Saturday, December 15, 2007

Two-time Cup champ Johnson to race former F1 ace Schumacher

http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/columns/story?seriesId=2&columnist=smith_marty&id=3154388

LONDON -- Many Formula 1 racing fans scoff at the very thought of NASCAR, consider it no more racing than a Monster Truck rally, and perceive it as a dog 'n' pony show contrived from corporate marketing that belongs on the main stage at the county fair. Conversely, many NASCAR fans fly the single-digit salute at F1, pay it little -- if any -- mind, figure it's a glorified homecoming parade at 200 mph staged in some faraway land they can't even pronounce.

Jimmie Johnson

AP Photo/Terry Renna

Jimmie Johnson calls his head-to-head battle with Michael Schumacher a "great opportunity to race against the best in the world."

Love lost? Not so much. It's a lack-of-respect thing.Well, folks, listen up. Regardless of your respective allegiance, come Sunday evening you'll have unmistakable bragging rights. Why? Because the very best in NASCAR is set to strap in and square off against the very best in F1 -- in identically prepared cars -- as part of the 20th running of the Race of Champions Nation's Cup.Race organizers told ESPN.com on Thursday that Jimmie Johnson and Michael Schumacher will race head-to-head in Sunday's event.Back-to-back Cup champ vs. seven-time F1 title-winner. No excuses."It's one hell of a great opportunity to race against the best in the world, and as a driver that's what you're always looking for -- it's what you want," Johnson said Thursday while dining on sushi at Nobu London. "It's a different type of race. We're only going about 30 mph [average], so we'll have to be really technically sound. Hitting your marks will be key."Thirty miles per hour. That may seem mundane -- your granny drives that speed on the highway, after all -- but it's not. Far from it. Having covered this event last year in Paris, I will testify to its intensity and precision. These boys are here for three reasons: (1) It's fun as hell; (2) To beat the best in the world; (3) To win for their country. And they mean it. Go through the motions? Get embarrassed. "Everyone recognizes [Schumacher] as a champion, and after winning my second straight championship in NASCAR, I hope I'm perceived that way," Johnson said. "Beating him and helping Team USA win the Nations Cup would be the perfect ending to the best year of my career."If Johnson prevails over Schumacher, it will boost the perception of stock car racing overseas. Schumacher retired last year, but don't think for a minute he's lost anything behind the wheel. And rest assured, he wants to win this badly, too. Some say NASCAR and F1 don't pay mind to one another because they have completely separate goals. Whatever. Everybody wants to be king. Think about it. For a random guy here in London to pick up the paper Monday morning and see that a NASCAR guy beat one of the most celebrated drivers of all time would have to positively affect NASCAR. And though neither side will admit it, there is an unspoken rivalry between NASCAR and F1. Juan Pablo Montoya told me earlier this year that I was reaching for something that's not there. He'd know, so he's probably right. But it's the biggest thing in the States vs. the biggest thing in Europe. How could there not be a rivalry? All said, this faceoff is a race fan's dream scenario. Johnson and U.S. teammate Travis Pastrana will run head-to-head against Team Germany, for whom Schumacher is paired with Sebastian Vettel of F1's Scuderia Toro Rosso team.Johnson and Schumacher will be driving four-wheel-drive Fiat Grande Punto S 2000s in a two-lap sprint before handing the wheel over to their respective teammates.The ROC concept is akin to that employed by the former IROC in America -- pitting champion drivers from various forms of motorsport against one another in identical cars to determine who's best. But whereas IROC was run on ovals, the Race of Champions is staged on an asphalt track laid inside a stadium. After several years at the Stade de France in Paris, the event moves this year to London's hallowed Wembley Stadium. And ROC is broken down into two competitions -- a team competition in which eight two-man teams will battle for the Nation's Cup, and an individual competition in which every driver on hand races to be crowned best of the best.Nation's Cup comes first. USA vs. Germany. Johnson vs. Schumacher. But if you ask me, there's a lot more on the line than just Johnson vs. Schumacher. Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage. He can be reached at ESPNsider@aol.com.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Monster Energy Steps Up As Title Sponsor Of The 2008 AMA Supercross Series

Corona, Calif., based company will front the highly popular American stadium-based off road motorcycle racing series which begins Jan. 5th in California CORONA, Calif., (Dec. 13, 2007) - -Monster Energy, in cooperation with Live Nation Motor Sports, Inc., announced today that Monster Energy will be the title sponsor for the upcoming 2008 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, beginning at Anaheim' 's Angel Stadium, Jan. 5th. " "Today marks the opening of a new and exciting chapter in the history of Monster Energy," "said Monster Energy spokesman Scott Sepkovic. " "Monster has been a very loyal and generous supporter of the sport of motocross at all levels. And with the move to step up as the title sponsor of supercross, Monster' 's moved to bolster its already stratospheric brand awareness within the industry and beyond." " " "Fans were used to seeing the iconic M-claw logo on top of the podium with Carmichael, McGrath, Langston, Stewart and Villopoto - among others. Now it' 'll be seen everywhere." " Since the sport' 's inception here in the States in 1972 (LA Coliseum), Monster Energy AMA Supercross has stood as the reigning king of all action sports. With jumps and air time that boggle the mind, along with the most fit and focused athletes in the competition motorsports world, the partnership between supercross and action sports-friendly Monster Energy is a natural. " "We view the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series as the pinnacle of action sports competition," "said Monster Energy Sports Marketing Director John Lee. " "Monster Energy' 's loyal fan base, including the ever-growing Monster Army, will for certain tap deep into the action sports community to help deliver Monster Energy AMA Supercross to an even wider demographic than its enjoyed in the past." " Lee added that the legions of loyal Monster Energy drinkers, along with the core action sports athletes Monster backs (skate, surf, snow and BMX), will tune into the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series and continue to add to the sport' 's already solid fan base. " "The sport of supercross, though mainly based here in the States, is considered a global property in terms of its scope," "said Lee. " "Monster Energy recognizes this and, as we work to distribute our product line to all points on the planet, we' 'll no doubt enjoy the great acceptance of supercross within the action sports and motorsports communities and the additional brand awareness it will deliver for Monster Energy around the world." " The 2008 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series schedule: January 5, 2008 Anaheim, Calif. Angel Stadium January 12, 2008 Phoenix Chase Field January 19, 2008 Anaheim, Calif. Angel Stadium January 26, 2008 San Francisco, AT& T Park February 2, 2008 Anaheim, Calif. Angel Stadium February 9, 2008 San Diego Qualcomm Stadium February 16, 2008 Houston Reliant Stadium February 23, 2008 Atlanta Georgia Dome March 1, 2008 Indianapolis RCA Dome March 7, 2008 Daytona, Fla. Daytona Motor Speedway March 15, 2008 Minneapolis Metrodome March 29, 2008 Toronto Rogers Centre April 5, 2008 Irving, Texas Texas Stadium April 12, 2008 Detroit Ford Field April 19, 2008 St. Louis Edward Jones Dome April 26, 2008 Seattle Qwest Field May 3, 2008 Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium Monster Energy supports the sport. Be it BMX, skate, FMX, MotoGP, MX, road racing, supermoto, off-road, MTB, off-road, surf, snow - - name it - -the athletes are rockin' 'Monster Energy more than anything these days. Check out all the types - -Original Monster Energy, Monster Lo-Carb, Monster Assault, Monster Khaos, the new Monster/fruit juice hybrid called " "M-80" "and the ground-breaking Java Monster premium coffee & cream supercharged with our Monster Energy blend. Everybody involved with the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series will be diggin' ' ' 'em - -so will you. On the ' 'Net at www.monsterenergy.com

