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Andy McMillin Takes Overall At 49th Score Baja 500, Roeseler First TT Legend

Posted in Events on July 19, 2017
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Photographers: Edgar GeraldoMy Baja Photo

There are a few families that have long-standing off-road racing legitimacy, and the McMillin name is synonymous with the history of Baja wins. Andy McMillin has continued that family tradition by taking the overall win at the 49th running of the Baja 500.

He needed all that hard-earned family know-how as McMillin, a third-generation desert racer who had also previously won the 500, squeaked his No. 31 McMillin Ford F-150 Trophy Truck in for the win that saw him beating Second Place Jason Matney by a mere 3.5 minutes while Matney beat Third Place finisher Rob MacCachren by only 15 seconds! An amazing finish for a 500-mile race played out over the rugged Baja terrain.

A total of 233 racers entered the 513.76-mile race. In addition to 28 separate U.S. states being represented, there were racers from 13 countries on the starting line. The 500, which is Round 2 of the four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship series, started out from Ensenada and saw them loop around the peninsula to finish back in Ensenada.

With this being his second overall Baja 500 win, Andy McMillin seems to be making a name for himself.

The times for the fast guys were in the low 10-hour range, while lone Class 11 finisher (and First Place winner!) Pancho Bio took over 19 hours to make it to the finish line. With a 20-hour time limit, 149 of 233 starters (63.9 percent) completed the course before it was officially closed on Sunday morning at 8:06 a.m.

Nine of the Top 10 overall finishers drove Trophy Trucks. The one that wasn’t came from the new TT Legend class for drivers 50 years and older. Legend is right, as none other than the ageless Larry Roeseler finished at 8th overall and of course, first TT Legend in his #96 Safecraft Chevy Silverado.

Two legends in their respective sports, Ivan “Ironman” Stewart and Mexican-American champion Pro Wrestler/El Rey Network TV star Rey Mysterio Jr. were the Grand Marshals for the race. The Wilson family race team sure seems to have the lay of Baja. Brad Wilson won Class 1 in the season-opening San Felipe 250, but it was Brian Wilson who took the Class 1 win at the 500 in his Chevy-powered Jimco.

Contingency Row at a Baja race is a fun experience.

UTV’s have taken off, and this race saw a SCORE-record field of 25 starters in Pro UTV FI and 11 starters in Pro UTV. Justin Lambert was the overall UTV winner and Pro UTV FI class winner in the race. Lambert, who heads up Cognito Motorsports, put his Polaris XP1000 turbo a winning time of 13:17:01. JT Holmes brought his Polaris RZR to victory in the Pro UTV class.

Providing even more of an international flair was Guatemala’s international rally racer Francisco Arredondo’s win in the Pro Moto Unlimited class. Riding the No. 45x Chris Haines Adventure Co. Honda CRF450X, Arredondo and his teammates (Shane Esposito, Justin Morgan and Roberto Villalobos), raced to the overall motorcycle victory. The win was also the 19th overall motorcycle victory for Honda in the SCORE Baja 500 alone.

After the champagne was gone and things calmed down, McMillin commented, “Ever since I was a little kid I've been coming down here to Baja with my family that has been SCORE racing for 40 years and being the first vehicle to finish is something not a lot of people get to experience.” When asked about the course, McMillin said, “It was really gnarly. The deserts in San Felipe and the whoops are so gnarly. We had one flat tire in San Felipe when we took a line and punctured the right rear. Luckily, we had a pit a couple of miles up, and we nursed it in.”

The 2017 SCORE season is now half way over, with Rosarito Beach Desert Challenge next and then the hugely anticipated 50th anniversary celebration of the SCORE Baja 1000 on November 14-18. We’ll be there, and you’ll kick yourself if you aren’t.

All cars made their way down contingency row and onto tech inspection.

Results

Top Ten Overall
1. Andy McMillin
2. Justin Matney
3. Rob MacCachren
4. Luke McMillin
5. Carlos Apdaly Lopez
6. Larry Connor
7. Armin Schwarz
8. Larry Roeseler
9. Cameron Steele
10. Chris Kemp

Trophy Truck
1. Andy McMillin
2. Justin Matney
3. Rob MacCachren

Trophy Truck Legends
1. Larry Roeseler
2. Nick Vanderwey
3. Clyde Stacy

Trophy Truck Spec
1. Elias Hanna
2. Andrew Myers
3. Lee Banning

Class 1
1. Bryan Wilson
2. Mike Malloy
3. Al Torres

Class 1/2 1600
1. Roberto Romo
2. Rick Boyer
3. Oscar R. Alverez

Class 5 1600
1. Thomas A. Fernande
2. Hector Hurtado
3. Rodolpho Martinez

Class 7
1. Dallas Luttrell
2. Daniel Chamlee
3. Jeff Proctor

Class 7SX
1. Alonso Gonzalez
2. Sean Whalen

Class 8
1. Rick Sanchez
2. Noah Ostanik
3. James Burman

Class 10
1. Broc Dickerson
2. Cody Reid
3. Rafael Navarro

Class 11
1. Pancho Bio
2. Dennis Hollenbeck
3. Arthur Penner

Class 1500
1. Ricardo Rodriguez

PRO UTV Forced Induction
1. Justin Lambert
2. Branden Sims
3. Mike Cafro

PRO UTV
1. JT Holmes
2. Adrian Orellana
3. Don Whittington

SCORE Lites
1. Matt Ferrato
2. Oliver Flemente
3. Miguel Bonilla

Pro Truck
1. Larry Nash

Baja Challenge
1. Marco Gonzalez

Pro Moto Unlimited
2. Francisco Arredondo
3. Ray Del Soglio
4. Mark Samuels

Justin Matney may have only edged MacCachren by 15 seconds for Second Place, but he was only 3 and-a-half minutes behind winner McMillin. The 49th Baja 500 was a race where the leaders could literally see one another for most of the event.
Rob MacCachren placed Third overall and Third Trophy Truck.
Legend in his own right Larry Roeseler placed Eighth overall and First in the TT Legend class.
Ensenada’s own Elias Hanna proved home-field advantages are real as he took First Place in the Trophy Truck-spec class.
Justin Lambert took the overall UTV win in his Cognito Motorsports/Polaris RZR turbo.
International Rally star Francisco Arredondo and team gave Honda their 19th Baja 500 overall bike win.
Thomas Fernandez beat all the Class 5 bugs in his 5/1600 Baja Bug.
Poncho Bio (no, we’re not kidding) outlasted them all for the Class 11 championship.
Course marshals arrive quickly at a crash as a driver does the backward shuffle out of an upside-down race car.
Tavo Vildosola was styling and pushing hard but maybe too hard as he DNF’d early.
Run!
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