SCORE International Baja 400: Weekend Recap

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via SCORE International (1); Andy McMillin (2)

Ryan Arciero brought Andy McMillin’s win streak in SCORE World Desert Championship action to a halt on Saturday by scoring the victory on corrected time in the inaugural Lucerna SCORE Baja 400. Arciero, who started the season with a runner-up finish in the San Felipe 250, and company completed the new 387-mile course in 8:26:32, as he earned his first victory in the series since the 2004 SCORE Baja 500.

“It was a great race for us,” said Arciero, whose father Butch will be inducted in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame later this year and was on hand for the event. “We started in the middle of the SCORE 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. 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.”

A remarkably close Trophy Truck battle saw the top 10 trucks all finish within just minutes of one another, as the top seven trucks even beat overall Motorcycle winner Justin Morgan. McMillin earned second place with an 8:28:09, just under two minutes away from keeping his perfect season alive, while Gustavo Vildosola completed the podium. BJ Baldwin rolled off the line second and was the first driver across the finish line, but was scored seventh overall on corrected time. Brothers Brett and Christian Sourapas made their debut as SCORE teammates and drew the first starting spot, but Brett suffered a rollover just miles from the schedule driver swap; nobody was injured.

In Class 1, Cody Parkhouse scored the victory by 1:35 over Brad Wilson, who broke a tie with Justin Davis for the incoming points lead. Jorge Sampietro took the Trophy Truck Spec class win over Sara Price, who entered the weekend with a single-point lead over Charles Dorrance and AJ Jones; they finished third and fourth, respectively, to keep the title battle close.

Wes Miller earned the Pro UTV Forced Induction victory at 10:00:49, the best time of any UTV in the event, while Marc Burnett and Scott Trafton took the remaining podium spots. Burnett snagged the class points lead from defending overall SCORE World Desert Champion Wayne Matlock, who came home fifth. Kaden Wells’ pursuit of back-to-back Pro UTV Normally Aspirated titles gained a boost as he took a second straight class win, while Jesus Mendez Jr. earned the Pro UTV Unlimited victory.

The Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 will air later this year on ESPN. The SCORE World Desert Championship season concludes in November with the 52nd running of the SCORE Baja 1000. Cameron Steele will look to defend last year’s race victory in the Trophy Truck class, while McMillin will aim to lock up the season title with yet another podium.

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