Phoenix, Arizona (March 16, 2010) — 11 years ago at the 1999 SCORE San Felipe 250, a guy from Phoenix on limited budget with a passion for racing rode his Honda quad to a first place finish in the Sportsman ATV Class. After completing his 7 hour, 2 minute and 45 second race, he watched the remainder of the classes come through the finish line. As he saw the Herbst Trophy Truck scream by, he remembers it giving him chills and thinking it was one of the coolest things he’s ever seen.
Two years later, now a Class 8 winning racer, he set off to the SCORE series with a Whiplash Class 8 points championship under his belt. Jesse Jones won the 2001 San Felipe 250 in his “Big Red Chevy.” He went on to win the SCORE Points Championship in Class 8 that year.
In search of his first Baja win in 9 years and his first win in the prestigious Trophy Truck class of the SCORE Desert Racing Series, Jones left the Laughlin Desert Challenge 8th in points and headed to San Felipe with a very distinct plan of attack.
“Drive it like you don’t have a dime in it,” was the joke around the compound, as the not yet completed Jones Geiser truck had already been sold to Menzies Motorsports with the condition that Jones was able to drive it at the San Felipe 250.
Barely completing the turn-key truck Thursday night, the Geiser crew left for San Felipe. With the lack of extra time for a chassis dyno, Friday afternoon when the truck arrived in San Felipe, Bryce Menzies and Rick Geiser drove the truck for 20 miles on the race course to work out engine data details with Kroyer. The remainder of Friday night was spent installing tool bags, a floor jack, a fire extinguisher, some water bottles and a GPS unit for the driver’s side.
Jesse Jones sat in the new truck for the first time Saturday morning when he drove it to staging. “My plan is to take it really easy and allow the race to come to me,” Jones explained when asked about his plan for the 248 mile race through some of the toughest terrain in Baja. “This is an extremely rough course and I’ve spent almost a week out here prerunning and learning where I can and can’t push this race. The plan is to keep the leaders in sight and push hard after race mile 150.”
Jones had two flats, at Race mile 78 and at 110. “Because of the last minute completion, there was no time to mount an air jack and tire changes with a floor jack took forever,” said Jones.
The Jones Crew was stationed at Race Mile 149 for their second pit stop and Jesse called out over the radio they had hit the pavement and were third in line on the speed limited highway section. Scheeler, Steele and Jones came down the highway so close to each other you could throw a blanket over all three trucks. During the fuel stop, Mark McMillin came through Race Mile 149. The plan of having leaders in sight at 150 and taking it easy to push hard for the last 100 miles was coming together for Jones. By Race Mile 165, he passed Scheeler, McMillin by 175 and had taken the physical lead from Steele at 185.
At Race Mile 175 the truck lost an alternator and Jones shut down all non-essential electrical systems like the Co-driver GPS, intercom, Radio and Parker Pumpers. Without any time splits, Jones continued to run a consistent pace but not push too hard, preserving the truck through the rough terrain of San Felipe.
The #76 Trophy Truck claimed victory as the first 4 Wheel vehicle to cross the finish line as. Taking the 1st place win with a field of 31 Trophy Trucks, Jones was ecstatic for his first SCORE Trophy Truck win and first Baja win in 9 years.
Robby Gordon was the next to cross the finish line, followed by the overall winner, Class 1 car of Armin Schwartz. Jones was 1 minute and 15 seconds from the overall win.
“The truck handled great. I’m sad to see the truck go, but I look forward to racing against Bryce in my new Geiser truck at the Baja 500. He is a fierce competitor and with such a competitive truck, there should be some exciting racing!” Jones said after the race. “I really want to thank Rick Geiser and the entire Geiser crew for getting the truck together in time for the race and for the support at the races.”
While this is Jesse’s first win at a SCORE Desert Race, Jones is no stranger to winning in Trophy Trucks. Jones won the 2005 BITD Vegas to Reno Race in his Trophy Truck and the Points Championship that year. Jones took a break from Trophy Truck racing and returned at the end of 2009 to race the BITD Vegas to Reno, Mesquite 300 and the Henderson 400. Taking a 5th, 1st and 2nd last year, 2010 was bound to be an exciting year for the Jones Motorsports crew. Jones has finished every race since he’s been back to the desert with his own truck. With the San Felipe win, he’s climbed his way to 2nd place in the SCORE points chase for the Trophy Truck class, only 2 points behind Andy McMillin. 2010 is set to be an exciting year for Trophy Truck!
The 24th Annual Mastercraft SCORE San Felipe 250, March 12-14, was round two of the five race 2010 series. The 248 mile race had over 275 entrants from over 9 countries. For more information on the SCORE Desert Racing series, visit www.score-international.com.
For more information about Jones Motorsports, visit our website at www.jones-motorsports.com.