PRESS ROOM / Article

21 2013

SCCA National Champion, driving instructor and custom builder join Team BFGoodrich Members for “Baja Challenge”

GREENVILLE, S.C.

BFGoodrich Tires announced today the 12 drivers who will make up the 2013 BFGoodrich Tires/Wide Open Excursions “Baja Challenge” (BC) race team that will compete in the 46th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 on Nov. 14-17.

As in previous years, BFGoodrich Tires will place several of its brand ambassadors alongside guests and a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Champion to take part in the most grueling desert race on the planet. This year, BFGoodrich Tires will have two entries with a total of 12 drivers looking to defend the BC class title.

Team BFGoodrich members included in this year’s running are made up of veteran racers and automotive experts – some new to the experience and others - wily veterans.

This year’s double BC buggy crew consists of Team BFGoodrich members Andrew Comrie-Picard, Terry Earwood, Brian Finch, Brad Lovell, Roger Lovell, Dan McKeever, Rich Minga, Kyle Tucker and John Williams. Included this year are Mike “Junior” Johnson of the Evolution Performance Driving School, Larry McRae of Poison Spyder Customs and our SCCA National Champion and returning Baja racer Chad Gilsinger.

Gilsinger recently won the Touring 3 (T3) class at the 50th SCCA Runoffs at Road America and for that won the most unique contingency award in club racing – a seat on the BFGoodrich Tires BC team. Gilsinger, who returns for his second Baja experience, will take himself out his Acura TL with BFGoodrich g-force R1-S tires and step into the custom built buggy on BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires in Baja, as he looks to continue his on-road successes in the dirt.

Last year, the BFGoodrich team secured the win by nearly an hour with Hollywood TV producer Bud Brutsman, Tucker, Brad and Roger Lovell and two SCCA Runoff Champions- Luke Wilwert and Mike Crawford.

The all-star motorsports cast will take to the desert in the coming weeks to pre-run the course in the Wide Open Excursions race cars that will soon be put to the test.

The BFGoodrich Tires BC Challenge team will be among many teams in Baja riding on BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires the exclusive tire of the entire Wide Open Excursion Baja Challenge class.

“We have doubled our efforts this year in putting together two of the most talented teams the challenge class has seen,” said Peter Calhoun, motorsports manager for BFGoodrich Tires. “Their collective experience in Baja as well as fabricating, engineering and racing makes for a unique and talented group looking to tackle what looks to be the toughest course in Baja 1000 recent memory.”

The 2013 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 will start and finish in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico and run through a treacherous 900 miles. Trucks on BFGoodrich Tires have won the overall four-wheel title 55 times combined in the SCORE Baja 500 and 1000, including 25 of the past 27 years and a record stretch of 20 consecutive victories in the 1000 (1986–2005). More information about the ultimate desert race is available at www.score-international.com.

Wide Open Excursions provides "arrive and drive" seats for the SCORE Baja 1000, SCORE Baja 500 and for adventure tours.  BFGoodrich tires have logged more than 4.5 million miles in Baja with Wide Open Excursions and the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tire and BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tire are exclusive tires for the Baja Challenge race cars.  More information on the Wide Open Excursions is available at www.wideopenbaja.com.

A look at the BFGoodrich Tires Baja Challenge Race Teams:

*2013 Team BFGoodrich member

*Andrew Comrie-Picard is a veteran of the Baja 1000 and competes in the Rally America series as well as X Games RallyCross. When he's not racing he writes and produces car-themed television programs including Top Gear USA.

*Terry Earwood brings his own style of entertainment to Skip Barber Racing School instruction. He explains the complicated details of racing lines and vehicle dynamics with just the right mix of experience and humor. He has championships in NHRA & IMSA drag & road racing

*Brian Finch embodies the idea of "work hard and play hard." A veteran of the Armed Forces and an engineer, he has unquestioned mechanical knowledge. Combined with his passion for competing, he has a successful formula for putting together wins on the track.

Chad Gilsinger is an SCCA Champion competing in the Touring 3 class, where he has won national championships in 2010 and 2013. Off the track, Gilsinger is a Senior Engineer at Honda R&D in Raymond, OH specializing in vehicle traction systems.

Mike “Junior” Johnson is the president and chief instructor of the Evolution Performance Driving School and a multi-time SCCA Solo and Pro Solo National Champion.  Mike was also the recipient of the SCCA Driver of Eminence award in 2011 and the Johnson Spirit of the Sport award in 2003; two highest honors given within the Solo community for his driving excellence and community involvement. He has 26 years of performance based driving from kart to circle track and road racing.

*Brad Lovell adds an incredible amount of off-road racing knowledge after winning six rock-crawling season championships over the years, as well as four national championships, the TORC Series title in 2012 and finished third in the Pro Lite class of the Traxxas TORC series this season.

*Roger Lovell founded Lovell Rock Racing with brother Brad to field rock-crawling and off-road racing trucks in a number of series. Roger is a structural engineer, playing a key role in vehicle design and fabrication. His gift in racing is the ability to spot a line through obstacles, helping his team achieve countless wins both behind the wheel and acting as spotter.

Larry McRae is president of Poison Spyder Customs, a designer and manufacturer of parts and accessories for Jeeps and other vehicles. Larry was one of the early stars of the new sport of competitive rock crawling, winning several championships as both driver and spotter.  He has been closely involved with the "King Of the Hammers" races almost since their inception, and has competed in the last four KOH races with his team from Poison Spyder Racing.  He took King of the Hammers, Modified Class win in 2012 as well as the National and Western Series. He also has Class wins in Vegas to Reno and the Baja 1000, all on BF Goodrich tires.

*Dan McKeever is Director of the Miller Performance Schools at Miller Motorsports Park and has been racing since childhood. Dan has been involved with virtually every auto manufacturer and has played major roles at several other schools. He won the 2000 Legends Car National Championship, has competed in Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge events, lead the 2008 25 Hours of Thunderhill by a two-lap margin and most-recently captured the 2010 NASA Spec Miata National Championship.

*Rich Minga is equally at home on a Hollywood movie set or in the wilds of the Baja peninsula. He's an active guide with Wide Open Excursions, taking people out into the desert for the adventure of a lifetime. He's also a stunt driver and coordinator for film and television.

*Kyle Tucker is owner of Detroit Speed Engineering and a veteran of the Baja 1000.  Tucker was an engineer in Detroit before heading south to open Detroit Speed and Engineering with his wife Stacy. The pair set up shop in the heart of stock car racing country where they design, fabricate and install modern engineering for classic muscle cars.

*John Williams is a long time off-road driving enthusiast and competitive racer. He first hit the scene competing heavily in rock crawling. Since then he's expanded into other segments of off-road competition, racing in the Baja 1000. Now he is currently the Off-Road Operations Manager at Miller Motorsports Park. He oversees a number of programs ranging from vehicle and product testing to the ins and outs of the Off-Road Driving School.