Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 | 9:30 p.m.
The NASCAR offseason is the most difficult time of the year for me. No Cup races to watch, no feuds to enjoy, and no racing topics to discuss around the water cooler on Monday morning.
Fortunately, the SCORE off-road racing series makes it’s way to Southern Nevada this time of the year to host the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. This is the 17th time SCORE has come to Laughlin, Nevada. The three-day event included 19 classes of vehicles that compete over a 6.25-mile loop through the desert.
The trucks in the Trophy-Truck division, which is the premier racing class in the series, run eight laps over the course. Sprint Cup driver Robby Gordon and a number of Las Vegas racers, including Bobby Baldwin, Rob MacCachren, Bill McBeath, Kory Scheeler and Bryce Menzies, all competed in the Trophy-Truck division. In addition to Gordon, another driver from NASCAR participated in the day’s events. Justin Lofton, who drives in the NASCAR truck series, competed in the Class 1 vehicles.
Laughlin Desert Challenge
If you haven’t made the trek to Laughlin to see this event, I highly recommend it. The grandstands at the start/finish line provide an excellent view of the race’s starting point, and there are sections of the course that include jumps and a few paperclip-shaped turns that the driver’s attack with reckless abandon. The jumps and the challenging surface of the course give you a full view of how hard the trucks’ massive suspensions work to keep the vehicles on the course. What’s not to love about powerful trucks sliding sideways and flinging massive rooster tails of dirt into the air?
Racing on Sunday will start at 7 a.m. and the Trophy-Trucks will compete at 1 p.m. The start/finish line area is located at the Laughlin Events Park at the corner of Thomas Edison Drive and Bruce Woodbury Way. General admission is $20 and children under 10 are free. There are also $5 tickets for “SCORE Hill,” which overlooks the infield, start/finish line and the pits.
Here are a few photos of the racing action and the results from Saturday’s Trophy-Truck race .
Reigning SCORE Desert Series points champion Jesse Jones finished in the top spot on Saturday in the first leg of the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. Las Vegas driver B.J. Baldwin and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Robby Gordon both had mechanical problems.
Jones stared 30th in the Trophy-Truck field and finished the eight-lap race in an elapsed time of 55 minutes, 59 seconds with an average speed of 53.59 miles per hour. Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas finished 7th and NASCAR Truck Series driver Justin Lofton finished in the 9th position.
The final segment of the Laughlin Desert Challenge concludes tomorrow.
Here are the class leaders from Saturday’s races:
SCORE TROPHY-TRUCK (Unlimited Production Trucks, 8 laps, 50 miles, 32 entries, 32 starters, 21 finishers) —1. Jesse Jones, Litchfield Park, Ariz., Ford F-150, 55:59 (53.59 mph); 2. Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas/Peter Mortensen, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 56:03; 3. Mark Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150, 56:47.
CLASS 1 (Unlimited single or two-seaters, 8 laps, 50 miles, 27 entries, 26 starters, 24 finishers)—1. Justin Lofton, Huntersville, N.C, Jimco-Chevy, 58:32 (51.25 mph); 2. Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif., ESM-Chevy, 59:05; 3. Harley Letner, Orange, Calif., Alpha-Chevy, 59:17.
CLASS 1-2/1600 (VW-powered, single or two-seaters to 1600cc, 6 laps, 37.5 miles, 11 entries, 11 starters, 11 finishers) –1. Luke McMillin, El Cajon, Calif., AlumiCraft, 49:14 (45.70 mph); 2. Mac Marmon, Fort Mohave, Ariz., ADR, 49:15; 3. Arnoldo Ramirez, Ensenada, Mexico, Curry, 49:29.
CLASS 3 (Short wheelbase 4X4, 5 laps, 31.25 miles, 1 entry, 1 starter, 1 finisher)—1. Donald Moss, Sacramento, Calif., Ford Bronco,45:43 (41.01 mph)
CLASS 5 (Unlimited VW Baja Bugs, 7 laps, 43.75 miles, 3 entries, 3 starters, 3 finishers)—1. Kevin Carr, San Diego, 59:59 (43.76 mph).
CLASS 6 (Unlimited, production mini trucks, 6 laps, 37.5 miles, 5 entries, 6 starters, 6 finishers)—1. Dave Caspino, Woodland Hills, Calif., Ford Ranger, 44:51 (50.17 mph).
CLASS 7 (Open, production mini trucks, 6 laps, 37.5 miles, 2 entries, 2 starters, 1 finisher)—1. Dan Chamlee/Tom Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif., Ford Ranger, 50:06 (44.91 mph)
CLASS 7SX (Modified, stock mini trucks, 5 laps,31.25 miles, 2 entries, 2 starters, 2 finishers)—1. Elias Hanna, San Diego, Ford Ranger, 41:49 (44.84 mph).
CLASS 8 (Full-sized two-wheel drive trucks, 6 laps, 2 entries, 2 starters, 2 finishers)—1. Noah Ostanik, Encinitas, Calif., Ford F-150, 47:07 (47.75 mph).
CLASS 10 (Single or two-seaters to 1650cc, 7 laps, 43.75 miles, 9 entries,9 starters, 6 finishers)—1. Michael LaPaglia, Murrieta, Calif., Racer-Chevy, 52:27 (50.05 mph); 2. Robert McBeath, Las Vegas, Jimco-Honda, 54:24; 3. Alex Mendez, San Diego, Jimco-Honda, 54:59.
SCORE LITE (VW-powered, Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc, 7 laps, 43.75 miles, 14 entries, 14 starters, 11 finishers)—1. Jaime Huerta, San Luis, Ariz., Curry, 53:25 (49.14 mph); 2. Sammy Ehrenberg, Las Vegas/L.J. Kennedy, Orange, Calif./Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco, 54:34; 3. Steve Eugenio, Alpine, Calif., Prill, 54:57.
CLASS 11 (Stock, VW Sedans, 3 laps, 18.75 miles, 2 entries, 2 starters, 2 finishers)—1. Justin Matney, Bristol, Tenn., 33:50 (33.25 mph) (Ramon Fernandez drove Saturday).
STOCK FULL (Stock, Full-sized Trucks, 5 laps, 31.25 miles, 3 entries, 3 starters, 2 finishers)—1. Joe Bacal, Anthem, Ariz., Lexus LX570, 47:04 (39.84 mph).
PROTRUCK (Limited, production trucks, 6 laps, 37.5 miles, 1 entry, 1 starter, 1 finisher)—1. Jessica McMillin, National City, Calif./Rhiannon Freiley, Signal Hill, Calif., Ford F-150, 50:29 (44.57 mph).
CLASS 7-2 (Unlimited 2.2/2.4-Liter Truck, 5 laps, 31.25 miles, 2 entries, 2 starters, 1 finisher)—1. Wes Bevly IV, Corpus Christi, Texas, 42:22 (44.26 mph).
CLASS 4 (Unlimited, 2.2 Liter open-wheel car, 7 laps, 43.75 miles, 3 entries, 3 starters, 3 finishers)—1. Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va./(Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico, drove Saturday) PSD-Chevy, 57:02 (46.03 mph).
SPT TRUCK— (5 laps, 31.25 miles, 4 entries, 4 starters, 3 finishers) – 1. Jonathon Libby, Redlands, Calif./Jack Libby, Dillingham, Alaska, Chevy S-10, 38:20 (48.91 mph).