San Felipe, Baja California Mexico
In what many say is the toughest San Felipe race they have ever seen, Alumi Craft racers put forth a dominating performance that resulted in them taking the top 6 places in class 10. Considered a sprint race, this year’s course included additional mileage as if the punishment dished out from the relentless whoops was somehow lacking. Despite the toll it would take on the competitors, and their vehicles, nobody was willing to back off for a second. After it was announced that starting positions for the second race of the SCORE International Offroad Racing Series, the legendary Baja 500, would be determined by finishing positions in San Felipe, the stakes went even higher.
Chase Warren, and co-driver Marty Richardson had the fastest time of 6:35:44 to take the win. Just racing in San Felipe was uncertain for Warren. Only weeks ago, at the Best In The Desertseries Mint 400race, he was passing a slower car when that car turned into him; causing him to crash. He was uninjured but the car was not so lucky. Alumi Craft cars are built to withstand all kinds of punishment; even crashing. Occupant safety is the primary concern, so the chassis performed perfectly. The car went back to Alumi Craft where the damaged components were replaced, and the car given a clean bill of health. The meticulous work done on the car was proven soundly by Warren’s win in San Felipe. By the way, it was his first race in Mexico.
“We were in a lot of dust off the start from the spec trucks that started ahead of us,” says Warren, “We bent a wheel and the engine temps went up on the dry lake bed, but it cooled down eventually. It was so rough it was hard to see the GPS. There were so many lines going everywhere and the fans were all over the course so we would head off into the distance and then have to head back in order to hit all the virtual check points. We had radio problems so when we came into the outskirts of town, and the fans were all throwing us the number one, we were pretty excited to find out we were in the lead. The repairs that had to be done after the Mint were in the back of my mind at the start but Alumi Craft is the best in the business; we proved that.”
Second place was an anomaly. While others had hardships, got stuck behind other cars, and swapped positions, Cory Goin had a trouble-free race. “We had an uneventful race,” says Goin, “We only stopped for fuel and our crew was quick with the stops. I had never driven the entire course, I usually have another driver, but this time I drove the whole way. I would love to tell some cool stories but besides all the craziness I saw off the start with cars off course, and cars in trees, we were able to just keep moving all day. The worst thing that happened to us was that we lost our antennae. In fact, we ran the Parker 400 and just washed the car off for San Felipe. Alumi Crafts are designed to race over 1000 miles, we only have 750 or so on it now. We might do the same thing for the next race too!”
3rd place went to Cody Reid, and Adam Pfankuch. “We had a gremlin in the steering,” said Reid, “We thought it was the power steering pump but we changed that and the problem persisted. We finally located the issue; it was a tiny leak in the threads of a fitting. It was leaking so slightly, we could not find the source. After losing over an hour changing the pump, I pushed the car as hard as I could. We made up 45 minutes or more in the roughest, most brutal section of the course. We were taking an absolute beating but the car was so fast! We were hauling on the ragged edge. I would like to thank Alumi Craft for making a car that is capable of doing that. We were determined to back up our Baja 1000 win with another podium finish. We were gaining time on 2nd place but ran out of course, so we finished 3rd. Besides the small leak we had, the car was incredible. We now know what this car is truly capable of. We hit every nasty hole in San Felipe and there is nothing to change, it’s dialed in!”
Cesar Cuevas was the 4th Alumi Craft racer to finish in San Felipe. It was his first race in the SCORE series. “It was so rough,” said Cuevas, “There were a lot of crashed cars on the course. We lost an alternator and did not bring the right tools with us. We got it fixed but had to drive really hard to make up the time we lost. We had clean air for a while and then knew we were coming to the finish when we started hitting a lot of dust. We are very satisfied with the Alumi Craft’s performance and look forward to starting the Baja 500 in the 4th starting spot.”
