SCORE Desert Diaries–
BIDING TIME, Parte Quatro
SCORE champs ‘Tavo’ Vildosola, Brendan Gaughan
staying focused while waiting for end of COVID-19
ENSENADA, Baja California, Mexico – (While the world continues its ferocious fight against the vicious virus called COVID-19, SCORE is checking in on several of its racers during this shutdown to see how they are doing and how are they are preparing for when life returns to the new normal in a special series called SCORE Desert Diaries—Biding Time.)
Mexico’s Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr and USA’s Brendan Gaughan, two of the top racers in the SCORE World Desert Championship, are patiently, but anxiously waiting to be able to get the 2020 SCORE Baja racing season started. Both are second-generation desert racers and both are from prominent business families, Vildosola in the trucking industry and Gaughan in the resort casino industry.
With the 2020 season reduced to three races while the battle rages against Coronavirus (COVID-19), desert racers around the world are hoping to start the 2020 SCORE season at the 52nd annual BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4Wheel Parts, in Baja California.
Launching its 47th season as the World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, the season-opening event of the three-race internationally-televised 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship has been moved to June 17-21 in Ensenada. Ensenada is a coastal city on the Bahia de Todos Santos area of the Pacific Ocean, 80 miles south of the U.S. border at San Diego.
Most the world’s best desert racers will be in action at this year’s celebration of one of the top 10 motorsports events in the entire world. All three 2020 SCORE races will be run on the northern part of Mexico’s magnificent Baja California peninsula for the fifth consecutive year.
Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, 38, of Mexicali, one of the very top desert racers in all of Mexico, races in SCORE Trophy Truck where he is one of only nine racers in SCORE history to be awarded a SCORE Baja Triple Crown award for winning all three traditional SCORE Baja races in his career—the SCORE San Felipe 250, the SCORE Baja 500 and the SCORE Baja 1000.
Vildosola Jr has a total of 10 class wins in four different classes in the historical three SCORE Baja races. He has two wins each in the SCORE Baja 1000 (2003 in SCORE Lite, 2010 in SCORE Trophy Truck) and the SCORE Baja 500 (2007 in ProTruck and 2016 in SCORE Trophy Truck).
Tavo also has six class wins in the SCORE San Felipe 250 He won his first three in the ProTruck class and then became the first racer to win three straight years in SCORE Trophy Truck (2013, 2014 and 2015), sharing the wheel with his father in 2013 and driving solo for the other two victories.
Very busy as the CEO of the Mexicana Logistics family business, Tavo has also won two Rod Hall SCORE Milestone Awards, presented by VP Racing Fuel (2006 in ProTruck and 2015 in SCORE Trophy Truck). The award is given to all racers who complete every required race mile for the particular race season.
This season Tavo will drive his No. 21 Mexicana Logistics Branix Ford Raptor SCORE Trophy Truck built by Vildosola Racing. He has six career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins.
In 2010 he made SCORE history with his father Gustavo Vildosola by becoming the first Mexican national team to win the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck class in the iconic SCORE Baja 1000. It was a peninsula race from Ensenada to La Paz.
Las Vegas NASCAR Cup racer and a second-generation desert racer, Gaughan, 44, has competed in nearly 500 races total in his long career in the three top tier NASCAR race series. For the second straight year he has scaled back his NASCAR schedule. Before races were halted Gaughan had a seventh-place finish in this year’s NASCAR Daytona 500 and has returned to his desert-racing roots, once again competing fulltime in the unlimited Class 1 in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship.
Driving the No. 162 South Point Racing Chevy-powered HMS open-wheel desert race car in the unlimited Class 1, Gaughan capped the 2019 season with an impressive Class 1 victory in the iconic season-ending SCORE Baja 1000. He opened the 2019 season with a fifth place finish in the SCORE San Felipe 250 and followed that with an eighth place finish in his class in the SCORE Baja 500 and ninth at the SCORE Baja 400. He finished second in the 2019 SCORE Class 1 season points, just two points out of first place in his first full season racing in the SCORE World Desert Championship.
In his NASCAR career, Gaughan has raced in 63 NASCAR Cup races over nine years with seven top 10 finishes, 219 NASCAR Xfinity Series races over 10 years with two wins and 67 top 10s and 217 NASCAR Truck Series races over 14 years with eight race wins and 80 top 10 placements.
In his early years on pavement, he won two season titles in the NASCAR West regional series as well as several short-course off-road race wins along with his developing years in the local SNORE desert series in Las Vegas. Gaughan is a graduate of Georgetown University where he played both football and basketball for the Hoyas. He also has a weekly gaming radio show on the Sirius XM satellite network.
‘Tavo’ Vildosola shares responses for Vildosola Racing while Brendan Gaughan comments for the South Point Racing team responding to some questions from SCORE regarding this down time from life as we have known it.
SCORE: How are you and your family coping overall with this virus situation?
TV: We are extremely saddened by the situation and hope everyone is safe and being smart with their decisions. As far as my family we are all doing very well, unfortunately exploring unknown territory. It has not been easy trying to be a parent, teacher, baby sitter, CEO and husband all at the same time and without leaving the house.
BG: As most people know, Las Vegas has been closed for over a month now. This affects not just our family but each and every one of our employees’ families. The most difficult thing for us is worrying about our people and making sure they are taken care of and safe.
SCORE: Is everybody healthy at home?
TV: Thankfully, everyone is.
BG: Yes, fortunately all the Gaughans’ are healthy. We, like the rest of the country, are trying to be careful around our Pop Pop and Grammie (my mom and dad) but everyone is all good and just worried about our friends and loved ones.
SCORE: How are your parents?
TV: They are doing well, staying at home and being smart about their outings.
BG: Mom and dad are doing well, I think. It hasn’t gone to “Beyond Thunderdome”…yet. But when we come out the other side of this deal we will see if more than one man makes it out.
SCORE: How is your business handling this situation?
TV: It has been very difficult for our business (Mexicana Logistics), even though we are part of the essential businesses for both Mexico and the US, all production plants are currently closed and will be closed for the foreseeable future. It is very difficult because we have over 1500 families that directly depend on us and being shut down for weeks on end is very stressful.
BG: For me personally, I’m all over the place. I own a Justice Brothers distributorship, as well as a chemical and disinfectant company with my partner, former SNORE Overall Points Champion Bill Holbrook, and we have been very busy trying to keep products flowing to our customers. Even though most of Las Vegas is closed down, the casinos are trying to clean and disinfect, so our company has gotten extremely busy. I also do have a hand in the family businesses, and that has been the most trying situation for all of us, but having the opportunity to watch, learn and be in awe of how well my father handles situations will be invaluable to me for the rest of my life. Michael Gaughan is not just an incredible businessman , he is an even more amazing man, and watching him try and work so hard for so many things that don’t benefit him or our businesses is truly special to watch.
SCORE: What are you doing with your race team during this time?
TV: We are working on alternative projects for the business, instead of farming that work out we are keeping it in house. Also, at the end of last year we moved into a new shop, and we are dedicating all our extra time in setting the shop up.
BG: Well we were getting the Class 1 ready for San Felipe. So, now we’ve been trying to clean up a few things on the car that we might not have had time to work on under normal circumstances. Trying to build our new dashboard that we hadn’t planned on doing until 2021 and rewiring a few of the switches that we just didn’t really plan on doing but now we have the time.
SCORE: Is your race shop still working?
BG: My race car is kept at the Collins Motorsports shop, and the Goerke brothers have been trying to keep everyone with a paycheck and working hard on making sure everyone works in a safe environment while adhering to the new world of “social distancing”.
SCORE: How are you keeping in touch with your race team?
TV: Zoom LOL. Just kidding. We were in contact with them when San Felipe was still a possibility asking who was willing to go. Fortunately we have an amazing group who are part of the Vildosola Racing Team and they are with us during these difficult times and we are obviously with them.
BG: We are thinking about trying to head out and take advantage of this time and do a little more shock testing. Our Class 1 is a 15 year old Damen Jefferies car, and right before our SCORE Baja 1000 win last year Billy Goerke cut the rear arms off of the car and redesigned our car to run on BFGoodrich Tires 40’s. It worked AMAZING right out of the box but now we have time to try and fine tune it so we can try and keep our winning streak alive.
SCORE: Have you done or are planning to do any form of vehicle testing in the near future?
TV: None right now. Just hunkered down.
SCORE: Will you be submitting the application with the SBA for the payroll stimulus payroll?
TV: For our U.S. business yes.
BG: For my Justice Brothers and Chemical companies, no, we are not going to apply for the stimulus package. We have been able to continue working and we don’t want to abuse the system for a company that has been able to work through this crisis. My distillery, City Lights Shine, has been impacted greatly by this situation, but I feel like I’m blessed and fortunate enough in my life that I would rather let someone else be able to keep people employed and have access to that money.
SCORE: Have you had a chance to play the new SCORE Baja Big Air Game yet on Apple Apps or Google Play? If so, how did you do?
TV: Unfortunately I have been so busy at work and keeping up with my other new responsibilities that I have had not had time for fun and games.
SCORE: How hard has the adjustment been for you to just sit and wait while the virus is eradicated?
TV: I wish I were seated, the impact this has had on our business has been considerable and the foreseeable future it will continue to be significant, I have had more work during this “down time” than probably in any other point in my life.
SCORE: What are you doing to get some physical and mental exercise and stay physically sharp during this challenging time?
TV: We go on walks or bicycle rides almost every day to get away from “work” and to get some exercise in. Other than that it has been very difficult to keep a daily routine with the gyms closed and the sheer amount of work.
SCORE: What is your best race memory of the 2019 SCORE World Desert Championship?
TV: None, it was a horrible race year where we had three DNFs due to mechanical failure! I guess the only bright spot was the SCORE Baja 400 where we finished third and that finish gave us a good starting position at the SCORE Baja 1000.
