In a race of attrition through the 115-degree heat- and dust-infested Nevada desert, Steve Sourapas claimed his first win since 1993, outlasting a field of 146 racers in the 5th SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300. The event was held 35 miles south of Las Vegas. Sourapas, competing in Class 1 (unlimited single or two-seaters) was the overall winner with a time of 5:04:18. The featured Trophy Truck division was won by Mark Post, who finished with a time nearly 40 minutes behind him.
Sourapas, of Rancho Santa Fe, California, drove his Jimco vehicle the last two 69.8-mile loops of the four-lap race, while co-driver John Marking drove the first two laps. Sourapas was Sixth overall after the first leg, but had moved into Second by the midway point and finally took the lead going into the final lap. Averaging 55.05 mph, Sourapas crossed the finish line 2 hours and 24 minutes ahead of Second Place finisher Jeff Quinn of Irvine, California, and 19 minutes ahead of Gresham, Oregon, resident Gary Wehrich.
"We've always had little things go wrong to keep us out of the winner's circle," Sourapas said. "We knew when we started the last lap we had four minutes on (Quinn). We didn't want to take too many chances. The dust is pretty brutal here - it requires a high level of patience."
Post became the fifth different Trophy Truck Champion in the five-year history of the race. The SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300 is the fourth round of five races in the SCORE Duralast Desert Series, and gave Post Second place outright in the season point standings. The 146 entrants came from 13 states, as well as from Mexico, and of the 139 starters, 85 finished the race.
At the midway point, it appeared that the hometown Herbst brothers would cruise to victory in the two fastest classes. The youngest Herbst, Troy, was the overall and Class 1 leader, while older brothers Tim and Ed were combining forces in their Trophy Truck to lead that division. Both vehicles experienced mechanical problems on the third lap, though, and Troy, last year's overall winner, could only manage to place Seventh in his class and 19th overall. Troy was the season point leader entering the race, but his mishaps, along with Weyrich's Third Place showing, tightens the race heading into the season finale.
The top five overall finishers all hailed from Class 1, with Randy Wilson of Long Beach, California, placing Fourth with a time of 5:34:57, and Glendora, California, resident Tim Rockenbach taking Fifth with a mark of 5:36:36.
Henderson, Nevada's Bekki Freeman, the only female driver of record in this competition, won class 1-2/1600 by 12:28 after erasing a five-minute deficit heading into the final lap. Freeman claimed her first Primm crown and made her move towards the coveted season point victory, which she won in 1998. Mark Hutchins, also of Henderson, won Class 10 and extended his season point lead. Las Vegas' Billy Goerke continued his mastery of Class 8, winning for the fourth time this season with a 6:14:41 performance.
Bob Shepard of Phoenix notched his second SS/Truck win of the year with a time of 5:44:19. Michael James of Alpine, California, ended the four-year Primm 300 domination by George Seeley Jr. by clocking a 6:07:39 time for a Class 5 victory. Tom Ridings from Long Beach began the day in Eighth place in the Score Lite season standings, but edged Ty Goode for a two-second victory with a 6:00:22 time. In Class 5-1600, Dave Gasper of Chino Hills, California, won with a 7:11:47 showing. Craig Turner from Yorba Linda, California, won Class 7 by clocking a 6:13:02.
Eight of the 18 classes ran three laps for a total distance of 209.4 miles. The winners in these divisions included Californians Darren Skilton of Long Beach (Class 3, Kia Sportage), Cisco Bio of Spring Valley (Class 9), Greg Horr of San Marcos (Class 11), Jeremy Spirkoff of La Mesa (Stock Full, Ford F-150), and Bruce Landfield of Yorba Linda (Class 7S, Ford Ranger). William Snitchler of Ogden, Utah, claimed the Stock Mini title in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, while Ardomore, Oklahoma's Randy Tabler was the fastest overall sportsman.
The final remaining race on this year's five-race SCORE Duralast Desert Series schedule is the once-in-a-lifetime Tecate SCORE Baja 2000 - A Race for the Ages - to run the length of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico (November 10-16). We'll have extensive coverage in the next issue of OFF-ROAD.
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