Team 20
Team 1635
Team 42
Team 35

A Rewarding Disappointment

MasterCraft Team 35 Finishes 8th in Trophy Truck Class at the 2009 SCORE San Felipe 250

Famous fiction author, Louis L'Amour, must have had Team 35 in mind when he said "Victory is won not in miles but in inches."After suffering from a devastating crash at the SCORE LaughlinDesert Challenge, the #35 Jimco MasterCraft Trophy Truck driven by team owner, Robbie Pierce, had to undergo a massive tear-down and transformation in preparation for the first Baja race of the 2009 season.

Drawing for the fourth starting position, Robbie was certain the SCORE San Felipe 250 would be a great race by commenting, "I am completely humbled by the unselfish effort that has been put out over the last five weeks to make the San Felipe race a reality. The entire team, including Mike Julson, Bill Varnes and his crew, and John and Mike over at Jimco, have worked non-stop and I cannot thank them enough. I am truly grateful to everyone and I will do my best to make them proud."
2009 SCORE San Felipe 250 2009 SCORE San Felipe 250
Unfortunately all the sweat and skinned knuckles could not prepare the team for the unlucky change of events that occurred just one day before the race. While doing a last minute systems and equipment test near Borrego, the engine on the Trophy Truck began losing power and idling rough. Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, the pre-run crew pulled the valve-cover and after a thorough inspection concluded the head was cracked.

Not willing to let five weeks of hard work go down the drain, Pierce made the decision to race the pre-runner remarking, "We all showed up to race and I wasn't about ready to let the guys down. Just 18 hours before staging we made the decision to save the race by working all night and prepping my Prophy truck. Our goal this year is to win a SCORE race in the Trophy Truck class and I don't think that is possible without a good starting position. I felt like I was bringing a knife to a gun fight but I knew I needed to finish in the top 10 if I wanted a good draw and a shot at winning the Baja 500."

With nearly 3,500 pre-run miles under its belt, Team 35 was a little nervous about the outcome of the race and how the pre-runner would fare after the starting flag dropped. On the way to staging Pierce commented, "It's just too bad we couldn't get the Jimco to the line. The truck was truly running awesome. The shocks and suspension were dialed in perfectly and I couldn't be happier with some of the changes that were made after Laughlin."
2009 SCORE San Felipe 250 2009 SCORE San Felipe 250
Racing for a top 10 finish instead of a win changed the team's strategy for race day. Running the truck conservatively, Robbie passed an upside-down Roger Norman in the #8 Trophy Truck around race mile 68. Shortly after, Pierce and his co-driver, John Vance, were plague by a broken upper ball-joint causing the team to lose a couple of hours while the crew fixed the truck in the field. Other than a tire change at mile 165, the remainder of the race was uneventful and the Prophy crossed the finish line 7 hours, 34 minutes and 36 seconds after it began its journey.

Finishing the SCORE San Felipe 250 with an admirable 8th place in the Trophy Truck class, Pierce commented, "This is the most disappointing and rewarding race in my short career. I cannot praise the team enough. Led by Dan Fogle and Bob Howle, the team worked tirelessly into the night to get 'The Little Truck that Could' as prepared as possible. This was their race."

Held in Baja California, Mexico, the 2009 San Felipe 250 marked round two of SCORE International's five race desert series. The course traversed 232.4 miles of sandy washes, silt, rocky and whooped out terrain. The MasterCraft Team #35 will be back and looking for a win at the SCORE Baja 500 inEnsenada, Baja California, June 5 - 7, 2009.