Looking for his own version of “Spring Break,” NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon will spend his week off from pavement racing by returning to his desert racing roots as one of 10 overall winners from the last 13 years entered in this week’s 23rd annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250.
Round 2 of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series will be Friday through Sunday in Mexico’s quaint and picturesque fishing village of San Felipe, located on the East side of the Baja California peninsula along the azure waters of the tranquil Sea of Cortez.
Gordon, who won this race in 1996 and whose only attempt here since then was a did-not-finish in 2004, will drive the No. 77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500 SCORE Trophy-Truck that won January’s 2009 SCORE season-opener in Laughlin.
Besides Gordon, the other former overall race winners returning this year are brothers Tim Herbst/Ed Herbst (1999, 2000, 2001), Mark Post (1998, 2004, 2007), Brian Collins (1990, 2008), Rob MacCachren (2003, 2007), Curt LeDuc (1997), Gus Vildosola (2003) and Jerry Whelchel (1998, 2004).
Also part of the field for the popular desert race are four gifted riders who have combined to win the overall Motorcycle title in 10 of the last 11 years — Johnny Campbell (7 times), Robby Bell (3), Kendall Norman (2) and Quinn Cody (1). The competitive field also includes 15 defending class winners and 36 racers who have combined for 115 class wins in the first 22 years of this race.
With over 225 entries from 20 U.S. States and 10 countries competing in 28 Pro and 6 Sportsman classes in the 232.4-mile race, the green flag will drop at 6 a.m. local time on Saturday, for the motorcycle and ATV classes, followed three hours later by the car and truck classes at approximately 10 a.m. local time.
The start line for the race will once again be the landmark San Felipe Arches on Highway 5 on the outskirts of San Felipe. The race will finish just south of the Arches, directly behind the Cerveza Tecate building. One vehicle will start every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, with a 10-hour time limit to become an official finisher. The fastest finishers are expected in just under four hours.
Through the efforts of SCORE’s electronic media partner, Aura360 Ventures of Maine, the motorcycle and ATV portion of the race will be featured in the April 26 NBC Sports telecast of the “Jeep World of Adventure Sport.” This will mark the third time these classes have been featured on that NBC show and Aura360 will also produce a complete-race DVD on the Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 for the first time.
“Usually when I run a SCORE Baja race I have to commute and pull double-duty so this week will be a real treat for me as I can focus on just the desert and not the desert and all the things connected to NASCAR racing as well,” said Gordon, who has two career class wins in his limited time in San Felipe.
“We came out in Laughlin in January planning to run the entire 2009 SCORE season and after winning that race we are even more enthusiastic about running the entire five-race series this year. With all of our other racing commitments, this will be the first time we have run the entire SCORE series since we won the SCORE Trophy-Truck season point championship in 1996.”
This year’s race will use the same 232.4-mile race course as 2008, running in a counter clockwise direction out of San Felipe up to and then back West along Highway 3 and back South and down through three of the most picturesque and challenging washes in all of Baja.
Collins, of Las Vegas, is the defending overall race winner having won last year in his No. 12 Collins Motorsports Dodge Ram1500.He also captured the overall victory in this race in 1990 to give him two career San Felipe overalls.
Leading the way among returning overall winners with three victories are Las Vegas’ Herbst brothers (Tim and Ed) who after taking last year off of desert racing will debut their new No. 19 Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck.
Also back after a year away from the sport will be Troy Herbst, 42, the youngest of the three Herbst brothers, who has two Class 1 wins in San Felipe in his legendary Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford-powered Smithbuilt open-wheel desert race car.
Post, Laguna Beach, Calif. also has three San Felipe overall wins, one in Class 1 (1998) and two in SCORE Trophy-Truck. Post won with Whelchel in 1998 and 2004 and in 2007, his second driver was current teammate MacCachren, Las Vegas, in the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150.
MacCachren, who has six class wins in this race, also has two San Felipe overall wins, having also won in 2003 as the second driver for Mexico’s Gus Vildosola. Vildosola will be the second driver this year for his son Gus Vildosola Jr., in the popular No. 4 Red Bull Vildosola Racing Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck.
The pre-race Manufacturer’s Midway and tech inspection of the vehicles in the race will be held on Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the picturesque Malecon, flanked by the Sea of Cortez on one side and the popular restaurants and night clubs of San Felipe on the other.
At 10 a.m. local time on Sunday, the awards celebration will be held at the plaza in front of The Beachcomber Night Club on the Malecon.
For more information regarding the series, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.