SCORE International Baja 400: Weekend Preview

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Andy McMillin (1); Brett Sourapas (2)

The 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship takes an interesting turn this weekend, as the inaugural Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 sends some of the top desert racing teams in the world to Ensenada for the third round of the season. The new addition makes for three Baja events on the calendar, joining the legendary Baja 500 in the summer and Baja 1000 that will return for its 52nd edition on November.

This weekend’s Baja 400 isn’t just a race for championship points, though. It’s also the determining event for starting spots in the Baja 1000, the crown jewel event on the schedule and one of the most grueling races in the world. Entering the week, 173 entries had committed to running the new event, representing 24 US states and seven countries spanning three continents.

Brothers Brett and Christian Sourapas drew the first starting spot for Trophy Truck competitors, as they team up in Sourapas Motorsports equipment for the very first time. They’ll be followed off the line by BJ Baldwin, Kevin Thompson, Jonathan Brenthel, and Ricky Johnson. Andy, Luke, and Dan McMillin enter the weekend as the top three drivers in SCORE points; they drew the 13th, 24th, and 30th starting spots, respectively, as Andy McMillin looks to go a perfect three for three on the season.

Brendan Gaughan drew the first starting spot in Class 1, as he looks to make up a 23-point deficit on championship leader Brad Wilson, who starts third. Kelly McArthur drew the top starting spot in Trophy Truck Spec, 14 spots ahead of points leader Sara Price, who enters the event with a slim one-point margin over both Charles Dorrance and AJ Jones.

Pro UTV Forced Induction points leader Wayne Matlock elected to rear start as usual, and will be last of the 17 drivers in that class off the line, while Cory Sappington will start first. Adrian Escandon and Herman Johnson will start first in Pro UTV NA and Unlimited, respectively. Kristen Matlock and Kaden Wells are tied for the NA points lead at 168 after splitting the first two rounds of the season, while Josh Herzing and Jesus Mendez Jr. join Johnson in Unlimited as all three look to make up for DNFs in the Baja 500.

The inaugural Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 kicks off on Saturday at 6:20AM PT for motorcycles and quads and at approximately 10AM PT for cars, trucks, and UTVs. The event will be televised as an hour-long special in ESPN’s World of X Games anthology series.

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