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Gordon Wins Baja 500 Overall
Posted on Jun 5, 2005, 00:37

Robby going thru Santo Tomas. Courtesy John Bitting
ENSENADA, Mexico—Returning to his racing roots, NASCAR Team Owner/Driver Robby Gordon began his double-duty weekend with a stunning overall 4-wheel and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the 37th Tecate SCORE Baja 500 desert race in Ensenada, Mexico. Leaving shortly after finishing the race to return to Dover, Del., to drive in Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race, Gordon charged to the front early in his No. 83 Red Bull Chevy CK1500 and stayed there, covering the brutally-tough 419-mile course in 9 hours, 10 minutes, 32 seconds, averaging 45.66 miles per hour.

Gordon, 36, who lives in Cornelius, N.C. and races out of his Robby Gordon Off-Road shop in Anaheim, Calif., captured the 4-wheel vehicle win with a flawless, flat-free race over a boulder-strewn, silt-grabbing desert course in front of a massive crowd estimated at over 150,000 spread out along the course by Mexican tourism officials.

The race featured a near-record 345 starters, from 20 U.S. States, Mexico, Canada and Japan, for round 3 of the six-race 2005 SCORE Desert Series, the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Series. The large field, competing in 24 Pro and 5 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, was the fourth-largest in the storied history of the summer desert classic and the most since the event record was set and then tied in 1976 and 1977. With a 17-hour time limit, the race course will remain open until 4 a.m. Sunday morning.

Beating an impressive race-record field of 29 SCORE Trophy-Trucks for his first Tecate SCORE Baja 500 win in the marquee SCORE racing division for 800-horsepower, high-tech, unlimited production trucks, Gordon claimed his third overall 4-Wheel crown in the event and his fourth class win. His previous class wins were in 1988, 1989 and 1990 and his other two overall crowns were the last two years of that string. Spending most of the last nine years as a part-time SCORE desert racer, Gordon won his first SCORE race since winning four races on the way to the 1996 SCORE Trophy-Truck season point champion.

Looking much like an inverted deflating balloon on a string, the 419-mile race course started in downtown Ensenada adjacent to the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center and finished inside the Deportivo Antonio Palacios baseball stadium in the heart of Ensenada.

“We earned this one,” said Gordon. “The race was tough, it was a pretty slow average and a lot of rocks. It’s nice to win one – we’ve come so close so many times. It was a good run for us. I just drove and easy pace. I am sick so my ears kept popping. We were tight with Jason (Baldwin, No. 1) but then he had a problem – I think he got a flat. We had a great race today. We race in Dover, Delaware tomorrow. The only bad news today was the private plane we were going to use is broken. I’ve got some good friends, so I have to see what I can do.”

Ironically, the third and fourth-place finishers in SCORE Trophy-Truck were Ford F-150s originally built and driven by Gordon. Running second to Gordon all day in SCORE Trophy-Truck was defending season point champion Jason Baldwin, Laguna Beach, Calif., who started 30-seconds after Gordon in the elapsed-time race. Baldwin, who placed third overall, finished in 9:17:07 in his No. 1 Baldwin Racing Ford F-150.

Third in SCORE Trophy-Truck and fourth overall in a Gordon-built truck was the team of Mark Post, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Curt LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif., in 9:24:44 in the No. 3 Riviera Racing Ford F-150.

Finishing 23 seconds behind Post in another rebuilt Gordon truck was the father/son team of Marty and Travis Coyne in the No. 5 Coyne Motorsports Ford F-150.
Second overall among 4-wheel vehicles and winning the unlimited Class 1 for the second straight race was Andy McMillin and his father Scott McMillin, Poway, Calif., in a time of 9:15:12, four minutes, 40 seconds behind the winning Gordon.

The three vehicles that covered the course the fastest Saturday were motorcycles. The privateer team of Mike Childress, Wrightwood, Calif./Mike ‘Mouse’ McCoy, Santa Monica, Calif., beat three factory teams, riding a Honda XR650R to a time of 8:40:25, averaging 48.31mph. All four top finishing motorcycle teams were in Class 22.

Second among the motorcycles was the American Honda A team of Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif./Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif., with a 8:49:45 time on a Honda XR650R while third was the Honda B team of Robby Bell, Murrieta, Calif./Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., completing the course in 9:08:16 on another Honda XR650R.
The fourth motorcycle finisher was the Factory KTM team of Chris Blais, Apple Valley, Calif./Andy Grider, Los Olivos, Calif., running the route in 9:10:48 on a KTM 660 Rally motorcycle.

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