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Ryan Arciero Squeezes Out Overall & Trophy Truck Win at Lucerna SCORE Baja 400

ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – Running a relatively conservative pace over a rugged, dusty, tight and twisty race course in the midst of 36 battling ‘monsters’ in his class, third-generation veteran SoCal desert racing champion Ryan Arciero roared to the Overall and SCORE Trophy Truck race victory Saturday by winning the Inaugural Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 in dramatic fashion in the elapsed-time race.
     Round 3 of the four-race 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship was held this past week in Mexico’s Baja California, starting and finishing in Ensenada, the seaside port on the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of San Diego.
     The celebratory internationally-televised race on a characteristically challenging, intensely rugged 390-mile course started and finished in front of the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada. The race will be televised as a one-hour special on a date to be announced on ESPN’s World of X Games programming. In association with SCORE, the show is co-produced by BCII TV’s Bud Brutsman.

ARCIERO SOARS

     Ryan Arciero, 46, of Foothill Ranch, Calif., recorded a hard-fought penalty-free winning time 8 hours, 26 minutes and 32 seconds while averaging 46.20 miles per hour in his No. 32 Levi Arciero  Racing Ford F-150 built by Herbst-Smith Fabrication.
     After starting the season with a second-place 33rd SCORE San Felipe 250 in April, Arciero, whose family racing roots extend long and deep including his father Frank Arciero Jr, who will be inducted to the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame on Nov. 3 in Las Vegas, he had a did not finish in the SCORE Baja 500. 
     It was Arciero’s fourth career SCORE Trophy Truck race win and first since 2004 when he won the SCORE Baja 500 with Mark Miller.

FINAL FLAG

     When the final checkered flag fell, a total of 189 vehicles left the start line early Saturday morning with racers from 25 U.S. States and eight countries. When the course closed at 3:58 a.m. PT on Sunday, there were 146 official finishers for an unusually high 77.25 finishing percentage, especially considering the difficulty of the race course. The results were made official following complete data tracking review of the devices on each vehicle in the event late Sunday morning.

START GRID-SCORE BAJA 1000

     The results of this race also will determine the start order within each class for November’s iconic season-ending 52nd SCORE Baja 1000.

THE PODIUM

     Joining Ryan Arciero on the podium were San Diego’s Andy McMillin, who won the first two races of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Racing Championship and Mexico’s Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr.
     McMillin, 32, who debuted a sparkling new all-wheel drive No. 31 McMillin Racing Chevy Silverado built by Mason Motorsports, finished second with a time of 8:28:09 (46.05mph) and Vildosola Jr, 37, of Mexicali, with a finishing time of 8:28:56 (45.98mph) in his No. 21 Vildosola Racing Ford Raptor (Vildosola) for third place.

MORGAN WINS MOTO OVERALL

     Riding the No. 1x Honda CRF450X, Justin Morgan, 27, El Cajon, Calif. and his three-rider team raced to the overall motorcycle victory for his seventh consecutive overall motorcycle win in the SCORE World Desert Championship. The trio crossed the finish line in 8:32:30 with an average speed of 45.66mph.
      Morgan split the riding with Mark Samuels, Yucca Valley, Calif. and Ricky Dietrich, of Yucca Valley, Calif.
      Morgan rode from the start to race mile 190, Samuels rode from there to El Cambro, and Dietrich from there to about 30 miles from the finish and Morgan rode the final stretch that he drove on the start.
     Starting first among the motorcycles and never relinquishing the physical lead, the 1x team held of Mexico’s Santiago Creel and his 66x team by a mere 6.14 seconds in the elapsed time race. Creel, the international motorcycle rally racer from Mexico City who raced in four classes in this race, teamed with Brandon Prieto of Ensenada, Mexico and Eric Yorba of Jamul, Calif. on a KTM 500EXCF.
     As rider of record, Creel’s teams also finished second in Pro Moto Limited and second in Pro Moto 30. As a co-driver for Luis Pelayo, also of Mexico City, Creel finished 18th in Trophy Truck Spec.

TOP 19 OVERALL ALL SCORE TROPHY TRUCKS

     Besides podium finishers Arciero, A. McMillin and Vildosola Jr, all of the top 19 overall four-wheel vehicle finishers were SCORE Trophy Trucks. SCORE Trophy Truck had a race-high 36 vehicles (including seven in SCORE TT Legend for drivers over 50) start the race. SCORE Trophy Truck is the marquee racing division in the sport for high-tech, 950 horsepower unlimited custom trucks. The class was created by SCORE 26 years ago (1994).
     All among the top 19 overall four-wheel vehicle finishers after penalties were assessed, fourth in SCORE Trophy Truck was Robby Gordon, Charlotte, N.C. (No. 77 Chevy Silverado custom-Geiser Built), fifth was brothers Alan, Aaron and Rodrigo Ampudia of Ensenada, Mexico (No. 10 Ford Raptor-ID), sixth was Justin Lofton (No. 41 Ford Raptor), seventh was Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif. (No. 16 Ford Raptor-Geiser) and eighth in class was Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin (No. 97 Toyota Tundra-ID).
     Finishing ninth in SCORE Trophy Truck and overall 4-wheel vehicle was Chris Miller, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (No. 40 Chevy Silverado-Mason) and 10th was Ricky Johnson, Trabuco Canyon, Calif. (No. 6 Chevy Silverado-Mason).

