As five stars of the sport dueled in the simmering desert heat Saturday, San Diego’s third-generation desert racer Dan McMillin teamed with Las Vegas’ Justin B. Smith to earn a hard-fought overall and SCORE Trophy Truck victory at the BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts. The race was held this week for just the second time in its storied history in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico.
McMillin, 32, and Smith, 36, split the driving in the grueling race through the rugged Baja terrain with temperatures hovering in the 90s with 60% humidity along the Sea of Cortez, covering the 493.00-mile desert race course in eight hours, 29.17 seconds with an usually high average speed of 58.08 miles per hour. They pair the No. 23 McMillin Racing Chevy C1500 built by Mason Motorsports.
“Dan McMillin started the race and Roger and him did a phenomenal job and got us the truck in the top-five,” Smith said. “They did great, so when we got in we just tried to play it smart, push what we could push, and bring it to the finish. We tried to go fast when we could go fast and just save the truck when we had to do it.”
“Our goal here was to get a good spot for the SCORE Baja 1000 and it looks like we’re there,” Smith continued. “We played it smart and hopefully we start the SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of them all, on a good spot. The whole team did awesome and I’d like to thank all of them for the great job and also to thank SCORE for making this happen. There were a lot of doubts out there and they put us on a great race in the lovely town of San Felipe, so it was good.”
With significant Biosecurity Protocols established, approved and initiated because of the COVID-19 pandemic including no spectators for the contingency, start and finish line area at the Eldorado Ranch resort in San Felipe, it was the first SCORE Baja race since last November’s SCORE Baja 1000.
The pandemic-abbreviated two-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship will conclude Nov. 17-22 in Ensenada at the 53rd BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts. For a full schedule of events, be sure to visit SCORE’s website.