles.  The course was marked very well.  I had a blast in the trees; they were excellent, what can I say? I had fun.”
Chad Erl/George Erl [151x] won Class 20 in what was a revival of the class which has not been used since 1993 in a SCORE Baja 500 race and 1996 in any SCORE race.  George is no stranger to the winner’s circle at SCORE Baja 500s, having won a total of seven times here.  His first win in this competition came in 1978, and he has won two times in each of the last three decades (1981, 1982, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2006).
 “It was a good race, the team did good and the bike ran great” said the younger Erl, Chad.  “This is my first race in Mexico, the experience is good, it was not too tough.  I’m glad the bike stayed together.”
Carlos Gonzalez/Javier Hernandez [254x] eeked out a win by 52 seconds over his nearest competitor.  The difference in average speed was .048 mph.
 “It was good!” proclaimed Gonzales after crossing the line.  “I drove until mile 50, then Luis Castellanos to mile 140, Noel Gonzalez then Javier Hernandez then Noel again. After that is was Eduardo Rosas and then I finished.  We were fighting the first place with 253x (Mike Crawford/Jason Keys) during the whole race up until Ojos Negros.  He was in first place and we just passed him before getting here.  The road was dusty and difficult and it was also very warm.”
• The 438 starters marks an all-time record for SCORE races in Mexico, eclipsing the previous standard of 384, set in the 1976 SCORE Baja 500 and tied in the 1977 SCORE Baja 500.  There were 464 total entries this year, marking what was most likely the second most in SCORE history, behind the 1988 SCORE Parker 400 total.
• This marked the fifth time in SCORE history that at least 400 starters have left the line.  The other six times all occurred in the SCORE Parker 400 races in the 1980’s.  Here is a look at all the SCORE races which have had at least 400 starters:
o 452 starters in 1988 (249 finishers)
o 438 starters in 2006 (222 finishers)
o 421 starters in 1980 (225 finishers)
o 419 starters in 1987 (199 finishers)
o 415 starters in 1986 (207 finishers)
o 403 starters in 1989 (221 finishers)
o 400 starters in 1981 (197 finishers)
• Just over half of the starters completed the race, as 222 of the 438 who left the line managed to finish the race within the 18-hour time limit.  The 222 finishers not only set a record for the most finishers in any SCORE race in Mexico, it also was more than the number of starters in 14 SCORE Baja 500s over the 38-year span this race has been held.
• Of the first nine four-wheeled vehicles to finish, eight were SCORE Trophy-Trucks, while a Class 1 vehicle occupied the fourth spot on that list.  Last year a Class 1 car was less than five minutes behind the overall fastest finisher, a SCORE Trophy-Truck, but this year saw the first Class 1 car over 32 minutes slower than the overall leader.