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Gordon's Streak at Truck Stop Reaches an End

May 30, 1996|SHAV GLICK

Off-road racer Robby Gordon, who doubles as an Indy car driver, has won three consecutive SCORE Trophy-Truck races this year, but his streak will end Saturday with the 25th annual Tecate Baja 500.

Instead of being in his Ford truck, Gordon will be qualifying in Derrick Walker's Reynard-Ford for Sunday's Miller 200 CART race on the Milwaukee mile oval. Jimmy Smith will drive Gordon's truck at Baja.

Gordon's absence will give other Trophy-Truck competitors an opportunity to catch the driver from Orange, who leads with 167 points after three races. Fellow Ford driver Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas and veteran Ivan Stewart of Alpine, Calif., are tied for second with 122 points. Ford's Rough Rider team of Paul and Dave Simon of Fallbrook, Calif., is next with 115.

Stewart, 51, will be after his 14th Baja 500 victory in a Toyota truck prepared by Precision Preparation Inc.

"I've always had great luck in Baja," Stewart said. "The people, weather and terrain have always been good to me."

He and the PPI crew have run the course four times to pick out problem areas and racing lines. Stewart will be assisted by 52 people at four pit-stop areas, 18 chase vehicles, an airplane and a helicopter.

"Preparing for a race like Baja is a science," said Gary Mastrolia, Stewart's team manager. "Where you place your resources can determine whether you win or reach the finish line."

Among the resources will be 32 racing tires and wheels, 275 gallons of fuel and enough spare parts to replace all major components three times.

In the SCORE Desert Championship series, which runs in conjunction with the Trophy-Truck class, Brent Grizzle of Holtville, Calif., is the leader in both Class 1 single-seaters and overall with 115 points. Ron Brandt of Torrance, winner of the Las Vegas Primm 300 last month, is second with 102.

Leaders in the popular truck classes are Jerry McDonald, in a mid-sized Chevrolet; Dan Smith, in a full-sized two-wheel drive Ford, and Gustavo Vildosola, in a Chevrolet, in the newly created Protruck spec division.

Racing will start from Ensenada at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Motor Racing Notes

SPRINT CARS--Ron Shuman, 1994 Sprint Car Racing Assn. champion, has not won an SCRA main event this year but after 10 races holds a four-point lead over Mike Kirby as the wingless sprinters head for Ventura Raceway on Saturday night. . . . Winged sprinters will race Friday night at Kings Speedway in Hanford and Saturday night in a Golden State Challenge points race at Santa Maria Speedway.

MIDGETS--Western regional champion Billy Boat, who was bumped from the Indy 500 field, will try to regain his winning ways Saturday night in a U.S. Auto Club main event at Cajon Speedway in El Cajon.

STOCK CARS--Kern County Raceway will feature Figure 8 racing along with late models and daredevil stocks Saturday night. . . . Limited street stocks will race Saturday night for the first time on the half-mile oval at Perris Auto Speedway. Also on the program are International Motor Contest Assn. sprint and modified classes.

MOTORCYCLES--Speedway riders, after their weekly Friday night program at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, will race Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway. Next Wednesday night, they will try out the new quarter-mile dirt oval at the Perris Auto Speedway. Sidecars will also race at each event. . . . Former U.S. champion Brad Oxley leads Steve Lucero, another ex-champion, 378-327, in speedway standings after seven weeks. The 10 leaders in September will qualify for the national championships at Costa Mesa on Sept. 28.

INDY CARS--Alessandro Zampedri, the Italian driver injured in last Sunday's last-lap accident in the Indianapolis 500, may lose his left foot, which was severely injured in the crash. After seven hours of surgery Sunday night, 3 1/2 more Tuesday and a vein transplant Wednesday, a Methodist Hospital spokeswoman said it may be Monday before a decision is made. More surgery is scheduled today and Saturday. . . . Reader Don Bacon correctly points out that Danny Ongais drove No. 25 in 10 consecutive Indy 500s from 1977 to 1986, not No. 10, as was reported by Speedway statisticians. . . . P.J. Jones, son of 1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones, will make his Indy car debut Sunday in the Miller 200 at Milwaukee. Jones, 27, will drive one of Dan Gurney's Toyota-powered Eagles.

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