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Round 1, 2005 SCORE Desert Series
11th Annual SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge
FIRST DAY RACE NOTES AND QUOTES - Saturday, January 15, 2005

George Seeley, Jr. (500), Glendale, AZ, and co-driver Roger Byrd finished first on Saturday. George, who will drive both days, said it was absolutely perfect with no dust. “The fastest I’ve ever been around the course,” stated George. “No problems but the sun made it difficult but the tires and engine worked great.”

CLASS 5/1600
Jeff Sack
(555), Huntington Beach, AZ, finished the race first Saturday and will drive both days. Joining him Saturday was co-driver Mike Straka. “It was a great day and the rain especially made it nice,” Sack said. “I started fifth but started passing on the first and second laps.” “We were moving good, really hauling and drove really hard. I had no problems and am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Eric Fisher
(900), Ensenada, Mexico, with co-driver, Hector Parales, finished first on Saturday and will share the driving responsibilities with Hector Sarabia. “Close with car 901 but kept passing on the very fun course,” said Eric. “No problems today and hopefully Hector has a good day tomorrow.”

Scott Pellerin
(1103), Romoland, AZ, will drive both days and finished first on Saturday. “Great course and so much smoother than last year,” said Pellerin. “No problems yet and hopefully tomorrow will be great.” Cory Vandermark, co-driver, experiencing his first race, complimented his “fantastic” driver.

Jake Batulis (1201), San Clemente, AZ, was involved in the closest race on Saturday, as he held the lead from Saturday’s action by a mere five seconds over James Golden (1203), Newport Beach, Calif. Batulis drew a number-one starting position on Sunday, while Golden will be in the fifth wave of starters in this class.

Jimmy Nuckles
, Brawley, AZ, drove Saturday’s leg, while tomorrow’s duties will be handled by Jeff Dickerson (223), Brawley, Calif.. Nuckles and Dickerson will be attempting to win their third straight Laughlin title, and were off to a good start after winning the first day’s race. “There were too many slow trucks out there,” complained Dickerson, who served as the co-driver today. “I came up on one guy and it was pretty scary,” Nuckles recalled. “I thought he was going one way and he went the other. The passing is what makes this fun though. If I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t race.” Nuckles had a one-second lead midway through Saturday’s race, then used a 13-second advantage in lap three to claim a more comfortable lead.

Todd Wyllie
(800), of New River, Ariz., proved that not only does he have the best pit crew, but he can race a little as well. The day after winning the SCORE Pit Crew Showdown in the Truck Division, Wyllie screamed out to a lead in Class 8, vying to become the sixth different class winner in this event in as many years. “The race was excellent,” Wyllie said. “The truck was flawless except the starting line – it was a bit too cold and was slow going early. The dust wasn’t bad and it was a great course. It was easy catching people and easy passing people. We have a few repairs to make, and add some to our shocks. The Laughlin Leap seems steeper than we thought it would be.” Wyllie will drive again in Sunday’s competition. Wyllie, who trailed by seven seconds after the first lap, built a relatively comfortable 1:07 lead following Saturday’s race.

Eric Hardin (225), of Anaheim, AZ, crossed the line just 13 seconds behind Wyllie on Saturday. The task of overtaking Wyllie will fall on his brother’s shoulder, Jared, who will take the wheel for Sunday’s race. “It was a little crazy out there,” Eric said. “We got locked up with Vildosola (Gustavo, 204) on the second lap. I couldn’t see over the hood for the whole second lap, it definitely cost us the race.” Hardin’s hood was partially ripped off due to the encounter with Vildosola Jr.

Kory Halopoff
(1020), Orange, AZ, had a five-second lead after three laps, then stretched it out to a 23-second lead after Saturday’s action. “We need a couple more laps. I hope we won but I think we lost,” Halopoff said immediately after crossing the finish line, without knowing the actual times of other finishers. “The traffic was pretty easy to get through.” Tomorrow co-driver Harley Letner, Villa Park, AZ, will take over, while Halopoff will drive in Class 1.

Martin Christensen (1002), Escondido, AZ, sits in third place, 34 seconds behind Halopoff and just 11 seconds behind Lobsam Yee (1019), Tijuana, Mexico. Christensen was third in time but the first to physically cross the line. “Hopefully we’ll be in the same position tomorrow as were today,” Christensen said. “It will be the last time racing in Class 10 – we’re building a Class 1 truck.” Christensen will start after each of the top two leaders begin, giving him the opportunity to know where he stands during the race.

