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Baja 500: 39 SCORE Trophy-Trucks at the 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500.

With a race-record field of over 450 already guaranteed for next month's 39th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500, the second-oldest desert race in the world, attention quickly re-focuses on the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division. Since its debut in 1994, SCORE Trophy-Trucks have captured the overall victory in the popular race in 10 of 13 years, including the first seven and the last three.

The super-talented field of 39 SCORE Trophy-Trucks will showcase the spectacular 800-horsepower, high-tech, unlimited production trucks that comprise the featured SCORE racing division.

The former SCORE Trophy-Truck Tecate SCORE Baja 500 race winners entered this year are: Larry Ragland (3 wins--2000 solo, 2003 with Mark Miller and 2006 with Brian Collins), No. 12 Chevy Silverado with current teammate Brian Collins, Robby Gordon (2005), No. 71 Chevy CK1500; Alan Pflueger (2004), No. 28 Chevy Silverado; Ryan Arciero (2003 with Mark Miller), No. 82 Chevy CK1500 with current teammate Bob Shepard, Rob MacCachren (1996), No. 3 Ford F-150 with current teammate Mark Post.

Of that distinguished group, Ragland (2000 and 2006), Gordon, Pflueger and MacCachren also earned the overall victory in this summer desert racing classic in the same year they won the SCORE Trophy-Truck class.

Round 3 of the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series, the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series, will feature over 475 entries, competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, will be held June 1-3 in Ensenada, Mexico. Traditionally one of the most popular events on the SCORE schedule, over 150,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the world's best desert racers in action at this year's race.

With late entries excepted up to race morning, nearly 475 entries are expected from 30 U.S. States from Hawaii to Rhode Island as well as Mexico, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa. The green flag will drop for the race at 6 a.m. on Saturday (June 1) for the motorcycle and ATV classes in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, followed by the car and truck classes three hours after the last ATV at approximately 10 a.m. The 436 vehicles entered to date include 248 cars and trucks and 188 motorcycles and ATVs.

The SCORE Trophy-Truck field for the SCORE Baja 500 includes 58 of 81 race winners in the 14-year history of the marquee racing division, seven of the 13 Tecate SCORE Baja 500 race winners in the history and eight of the 13 all-time SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champions.

"SCORE International has been the premier desert racing series for over 30 years, but when Sal Fish introduced the incredible SCORE Trophy-Truck division in 1994, he took the sport and SCORE into another universe," said Ragland, who has nine career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins (two with current teammate Brian Collins) and six class wins (four overalls) in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500. "Baja has been very good to me over the years and teaming with Brian Collins has been a great experience. Brian and I compliment each other in the desert very well and last year in the SCORE Baja 500 we had just about as flawless race as you possibly can in the rugged Baja desert. And the Collins Motorsports crew is as good as any I have ever worked with in my career."

While SCORE Trophy-Trucks have captured the overall race win 10 times in the first 13 years of the class, the two unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race car teams that have won the other three years are both entered this year as well. Both were among three Class 1s in last year's top 10 overall as SCORE Trophy-Trucks had seven.

Mark McMillin, who won Class 1 and the overall in 2001, returns this year with five class wins and two overalls in this race in his No. 144 McMillin Racing Jimco-Chevy. Las Vegas' Troy Herbst, with help since 2002 from Larry Roeseler won Class 1 and the overall in 2002 and 2003. Herbst has won Class 1 in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 an amazing seven times including five of the last seven years in the No. 100 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Smithbuilt-Ford. Roeseler himself has 16 career class race wins in this race. Besides the two overall wins with Herbst, he has also helped nine motorcycle teams claim the overall title during his illustrious career.

NASCAR's Robby Gordon, who has won this race three times, is a NASCAR Cup Team Owner/Driver and is entered in his No. 71 Robby Gordon Racing Chevy CK1500 and will once again pull double-duty by racing with SCORE on Saturday (June 2) in Baja and with NASCAR on Sunday (June 3) in Dover, Del.

Pflueger, the prominent Honolulu businessman who has two career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins, is third in this year's point standings after an impressive second-place finish in March's Tecate SCORE Baja 250 in the No. 28 Pflueger Racing Chevy Silverado.

Arciero, another second generation SCORE desert racer who has three career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins, is racing this year with 2005 SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion in the No. 82 Arciero-Miller Racing Chevy Silverado.

MacCachren, who has five career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins and was the class season pointchamp and the Tecate SCORE Baja 500 overall race winner in 1996, is teamed this season with team for the first time with owner Mark Post, who has four career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins in the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150.

Besides the returning race winners and their current teammates, among the other luminaries in the stellar SCORE Trophy-Truck field are brothers Tim and Ed Herbst, B.J. Baldwin, Garron Cadiente, Andy McMillin, Josh Baldwin, Carl Renezeder, Cameron Steele, Gus Vildosola, Mike Julson and Jesse James.