Returning to San Felipe, Baja California

Returning to San Felipe, Baja California, for March race

Finalizes six-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series Schedule

22nd Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 to be held March 14-15, 2008

Along the picturesque azure waters of the Sea of Cortez

LOS ANGELES—Following lengthy negotiations, SCORE International has officially announced that the location for the popular ‘Spring Break’ desert race held annually in March in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula will return to San Felipe for 2008. The 22nd Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 will be held March 14-15 in the quaint fishing village on the East coast of Baja California along the tranquil Sea of Cortez.

Because of significant political situations beyond its control, SCORE was forced at the last minute to move the 2007 event to the West coast of the peninsula, where it started in Ensenada and finished in Santo Tomas.

With the location finalized for the March race, SCORE International is ready to launch its six-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series.

Keeping the same venues and all but one of the same race weekends for its five open desert races and one stadium-style short-course event as the past three years, the 2008 SCORE Desert Series will again feature three races in Southern Nevada and three in Mexico.

“We were forced to move the 2007 spring race on less than 10 days notice and we are confident that the issues that affected us have all been resolved,” said Sal Fish, CEO/President of SCORE, which is based in Los Angeles. “We never wanted to leave San Felipe in the first place so we are obviously very excited to return to San Felipe where we have had such great races over the years. We are finalizing details with Mexican authorities that will enhance some of the spectator areas for the race.”

In confirming the commitment of the Mexican authorities to bring this popular race back to San Felipe, Rodolfo Valdez, Mayor of the city of Mexicali that has jurisdiction over San Felipe, expressed complete cooperation from all parties involved to execute the final permits for the event.

“We want this race to return to our area where it has grown to be one of our very best special events and the economic impact of the race speaks for itself,” said Valdez. “We have the full support of state and federal authorities. We are committed to have this spectacular event in San Felipe for the full three years of our term in office and into the future beyond that.”

In 2006, the last time the race was held in San Felipe, there were a race-record 341 starters. That number was topped in 2007 in Ensenada when a new record of 394 starters took the green flag in the race.

The SCORE Desert Series, which features 28 Pro and six Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycle and ATVs, will kick off Jan. 24-27 with the popular 14th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in the Southern Nevada resort city of Laughlin on the banks of the Colorado River. The season will conclude Nov. 19-22 with the 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert racing, in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.

“The SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is the most unique and increasingly popular desert race in the U.S. and the legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is the best known desert race in the world,” added Fish, who has been at the head of SCORE since 1974. “These two races provide wonderful ways to start and finish our SCORE racing season.”

SCORE also announced the SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup IV, will be held July 17-19 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is a special fan-friendly short-course point’s race for select classes on the Dirt Track at LVMS.

Since its debut in 1995, the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge has helped establish Laughlin as a viable host for special events. Thousands of spectators join over 200 racers and their crews in converging on the city

each year to watch the best of the best desert racers compete in a unique-format, two-day race that includes a temporary stadium surrounding the start/finish line area and the main pits.

A total of 18 different Pro and two Sportsman classes for cars and trucks are split into seven groups in Laughlin, each running as part of one of seven races of three to six laps each over the much-abbreviated course each day. The SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge also includes a pre-race activity that is not part of any other race on the schedule—the $25,000 Laughlin Leap. The Laughlin Leap is held under the lights on Thursday evening of race week at the Laughlin Events Park.

Contingency in Laughlin, held for the first time in an area in the heart of the Laughlin resort area. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, 2008, the colorful contingency and manufacturer’s midway will be located on Bruce Woodbury Drive at the intersection of Casino Drive.

Round 2 and 3 of the 2008 SCORE Desert Series will both be held in Mexico. The 22nd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 is set for March 14-15, followed by the 40th anniversary of the vastly popular Tecate SCORE Baja 500, May 30-June 1, in Ensenada, Baja California.

The season-ending 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 will be a loop race, starting and finishing in Ensenada, Baja California.

The series returns to Southern Nevada for Round 4 and Round 5. Round 4 will be the special SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup IV short-course event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Round 5 will be the 13th Annual SCORE Terrible’s Primm 300 which will be held Sept. 5-6 in Primm, Nev., 45 miles south of Las Vegas.

SCORE International, founded in 1973 by the late Mickey Thompson and headed by Sal Fish since 1974, continues today as the premier sanctioning body in the sport of desert racing. SCORE races feature 18 Pro and three Sportsman classes for cars and trucks in the U.S. with 10 additional Pro and three more Sportsman classes for motorcycles and ATVs competing in the races in Mexico. SCORE races in the U.S. average 200 entries while the average in Mexico, with motorcycle and ATV classes running as well as the cars and trucks is 350.

Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Sunoco Race Fuels/Bryant Petroleum-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Volkswagen-official vehicle, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, American Racing ATX Series-official wheel, Slime-official tire sealant, Red Bull--official energy drink and Bosch Power Tools-official power tool. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Terrible Herbst Inc., Blue C Enthusiast Advertising, Kartek Off-Road, Fram, Autolite, Prestone, Bendix, American Suzuki, NAPA Chassis, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.

The SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Committee, the Laughlin Visitors Bureau, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Las Vegas Events.

The SCORE Terrible’s Primm 300 is sponsored by Terrible Herbst Inc., Las Vegas Events and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Additional associate sponsors for races in Mexico are, Fideicomiso Publio para la Promocion Turistica de Ensenada, the government of Baja California, the State Tourism Department of Baja California and the Tourism Department of Mexicali.

For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2008 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.

2008 SCORE Desert Series

Schedule of Events

Date, Event/Location

Jan. 24-27 14th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge

Laughlin, Nevada

March 14-15 22nd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250

San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

May 30-June 1 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 500

Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

July 17-19* SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup IV*

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sept. 5-6 13th SCORE Terrible’s Primm 300

Primm, Nevada

Nov. 19-22 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000

Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

*select classes, closed-course event

Vildosola Racing: mission accomplished

Mexicali B.C. December 10 2007. - For immediate release

In the middle one of the most toughest and intense battle in the Protruck series by many years, Tavo Vildosola claimed his second title in the Baja Protruck this past Saturday at the Glen Helen Baja Cup IV, Tavo on his way to be crowned champion of the series also give to Toyota his first manufacturers cup after 11 seasons of competition in the series.

