Marc Burnett, Alan Ampudia Add Top-Five Finishes in Pro UTV FI, Trophy Truck
Jorge Sampietro’s bid to take the 2022 SCORE Trophy Truck Spec championship got a major boost on Saturday, as the Ensenada native took his first win of the season in the 54th Annual SCORE Baja 500. The driver of the #297 Monster Energy Mason-Chevrolet conquered 463.72 miles of grueling desert terrain in 10:34:34, giving him a 3:25 advantage over his next closest competition in the biggest class in the event.
“It went good,” said Sampietro, who finished seventh in the season-opening San Felipe 250 in April. “We just had one flat the whole race. We had some temperature problems but managed to get through it. It was super technical and super hot. It was one of the toughest SCORE Baja 500s. We made it. The guys at the shop did a great job. My mother and father were here and it was great.”
Joining Sampietro with top-five class finishes of their own were Marc Burnett, who placed fourth in the always competitive Pro UTV Forced Induction class, and Alan Ampudia, who finished fifth in the premier Trophy Truck division. Ampudia’s #10 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires/Baja Beach Fest Ford was the fastest of all Monster-backed machines to complete the event at 9:45:09, while Burnett’s #2905 Monster Energy Can-Am made it home with a time of 12:40:54.
“We were a little cautious at the start of the race,” explained Ampudia. “We were behind Andy (McMillin), and we knew that after we passed (Tim) Herbst we’d have to move faster. We got to pass them during an early pit, but we were having some issues with our steering wheel every time we had to turn left. We had to take it easy because of that and then (the leader) built a huge advantage over us. The cars ahead of us were all having issues and we tried to push harder at the end, but the car was too hot. We managed to cut the lead to six minutes, but it wasn’t enough.”
“It was pretty rough today,” said Burnett. “We had to replace three axles at about race mile 70 and that just killed us to be in the hunt for the win. But our crew and the mechanics did a great job in taking care of the car and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. They killed it. We’re happy just to finish, but we definitely want some podiums and wins. The course was very different than what I expected. Hats off to SCORE, it was a challenging race, for sure.”
Also making it to the finish in the challenging Pro UTV Forced Induction class were former SCORE World Desert Champion Matt Burroughs and incoming points leader and former Baja 1000 winner Justin Lambert. Burroughs built off of his fourth place finish in San Felipe with another top 10 result, while Lambert survived a challenging race to take home 14th on a day where many top racers wouldn’t get to the finish line.
Coverage of the 2022 SCORE Baja 500 will air on ESPN2 on August 7 at 9PM PT as part of ESPN’s World of X Games series. The 2022 SCORE World Desert Championship will resume on September 13-18 with the 3rd SCORE Baja 400, with Monster Energy continuing to serve as the Official Energy Drink of the SCORE World Desert Championship and supporting numerous entries in the race.