OVERALL UTV

     Defeating 20 starters in his class and 34 total UTVs to win the overall UTV win title in this year’s race was veteran racer Wes Miller, Henderson, Nev., with a winning time of 10:00:50 in his No. 2975 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo. He also won his Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) class and he began his career racing on a quad over 20 years ago.

CLASS 1 SUPERLATIVE

     Second generation SCORE desert racer Cody Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif., captured the unlimited Class 1 while finishing 21st overall among four-wheel vehicles in the No. 127 Chevy-powered Jimco open-wheel desert race car. His winning effort was completed in a penalty-free 9:12:02 (42.39mph). He defeated 10 starters in his class. Finishing second behind Parkhouse, just one minute, 35 seconds behind, was reigning SCORE Class 1 season point champion Brad Wilson, Long Beach, Calif., in the No. 100 Jimco-Chevy.

ARCIERO COMMENTS

     Enjoying his joyous victory celebration with his famous father and team at the finish line, Arciero said, “It was a great race for us. We started in the middle of the Trophy Truck field and I knew Andy McMillin was just two trucks in front of us. I used Andy as a guide for most of the race. Everything was smooth for us today and the new Joe Gibbs Racing motor was sensational. Great power and we have NASCAR guys in off-road which is a super crossover in the sport. We didn’t quite know where we stood overall with so many trucks bunched up and running very close.”
     “The dust made it tougher for the SCORE Trophy Trucks and we just had to work our way through the field as best we could. I’m excited that my dad (Frank Arciero Jr) could make it down to this race too. He got me started in the sport and it’s fun to celebrate an overall win with him. We knew we needed a good finish for the starting position in the upcoming SCORE Baja 1000. And we couldn’t have done better than taking the victory today.” 

MORGAN REFLECTIONS

     Leading his team to its seventh consecutive overall and Pro Moto Unlimited race win in SCORE races over two years, Morgan reflected after the race, “The race was fairly smooth; we had a couple small close calls without having a helicopter. Ricky had a really good crash and knocked himself out. He got up and managed to make a little time back. I had to do my best to make up the time when I got the bike back. No mechanical issues the bike was awesome all day. Mark did really good and made up some good time. He rode the course really smooth up the coast. Ricky is fine he was totally ok after the race just had an unlucky crash. We have lots to build on and work on for the SCORE Baja 1000. But it was a really awesome course to run. We are really happy to get the win.”

UNBEATEN

     After three races, there remain just three unbeaten racers in their respective classes for this season.
     Leading the group is the Justin Morgan team (Pro Moto Unlimited—No. 1x Honda CRF450R).
     The other three-time 2019 2-wheel class winner is Giovanni Spinali, El Cajon, Calif. (Pro Moto 50—No. 500x Yamaha YZ450FX). Spinali’s teammates were Earl Roberts,  Mexicali, Mexico/Troy Pearce, Ramona, Calif./John Griffin, Lake Forest, Calif. 
     Pro Quad San winner Said Sanchez, Tijuana (No. 1a Honda TRX450R) won again to remain unbeaten in the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship.

SCORE TT LEGEND

     Driving as a substitute driver for Clyde Stacy, former SCORE Class 8 season point champion Nick Vanderwey, 52, Phoenix won SCORE TT Legends class for SCORE Trophy Truck drivers over 50 years old for the second straight race. Vanderwey drove Stacy’s RPM Racing No. 5L Chevy Rally Truck V-16 (Geiser) to victory in the hunt to win the class season point championship. 

TROPHY TRUCK SPEC BATTLE

     In a class with 25 starters, winning the Trophy Truck Spec class for the first time was Jorge Sampietro, Ensenada, Mexico in the No. 298 Mason-Chevy. He finished the race with a class-winning time 9:30:24 (41.02mph).
     Driving solo in each race, motocross and short course veteran Sara Price, 26, Canyon Lake, Calif., finished second for the third straight race in the highly-competitive Trophy Truck Spec class. Price had an official time of 9:34:24 in her No. 204 RPM Racing Geiser-Chevy.