The Vildosola Racing Toyota Tundra, was a proof of endurance and speed all season long, with two wins, one second place and two top 10 finished, the points lead was very good before this event, at this race we changed the race plan we used to, instead of running hard all day, Tavo concentrated on keep the truck in good shape, from the 2nd half of the race he started to make some time on the competition and a good pit stop after his first hour of racing, he was running on the third place.

When he was on the middle of a good battle for the second place with Alan Levinson, “The Mexicana Logistics Protruck started to have some problems, two days before the race rained very hard, the track has some changes and nobody can practice due the mud on all the place, weather cooperated on Saturday, but some mud holes didn’t dry before the race start, that mud started to stay on the radiator and we started to run hot due the deficient cooling system, we stopped to put some water and clean the radiator but we lost some places and the shot of defend our title at this race”.

Tavo continued: “we ran very consistent all day, we don’t make any error and no flat tires, the crew did a great job on the hot pit and we gain some spots after the pit stop, at that point we started to run more fast and gain some more positions, we are very confident we really had a great opportunity to win this one, but we are very happy to win back to back our second title in the series”.

We are ready to make our assault next year in the Trophy Truck class, we always love to race in Protruck series, but now its time to do our best and compete against the best teams in the sport and capture our first title in the Trophy Truck series, my dad and I will be racing the full Score series and some other selected events so be ready.

Vildosola Racing’s are sponsored by: Mexicana Logistics, Aguilas del Desierto, BFGoodrich Tires, Mastercraft, Papas & Beer, Kartek, PIAA Lights, OGIO, MOMO and Toyota Racing Development.

To check out pictures, videos, previous press releases, the team’s progress in 2007 and other information go to www.vildosolaracing.com or the team youtube site at www.youtube.com/vildosolaracing

for additional info on Vildosola Racing contact:
Victor Gasca - vgazca@vildosolaracing.com (619) 805-8444, Mex (686) 119-5618

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Durka Durka Photo End of the Year Sale! 1/3 off

Durka Durka Photo is offering a year end sale on all prints (December 2007 events not on sale).

Get 1/3 off (33%) all prints

Photos make great gifts.

Enter coupon code holidurka to get 1/3 off your next order.
Coupon may only be used one time per person.
Coupon good through December 31, 2007

Happy Holidays from Durka Durka Photo.

LUGO\OLLIGES RACING EARNS 2007 BEST IN THE DESERT TRICK TRUCK CHAMPIONSHIP




LUGO\OLLIGES RACING EARNS 2007 BEST IN THE DESERT TRICK TRUCK CHAMPIONSHIP WITH 1ST PLACE FINISH IN SEASON FINALE AT THE HENDERSON’S TERRIBLE 400


Henderson, Nevada. (December 1, 2007) At a rain soaked Henderson’s Terrible 400, the sun shined brightly on Team Ford #36 Trick Truck drivers Wayne Lugo and Steve Olliges, who overcame obstacles on and off the course to win their first race of the year and in doing so captured the highly coveted 2007 Best in the Desert Trick Truck championship. The win was a stark reversal of fortune from October’s Las Vegas 300, during which a victory looked certain until a fluke belt failure stole the win from them less than 20 miles from the finish.

Despite a 9 point lead over second place G&R Racing heading into this race, Lugo and Olliges had their sights on a convincing class win to lock up the championship. At the Las Vegas 300 in October, Lugo and Olliges swapped the lead several times with G&R driver Garron Cadiente on the last lap, and after flats slowed Cadiente in the last 50 miles, Lugo was cruising to a first place when, 20 miles from the finish, the motor inexplicably lost a belt. Despite suffering through over 60 minutes of down time with complications related to the fix, Lugo was still able to salvage a 4th place, while Cadiente went on to the win..

Before qualifying on Thursday, Olliges was excited about their chances. “Wayne and I can’t wait to get in that truck again, it works so well. We had a fantastic race in Primm with Garron last month, with no mechanical problems or flats through the last checkpoint,” said Olliges, who drove the first 120 miles. ” We were certain we were going to be in contention for the win going into the race and less than 15 minutes away from our goal, after picking off people all day, it was devastating to lose it because of a quirky failure like a belt. Wayne and I have been around this sport long enough to know that desert has a strange way of causing crazy mood swings, and spitting a belt while only a few minutes out of overall contention certainly is a good example. It teaches you not to pop the champagne until the truck is on the trailer and the math is all done correctly.”

Cautiously optimistic about the championship yet hungry for the win, Olliges showed the truck’s strength early by posting a career best 3rd fastest Trick Truck qualifying speed during the Time Trials on Thursday. The Team Ford Pole Position Trophy and the $1000 cash went to Sam Berri, who beat out Trick Truck driver Todd Wyllie by just over 3 seconds. On race day, Lugo/Olliges indeed set their pace off of Wyllie who was not in championship contention, and judging by the blistering lap times, was obviously looking for an overall win by dicing with eventual overall winner Chuck Hovey all day. Lugo and Olliges were themselves pushing hard and chasing down Wyllie when an off course excursion late in the race cost them some down time in the pits, relegating Lugo further back in second place just barely in front of the third place G&R entry. However, as a second place finish loomed, bad desert luck instead this time bit the Wyllie team, who were the victims of a broken lower A arm only 2 miles from the finish. Lugo/Olliges finished first in the Trick Truck class, and had the third fastest overall time out of all car and truck competitors, behind Hovey and second fastest, Shawn Croll.

“The #36 Ford F150 has never performed better than it did today and it felt great,” said Lugo, whose codriver Bart Walker said it was the best race he has ever seen Lugo drive. “Steve gave me the truck in perfect condition like he has done every race this season, and I was pushing for an overall win, which we believed was achievable today. I worked very hard and made this truck work even harder, and it never let me down. We passed a lot of cars and trucks but had to suffer through a long final pit stop, which cost us for the overall. I tried to get it all back within the next 40 miles and not surprisingly got flats on the last lap. With Bart’s help we were back on the course in no time, I was able to gather myself, and we were making some time on Wyllie when he broke. It is a shame for his team, but I know that our team deserves a win, and even more so deserves the championship. It is the most dedicated and hard working team of friends and family I have ever been associated with and everyone on this team is a champion. I am very happy for all of them.”

