FOX drivers Rob MacCachren (56) and Luke McMillin (29) shared driving duties to push the Big Blue Mason all-wheel drive 4 Wheel Parts/BFGoodrich Tires No. 11 Chevy Silverado trophy truck 1,227 miles to overall victory at the 54th running of the SCORE Baja 1000, with a winning time of 20 hours, 45 minutes and 58 seconds and an average speed of 59.05 miles per hour. FOX drivers took 13 Class wins and 32 podiums overall.
This year’s ‘Peninsula Run’ (as opposed to loop race) – the fourth longest race in history – started in Ensenada and finished in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico.
With MacCachren set as the Driver of Record and running the #11 instead of McMillin’s traditional #83 in the chase for the points championship, the duo’s win marks back-to-back overall Baja 1000 victories for McMillin and MacCachren’s fifth career win.
“The race was incredible,” MacCachren said. “It’s an honor to be asked by Luke McMillin and the McMillin Race team to drive with them. I didn’t have any issues at all, just wanted to take care of the truck and give Luke a good truck. Luke did a heck of a job. Everything went as planned. When the previous SCORE Baja 1000 ends you started planning for the next one. This is the one we all want to win.”
Besides his late grandfather Corky, McMillin’s victorious extended family members include his brother Dan, his dad Mark, his uncle Scott and his cousins Andy and Jessica. As a family, the McMillins now have earned a race-record 14 overall victories in the SCORE Baja 1000.
“It was a great day,” Luke McMillin added. “Rob brought me a great truck in second place. He got on the radio and told me it was a perfect truck so that put the pressure on me that it’s go time. We did our homework, we did our pre-running. We hit our marks. Zero flat tires, zero close calls. We just stayed on the course and did our thing. That made it fun.”
FOX driver and multiple Baja 100 winner Cameron Steele (53) and Ryan Arciero (48) piloted the two-wheel drive Live Valve-equipped No. 16 Desert Assassins Monster Energy Ford Raptor to third overall with a time of 21:27:00 (57.17mph). Here’s a pre-race tuning session with FOX:
Ironman Larry Roeseler
Sixty-four-year-old Larry Roeseler – last year’s overall winner with Luke McMillin – “ironmanned” the entire race, finishing 8th in the TT class with a time of 24:23:31 in the FOX-equipped No. 43 Baja Jerky Cantina Racing Toyota Tundra. Roeseler has 14 overall victories (10 on a motorcycle, two in a race car and two in SCORE Trophy Truck).
“It was an amazing day,” Roeseler explained. “We started really good; we got by Cameron (Steele) and was running with the lead pack. On the beach, Dan (McMillin) crashed, Tavo (Vildosola) got by me in the pits. I settled in and we were running a good pace. I pulled back the pace a little since it was only 200 miles in.
“By the middle of the night, I was fourth physically and was hoping for a podium finish. A podium is like winning the race to me. But then the transmission let go at race mile 980. We were lucky to get it to the pits at race-mile 1,000 and put in a couple gallons of oil. We kept filling it with oil but it would pour out as fast as we added it. We literally had gallons in Eric’s (Brandt, navigator) lap and on the floorboard and between us. He was just pouring oil in and we were just trying to make it to the finish. At the top of the hill with 10 miles to go to the finish line, the truck just stopped.”
“Robby (Gordon) came up behind us and stopped and offered to pull us in. He pulled us all the way to the pavement. I have all the respect for him. Really cool that he gave us a few positions to help us. I would still be out there sitting if it weren’t for him.
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“Eric rode the whole way with me. He gets a lot of credit too. I think it is easier to drive than to sit in the right seat. He did a great job for me. The whole team. Of course, we would have liked to finish better. But I feel like this was a win. I’ve done some amazing events throughout my career. This one rates right up there near the top. This is one I will never forget, the highs and the lows. My family was here waving the checkered flag for me. That was really, really special.”
Big race, big effort
Two hundred and ninety-nine vehicles left the Ensenada starting line early Thursday morning, November 18 in the elapsed time race. When the course officially closed at 3:13:35 p.m. Mountain Time on Saturday, November 20 there were 205 official finishers (68.6 percent finishing rate) on the long and challenging racecourse.
In the 22 years that the race has finished in La Paz, 299 starters (from 35 U.S. States and 18 countries) are the fourth-most in race history. The 205 finishers are the third most finishers when the race finishes in La Paz.
Pro UTV FI
Pro UTV Open
Pro UTV NA
Top 2: Elias Hanna won with Team Honda in 29:18:38, including FOX Director of Motorsports Bobby Smith and Mechatronics Engineer Isaac Chapluk driving one leg of the race. Kristen Matlock ‘ironwomaned’ the entire race solo and finished 5th with Live Valve in 36:58:00.
13 Class Wins for FOX
TT/Overall – Rob MacCachren & Luke McMillin; TT Legends – Rolf Helland; TT Spec – Elijah Kiger (4 out of top 5; Class 10 – Ethan Hagle; Class 7 – Jeff Proctor; Pro UTV FI – Phil Blurton (Top 5); Pro UTV NA – Elias Hanna (Top 2); Pro UTV Open – Justin Elenburg (Top 5); ½-1600 – Eli Yee; SCORE Lites – Doug Satterfield; 5-1600 – Jorge Gutierrez (Top 2); Baja Challenge – John Williams; JeepSpeed Trophy – Andrew Hulse (only entry).
Live Valve results
Cameron Steele/Ryan Arciero – 3rd place overall/TT; Jeff Bader/Dan Fresh (+Mike Kim) – 5th place, TT Spec; Branden Sims – 2nd place, Pro UTV FI; Brandon Schueler – 9th place, Pro UTV FI; Craig Scanlon – 12th place, Pro UTV FI; Wayne Matlock – 3rd place, Pro UTV Open; Kristen Matlock – 5th place, Pro UTV NA.
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