Starting the season with just a seven-point margin among the Top 10 point leaders, Dennis Kordonowy and Steve Barlow are tied for the overall point lead after the recent season-opening SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, Round 1 of the six-race 2002 Duralast SCORE Desert Series. With their respective class wins in Laughlin, Kordonowy of Carson City, Nevada, leads Class 10 and Barlow of Temecula, California, paces the Pro Truck division.
Using contrasting styles, Kordonowy came back from Fifth Place (1 minute, 11 seconds behind the leader) after the first half of the two-day season opener, while Barlow roared to the front and held on for his win in the race, which featured 114 starters competing in 17 classes for cars and trucks. Kordonowy drove a VW-powered Fast Track open-wheel desert race car, while Barlow piloted a Ford F-150 for their class wins in Round 1 of America's foremost Desert Racing Series.
Both with race-high 14-vehicle fields in their respective classes, Kordonowy's Class 10 victory margin was just 10 seconds, while Barlow won the Pro Truck division by a more comfortable margin of 1 minute, 53 seconds.
For Kordonowy, a veteran northern Nevada racer who started desert racing in 1972 and occasionally competes in a SCORE race, it was his first SCORE win in Class 10. He did it in a vehicle which he built not only the chassis for but also the air-cooled VW racing engine. It was Barlow's second straight Laughlin victory in the Pro Truck division. The pair lead their respective classes and are tied for the early Duralast SCORE Desert Series overall point lead with 54 points each.
Next, the 2002 Duralast SCORE Desert Series heads south to Mexico for the first of three races in Baja California, the 16th Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. A computerized drawing for starting positions, by class, will be held before the race. SCORE points are determined both on final finishing position and number of vehicles, which started the race within the individual class.
Driving solo in Laughlin when his teammate David Ashley was sidelined with a stomach virus, Dan Smith won the featured SCORE Trophy Truck division in the Enduro Racing Ford F-150. Smith, Third after the first day of racing in Laughlin, roared back to post a 45-second victory margin over the Ford F-150 of Damen Jeffries of Temecula, California, the three-time SCORE class Champion who made his debut in the marquee SCORE racing division. Las Vegas' Brian Collins, who won last year's SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, is Third in SCORE Trophy Truck points. The Smith/Ashley team, both of Riverside, California, are also Fourth in SCORE overall points.
A total of just two points separates Sixth through Tenth Place after one race in the 2002 Duralast SCORE Desert Series overall point standings. Sixth overall with 49 points is the team of Doug Siewert of Oceanside, California, and Cory Susag of Dana Point, California, the Class 7S leaders in a Chevy S-10. For the defending SCORE Class 7S season Champs, the Laughlin victory was the pair's fifth SCORE Class 7S win as they attempt to win their fourth season title in five years.
Tied for Seventh in overall points with 48 each are Martin Christensen, Rick L. Johnson, and Mitch Griffin. Christensen of Escondido, California, is Second in Class 10 in his BMW-powered Jimco. Johnson from Barstow, California, is Second in the Pro Truck division with a Ford F-150, while Griffin of Newbury Park, California, leads Class 1-2/1600 in a VW-powered Lothringer.
Currently tied for Tenth in overall points with 47 are Allan Gregory and Troy Herbst. Herbst, the Las Vegas racer who has won a record five consecutive SCORE Class 1 point crowns, is Second in the unlimited Class 1 in his Ford-powered Smithbuilt open-wheel desert race car.
George Seeley Jr. of Glendale, California, leads Class 5 after recording his 14th win in the class since 1997. Seeley, 43, became the first five-time SCORE winner in Laughlin, picking up his fourth straight and fifth in six years.
Among the other 2002 SCORE class point leaders after the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge are: Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, California (Class 7, Ford Ranger); Joe Patelli, Romoland, California (Class 8, Chevy Blazer); Dave Sykes, Del Mar, California (Stock Full, Ford F-150); and Dr. Macrae Glass, Kingman, Arizona (Stock Mini, Ford Ranger).
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters, (818) 225-8402, or visit the official Web site of the Duralast SCORE Desert Series at www.score-international.com.
2002 Duralast Score Desert SeriesPoint LeadersPro Cars & TrucksTrophy Truck (Unlimited Production Trucks)1. Dan Smith/David Ashley, Riverside, California, Ford F-150, 51; 2.Damen Jefferies, Temecula, California, Ford F-150, 45; 3. Brian Collins, Las Vegas, Nevada, Chevy Silverado, 41; 4. Scott Steinberger, Cypress, California, Ford F-150, 38; 5. Mark Post, Laguna Hills, California/Jerry Whelchel, Rancho Santa Margarita, California, Ford F-150, 36; 6. Gus Vildosola, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford F-150, 35; 9. Ed and Tim Herbst, Las Vegas, Nevada, Ford F-150, 22.
Pro Truck (Limited Production Trucks)1. Steve Barlow, Temecula, California, Ford F-150, 54; 2. Rick Johnson, Barstow, California, Ford F-150, 48; 3. Al Hogan, Columbus, Montana, Ford F-150, 44; 4. Rob Reinertson, Woodside, California, Ford F-150, 41; 5. Tony Licitra, Bend, Oregon, Chevy C1500, 39. 6. Chet Huffman, Northridge, California, Ford F-150, 38; 7. Alan Pflueger, Honolulu, Hawaii, Chevy Silverado, 37; 11. Scott Steinberger, Cypress, California, Ford F-150, 22; 13. Steve Olliges, Las Vegas, Nevada, Ford F-150, 20.
Class 3 (Short Wheelbase 4x4)1. Donald Moss, Sacramento, California, Ford Bronco, 45.
Class 7 (Open Mini-Trucks)1. Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, California, Ford Ranger, 48; 2. Tim Carroll, Long Beach, California, Ford Ranger, 40; 3. Hector Salazar, Chula Vista, California, Ford Ranger, 26.
Class 7S (Stock Mini-Trucks)1. Doug Siewert, Oceanside, California/Cory Susag, Dana Point, California, Chevy S-10, 49; 2. Dan Fresh, San Juan Capistrano, California, Chevy S-10, 43; 3. Jason Hutter, Snowmass, Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, 39. 6. Eric and Jared Hardin, Anaheim, California, GMC Sonoma, 33.
Class 8 (Fullsized Two-Wheel-Drive Trucks)1. Joe Patelli, Romoland, California, Chevy Blazer, 45; 2. Nick Vanderwey, Buckeye, Arizona, Chevy Silverado, 39; 3. Benny Canela, Indio, California, Ford F-150, 35.
Class 9 (Short wheelbase, single or two-seaters)1. Tony Modica, Long Beach, California, Chenowth, 45.
Stock Mini (Stock, production mini-trucks)1. Dr. Macrae Glass, Kingman, Arizona, Ford Ranger, 45; 2. Bob Land, Lake Forest, California, Isuzu Rodeo, 39.
Stock Full (Stock, production fullsize trucks)1. Dave Sykes, Del Mar, California, Ford F-150, 45; 2. John Griffin, Mission Viejo, California, AM General Hummer, 39. 4. Marc Stein, San Diego, California, 22.