“This is most fulfilling and satisfying championship I have ever been a part of,” said Olliges, who now has 7 desert class championships to his credit. “Our Stewart’s Raceworks prepared Ford finished every mile of every race this year, and a ton of credit should go to Wayne, who is one of the most underrated drivers in our sport, our team manager Peter Treydte and Tony Deno of Stewart’s Raceworks, along with all of the rest of the team. I knew at the beginning of the season at Parker when we finished second to Rob MacCachren that we were going to be very fast, and even more consistent, and would be in the middle of the championship hunt at the end of the year. What I didn’t know was that this group of people would, every race, be so totally dedicated and continually give us the best truck that I have ever driven. It just got better and better as the season progressed and today again it was totally flawless. It is an absolute pleasure to drive and I am thankful to Wayne for the opportunity, along with Casey Folks and the Best in the Desert staff. The icing on the cake for me is that Wayne and his family, my codrivers Derek Tenney and Chris Curtis, and the rest of the team and their families are such great people and a pleasure to be around. It is truly a perfect partnership and I can’t wait to drive the bright red F150 Trick Truck with a big “#1” next to the Team Ford logo next year. “

Along with the class win and championship, Lugo\Olliges also wrapped up 2nd place in the season long quest for the BITD “King of the Desert” honors, awarded to the driver who completes every mile of the five BITD races of the season in the shortest elapsed time. Wayne and Steve completed all 1867 miles of rugged desert course this year at an average speed of over 50 mph, and were second to only Chuck Hovey , who also won the Grand Champion chase. Hovey had the most championship points of all competitors this year, and Lugo\Olliges had the 5th most. See the year’s highlights captured by Paradigm Productions at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPwtcFSWdEQ

Lugo\Olliges Racing is proudly sponsored by Team Ford (www.teamford.com), BFGoodrich Tires (www.bfgoodrichtires.com), King Shocks (www.kingshocks.com), and Stewart’s Raceworks (www.stewartsraceworks.com)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pro 1600 Shootout

F1 Bans Engine Development for 10 Years

http://jalopnik.com/cars/racing-news/is-this-the-end-f1-bans-engine-development-for-10-years-331695.php

FIA has just announced a 10-year ban on engine development in Formula One. Teams will have to submit an engine to FIA by March 31, 2008, which they will then have to use through 2017. Speaking about the decision, FIA President Max Mosley said, "There is no need to develop an F1 engine any further. The engine runs at 19,000 rpm, which is far faster than any comparable engine. It sounds good, it's reliable and amazingly the six partially frozen engines of the current manufacturers are really evenly matched."


We used to be avid F1 fans, attending the Silverstone Grand Prix nearly every year during our childhood. Recently, that passion has disappeared, largely because of incredibly boring races, a dearth of personality within the sport and mind-boggling rule changes. We can't help but feel that this latest policy change has completely removed the sport's last remaining point of appeal: technological development. How did we get to this point? [Via Motor Authority]
Photo credit: StuSeeger

Two U.S. Citizens Detained in Mexicali For Alleged Weapons Smuggling

http://www.kpbs.org/news/local;id=10422

Two U.S. Citizens were detained in Mexicali over the weekend for trying to enter Mexico with a machine gun and a large amount of ammunition. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Mexican customs officials detained the San Bernardino couple as they crossed the border from Calexico to Mexicali.

Lorena Blanco is spokeswoman for the U.S. Consualte in Tijuana.

She says customs officials searched Billy Schmidt and Claudia Black's bags and found an AR-15 machine gun.

Blanco: And 25,000 rounds of ammunition. They're being held in Mexicali by federal authorities.

Crossing the border with high-caliber ammunition is punishable by five to 15 years in prison.

It’s also against the law in Mexico to possess a weapon only the military is allowed to use, like an automatic assault rifle.

It’s not clear why the couple had the gun and ammunition.

U.S. and Mexican federal officials estimate more than 90 percent of illegal firearms in Mexico are smuggled from the United States.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

Monday, December 10, 2007

DIRTT VIDEO GAME FEATURING CORR WINS DRIVING VIDEO GAME OF THE YEAR

DIRT™ VIDEO GAME FEATURING corr WINS driving video GAME OF THE YEAR

Newport Beach, CA (Monday, Dec. 10, 2007) —The video game DIRT™ featuring Championship Off Road Racing took home the Driving Video Game of the Year Award Sunday night at the VGA on Spike TV. Competition in the category included Need For Speed Pro Street, Project Gotham Racing 4 and Forza Motorsports 2. DIRT™ debuted in the USA in June and quickly became a favorite among video game enthusiasts.

CORR is one of the several forms of racing featured in the highly popular racing game. In each round, ten drivers compete head-to-head in a fierce off-road race. Super Buggies and Pro 4 Trucks, race on tracks packed full of tabletop jumps, drop-offs and moguls making for a thrilling mix of racing action. This game test’s players’ driving skills and push them to the limit.

Established in 1986, Codemasters dominant brands include Colin McRae Rally, TOCA Race Driver, LMA Manager, Brian Lara Cricket and Operation Flashpoint. The company is headquartered in Southam, Warwickshire UK and maintains operations in the U.S, Germany, France, Spain, and Benelux. More information about the company and its products is available online at: http://www.codemasters.com.

Championship Off Road Racing™ brings high action, four wheel motorsports including 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive trucks to the closed course off road arena. The 2007 CORR season includes seven events at tracks located in Los Angeles and San Diego, CA, Texas and Nevada.

PDR Sonora 200 Photo Jihad!!

All photos now posted at Durka Durka Photo

A small preview


























2007 CORR Pro 4 Champion CARL RENEZEDER made the All-America Auto Racing Team



Newport Beach, CA (Monday, Dec. 10, 2007) — Championship Off Road Racing’s own Carl Renezeder made the All America Auto Racing Team. The team is voted on by the AARWBA and includes drivers from all forms of racing. Renezeder received the Honorable Mention award in the At Large category. Renezeder previously received an Honorable Mention nod in 2005.

In the At Large category, IRL Indy Pro Series champ Alex Lloyd had a comfortable margin over the rest of the field. Only one vote made the difference between ALMS GT2 champions Jaime Melo/Mika Salo making First Team and SCCA World Challenge GT champ Randy Pobst landing on the Second Team. Joining Pobst was Frank Manzo, who won his 11th NHRA national Alcohol Funny Car title. So close was the At Large category that Honorable Mentions Carl Renezeder, who won 19 off-road races and two championships, and Raphael Matos, the Champ Car Atlantic titlist, were only a dozen votes out of First Team.

Two drivers from each of seven categories are elected to the First Team, two more to the Second Team, and all drivers receiving at least five percent of the vote earn honorable mention. In road racing endurance series, teammates with identical scores are voted as one entity, with the result that 16 drivers are named to both the First Team and Second team this year. In two categories only one vote made the difference between a driver making first team or not.

For 37 years, the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association has elected the annual All America Racing Team. The team is recognized by the Associated Press, Reuters and major publications as the only team of its kind in motor sports. Each year, two team members are elected in each of seven categories (unless there is a tie, in which case both tying drivers are elected). The driver who receives the most votes is awarded the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy™ as AARWBA's Driver of the Year.

Championship Off Road Racing™ brings high action, four wheel motorsports including 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive trucks to the closed course off road arena. The 2007 CORR season includes seven events at tracks located in Los Angeles and San Diego, CA, Fort Worth/Dallas, TX and Primm, NV.

BFG Tires, Honda, Steele, Post/MacCachren, Chase Major Winners at 2007 SCORE Desert Series Awards

SCORE announces return to San Felipe, Mexico
For 22nd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250--March 14-15, 2007
PRIMM, Nev.—BFGoodrich Tires, a staple of desert racers world-wide for over three decades, captured two major honors Saturday Night as SCORE International officially concluded the six-race 2007 SCORE Desert Series with the annual SCORE Awards Night at the Whiskey Pete’s Resort in Primm, Nev.
The evening was also a celebration of 34 years of SCORE championship desert racing. SCORE President/CEO also announced that after a last days switch last year because of political reasons beyond SCORE’s control, the popular SCORE ‘Spring Break’ race will return after a one-year absence to San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico. The 22nd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 will be held March 14-15 in the quaint Sea of Cortez fishing village.
BFG Tires, the official tire of SCORE for 32 years was honored as both the 2007 SCORE Contingency Company and the 2007 SCORE Pit Support Team of the year.
The Off-Roadsman awards are determined by the vote of more than 2,500 members of Los Angeles-based SCORE International. Among the other honorees were the top point leaders from the 2007 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series.
It was the 20th time BFG Tires has been voted the top Contingency Company and 21st time it has been honored as the premier pit support team.
Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif., an action sports and motorsports Television announcer who is a second-generation SCORE desert racer, was honored as the 2007 SCORE Person of the Year, an award he also won last year. Competing in two or three classes in SCORE races, he also lent is announcing skills to SCORE throughout the year and was the emcee of the SCORE Awards Night.
“Cameron Steele is SCORE’s ambassador to the outside world and we are truly happy to see him voted the SCORE Person of the Year two years in a row,” said Sal Fish, SCORE President/CEO since shortly after SCORE was founded in 1973. “He is always talking about SCORE wherever he goes around the world and nobody has raced in more classes at SCORE races than he has.”
American Honda was voted SCORE Motorcycle Manufacturer of the Year for the 19th time and the 11th consecutive year.
Riviera Racing’s Mark Post, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, were honored both as the 2007 SCORE Overall point champion and SCORE Trophy-Truck winner. Winning three races in 2007 Post and MacCachren in the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150 became the first SCORE Trophy-Truck in the 14-year history of the marquee SCORE racing division to earn the SCORE Overall Point Title. Riviera Racing picked up another prestigious award in front of nearly 500 SCORE desert racers, crews and families as Jim Blackmore was voted as the 2007 SCORE Mechanic of the Year.
“BFGoodrich Tires has been supported all of desert racing, especially SCORE, for 32 years,” said Fish, “To win the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 once is a major feat, but to capture the world’s most prestigious desert race 20 straight years (1986-2005) is unbelievable. BFG Tires are the most dominant desert-racing tires in the world and we are privileged to honor them. Their grassroots support of desert racers is unparalleled. SCORE is deeply honored to have the relationship with BFG Tires that we have for three decades.”
Eric Chase, Burbank, Calif., was voted the 2007 SCORE Rookie of the Year. Competing in the unlimited Class 1, Chase and his father Stuart Chase ran consistently in a Penhall-Chevy all season long, finishing a close fourth in the season point standings for the competitive class that had 89 different drivers of record during the year.
Mike Julson, of Santee, Calif., who is a SCORE regular in SCORE Trophy-Truck, saw his Jimco open-wheel desert race cars win the 2006 SCORE Original Buggy Chassis Manufacturer point championship for the 14th time and 13th straight.
Ken Major and his Major Performance company captured the 2007 Engine Builder point championship for the fourth time and Terrible Herbst Motorsports was voted as the 2007 Entry Sponsor of the Year for the fifth time.
A rugged record group of 22 SCORE racers were also honored as 2007 SCORE Toyota Milestone Award winners after finishing all 2,296.84 race miles during the season.
Two of them were also honored as winners of this year’s $12,000 SCORE Toyota True Grit Awards presented to the Toyota Milestone receipts who were the top-qualified point leaders in their non-factory supported class. The SCORE Toyota True Grit Award winners this year who split the $12,000 bonus purse are Dave Caspino, Woodland Hills, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600, Lothringer-VW) and Tim Noe, San Diego (SCORE LIte, Jimco-VW). Noe and his teammate Tom Watson, El Centro, Calif., who have now finished 25 consecutive SCORE races over four-plus years, earned their fourth straight Toyota True Grit award.
Judy Smith, the well known and renown desert racing journalist, was honored for the 15th time as SCORE Journalist of the Year, while Jim Ober’s Trackside Photo earned Photographer of the Year honors for the 16th time.
SCORE opens its six-race 2006 7CORE Desert Series Jan. 24-27 in Southern Nevada with the 14th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge.
SCORE International, founded in 1973 by the late Mickey Thompson and headed by Sal Fish since 1974, continues today as the premier sanctioning body in the sport of desert racing. SCORE races feature 17 Pro and two Sportsman classes for cars and trucks in the U.S. with seven additional Pro and three more Sportsman classes for motorcycles and ATVs competing in the races in Mexico. SCORE races in the U.S. average 225 entries while the average in Mexico, with motorcycle and ATV classes running as well as the cars and trucks is nearly 400.
SCORE official 2007 sponsors were: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Sunoco Race Fuels/C.L. Bryant-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, American Racing ATX Series-official wheel. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, Terrible Herbst Inc., Micron Technology, Red Bull North America, Kartek Off-Road, NAPA Chassis, Fram, Autolite, Prestone, Bendix, American Suzuki, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.
Additional associate sponsors for the 2007 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 were Fideicomiso Publio para la Promocion Turistica de Ensenada, the government of Baja California Sur, the State Tourism Department of Baja California Sur and the city tourism fund of Loreto.
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.
2007 SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year Award Winners
Contingency Company—BFGoodrich Tires
Motorcycle Manufacturer—American Honda
Mechanic—Jim Blackmore, Riviera Racing
Entry Sponsor—Terrible Herbst Motorsports
Pit Support Team—BFGoodrich Tires
Journalist—Judy Smith, Dusty Times & Hot VWs
Photographer—Jim Ober’s Trackside Photo
Rookie of the Year—Eric Chase, Class 1
Person of the Year—Cameron Steele, Desert Assassins Racing
*Original Buggy Chassis Manufacturer—Jimco
*Engine Builder—Major Performance
*Determined by points, others by membership vote

Vildosola Racing tackles Glen Helen

Nearing the end of another spectacular season, Tavo Vildosola along with the shop are putting the final touches on the preparation and race plans for the #200 Toyota Tundra. They are preparing to go compete in one of the most important races this year: the Baja Protruck Cup II which will be held at the Glen Helen Raceway just outside of San Bernardino, CA.

