Finishing Streak Remains Unbroken Despite Rough Conditions
ENSENADA, Mexico, June 7, 2010 – For the sixth time in six races, Joe Bacal and his Cancer Treatment Centers of America Lexus LX 570 completed their off-road racing mission, this time taking a hard-earned second place in the Stock Full class on a weather and earthquake-ravaged course in the 42nd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500 on Sunday morning.
“The course was extremely rough—worse than the (Baja) 1000,” said Bacal after driving more than 20 hours without relief. “A lot of racers got stuck on the course in front of us and it really slowed us down for a while.”
The stranded vehicles created a bottleneck on parts of the course with only one way through, creating an unusual situation for Bacal and co-driver Bob Ditner. “We freed at least five rigs on the course with our tow strap,” recalled Bacal. “We really had no choice. It was faster to pull them out than wait for them to dig themselves out, but we still lost a lot of time in the process.”
The combination of a rough course and the continually-increasing pace of Bacal and his LX 570 also created something neither had experienced in any race since starting in 2009: flat tires.
“I have been pushing my truck harder every race to see where my limits are,” noted Bacal. “The BF Goodrich Baja TA tires had been perfect all this time, but we finally met our match. These are not purpose-built race tires like other racers use, yet they’ve been amazing considering the beating they’ve taken.”
Once again, the Long Beach Racers provided quick and effective race support. Early in the event, Bacal realized that the unexpectedly rough conditions demanded a different shock absorber set up and the support crew made adjustments at a couple of pit locations along the route. “The King Racing shocks were awesome and never faded—just a little tied down,” said Bacal. “Relaxing the settings a bit made for a quicker and much more drivable truck. Then we could really fly.”
In addition to extending his finishing record, the second place result expands Bacal’s lead in the SCORE Stock Full-class championship to 100 points, a lead firmly established by winning the first two races of 2010 at Laughlin, Nevada and San Felipe, Mexico. Bacal also continues do drive every mile of every race, giving him an advantage toward the SCORE Toyota Milestone Awards.
Bacal and his JTGrey team see their next racing action at the SCORE Terrible’s Las Vegas Primm 300 on September 10-12.