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Joe Bacal Wins Laughlin Desert Challenge

LAUGHLIN, Nevada, January 18, 2010 – In a heart-stopping beginning to his second year in off-road racing, Joe Bacal put his Lexus LX 570 ahead of his closest class rival as they raced flat out to the first corner at the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge 2010 season opener on Saturday, only to feel the full force of competition slam into him as he headed for the apex.  Rival competitor Justin Matney left a major wound in Bacal’s Lexus as he pushed his way through, but the adrenaline-fired Bacal re-passed Matney shortly after and was never headed again en route to another Stock Full-class victory this past weekend.

This is not to say Bacal never looked back.  “This is one of the most difficult races I’ve done,” said Bacal.  “The longer races like Baja require a more conservative approach to make sure you finish.  But this was a sprint race and pretty much flat out—I didn’t even have time to wipe my visor.  It was crazy but the Lexus is a rocket ship.”

And like Bacal, apparently hard to break.  Despite considerable damage sustained in the crash, Bacal, co-driver Bob Ditner and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Lexus continued unabated after the first-corner dust-up—important because the other competitors weren’t letting up.  With a comfortable lead at the end of the first leg on Saturday, Bacal and Ditner stayed in front throughout the Sunday portion to take the win.

The two-part format gives competitors a chance to race on Saturday and repair/refresh their vehicles for the second part on Sunday.  The event is the first on the 2010 SCORE calendar and Bacal’s victory gives him a nice lead in the Stock Full class championship after just one race weekend.  “It’s the best possible way to begin the new season,” noted Bacal.  “I have to thank Bob (Ditner) and my team for such a great start.”

Significantly, Bacal and his BF Goodrich-shod Lexus also extended their perfect finishing record.  This was their fourth event since the JTGrey team began its off-road racing campaign with a surprise win at the Baja 500 last year.  The LX 570 has been severely thrashed on the tough desert courses but has finished every time, remarkably with zero flat tires in over 1500 miles of hard desert racing.  Bacal has driven every mile.

Joe Bacal and his JTGrey team race next at the Mastercraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250, March 12-14.

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