The Baja Protruck Cup at Glen Helen marks the second time the Protruck’s will conclude their season at this challenging event. Vildosola Racing is wrapping up their third season in the ultra competitive Protruck class, following last years dramatic season finale with a victory which sealed up the 2006 Baja Protruck Championship, Tavo hopes to repeat.

Glen Helen is the sixth double points event this season, a season which once again saw the Baja Protrucks take on challenges from one of the highest peaks in the world to the beautiful deserts of Baja peninsula. Tavo Vildosola along side second year partner Bryan Freeman had a spectacular season, taking two out of the four off-roads events and asserting themselves well after a clear disadvantage at Pikes Peak. These results have propelled last years champions to lead the field once again coming into the season finale at Glen Helen.

“We have a twenty point lead over Rob Reinertson and a twenty-two point lead over Jason Voss, those are the only two competitors that have a shot at beating us in the championship. All we have to do is finish the race, no matter in what position, we can finish last and still take the championship home. Our race strategy will be dictated by my two closest competitors but since all we have to do is finish, a finish is considered completion of seventy-five percent of the total laps that the winning truck completes, last year we did close to forty laps, which makes a finish thirty laps. After thirty laps I will not care about the position of my closest competitors or anything, we are going to relentlessly attack the track for the last ten laps and try and bring a victory home along with the 2007 championship” stated Tavo.

Vildosola Racing’s are sponsored by: Mexicana Logistics, Aguilas del Desierto, BFGoodrich Tires, Mastercraft, Papas & Beer, Kartek, PIAA Lights, OGIO, MOMO and Toyota Racing Development.

To check out pictures, videos, previous press releases, the teams’ progress in 2007 and other information go to www.vildosolaracing.com or the team youtube site at www.youtube.com/vildosolaracing

for additional info on Vildosola Racing contact:
Victor Gasca - vgazca@vildosolaracing.com (619) 805-8444, Mex (686) 119-5618




Victor Gasca
Vildosola Racing Inc.
www.vildosolaracing.com
www.youtube.com/vildosolaracing

7734 Formula Place
San Diego CA 92121
858-689-0444, 858-689-1596 Fax.

New KC-pod, 70 Watt HID Carbon Fiber Light


KC HiLiTES, Inc. continues to set new standards in automotive lighting with the introduction of their new KC-pod. This is the industry’s first 70 watt HID light.

Designed by KC engineers in conjunction with critical feedback from some of the nation’s top off-road racers, the KC-pod features a unique weight saving Carbon Fiber housing. The 70 watt HID bulb and computer designed Multi-Surface Reflector are protected by an Unbreakable Hard Coated Lexan Lens. The 7.25” Carbon Fiber housing is Fixed Mounted for extreme stability. The Spring Loaded Lens Assembly not only isolates it from the harsh impacts of off-road racing, but also allows for fast, simple and accurate aiming. An External Ballast is attached directly to the light housing to provide easier wiring.

The first extreme test of the new KC-pod took place at the 2007 Baja 1000. Mounted atop of the KC/Donahoe Racing/Nitto Tire Toyota FJ Cruiser, the lights were turned on at the start in Ensenada to finish in Los Cabos, B.C. Racing over nearly 1300 miles of the most treacherous terrain the Baja peninsula has to offer and more than 41 hours of continuous operation, the lights performed flawlessly as a true testament to their durable performance.

At the 2007 SEMA Show, the new KC-pod was awarded the “Global Media Award” by a

prestigious jury comprised of 50 leading international journalists who reviewed over 2,000

products. The judges were asked to evaluate products that they felt would be well received

by consumers and fill a niche in their respective countries. As editors in the international

automotive industry, their opinions and expertise are highly regarded.

KC’s new KC-pod is available in both Long Range and Driving beam patterns. For more

information, please contact:

KC HiLiTES

2843 West Avenida De Luces

Williams, AZ 86046

(928) 635-2607

www.kchilites.com

Feisty Flamingos Finish Fortieth Baja 1000

2007 SCORE Baja 1000

Rich Severson #746

Class 7SX

The final race of the SCORE season would be a grueling 1296 miles long. Sal Fish musta been doing some kind of fuzzy math to equate that number of miles to a mil, but the Flamingo Team was up to the challenge. Coming on the heels of our Primm 300 win we were in the season points lead and primed to repeat our B1k win from last year. We arrived in Ensenada a few days early to relax and pre-run a few of the early race miles that can be troublesome during the start. We had already pre-run the rest of the course in late October with Bruce’s Land Rover and pretty well pounded it to a pulp. But a crack crew of Phoenix mechanics had it back in shape by race time.

Contingency on Monday was again staged a bit differently but we got the race truck in line early. Meanwhile some of the team headed off to southern Baja to await our race time arrival. After handing out a zillion flamingo stickers, tattoos, stuffed birds and beads we were through contingency and tech by early afternoon.

Tuesday, race day, we relaxed waiting for our noon start. Upon returning to the hotel from breakfast I found my personal truck, full of all tools and race parts, had been broken into and had the ignition switch popped. A simple turn and it started, we had to be minutes away from losing the truck to Ensenada thieves. This is the fourth time we’ve been robbed in town during a SCORE event. PatN headed to the local NAPA and repaired the switch before he headed out to his driver change area. PatS and I staged early and chatted with a few buds and in no time we were up to the starting line and flagged off. A total of 11 trucks started, with us being right in the center of the pack. Out of the city was the usual dusty, booby trapped, heavy spectator area that makes it so exciting. We crossed the highway and hit the 07Baja 500 course. More dust with twists and turns. In no time we were on the fast farm roads making haste. The RM55 silt, which had captured us last year, was now pre-planned and it paid off. We hit a gravel trail we had marked and never saw another vehicle nor put a BFG into the silt. At the top of the hill we spot McDreamy next to his BC car, he didn’t look happy even though we waved. No time for photos ladies. We’re up onto the plateau running fast when I clip a rock with the right front. Bummer, right away I knew we had a flat. PatS and I worked quickly and were back on the trail. A short time later we notice the GPS is dancing around due to a knurl knob now missing. We get to the highway, stop and the chase team scans the floorboard for the knob. Found, replaced and we’re off. A short time later #759 Hinesley truck shoots by us. That’s ok it’s a long way to Cabo. Later we see #740 Holmes, he begs some water off us and we’re outta there. We hit RM121, BFG pit 1, for gas and a spare tire replacement. We’re refreshed and on the road in third place. On the fast road up to Mike’s Sky Ranch a local throws a large rock and hits us in the windshield. Luckily the broken glass area is near the edge and not in the line of site. That action compliments the many beer cans that we’ve already been hit with. We cruise up and over the mountains into the darkness. I bypass BFG pit 2, which looks pretty busy. We’ll gas ourselves in another 30 miles. Just before our RM200 pit we spy #500 Seeley stuck with tow strap in hand. Can’t stop in the area due to mud. We hit our Flamingo pit, gas up, replace a light relay and head off. Ryan in his 4wd heads back to rescue Seeley and we motor on into the night with a full rack of Vision X lights lighting the way. We now work our way through the rough mountains and tight turns for the next 100 miles. Along the way we encounter a traffic jam on a hill due to a class 7 stuck on rock. PatS & I jump out and take control as other cars are just watching. After some jacking, digging and rock moving we get them up the hill. We tug a 5-1600 off some rocks and then blast up the hill leaving the rest of the pack behind. The trail is tough all the way to RM321, BFG pit 3, where George & PatN now take control of the trusty Ranger. 1:00am Wednesday, we’re in second place about 30 minutes down to #741 Sierra Brother’s Ranger.

