Turning the tables on last year’s results, San Diego’s third-generation desert racer Luke McMillin topped Las Vegas’ Bryce Menzies this year as he roared through the Baja desert to defeat a voluminous 273 starters in Saturday’s King Shocks 35th SCORE San Felipe 250.
Luke McMillin, 29, drove solo to power his stunning No. 83 Mason-built all-wheel-drive Chevy 1500 to lead the third-largest number of starters in race history to an inspiring error-free, the penalty-free winning time of four hours, 25 minutes and 21 seconds over the sun-drenched, rock-filled, silt-strewn 277.00 miles for a remarkable average speed of 62.63 miles per hour.
"It feels really good, we ran clean, and had no issues at all," Luke McMillin explained. "We just kept moving all day. We picked off Lofton (Justin, No. 41) going up north, and then there was some back and forth with Bryce (Menzies, No. 7) on a couple of occasions."
"We passed them on the lake bed when they were changing a tire," McMillin continued. "We had a little hiccup on our pit and they got by us. We were 30 seconds behind him and we passed them when they pulled over. It was just cat and mouse."
Under sunny skies, light winds, and mild temperatures in the mid-70s, McMillin had plenty of competition behind him in the superb field of 42 of the marquee SCORE Trophy Trucks and 269 starters, third-most in the 35-year history of the race. Ahead of him were fast qualifier Menzies, second-qualifier Justin Lofton, and 273 total starters. Finishers called it “one of the most beautifully brutal courses ever” in the history of this race.
"I want to give a big shoutout to BFGoodrich Tires," McMillin said. "This is their 100th SCORE race win and that’s amazing. They really helped us win this race today alongside our partners. They’re a key ingredient. It was rocky and rough, this is a heavy truck and they held on."
Following in the dusty tracks of his grandfather Corky McMillin and his father Mark McMillin in desert racing, Luke McMillin, who qualified third behind Menzies and Lofton closed in on Menzies after getting by Lofton fairly early in the race. The battle raged for well over 100 miles as McMillin got by Menzies when the latter had stopped to change a flat and then Menzies got by McMillin when the No. 83 had an issue while pitting and McMillin passed Menzies for the last time when the No. 7 had another flat.
After losing by just 15.54 seconds to Menzies last year, McMillin won this year with a victory margin of two minutes, nine seconds. It was McMillin’s first SCORE San Felipe 250 race with his AWD Mason SCORE Trophy Truck which debuted at last year’s SCORE Baja 500. After winning the SCORE Baja 1000 in both 2020 (splitting driving with Larry Roeseler) and 2022 (splitting the driving with Rob MacCachren), McMillin drove solo to earn his first SCORE Trophy Truck win in San Felipe. He also won in the unlimited Class 1 10 years ago when he was just 19 years old.
McMillin has now earned three career SCORE Trophy Truck race wins and he also has four career SCORE season point championships including 2020 in SCORE Trophy Truck. The victory also was the 100th SCORE Baja race win for his tire sponsor-BFGoodrich Tires, the official tire of SCORE for 46 years.
The remaining dates for the four-race 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship which are being held exclusively in Baja California, Mexico for the seventh consecutive year:
- BFGoodrich Tires 54th SCORE Baja 500, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—
June 1-5, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
- 3rd SCORE Baja 400, presented by VP Racing Fuels—
September 13-18, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
- BFGoodrich Tires 55th SCORE Baja 1000, presented by 4 Wheel Parts—
November 15-20, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico