Runner-up finish for Bronson at SCORE Desert Challenge
The California dust could not stop Bronson Motorsports driver/owner Mike Johnson from racing to the podium at the 19th Annual Rigid Industries SCORE Desert Challenge. Johnson, driver of the Class 10 No. 1031 Radar Tires Alumni Craft Buggy, finished second in class during the two-day, two-segment event.
This marks the third SCORE International Class 10 podium for Bronson Motorsports in 2014. Earlier this year, the California-based team won the SCORE International Baja 500, and finished second at the Imperial Valley 250.
The two-day 19th Annual Rigid Industries SCORE Desert Challenge ran in two heats. Each heat raced on the 7.85-mile, eight-lap circuit on private property near Plaster City, Calif., with a course maximum time limit of one hour and 30 minutes. The first heat race was Saturday evening. The drivers were then restaged on Sunday morning for the second heat. The Class 10 race winner was determined by the quickest cumulative time from both heats.
Johnson started sixth out of the eight entrants in the Class 10 field. The evening race proved to be a challenge due to the dust and darkness, but Johnson prevailed. In addition to battling the elements, the Class 10 Buggies were running in the same heat as the higher horsepower Class 1 cars. At the conclusion of the first heat, Johnson finished second on corrected time, with a 44-second lead on the third-place finisher, and fellow Radar Tires racing competitor, Cody Robinson.
Those 44 seconds proved to be valuable on Sunday.
“We finished just where we needed to on Saturday night,” said Johnson. “We raced smartly and strategically since the dusty night conditions were challenging. We knew we had another day of racing ahead of us, plus we’re eyeing that Baja 1000 race and Class 10 championship. We were quite happy with Saturday’s results.”
The second heat for Class 10 began Sunday shortly after noon local time. Johnson started second in Class 10 field of eight entrants. Early in the race, Johnson traded the lead with Justin Davis, but Davis passed Johnson less than a mile later.
At the end of the second heat race, Johnson finished third, eight seconds behind Robinson’s co-driver Roberto Romo, on corrected time. To determine race results, SCORE International officials took the aggregate time of the two heat races. Since Johnson had a 44-second lead on the Robinson/Romo team on Saturday, he was awarded the second-place finish in the Class 10 race. Johnson finished 32 seconds ahead of Robinson/Romo on aggregate time.
“That was a difficult race due to the dust,” said Johnson. “Visibility was almost as bad as it was last night, and we raced in the middle of the day! Looking down the road at the championship, we chose not to risk hurting the equipment and ran a smart, efficient race. We executed our race plan flawlessly. The chassis and Radar Tires were great. We’re heading into the Baja 1000 with a solid chance to win the Class 10 championship.”
Justin Davis won the Class 10 race in 19th Annual Rigid Industries SCORE Desert Challenge. Cody Robinson and Roberto Romo completed the podium in third. Robinson/Romo also competed on Radar Tires.
The 19th Annual Rigid Industries SCORE Desert Challenge, presented by the city of Imperial, California, will air at 9 p.m. EST, Sunday, Nov 2, on the CBS Sports Network.
Next up for Bronson Motorsports is the season finale 47th Annual Tecate SCORE International Baja 1000 Nov 12-16 in Ensenada, Mexico.