The new guys work through the 50 miles of dirt ok and are out onto the long, long, long highway run. It was tough to keep below the 60mph limit and at the same time stay up to the maximum speed. They passed a few racers dragging their feet before hitting the turn off to Coco’s. Coming up was the dreaded Calamajue Wash. Last year this was a quagmire for many a racer. This year the boy’s turned the corner and not a vehicle in sight. They splashed through the shallow waters with ease. A short time later they pass #741 Sierra and take over the lead in the class for the first time. On the pavement into the Bay of LA a rearend vibration has them worried. At BFG pit 5, RM518, they jack up the truck up and find two bent wheels. They replace them with the two spares we carry and they’re off still in the lead, vibration gone. Sunrise now blinds George’s eyes as he motors south and eastward. Dust up front signals another vehicle to pass. Only this time they’re suddenly right on top of a local doing about 20mph in an old Chevy pickup. Braking hard and swerving creates a near miss, the hombre viejo is unfazed by the gringo loco and his morning continues. RM565 brings a gas-n-go from Checker pit 5. They radio that we have a 40 second margin on #741. Not one to be a slacker and loose the lead George picks up the tempo and has fun as he flies down the cactus lined sandy trial back to Highway 1. Later on the Sierra’s would comment that they tried like hell to catch us but that guy driving was fast.

We stop for fuel at San Ignacio BFG pit 6, RM679, and put fresh driver Bruce and repeat corider PatS in the truck. Before heading off to the west coast where our support is nil we check the truck over good. A decision is made to replace the left side ball joints. While doing so #741 cruises by back into the lead. It really doesn’t take long to make the repair with all the great mechanics we have on staff and the truck is on the road again by 10:15am Wednesday morning. On a side note, at the pit I run into my former corider and sponsor from 20 years ago, Rick Pe’we’. He’s now a famous magazine editor riding with some guy named Rod Hall. We have an all too short reunion as both of our vehicles show up needing attention. Godspeed until we met again my friend.

RM 679 through RM918 as retold by driver Bruce:

Getting into the truck after making the decision to change out the loose ball joints and watching our competitor pass us set the tone for my drive. Being 45 minutes behind did not change the goal; get the truck from point A to point B in good shape. Passing though San Ignacio and onto the newly marked trail not on the GPS had PatS questioning my knowledge, but I simply told him to trust me because I had just pre-run this yesterday. Several miles later, we are on the original GPS trail. We soon run into more construction that I had not encountered the day before, but from our pre-run GPS markings we found the more favorable track to follow. It worked perfect; we’re on our way. There was some dust ahead and it took miles for us to reel it in. Not knowing who it was, we just kept pushing, getting closer and closer. Finally #1001 Lawrence was in sight but there is no passing lane because we are on a dike with some soft silty spots along the edges. Our pre-run notes had a hazard rapidly approaching. Our decision was to keep pressing right up to the time we needed to back out and turn left off the track and go around the completely impassable road ahead. The #1001 car was last seen sliding towards the washed out bridge as we continued without a hitch. Nice call co-pilot. More dust ahead and we closed in on #702 Binns with another truck in front of him. Several miles later at an either/or they go their way, we go opposite and pass both trucks by a huge distance thanks to the pre-run knowledge. High speeds across the dry lakebeds and running on the banks of the ocean gave me a little too much confidence at one point. I entered a set of whoops a little too fast and had the back on the truck much higher than the front of the truck. PatS said something about never observing the ground from that angle before. We encounter a BC car in the whoops. I'm not sure how because he should have been faster than us, but we pushed up behind him until he bailed out of our way. I didn’t nerf him as some other member of our team had done to a slower 5-1600 earlier in the race. Stopping at Checker pit 4 in San Juanico for fuel was perfect and Milo was very helpful. He noticed that my helmet pumper hose had fallen off. No wonder I was so hot. We were also informed that we were only 10 minutes behind #741 Sierra. Egos were inflated. Approaching Highway 1 we radio to the chase crews as soon as we thought there might be a chance of reaching them only to find out they weren't ready for us. That was really cool. My son will never live it down. He was supposed to give me fuel instead he had lunch! The racecourse had been changed at the last minute at RM880 and once again PatS saw the 3 green ribbons that I had been told to watch for by a guy who had run it the day before. We missed most of the silt beds just flying though the area. I say most because we did hit one where the flying powder completed covered the truck. We took two huge impacts for lack of a better word and then a hard hit on our right front coming out of the silt bed. There are no words to describe the feeling of being totally captured by the silt. As we approach Loreto, we passed #741 Sierra in their pit. We handed the truck off to the Rich & PatN and got them out of the pit in first place. What a thrill. The first time PatS and I are in the truck together, we do point A to B. We do it way ahead of the projected time, pass several vehicles and no one passed us. My navigator made me look real good. Thanks to Rich & PatN for letting two unknowns in the truck together, we had a great time.

RM923, Loreto, back in the lead PatN & I race westward into the late day sun. We’re careful not to drive off the side of the winding mountain road. Past San Javier, at a water crossing, a sudden splash from #741 Sierra and he sneaks by. We stay on his bumper with no need to pass as we’re ahead on total time. At RM978 we get a quick splash of fuel from BFG pit 8. We soon see #741 Sierra pitting and we’re back on the point. Across the farmland we go until I miss a tight fence line turn and end up in a soft field and loose traction. A farmer was right there and helped to tug us out but in the meantime #741 Sierra hugs the fence and gets by. Just as we’re freed here comes #862 Griffin using the same track we did with the same results. We’re off and the farmer now works with them. We pound along the long narrow sand trails heading south along the ocean. At RM1037 along Highway 22, Ryan has the extra ball joints that chase crew Bill & Ralph found in Santa Rosalita and tosses them on board, just in case. Off the asphalt and back in the dirt we go. Immediately we’re head on with a local’s sedan stuck and blocking the narrow trail. Eyeing the situation we go left and barely squeak by without tagging the guy. A short distance later we hit Checker pit 6 for a gas-n-go. The next 20 miles are just endless whoops with no rhythm. Some faster cars down on time give us a chance to find a hole to dive into before they roar over us. We get to the tidal pools and carefully pick our way along the edges as to not find ourselves in a mudbog. Once through, it’s back to the long narrow southbound trail. It just goes on forever. A stop for fuel at BFG pit 9, RM1106, has us concerned about another loose ball joint. PatN makes the decision to fix it now with lights and tools at the pit before we get to a tougher section of the course. In less than 20 minutes we’re back at speed.