5th place finisher Todd Winslow had the good fortune to draw the number one starting position for the race. “I’ve never started out front before,” said Winslow, “We were doing very good until race mile 91. We came down into a narrow canyon and there was a truck stuck in the middle of the course with no way to get around him. I threw the car in reverse but before I could get out of there, another truck came up and blocked my escape. I had to reverse up a steep wall to get out, and we didn’t know it at the time, but a rock kicked up and caused us to throw a belt. The power steering was the first to go. I had Popeye arms but I wasn’t going to stop. Once we got a low voltage alarm, we figured out what it was and had to stop. We put my son Matt in at Borrego and gave him 40 gallons of fuel. 13 miles from the finish, he ran out of gas. When the belt came off, it must have knocked the O2 sensor off. The car ran so rich he burned all the fuel in the tank. Despite our issues we are very encouraged by how well the car ran and can’t wait to start 5th at the Baja 500. I sure took a beating; I’m sore in places I have never been sore before.”
Alumi Craft racer JJ Schnarr, who finished in 6th place, summed up the whoops succinctly. JJ says that when his son Cayen was calling out directions on the intercom, he could hear the air in his lungs being forced out from hitting the whoops. “I knew it was going to be ugly, but it was so rough,” said Schnarr, “The whoops had square edges on them that were brutal. We blew out our shocks and lost the power steering but we made it to the finish. Those were the biggest whoops I’ve ever seen!”
The hometown San Felipe racers from the Petes Camp Racing team had a great day in their Alumi Craft Spec TT truck. They were knocked down to 3rd place after they missed a virtual check point. “We took a burned in line that we thought was the course but it looks like we were 12 feet to far to the left,” says Raphael Navarro IV, “It was so whooped out that we lost two jacks off the back of the truck.
We discovered the first jack was missing when I slid a little wide and cut the sidewall on a big rock. We got out and the jack was missing. We borrowed a stock jack from a spectator and put another jack on the truck at the next pit. When we stopped again for fuel, that jack was missing too. It put some pressure on me because I didn’t dare get another flat. When we made it to Puertecitos Road, and knew we were close to the finish, my co-driver Simon said to put the hammer down. I shifted my butt in the seat and had my leg locked straight on the gas pedal; the truck was flying. We got a time penalty for missing the VCP, but we are really stoked that the truck can run at a winning pace with ease.”
The incredible toughness shown by Alumi Craft racers in San Felipe is truly remarkable. Alumi Craft racers proved the performance, versatility, and superior construction provided by their meticulously crafted cars. Whether you are racing in the desert, prerunning, or competing on the track, Alumi Craft is committed to providing you with a competitive, safe and reliable vehicle that exceeds your expectations. If you demand the best, give Alumi Craft a call at 619-596-9841 or go to: http://alumicraft.info/to find out more about our race products and services.
Photography By: Bink Designs
About Alumi Craft
Alumi Craft is the premier race car chassis manufacturer in the off road industry. Crafting cars from lengths of 4130 Chromoly tubing is our specialty. We offer a variety of vehicles to accommodate the professional off road racer to the recreational driver. Since 2004, Alumi Craft racers have earned countless wins, six prestigious Lucas Oil Challenge Cup champions and forty-two points championships; sixteen short course and twenty-six in the desert. Darryl Smith 4X, Gabriel Torres 3X, Darren Hardesty Jr. 3X, CJ Greaves 2X, Rob MacCachren 2X, Luke McMillin 2X, CJ Greaves 2X, Gunnar Peterson 2X, Matthew Owen 2X, Broc Dickerson, Brock Heger, Michael Meister, Chris Browning, Rafael Navarro IV, John Fitzgerald, Adam Ollerton, Aaron Ampudia, Roger Starkey Jr., Nathan Martino, Geoffrey Cooley, Mike Valentine, Andrew McClelland, Luke Johnson, Andrew Myers, Roger Starkey, Mitchell DeJong, Mike Porter, Randy Minnier, Cameron Steele, Matt Cullen, Chuck Cheek, Darren Hardesty, and owner John Cooley have all won championships behind the wheel of an Alumi Craft race car.
About Bink Designs
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