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SCORE Baja 1000: Nearly 350 entries, Racers from 37 States and 14 countries

Saturday's ‘live’ drawing for starting positions is any indication, November's 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race should add another colorful chapter to the legacy of the world’s best known desert race. Brian Collins in SCORE Trophy-Truck and Grant Steele in Class 22 for open motorcycles drew the pole positions for the legendary granddaddy of all desert races.

An impressive total of 296 vehicles officially entered in time for Saturday’s live drawing for starting positions, by class, held during the SCORE Fiesta at the newest Off Road Wareouse facility in Temecula, California (USA).

With nearly 350 entries expected to compete in 28 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, the granddaddy of all desert races will be held Nov. 19-23 in Ensenada, Mexico. Completing its 35th year as the World’s foremost desert racing sanctioning body, the event is the finale of the five-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series. To date entries have come from 37 U.S. States and 14 countries.

While late entries are accepted up to race day, the total of 296 entries officially entered in time for Saturday’s live start drawing represents the third-largest drawing total in the 41-year history of the storied event. The Saturday included the Baja Pits bar-b-que, a pit crew competition, vendor’s village, along with appearances by several of the top SCORE desert racers and numerous SCORE desert racing vehicles on display. There were also be special showings of official SCORE Baja race DVDs produced by Aura360 along with a raffle for Coco’s Corner and another for Baja Pits.

With massive crowds reaching nearly 300,000 anticipated to again be spread out along the rugged course that travels through the Pine Forest to near Mexicali, down Laguna Salada to San Felipe and back to the Pacific Coast through Santo Tomas covering much of the northern half of the majestic Baja California peninsula. The race will start for the 34th time and finish for the 19th time in Ensenada.

The motorcycle and ATV classes will start their journey at 6:30 a.m. (Friday, Nov. 21) with the car and truck classes starting at approximately 10:30 a.m., or three hours after the last ATV leaves the line. Vehicles will leave in 30-second intervals in the elapsed-time race and while the fastest finishers are expected to complete the course in approximately 14 hours. All vehicles will have a 31-hour time limit to become official finishers in the legendary adventure.

The race will start and finish on Boulevard Costero along the picturesque Bahia de Todos Santos in front of the historical Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada.

Three entries with second-generation SCORE desert racers feature drivers who are running NASCAR series. Las Vegas’ Brendan Gaughan is a NASCAR Truck Series regular who will race in the unlimited Class 1 in Baja, while Justin Loftin, Westmorland, Calif., who drives in the NASCAR West Series and Brian Ickler, Poway, Calif., who has won four races this year in the NASCAR East Series.

"To have 295 entries in the drawing for start positions for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is incredible any year, but to have it this year with everything going on in the U.S. and the world is phenomenal," said Sal Fish, the legendary desert racing pioneer who has been part of SCORE since soon after it was founded in 1973. "We have had eight races in 40 previous races in this event with 300 or more starters so it looks like this year’s race will join the very elite 300 club."

Pre-race festivities on Thursday, Nov. 19, for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, including the vastly popular tech and contingency of all vehicles and the SCORE Manufacturer’s Midway will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Boulevard Costero in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. The pre-race mandatory driver/rider briefing will be held Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral Room at the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center. Racer and media registration will be held at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19 and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20.

While entries will be accepted up to race morning (Friday, Nov. 21), late entries will be assigned the next available number and starting position within each class. The post-race Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Survivor’s Celebration will be held poolside at the San Nicolas Resort Hotel at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23.

Besides Collins/Hovey, Miller/Arciero and Gordon, other entries among the veterans in the talented 30-truck field in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division include Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas (No. 1-Ford F-150), B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas (97-Chevy Silverado), Roger Norman, Reno, Nev./Larry Roeseler, Irvine, Calif. (8-Ford F-150), Robbie Pierce/Mike Julson, Santee, Calif. (35-Chevy Silverado), Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Rick Geiser, Phoenix (Cadilllac Escalade), Chad Ragland, Vista, Calif./Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz. (33-Toyota Tundra), Mexico's Gus Vildosola/Gus Vildosola Sr. (No. 4-Ford F-150), Honolulu’s Alan Pflueger (28-Chevy Silverado), Ron Whitton, Mesa, Ariz. (39-Ford F-150), Pete Sohren, Glendale, Ariz. (2-Ford F-150), Scott Steinberger, Cypress, Calif./Mike Childress, Wrightwood, Calif. (7-Ford F-150), Jesse James, Sunset Beach, Calif. (54-Chevy CK1500), Rick D. Johnson, Barstow, Calif./Ricky Johnson, Trabuco Canyon, Calif. (72-Ford F-150), Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix (84-Chevy Silverado), Ed Stout, Irvine, Calif. (13-Ford F-150) and Bobby Baldwin, Las Vegas (96-Chevy Silverado).

The car and truck classes with the most entries to date are SCORE Trophy-Truck (30), Class 1 (27), SCORE Lite and Class 5/1600 (13 each), Class 1-2/1600 (12) and Class 10 (10).

2008/10/25 | 14:44 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Francisco Aguiar Gonzalez

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