We clear checkpoint 9, RM1120, and I’m ready for the upcoming silt and steep hill, pre-plan in place. I zig left then back to the right around stuck cars, plowing along and throwing up silt into the night but still moving. That is until the truck drops into a ravine and we perform the softest rollover to the navigator’s side and come to a dead stop hanging in our harnesses. I kill the engine and confirm no injury to PatN. He climbs out first, I follow (thank you for not stepping on my head). This is not good; the possibilities of recovery are bleak due the depth of the silt and our location. As we start a plan of attack, a guy on a tractor comes out of nowhere and motors over to us. For a minimal fee, like all we have, he’ll tug us over. DEAL!!!! Forty bucks and the tow strap was on the truck and we’re back on all fours. I parlay the deal into a maximum pull onto terra firma past the silt. The truck fires right up, no fluid loss, all gauges are a go. We’re back in business. We begin our assault on the steep hill and work our way to the top. I begin turning right to follow the course but I’m too quick in the darkness and slide off the crown and down the edge of the tiny mountain. Not good. Each time I try to go forward we slide a little deeper down. Locals try to help us but the angle and weight of the Ranger are greater than the helpers can handle. Eventually we see #741 Sierra go by. They got to see our whole oops close up while they were stuck in the silt at the base of the hill. Time drags on as we try everything. Finally PatN heads back down to convince the prepaid tractor to come up the hill and salvage us once again. Meanwhile a full-size truck appears with his buddy and sez he can drive it out. Go for it dude! I’ve been here for hours it can’t hurt. With a couple of monster runs and tugs the truck grabs just enough traction to ease out of the crevice. I gave out hugs and kisses to all within 50 yards. Now here comes PatN with tractor guy who he had to pay another 20 bucks just to see us now back on the road. Oh well, we’re tired but free. While this is all taking place, chaser Ryan hears our calls for help on the radio and retreats to the location. He finally gets there ready to rescue, becomes stuck himself, eventually freed and is now way behind the rest of the chase teams. Due to bad radio reception in the race truck we don’t learn of his heroics until much later. We take off for a couple of miles and stop to survey the damage and get away from all of the locals with advice. We off the front fender, sorry sponsors, pinch off a damaged front brake line and change a flat as I regain my wits after the near defeat. I now need to get used to the vehicle lurching to the right each time I hit the brakes. We pull into Checker pit 8, RM1144, and beg for any tow strap available since one of us lost track of ours in the big fiasco I caused a short while ago. They pull one from a guy’s truck who was sleeping and send us away happy. I’m sure I’ll get it back to him someday.

RM1166 has more vehicles stuck. Now gun-shy, I ask PatN to survey the path before our run. He returns and gives me clear precise instructions, which I proceed to completely ignore and stick the truck. He is visibly not happy with me. A few pushes from locals and we’re over the hump. One guy tells us to watch out for the next silt bed and how to go around. I’m familiar with it and there is suppose to be an alternate route according to Sal from the drivers meeting. But when we get there, there is no alternate route and we must plow headfirst into the bowels of hell. Tight turns; downed cacti and native trees; gulley’s, darkness. First gear, max revs, tranny temp pegs, no stopping now. No way we should get through but we do. We stop to let the tranny cool and change another flat tire. #124 Chase (13th place class 1) and #300 Moss (1st place class 3) stop to check our condition. Thumbs up and they pound on. Back on the trail we have no fresh spare tires onboard. I stop at the first available pit, Baja Pits, and they air up our best, un-flattest spare. We have a bit of a safety net once again. Truthfully I don’t remember the next miles as we pull into BFG pit 10 around 3:00am Thursday.

George and Bruce climb back in the truck for the last 96 miles. The pit board shows we’re 3 hours down to #741 Sierra truck so I advise repeat driver George we now need a finish to be complete and watch out for the crazy braking action. All jacked up on coffee they shoot off into the darkness. Sure enough when George comes into the first hard left hand corner he hits the brakes and is violently jerked to the right. Oh, yeah, watch the brakes. Passing through Todos Santos they’re supposed to stop and the Flamingo chase team will toss on a good spare tire. But due to a miscommunication and having finish line fever they pass on by the crew. The last miles though the mountains are very tough. There were many wash outs big enough to swallow the entire truck, as evidenced by some of the other vehicles they witnessed still in them. They did drop into a crevice but were able to back out and work around it. I hear that corider Bruce may have been calling out the GPS’d turns tighter than actually occurring to slow down the focused George. Once again the sunrise hit them directly head-on slowing progress. By the time they caught the first glimpse of Cabo George had just gotten used to the wild braking action. Through the wash and under the inflatable arch they receive the checkered flags for second place in class, 3 hours behind the winner. Surprisingly they are mobbed by the entire winning #741 Sierra team who had waited for us. Noe and Tony Sierra said, “they know that the Flamingo Team never, never, never gives up” and wanted to be here to celebrate both of our victorious finishes. Now that’s class and what great competition is all about. Thank you Team Sierra. The #759 Hinesley team finished third about 8 hours behind us and no other teams made it to the end within the time 53 hour time limit.

Thanks to our second place finish we secured the 2007 SCORE Class 7sx Season Championship. We are also one of only 20 teams to have finished every race mile this season and will receive a Toyota True Grit award. What a compliment to the entire team for their total dedication to success.

Our season corporate sponsors are: Smith-Southwestern Inc., BFGoodrich Tires, Guzman Construction and Xochitl’s Cholla CafĂ©.

We used the following contingency products: BFGoodrich Tires, Parker Pumper/BSR West, Vision X lights, Raceshock and Sunoco Fuel.

Out pit support was provided by the Checkers Off-Road club and BFGoodrich.

Other businesses whose services we chose: Alger Stowers Transmissions, The Machine Shop Drivelines, Dick’s Automotive and Squaw Peak Sinclair.

And the Flamingo Racing Team members that were crazy enough to come to Baja and participate in this event include: Scott Berry, Bill Coughlin, Lew Felton, Harry & Drina Fiebig, Bruce & Fawn Finchum, Ryan & Trisha Finchum, Charlie & Rhonda Jetton, George Jirka, Shirley MacDonald, Larry Miles, Pat Neveau, Donna Passante, Dan Raley, Pat & Sue Sledge, Greg Smith, Ralph Valenzuela, John Vanatta and my gal Helen Wilson.

Thanks to everyone for a great season.