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This week in Laughlin, Nev. Former champs B.J. Baldwin, Gordon, MacCachren, Weyhrichs leading 29 SCORE Trophy-Trucks to 17th SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge
SCORE Trophy-Truck field also includes Jones, Norman, Vildosola Jr., M. McMillin, Steele, Bobby Baldwin, Vanderwey, Pierce, Scheeler, Sohren, B. McBeath, Losch, Nuckles, Menzies;
Pre-race festivities Friday include SCORE Trophy-Truck Qualifying at 1:30 p.m., the $16,000 SCORE Laughlin Leap at 7 p.m.
LOS ANGELES—Two-time champion B.J. Baldwin along with former champions Robby Gordon, Rob MacCachren and brothers Mark Weyhrich and Gary Weyhrich return to the banks of the Colorado River this week to lead a stellar field of 29 SCORE Trophy-Trucks entered in the 17th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge.
For the 17th straight year, motorsports fans and racers from across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Denmark and Germany will convene in Laughlin, Nev., the desert resort town near the shores of the Colorado River for the popular SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. The first major motorsports event of the year in the United States will be held Friday through Sunday, launching the five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series, the World's Foremost Desert Racing Series.
With 19 classes of cars and trucks divided into five groups, the single race is divided into multi-lap segments split over two days. Starting at 7 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, each group will race a pre-determined amount of laps each day over the fan-friendly 6.25-mile loop. The featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division will run 8 laps over the 6.25-mile course at 1 p.m. each day followed by the unlimited Class 1 open-wheel desert race cars that will run their 8 laps at 3 p.m. each day.
The combined elapsed time and number of laps completed from both days will determine the final finishing position for each vehicle. Two vehicles will leave the start line every 15 seconds.
Over 125 expected entries, from 14 U.S. States, Canada, Denmark, Germany and Mexico will compete in 19 classes for cars and trucks for nearly $300,000 in prize money and contingency postings during the three-day SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge.
Baldwin, of Las Vegas, won the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge in 2006 and 2007 while NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Gordon, Charlotte, N.C., won in 2009, Las Vegas’ MacCachren won the crown in 1996 and the Weyhrich brothers, Troutdale, Ore., teamed to capture the checkered flag in 2000.
Baldwin drives the No. 97 Chevy Silverado, Gordon pilots the No. 77 Chevy CK1500, MacCachren drives the No. 20 Ford F-150, Mark Weyhrich will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 Ford F-150 and Gary Weyhrich will be driving the team’s newest SCORE Trophy-Truck, the No. 98 Ford F-150.
Besides B.J. Baldwin, Gordon, MacCachren and the Weyhrich brothers, among the other SCORE Trophy-Truck stalwarts who were also officially entered (29 entries to date) are reigning SCORE Desert Series overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck point champion Jesse Jones, Litchfield Park, Ariz., Gus Vildosola Jr., Mexicali, Mexico, Mark McMillin, El Cajon, Calif., Roger Norman, Reno, Nev., Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif. Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix, Bobby Baldwin, Las Vegas, Robbie Pierce, Santee, Calif., Pete Sohren, Glendale, Ariz., Bill McBeath, Las Vegas, Jimmy Knuckles, Brawley, Calif., Kory Scheeler, Las Vegas, and Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas.
One of the event's most popular features, the SCORE Laughlin Leap, revs up the fun and helps get the weekend off. The SCORE Laughlin Leap will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday. The SCORE Laughlin Leap will start with a fireworks display.
Drivers will enjoy the spotlight at the Laughlin Events Park, competing for a $16,000 purse, the SCORE Laughlin Leap, a dirt ramp built into the middle of the stadium portion of the race course, challenges the most daring of drivers. This year's competitors will be attempting to break the event record in the SCORE Laughlin Leap of 161' 6" set in 2009 by Larry Roeseler in the Norman Motorsports Ford F-150. For the fourth straight year, qualifying for starting positions for the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division will be held this Friday before the race from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. With free admission to the grandstand seating area, SCORE Trophy-Truck qualifying will feature each truck being timed over one solo lap of the 6.25-mile course to determine the start order in that class for Saturday’s first half of the race. Friday's pre-race activities will start with the SCORE Manufacturer's Midway and vendor’s village from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the heart of Laughlin. SCORE Contingency, which includes each vehicle being pushed down the lanes in front of the displays, will be held in front of the Edgewater and Colorado Belle Hotels on Casino Drive.
Besides defending SCORE Desert Series Class 1 point champion Kory Halopoff, among the other SCORE stars who have officially entered in the unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars (26 entries to date) are: Randy Wilson, Ronny Wilson, Dan McMillin, Armin Schwarz/Martin Christensen, Steve Appleton, Damen Jefferies, Mike Lawrence, Brian Parkhouse, Max Thieriot, Justin Lofton and Harley Letner.
