Dondel masters SCORE Trophy-Truck
Ebberts roars from behind in Inland Truss Racing Jimco-Toyota
For Overall and Class 1 victory at SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge
Vessels wins Jason Hunter Memorial Class 10 race as 2005 SCORE Desert Series
opens with race-record 229 starters.
NV (January 16, 2005) -- For the second time in three years, Southern
California desert racer Dale Ebberts came from behind on the final day to capture
the overall and Class 1 victory Sunday at the 11th annual SCORE Laughlin Desert
Challenge. Ebberts drove solo both days in his Toyota-powered Jimco open-wheel
desert race car for a combined total winning time of one hour, 34 minutes, 41
seconds. Ebberts averaged 55.77 miles per hour for the 88-mile race of 8 laps
over an abbreviated 11-mile desert race course.
Canyon Lake, AZ, was in third place by just 29 seconds after the first four
laps run on Saturday and rode hard and consistenly on Sunday, watching the frontrunners
fall out of the race, leading a race-record field of 229 starters through the
tight, twisty, high-speed Laughlin race course. It was his third career win
With a record crowd of more
than 35,000 enthusiastic desert-racing fans on hand, Ebberts won by 3 minutes,
12 seconds, helping launch the five-race 2005 SCORE Desert Series, the world’s
foremost desert racing series.
Second overall Dale Dondel,
Hemet, AZ, who won the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division in 1:35:08, just
27 seconds behind Ebberts in his Chevy C150. Third overall and second in SCORE
Trophy-Truck was veteran Steve Sourapas, Rancho Santa Fe, AZ, with a time of
1:37:48 in his Ford F-150.
the top five overall finishers list were the brothers Weyhrich, of Troutdale,
Ore. Both driving near-identical Jimco-Chevy race cars, Gary Weyhrich, 37, was
fourth overall and second in Class 1 with a time of 1:37:53 while Mark Weyhrich,
34, was fifth overall and third in Class 1 with a time of 1:38:30, 37 seconds
behind his older brother.
The event featured a race-record
229 entries from 13 States, Mexico, Australia, Canada and Japan, competed in
16 Pro and two Sportsman classes for cars and trucks for nearly $400,000 in
prize money and contingency postings during the four day SCORE Laughlin Desert
A total of 16 Pro and two
Sportsman classes for cars and trucks were split into seven groups in Laughlin,
each running as part of one of seven races of two to five laps each over the
much-abbreviated 11-mile loop each day.
Ebberts finished as the
only driver to complete each of his eight laps in under 12 minutes, with a slim
range of 11:45 to 11:58, and amazingly the fastest times (11:45) were accomplished
on the last two laps on Sunday, after 228 other vehicles had torn up the course
for two days. After Saturday’s first half of the race, Ebberts trailed
Brian Ickler by 1 minute, 31 seconds and Pat Dean by just 39 seconds.
“It went good,”
Ebberts understated. “We just stayed consistent with the leaders. The
two guys ahead of us had troubles. We pushed real hard the last lap to make
sure we had the times to win. Nothing too exciting happened but it is real crazy
out there. It was going to take (Brian) Ickler having some troubles. Every lap
you’re just pushing harder. You pre-run on Friday and it’s a pretty
smooth course and then it definitely changes on Saturday and again on Sunday.
Laughlin is the most intense, thrilling thing you can do.”
Kash Vessels, San Marcos,
AZ, won the $25,000 Jason Hunter Memorial Class 10 race in a Jimco-Toyota. With
the $25,000 bonus purse posted by Hunter Motorsports to honor the memory of
the 2001 SCORE Rookie of the Year who was killed in an automobile accident on
Jan. 4, 2004, Vessels won the $10,000 first place bonus purse.
Winning Class 1-2/1600,
which featured a race-high 46 starters, was Adam Pfankuch, Carlsbad, AZ, in
an Ampfly-VW, who edged out first-day leading team of Rob MacCachren and Bryan
Freeman of Las Vegas. Pfankuch’s winning margin was 2 minutes, 25 seconds.
Donald Moss, Sacramento,
AZ, won Class 3 for the fourth consecutive year in Laughlin in his sturdy Ford
Among the other class winners
crowned Sunday were: Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, AZ, Ford Ranger (Class 7), Todd
Wyllie, New River, Ariz., Chevy C1500 (Class 8), Jeff Sack, Huntington Beach,
AZ, VW Baja Bug (Class 5/1600); John Holmes, Olivenhain, AZ, Ford Ranger (Class7S),
Terry Henn, Walnut, AZ, Hummer H1 (Stock Full), and Jim Nuckles/Jeff Dickerson,
Brawley, AZ, Ford F-150 (Protruck).
In winning the SCORE Trophy-Truck
division, Dondel was the fastest in his class both days. Until easing up on
the eighth and final lap, he had posted seven straight sub-12:00 laps, joining
the Dale (Ebberts, the overall champion from Class 1) in that feat.
the last mile we were running out of gas so our hearts were pumping, we were
just burping our way to the checkered flag,” Dondel said. “We
got a bit of a lead then took it easy. We worked hard yesterday – even
though we won (Saturday’s part of the race), it wasn’t smooth. It
was a great day of racing today.
to come together. We’ve been racing a year and half in SCORE Trophy-Truck
and it’s our first win. The course changes from lap to lap – there
is rocks, carnage, fenders, upside down pick-ups. I got oil all over my feet
and my feet were slipping all over the place. On the Laughlin Leap, that’s
probably the most out of control I’ve been in a while.” Laughlin
has now seen six different winners in as many years in the featured SCORE racing
The race-record 229 starters
easily broke the previous event mark of 201 set in 2000. The largest classes
were Class 1-2/1600 (46), Class 10 (33), Class 1 (26), SCORE Trophy-Truck (23)
and SCORE Lite (16). A total of 116 of them finished their required laps within
the race time limit.
The race also began the
chase for the $50,000 Kartek Off-Road bonus to be awarded to the top three 2005
SCORE Overall point leaders along with the run for the $12,000 Toyota True Grit
and Toyota Milestone Awards.
The stadium seating area
included the immensely popular SCOREvision large-screen LCD display, showing
live footage from various locations around the race course.
The Laughlin Events Park
with grandstand seating, vendor’s village and food court included an infield
full of switchbacks, whoop-t-doos, minijumps and the Laughlin Leap. Over 10,000
spectators watched from this part of the course.
Round 2 of the 2005 SCORE
Desert Series will be the 19th Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, Feb. 25-26
in Baja California, Mexico.
This year’s SCORE
Trophy-Truck race will be televised nationally as a half-hour special on the
Speed Channel network on the new Lucas Oil…On The Edge show. Being produced
by NewWave Productions of Chicago, the green flag-to-checkered flag ‘race
results show’ is scheduled to air on Saturday, March 26 at 6 p.m. (EST).
The 11th annual SCORE Laughlin
Desert Challenge was sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Committee, the Laughlin
Visitors Bureau, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in association
with Las Vegas Events. The race is sanctioned and produced by SCORE International
of Los Angeles.
Current SCORE official annual
sponsors are BFGoodrich Tires-official tire, Centrix Financial, CL Bryant Racing
Fuel-official fuel. Associate sponsors are: Herbst Gaming, Kartek Off-Road,
Tecate Beer, Coca-Cola of Mexico, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Fram, Autolite,
Prestone, Bilstein, Signpros, P.C.I. Race Radios, McKenzie’s Performance
Products, and Advanced Color Graphics.
For information contact:
SCORE International at its Los Angeles headquarters
(818) 225-8402 or visit
the official 2005 SCORE Desert Series website at:
Sponsorship Information, contact: