12 Class Podiums For FOX
FOX drivers swept the Top 4 overall at the SCORE San Felipe 250 for the second year in a row, with Luke McMillin snagging the 2022 checkered flag in 4 hours, 25 minutes and 21 seconds, a mere two minutes ahead of Bryce Menzies. McMillin also notched his 14th consecutive overall podium; the 2021 Baja 1000 overall winner ran a near perfect race.
This was also FOX’s fifth consecutive San Felipe 250 overall win (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022…there was no 250 in 2020).
“It feels really, really good — we ran clean today, and had no issues at all,” McMillin told reporters after the finish line. “We just kept moving all day. We picked off Lofton (Justin, No. 41) going up north and then there was some back and forth with Bryce (Menzies, No. 7) on a couple of occasions. We passed them on the lakebed when they were changing a tire. We had a little hiccup on our pit, and they got by us. We were 30 seconds behind, and we passed them as they pulled over. It was just cat and mouse.”
McMillin, 29, drove his No. 83 Mason-built all-wheel drive Chevy 1500 solo to lead the third-largest number of starters in race history over 277 miles for an impressive average speed of 62.63 mph.
San Felipe is notoriously rough with miles and miles of whoops. That was echoed by nearly every driver at the finish line. That average speed is pretty impressive considering it was a race at full sprint with a fully stacked field.
FOX drivers racked up 12 podiums overall, with young Californian Christopher Polvoorde winning the TT spec in his first race on FOX. Wayne Matlock took overall UTV and Pro UTV Open class win with the new Polaris RZR Pro R on Live Valve X2 suspension. FOX took Top 3 UTVs in all classes combined.
“It was a short race, but such a long day, with so many variables,” Polvoorde said. “We started off horribly and I thought that our day was over at about mile 50. To be here now, it doesn’t seem real. I screwed up big and when they told me I was in contention, I couldn’t believe. It’s my first SCORE San Felipe 250 and they were not lying about the whoops, those things are insane. I got some flats and had some issues with cactuses and had a little crash with another truck. It was an eventful day but luck was on our side today.”
Matlock was pleased with his result.
“The course was good, it was a lot of fun,” he explained. “The car performed well, it just had some hiccups. The car and the tires held together and we made it.”
How it happened
The popular season-opener of the four-race 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship was held in San Felipe, the picturesque village on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico, 125 miles south of the U.S. border at Calexico, Calif.
Sunny skies, light winds, and mild temperatures in the mid-70s provided an ideal race start. McMillin had plenty of competition behind him in the stacked field of 42 of the marquee SCORE Trophy Trucks and 269 starters, third-most in the 35-year history of the race. Ahead of him were fast qualifier Menzies, second-qualifier Lofton and 273 total starters. Finishers called it “one of the most beautifully brutal courses ever” in the history of this race, with 199 official finishers for an impressive finishing rate of 72.9 percent.
Following his grandfather Corky McMillin and his father Mark McMillin in desert racing, Luke McMillin — who qualified third behind Menzies and Lofton — closed in on Menzies after getting by Lofton early in the race. The battled raged for well over 100 miles as McMillin got by Menzies when the latter had stopped to change a flat and then Menzies got by McMillin when the No. 83 truck had an issue while pitting and McMillin passed Menzies for the last time when his No. 7 had another flat.
Losing by just 15.54 seconds to Menzies last year, McMillin won this year with a victory margin of two minutes, nine seconds. It was McMillin’s first SCORE San Felipe 250 race with his AWD Mason SCORE Trophy Truck, which debuted at last year’s SCORE Baja 500.
After winning the SCORE Baja 1000 in both 2020 (splitting driving with Larry Roeseler) and 2022 (splitting the driving with Rob MacCachren), McMillin drove solo to earn his first SCORE Trophy Truck win in San Felipe. He also won in the unlimited Class 1 10 years ago when he was just 19 years old.
McMillin has now earned three career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins and he also has four career SCORE season point championships including 2020 in a SCORE Trophy Truck.
Menzies, 34, was fast qualifier for the second straight year in San Felipe and ended up finishing second in the race, driving his No. 7 Menzies Motorsports AWD Ford Raptor built by Mason Motorsports in 4:27:30, with an average speed of 62.13mph.
Rounding out the podium in third place was the team of Mike Walser, 55, and Jax Redline, 17, in a time of 4:29:19 in their AWD Mason-built No. 89 Chevy Silverado with an average speed of 61.71mph.
The first four SCORE Trophy Trucks all had average speeds of over 60 mph!
The race will be televised as a one-hour special on the ESPN2 World of X Games program on Sunday, May 15. Champion SCORE Trophy Truck racer and FOX driver Cameron Steele again pulled double duty as the intro announcer for the telecast.
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