With late entries accepted until race morning, among the other desert racing stars entered to date seven-time Laughlin class winners MacCachren and Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif. (Class 3) as well as 14 of the 2010 SCORE class point champions: Kory Halopoff, Orange, Calif. (Class 1), Luke McMillin, El Cajon, Calif. (Class 1-2/1600), Moss (Class 3), David Carr, San Diego (Class 5), David Caspino, Woodland Hills, Calif. (Class 6), Dan Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif. (Class 7), Elias Hanna, San Diego (Class 7SX), Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va. (Class 9), Sergio Salgado, Mexicali, Mexico (Class 10), Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif. (SCORE Lite), Joe Bacal, Anthem, Ariz. (Stock Full), Reid Rutherford, Montrose, Colo. (Class 7-2), John Langley, Santa Monica, Calif. (Class 4), and Dr. William Eriksen, Elizabethtown, Ky. (Class 2).
Ten of last year’s SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge class winners are also entered: Halopoff (Class 1), MacCachren (Class -12/1600), Carr (Class 5), Caspino (Class 6), Hanna (Class 7SX), Mike Lawrence (Class 10), Franciso Villagomez (SCORE Lite), Bacal (Stock Full), Dr. Eriksen (Class 2) and Rutherford (Class 7-2).
Tickets are on sale through the visitlaughlin.com website with three designated spectator areas and a special VIP section as well. Three-day passes are also available.
A total of 19 different classes for cars and trucks are split into five groups, each running as part of multiple-lap races over the much-abbreviated 6.25-mile loop each day. Racing action runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The marquee racing division is SCORE Trophy-Truck, featuring high-tech, 850-horsepower, unlimited production trucks along with 29 entries so far and the unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars with 26 entries to date have the largest entry fields in the race. The other classes with the largest entry fields are SCORE Lite with 12 and Class 1-2/1600 with 10.
Besides Gordon, another racer returning to his roots is Justin Lofton, Huntersville, N.C., the 2009 ARCA Series point champion now a NASCAR Truck Series regular who will be racing in Class 1.
The field also includes two female drivers of record, Heidi Steele, San Clemente, Calif. (Class 6) and Jessica McMillin, National City, Calif. (Protruck).
McMillin and Wilson, two of the biggest family names in the world of desert racing, have a total of 10 vehicles entered in this year’s race. Both second and third generation drivers, the McMillins, of San Diego, have five entries (one in SCORE Trophy-Truck, one in Class 1, one in Protruck and two in Class 1-2/1600 while Wilson Motorsports also has five entries (two in Class 1, two in Class 1-2/1600 and one in SCORE Lite.
The Laughlin Events Park, with grandstand seating, vendor's village and food court is just minutes from the destinations eight resorts and includes an infield with switchbacks, whoops, minijumps and the SCORE Laughlin Leap.
Daily general admission tickets, good for grandstand seating, are $20 each per day for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, children 10 and under are free. Daily VIP tickets are $40 each per day for the each day, good for admission to the Laughlin Hospitality Chalet, including food, beverage and special seating.
Facing the infield stadium seating area will be the video monitors, showing footage from around the race course.
Tickets, priced at $5 each per person, will also be available each race day (Saturday and Sunday) for 'SCORE Hill', which overlooks the infield, start/finish area and the main pits. The SCORE Hill will have grandstands and standing room areas along with vendors, concessions and the other public safety services available.
The Laughlin Tourism Commission is also selling three-day general admission passes for $50 and three-day VIP passes for $100. With the purchase of a general admission or VIP ticket, spectators can also buy pit passes for an additional $10 per day.
The newest spectator area, dubbed the Cougar Corral, opened in 2008 adjacent to Laughlin High School off of Cougar Drive, allows entry at $10 per person, as space allows for vehicles as well as walk-in spectators, to the backside of the course with a view of much of the 6.25-mile loop. Tickets for the Laughlin High spectator area will be available only on each day of racing (Saturday and Sunday) at the entrance off of Cougar Drive.
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 100 of the world’s best desert 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.
The 17th annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Commission, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in association with Las Vegas Events. The race is sanctioned and produced by SCORE International of Los Angeles.
Located 90 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin offers visitors a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This city by the river has grown to include nine resorts with affordable first-class accommodations, 24-hour casino gaming, gourmet dining and outlet shopping. Laughlin, a unique resort destination that welcomes nearly 5 million visitors annually, has also become one of the leading special event destinations in the Southwest. From world-class bull riding action to daring desert racing to professional rodeo on the Colorado River, Laughlin has plenty to offer the adventurous spectator.
Current SCORE official annual sponsors are: BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Volkswagen of America-official vehicle, Sunoco Race Fuels-official fuel supplier, Bilstein-official shock, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance-official Mexican auto insurance, Slime-official tire sealant and Red Bull-official energy drink. Associate sponsors are: Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Las Vegas Events, MasterCraft Safety, Blue C Advertising, SignPros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance Products and Advanced Color Graphics.