TWO TIMERS

     Besides Stacy/Vanderwey in SCORE TT Legend, winning for the second time in three races in the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship were: Kaden Wells, St. George, Utah (Pro UTV NA, No. 1995 Polaris RZR XP1000), Freddie Willert, El Cajon, Calif. (SCORE Lites, No. 1206 Jimco-VW), Edward Muncey, San Diego (Baja Challenge, No. BC4 Subaru BTC), Marco Pena, Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico (Pro Moto Limited, No.120x Husqvarna FC350) and Jason Trubey, Henderson, Nev. (Pro Moto 40, No. 444x Husqvarna FE501).

CHALLENGING COURSE

    The race course for the Inaugural Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 was finalized by SCORE President/Race Director Jose A. Grijalva of 390 miles. After the first 19.6 miles which was used in both directions for the race, the course ran in a clockwise direction.
     There were three physical checkpoints and 103 virtual checkpoints on the race course along with 13 speed zone areas that total 71.01 miles of the total 390.20 miles. The three physical checkpoints were located at Santa Catarina (race-mile 96.91), Llano Colorado (rm 230.15) and Santo Tomas (rm 321.94).
     The historic race course was another memorable example of all that Mexico’s Baja California has to offer, including high-speed dirt trails, sandy, rocky and silty natural terrain, majestic Baja washes and canyons, stretches along the seashore with elevations from sea level to over 3,000 feet. The course was another jewel reflecting the stark beauty of Baja California.
     In addition to the three physical checkpoints, central Ensenada for the start and finish, the Ensenada Arroyo and Ojos Negros area in both directions, the course went through such landmark Baja California locations as Heroes de Independencia, Nuevo Junction, Jamau, Valle de Trinidad, the infamous ‘Goat Trail’, Mike’s Sky Rancho, Rancho Las Truchas, Rancho Simpson, Colonet, San Antonio Del Mar, Rancho Johnson, Cerro Solo, Erendira, Acambaro and Uruapan.

THE COUNT

    A total of 189 official starters for this first-time event included racers from 25 U.S. States, host country Mexico, Denmark, Ecuador, Ireland, Italy, Peru and Spain. SCORE Trophy Truck led the way with 36 starters (including seven in SCORE TT Legend for drivers over 50 years old). Besides the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck, other classes with double-figure were Trophy Truck Spec with 25, Pro UTV FI (Forced Induction) with 20, Class 10 with 14 and the unlimited Class 1 with 10.
     Entries from the USA included racers from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

AIRING ON ESPN

     The race will air domestically on a delayed basis as a one-hour special on the World of X Games program on ESPN and will be syndicated internationally to nearly 25 countries in Europe, Latin America, South America and Asia. Co-producing the shows with SCORE is the award-winning BCII TV of Los Angeles led by producer Bud Brutsman. Announcers are SCORE racers Cameron Steele and Aaron Ampudia. 

GRAN HISTORIA

     The first Baja 500 organized and produced by SCORE was held on July 26, 1974 as the first of over 150 SCORE Baja races.
     Ensenada is the heart and soul of the SCORE Baja races. Ensenada has hosted the start line 46 times and the finish line 42 times for the SCORE Baja 500. For the iconic SCORE Baja 1000, Ensenada will be hosting the start line this November for the 45th time and the finish line for the 26th time.

2019 REMAINING SCHEDULE

  • 52nd SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.19-24, Ensenada, Mexico

2020 SCHEDULE
     Here is the four-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship and for the fifth consecutive year all races will be held in Baja California, Mexico:

  • 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, March 25-29, San Felipe, Mexico
  • 52nd SCORE Baja 500, June 3-7, Ensenada, Mexico
  • 2nd SCORE Baja 400, Sept. 16-20, Ensenada, Mexico
  • 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.16-21, Ensenada, Baja California to La Paz, Baja California Sur

ABC TV IN 2019
     The 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship will be televised on the ABC TV family of networks, marking the first time back on the ABC network since the 1967 and 1968 coverage of the Baja 1000 on ABC’s old Wide World of Sports show.
     The one-hour shows on the 33rd SCORE San Felipe 250, 51st SCORE Baja 500 and the 52nd SCORE Baja 1000 will be televised as part of ABC’s World of X Games year-long programming. Presented by SCORE sponsors Monster Energy and BFGoodrich Tires, the ABC World of X Games series profiles iconic action sports figures and also highlights athletes, artists, event previews and recaps.
     The inaugural Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 will air as a one-hour special on ESPN TV.
     All of the SCORE race coverage shows will continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International.

SCORE SPONSORS…

     Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Lucerna Hotels & Resorts-Official Hotel and official race title sponsor, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
     SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, The Satellite Phone Store.
     Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Proturismo Ensenada, Baja California Secretary of Tourism, Mexicali Ayuntamiento, COTUCO Mexicali/San Felipe, Cruz Roja Mexicana, Corporate Helicopters.
     For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.
 

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