BG: That might be the easiest question I have ever been asked!! Winning the SCORE Baja 1000! My family has been racing the SCORE Baja 1000 since 1970 and to finally bring home a SCORE Baja 1000 win for the Gaughan Family was indescribable, and to have my nephew Jake Gaughan with me made the experience even better. The whole scenario seems to come out of a storybook… Jake’s first 1000 and a third generation desert racer. Buddy Feldkamp getting his personal first SCORE Baja 1000 win after all of his years of trying. Having RJ Anderson, whose diapers i used to change as a baby, and all that I owe in my career and life to his father Randy, start the race in his first race ever in an open-wheeler let alone a Class 1! The whole thing was surreal.
SCORE: Which SCORE Baja race is your most favorite and why?
TV: My favorite Baja race is the SCORE Baja 1000 to La Paz. That is the ultimate challenge in our sport. The course evolves so much from the north to the south, the scenery is spectacular, the fans are amazing, the pre-running is actually fun. I also believe that there is something within a human being of the adventure of going somewhere, this is the only point-to-point race where the adventure has a destination different from the origin.
BG: I could never pick just one race as my favorite. I have too many memories… from growing up as a little boy watching my father race in Baja, to my early years racing with Glenn Harris and Troy Herbst, to my NASCAR years where I would hope that my NASCAR schedule would fit where i could make at least one race each year to now returning to run full time again. I would never be able to pick just one, I love Baja, I love SCORE Baja racing and I will continue to do this until I can’t hold a steering wheel any longer, and when that happens hopefully I will be down there with my boys and they will enjoy Baja as much as I do.
The SCORE Baja 500 is one of the top motorsports events in the world. It was started originally in 1969 by the NORRA organization. Mickey Thompson and his SCORE International organization were invited by the Mexican government to take over the event starting in 1974. Sal Fish ran and later owned and produced the SCORE Baja 500 for 39 years until he sold SCORE in December of 2012.
The first Baja 500 organized and produced by SCORE was held on July 26, 1974 as the first of over 150 SCORE Baja races.
Ensenada is the heart and soul of the SCORE Baja 500 as the popular summertime race will start for the 47th time there and finish for the 43rd time there.
BFGOODRICH TIRES UNMATCHED
As part of their massive SCORE Contingency program for 2020, long-time SCORE sponsor partner BFGoodrich Tires is offering a large contingency bonus for each overall winner in the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship. For the 52nd annual SCORE Baja 500, the contingency bonus is US$25,000. BFGoodrich Tires is entering its 44th year as the Official Tire of SCORE and in 2020 the company will also be the title sponsor of both the 52nd SCORE Baja 500 and the 53rd SCORE Baja 1000.
Presenting sponsor of both of those iconic races will be 4 Wheel Parts.
BFGoodrich Tires is celebrating over four decades as a major player in SCORE Baja racing. In addition to being the official tire of SCORE International for over four decades, BFGoodrich Tires has now produced the tire of choice for 30 of the overall 4-wheel vehicle winners in the SCORE Baja 1000, including 30 of the last 34 years along with a record-run of 20 straight from 1986 through 2005. In total, BFGoodrich Tires has now be the tire of choice for the overall 4-wheel vehicle winner in 92 SCORE Baja races including 32 in the SCORE Baja 500.
Here is the REVISED three-race 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship (as of April 3, 2020) schedule of events, for the fifth consecutive year all races will be held in Baja California, Mexico:
- BFGoodrich Tires 52nd SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, June 17-21, Ensenada, Mexico
- 34th SCORE San Felipe 250, Sept. 16-20, San Felipe, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 53rd SCORE Baja 1000, Nov.17-22, presented by 4 Wheel Parts, Ensenada, Baja California
ABC TV AGAIN IN 2020
For the second straight year, the 2020 SCORE World Desert Championship aired on the ABC family of networks. The four-races air as one-hour specials on ABC TV’s World of X Games program with replays on ESPN2.
ABC first covered the 1967 and 1968 Baja 1000 races on the old ABC Wide World of Sports show with Jim McKay and again in the late 1980s with veteran motorsports journalist Sam Posey.
All of the SCORE race coverage shows also continue to air internationally in nearly 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and South America via syndication and ESPN International.
Official SCORE Sponsors: BFGoodrich Tires-Official Tire and Race Title Sponsor, Monster Energy-Official Energy Drink, 4 Wheel Parts-Official Off-Road Retailer and Race Presenting Partner, Ford-Official Truck and SUV, King Shocks-Official Shock Absorber, Polaris RZR-Official UTV, RACELINE Wheels-Official Wheel, VP Racing Fuels-Official Fuel, Wide Open Excursions-Official Arrive and Drive Company, Crystal Bay Casino-Official Casino.
SCORE Official Partners: PCI Race Radios, The Satellite Phone Store, Instant Mexico Auto Insurance, Lucerna Hotel.
Additional SCORE Associate Partners: Baja California Secretary of Sustainable Economy and Tourism, XXIII Ensenada Municipal Government, XXIII Mexicali Municipal Government, Mexicali and San Felipe COTUCO, Cruz Roja Mexicana.
For more information regarding SCORE, visit the official website of the SCORE World Desert Championship at www.SCOREInternational.com.