“The Gentlemen” Bring Home The Win At 50th Baja 500.
After a 3 second difference kept the #12L TT from a win at the San Felipe 250, Stronghold Motorsports and Vildosola Racing were eager for redemption going into race day at the 50th Anniversary of the Baja 500. While both cars put together a solid performance, the weekend was not without it’s challenges on their road to victory. The toughest Baja 500 race yet brought along everything the grueling Baja desert had to offer but a great team effort would help bring a win to the #12L and the Stronghold Motorsports & Vildosola Racing teams.
Early on in the race, Gustavo Vildosola in the #12L TT suffered a front right flat around mile marker 60, but co-driver Javier Valenzuela was quick to make the change and get them back into the race. Vildosola pushed the pace and raced hard through the Mexican desert, battling through the dust and avoiding any mistakes in the treacherous terrain that had already claimed many other racers. At mile 270, the #12L team made their driver switch as Scott Bailey jumped into the pilot’s seat to finish off the second half of the race. Keeping up with the pace set by Vildosola, Bailey would navigate his way through the mountains and up the coast to pushing towards that Legends class victory.
While Bailey and Valenzuela raced ahead in the #12L TT, Stronghold Motorsport’s driver Larry Job in the #129 Class 1 continued to push the pace through the tough Baja desert. A solid and error free race moved them up into the 4th position and they would continue driving hard as they reached the start of the mountains at mile 275. If the already tough course and dust didn’t make the race any harder, the mountainous range between miles 270 and 375 posed a huge challenge for many teams as a lack of access made it nearly impossible for support teams to get onto the course and provide assistance. By mile 305, this section of the course would claim the first flat for the #129 Class 1 car, and again at mile 325, but co-driver Johnny Nelson made quick work of both flats to keep his team in the race. Job navigated and raced smart through the rest of the mountains, avoiding any chance of another flat or mechanical issue. Coming into mile 375, driver Brandon Bailey took over in the Class 1 car and pushed ahead up the Baja Peninsula. Avoiding hazards that claimed other teams, the #129 took the opportunity and upped the pace along the Pacific coast with hopes of putting Stronghold Motorsports on the podium. Shortly up ahead, the team received contact over the radio that their teammates in the #12L TT were stuck in the silt and needed assistance. Only a few miles behind, Bailey and Nelson arrived in the #129 to help, but unfortunately found themselves stuck as well. Following a grueling 40 minutes of digging, Nelson freed the Class 1, hooked up a tow-rope to the #12L and pulled them free. After hours of racing through the day and night, the Class 1 and Trophy Truck followed each other up for the remaining 20 miles, crossing the finish line together and earning a 4th place class finish for the #129 and a Legends Class victory for the Gentlemen in the #12L TT.
“It’s our fourth trophy in four races. I’ve had the chance to win 3 and get a second place, so we are very happy today!” – Gustavo Vildosola / Vildosola Racing
“It was a great day! It was a challenging and tough day, but here we are. A fantastic effort and I want to thank everyone, our team, our support crew and our fans, Thank you.” – Scott Bailey / Stronghold Motorsports
As their new 2018 partnership proves to be successful, Stronghold Motorsports and Vildosola Racing look to ride their winning momentum into round 3 at the 22nd Tijuana Score Desert Challenge in late September. Before #12L continues on towards their goal of a 2018 Legends class championship, Stronghold Motorsports Scott & Brandon Bailey team up together in the trophy truck to take on the Best In The Desert – Vegas to Reno this August.
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