GROUP #5: CLASS 1/2-1600
Rob MacCachren
(1612), Las Vegas, looking to defend his title in last year’s Laughlin Desert Challenge, jumped out to a 26-second lead in Saturday’s leg. “I had no problems,” MacCachren stated. “I just drove as hard as I could the whole time. The ruts are real deep – you have to be real careful on the corners. The 1600’s usually don’t go this late so it’s usually not as much of an issue. I started 12th, and got through everyone before the finish line.” MacCachren will race Sunday in SCORE Lites and SCORE Trophy Truck, while the 1/2-6000 car will feature Bryan Freeman, Las Vegas, as the driver. “I sold both my cars and I didn’t have one so I called up Bryan. My phone was ringing off the hook after the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000, so I had to sell.”

Travis Fletcher (1602), Westminster, AZ, sits in third after Saturday’s race, and will drive both days. “The course was really rough,” observed Fletcher. “I saw MacCachren coming and I tried to hold him off. He is a really talented driver and I guess I can finish second to him anytime. We had lap traffic, but that wasn’t much of a problem. The big thing was the turns were really rutted.”

Brian Ickler
(104), Poway, AZ, has exactly a two-minute lead following Saturday’s race. His time of 44:48 was also good for the fastest overall time of any vehicle. His times on the four laps varied by just nine seconds, with the fastest one taking 11:09 and the slowest 11:18. The next fastest lap that any competitor in any class did was 11:35. In fact, for him to lose his 2:00 advantage in the quest to be the overall fastest finisher, someone would have to make up at least 30 seconds per lap. Now consider that only 13 other laps were done within 30 seconds of his slowest lap, and that was spread across nine different vehicles. Not too shabby for a 19-year old student who balances racing every weekend (in NASCAR Late Model stock car) with his classes at Cal State- San Marcos. “I had no problems, it was awesome,” commented Ickler. “We’re going to change it a little bit for tomorrow. This car is so incredibly fast, it’s almost like cheating. We ran the first lap pretty hard, from there on we pretty much cruised. We’ll probably have to work a little harder tomorrow.”

Pat Dean (103), Las Vegas, placed second in Saturday’s race with a time of 46:48. He was one of just four drivers to post all four laps under 12:00 for each lap. Also on that short list were Class 1’s Dale Ebberts (126), Canyon Lake, AZ, and SCORE Trophy-Truck leader Dale Dondale. There were four other drivers, all in Class 1, who clocked three straight sub-12:00 laps before faltering on their final lap. Those final lap times ranged from 12:07 to 21:55.

Dale Dondel
(11), Hemet, AZ, had just a one-second lead after three of the four laps, but cranked out the fastest lap four time of any SCORE Trophy-Truck to build a 19-second advantage over his closest competitor. Dale usually splits driving duties with his brother Mike, who was unable to compete this weekend after suffering a bone infection which resulted from a dog bite. “The truck is only a year and a half old, but we haven’t used it all that much,” Dondale said. “We had a pretty good run today. We lost some power steering today, and lost a little time because of it, and had a few problems with the brakes. We’ll stiffen the suspension for tomorrow and of course take care of the power steering and brakes. They should have more races like this – it evens things up. The Herbsts have people all through the course in Mexico. We have 20 volunteers, no one paid.”

Alan Pflueger (28), Honolulu, was just 10 seconds behind Dondale after three laps until Dondale turned on the after-burners on lap four, but seemed unconcerned. “We’ve got the same truck, and she’s ready to dance,” he said following Saturday’s session. “We’ve got a new weapon in the works and we’ll bring it out at some point this season – it will change desert racing. We bumped one of the other competitors, just letting him know we wanted to get past him. We bumped him three times and he didn’t move so I had to bump him a little harder.” That extra bump resulted in some minor damage to his truck, but he is poised to make a run for the class championship.

Just one second behind Pflueger are the brothers tandem of Tim and Ed Herbst (19), Las Vegas. Ed drove today while Tim will take the wheel on Sunday. “It ran great,” Ed reflected. “The course got torn up a little, and the sun was setting on us. But we had a good four clean laps, and we’ll run the same way tomorrow.”

For information contact:
SCORE International at its Los Angeles headquarters
(818) 225-8402 or visit
the official 2005 SCORE Desert Series website at:

For Sponsorship Information, contact:
  Mark Handley (760) 750-1905

Next Race:
June 5-7 2009: Baja 500

2009 News:
10/25: Score: We're back & Racing the Baja 500

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