Leading the group of contenders are the Herbst brothers of Las Vegas, the all-time winningest drivers in SCORE Trophy-Truck history with 11 race wins and four season point championships (1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003) in the No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150.

With two career SCORE Trophy-Truck race wins, Las Vegas' B.J. Baldwin is the reigning SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champ and last year's championship season included a fourth-place finish in class and fifth overall in this race in the No. 1 Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado. After a season-opening victory in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge and a fourth place in the SCORE Baja 250 in March, Baldwin is tied with the Post/MacCachren team in the SCORE Trophy-Truck point standings. Post/MacCachren finished fourth in Laughlin and were the SCORE Trophy-Truck and overall race winners at the Tecate SCORE Baja 250.

Cadiente who was the 2006 SCORE Rookie of the Year with one career SCORE Trophy-Truck race win, is fourth in the class point standings this year in the No. 38 G&R Racing Ford F-150. McMillin is a third-generation desert racer, whose first SCORE Trophy-Truck race win was last year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 with Robby Gordon. McMillin, who won Class 1 in this race in 2005 with his father Scott McMillin, will team with his father in SCORE Trophy-Truck this year, driving the No. 31 McMillin Motorsports Chevy CK1500.

Baldwin is always a strong competitor and is currently a close sixth in the class point standings in the No. 86 Baldwin Racing Ford F-150. Renezeder who is the 2006 DIRTsports Magazine Driver of the Year, has struggled in the first two races this year, but is usually among the leaders during every race in the No. 17 Team Renezeder Chevy Silverado.

Steele is the versatile action sports TV announcer and SCORE racer who competes in three classes in the SCORE series. Steele, whose wife Heidi competes in Class 7SX, will race in SCORE Trophy-Truck,SCORE Liteand Class 22 (open motorcycles). In SCORE Trophy-Truck he will debut his new No. 16 Desert Assasins Chevy Silverado and he and fellow second-generation desert racer Kash Vessels are the current point leaders in the SCORE Lite class.

Leading a strong group of Mexican competitors in this race, Gus Vildosola, of Mexicali, is racing this season with his son Gus Vildosola Jr. in the No. 4 Vildosola Racing Ford F-150. Gus senior has one career SCORE Trophy-Truck career race win and the father-son team is coming off of a solid sixth place finish in this year's Tecate SCORE Baja 250. Gus Jr. will also be racing in the Protruck class, where he is the defending SCORE season point champion.

Julson, who owns the award-winning Jimco chassis building company, has won Class 1 twice in this race and is in his second season piloting his Jimco-built No. 20 Jimco Racing Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck. Jesse James, whose wife is legendary motion picture star Sandra Bullock, is the CEO of the world-famous West Cost Choppers company and was the star of the old Monster Garage television series. He drives the No. 54 Chevy Silverado and continues to improve with each race.

For the first time in race history, Volkswagen of America officially entered two of its Dakar Rally factory teams. Driven by American Mark Miller and South African Giniel de Villers, the two turbo-diesel VW Race Touareg SUVs will compete in a special SCORE Int'l Truck class. They will start between SCORE Trophy-Truck and Class 1. Miller, who has won the SCORE Trophy-Truck class twice in the SCORE Baja 500 (in 2002 with Larry Ragland and in 2003 with Ryan Arciero) was fourth overall in this year's Dakar Rally while de Villers won four stages in the rally and finished 11th overall.

To date, the Pro 4-Wheel vehicles classes with the most entries are: Class 1 (49), SCORE Trophy-Truck (39), SCORE Lite (27), and Class 1-2/1600 (23).

Leading the Motorcycle classes in entries so far are Class 22 (23), Class 30 (20), Classs 40 and Class 21 (18 each). Class 25 for open ATVs has 16 entries. Among the Sportsman classes, SPT Motorcycles over 250cc has 48 entries and SPT ATV has 17.

The starting line area will once again be in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center on Boulevard Costero in downtown Ensenada, Mexico. The finish line will be where it was last year - inside the Campo de Softball Jose Negro Soto stadium at 11th Street (Calle Once)and Espinoza Avenue in Ensenada. The stadium is located approximately 1.5 miles east of the start line area. Vehicles will start in 30-second intervals in the elapsed-time race.

Pre-race festivities at the 39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 will include the colorful SCORE Midway and tech inspection between the San Nicolas Hotel and the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in Ensenada from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday (June 1). Racer registration will be held in the Grand Ballroom at the San Nicolas Hotel from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday (May 31) and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday (June 1).

The mandatory racer's briefing will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday (June 1) in the Cathedral Room at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. At 11 a.m. on Sunday (June 3), the awards celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Hotel. As SCORE officials finalize the course layout for this year's race, pre-running will begin on Sat., May 19.

2007/05/09 | 10:02 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Score

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