This year’s Baja 500 was one for the record books and will be talked about for some time to come. Not because of how close the race was, but about the course itself. In the end, it was Andy McMillin on top of the podium for back to back wins in the SCORE race series.
“We had clear air all day, just a couple of motorcycles and quads especially here toward the end and then it got silty,” Andy McMillin said. “We were having a good run all day. Had a couple of mechanicals we had to stop for out there on the track. Other than that, we had three planned pit stops and it went flawless. It was just a great day.”
The race was brutal this year. There were reports shortly after the start that around race mile 5 there were at one point 25 vehicles stopped in the heavy silt. Of the 245 vehicles that started the race only 144 officially finished, leaving the finishing rate at 58.78 percent.
“For the most part, the course was what I was expecting,” McMillin said. “I was a little nervous about the finish coming back in because we all ran that going out today. It was definitely treacherous, a lot of silt, a lot of blind rises, and with Luke pushing me, we had to go a lot faster through there than I was planning on.”
The McMillin name has been on the podium in just about every race this year. The cousins push each other during racing and it was no different in this year’s Baja 500.
“My cousin Luke was really pushing out of Mike’s Loop and down the beach, up through Sana Thomas and Uruapan,” McMillin said. “It was really fun. I’m not sure what happened to him, I don’t know if he had a flat or what. We were running neck and neck, heading out of Uruapan coming to the finish line and what more could you ask for after close to 500 miles to come down to the wire like that.”
“We could see Luke behind the hills and leaving Uruapan, we had split times on him,” McMillin continued. “He got within a minute and 20 seconds on the beach, had me by 40 to 50 seconds and then we kind of whipped it up and put 5 to 10 seconds on him. At Uruapan, we were about neck and neck at times and I was like, hey this is it, last 30 miles, show him what you are made of, so it was a good run.”
Overall it has been a great year for the McMillin’s and for Andy. This was the second race he has won in a row and it gives him a commanding points lead over the rest of the field.
“Great start to the season for us, one at San Felipe and a win here at the 500,” McMillin said. “Couldn’t really ask for more. We had a few punctures, I hit a few rocks and we had to get out and change it, so that set us back a little bit a couple of times, but other than that, flawless truck, flawless team and I couldn’t be happier.”
Up next for the 2019 SCORE season is the Lucerna SCORE Baja 400 September 18-22 and the Baja 1000 November 19-24.
Top 15 Trophy Truck Finishers
1. 31 Andy McMillin, 32, National City, Calif., Chevy Silverado (Mason), 09:49:12
2. 83 Luke McMillin, 26, San Diego, Ford F-150 (Racer), 09:51:06
3. 9 Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez, 24, Tecate, Mexico, Chevy Rally Truck (Geiser) 10:12:44
4. 10 Alan, Aaron, & Rodrigo Ampudia, 28, 26, & 34, Ensenada, Mexico, Ford Raptor (ID), 10:38:18
5. 19 Tim Herbst, 56, Las Vegas/Ed Herbst, 58, Las Vegas, Ford F-150 (Herbst-Smith), 10:40:28
6. 7 Bryce Menzies, 31, Las Vegas, Ford Raptor (Huseman), 10:50:47
7. 85 Mike Lawrence, 31, Banning, Calif., Ford F-150 (Herbst-Smith), 10:53:57
8. 23 Dan McMillin, 31, San Diego, Ford F-150 (Racer), 11:01:27
9. 11 Rob MacCachren, 54, Las Vegas, Ford F-150 (Geiser), 11:06:51
10. 15 Billy Wilson, 33, Corpus Christi, Texas/Greg Adler, 50, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Ford Raptor (Jimco), 11:08:20
11. 45 Gary Magness, 65, Denver/Devin Housh, 37, Desert Hot Springs, Calif., Ford F-150 (Herbst/Smith), 11:26:47
12. 40 Chris Miller, 45, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Jimmy Nuckles, 50, Brawley, Calif., Toyota Tundra (ID), 11:39:07
13. 77 Robby Gordon, 50, Charlotte, N.C./Steven Stahovich, 30, Calif., Chevy Silverado (Custom), 11:43:28
14. 16 Cameron Steele, 51, San Clemente, Calif./Cody Stuart, 33, Capistrano Beach, Calif., Ford Raptor (Geiser), 12:38:42
15. 14 Bobby Pecoy, 55, Yorba Linda, Calif./Cameron Steele, 51, San Clemente, Calif., Ford Raptor (Geiser), 14:57:18
Images Courtesy of Toyo Tires