Team Honda Racing Ridgeline Enlist Talented Driver Roster for 2018 SCORE Baja 1000

Ensenada, Baja California Mexico

The famed SCORE Baja 1000 off road desert race holds allure to all of motorsports. Drivers from all disciplines come from all corners of the world to take part in this iconic race with hopes and dreams to make their mark in history. Like so many before who have conquered the Baja; this race, that seems larger than life, holds the power to transform racing prominence into legendary greatness. Perhaps molding a new hero, Team Honda Racing has tapped international open wheel specialist, 2016 Indianapolis 500 Winner, and 2018 IndyCar Series Champion runner up Alexander Rossi to start the Baja 1000 in the Honda HPD Ridgeline.

The former Formula 1 racer will take the first leg of the challenging long distance off road race and split up driving duties with Honda Racing Ridgeline Team Principle; Jeff Proctor, Team Manager; Pat Daily, and Baja Racing super star; Johnny Campbell.

As a top tier racing professional, Rossi will be in good company with Team Honda Racing Ridgeline. Leading the outfit, Jeff Proctor stresses team work, commitment, and strategy. After extensive training and preparation, the team is well organized, and the entire driver line up is confident and comfortable. Additionally, the Honda HPD Ridgeline Team is carrying a lot of positive forward momentum with 4 out of 4 podiums which includes 3 wins this season alone. “We plan to take this momentum down to battle Baja and put this Honda Ridgeline on the top step of the podium,” declared Jeff. Proctor has won the SCORE Baja 1000 in his No. 709 Honda Ridgeline in both 2015 and 2016.

Alexander Rossi commented on the new opportunity: “I am super excited to be a part of the Baja 1000 with the Honda Off Road Team. This is my first time racing anything even remotely like this. I’m used to several thousand pounds of downforce and no power steering. To say this is unlike anything I’ve ever done is an understatement, but I’m confident in being able to perform in the truck right away.”

“I got the chance to get in the truck for the first time a couple weeks ago, and it totally blew my mind. Jeff Proctor and my co-driver Evan have been great teachers so far and I look forward to working closely with them in the coming weeks. Now it’s just counting the days until we get to Mexico for some pre-running time.”

“I did this to take on the challenge of off road desert racing, plain and simple. Honda is a great partner of mine, and I’m appreciative they’ve helped make this happen with Jeff’s team. It will be cool and I am pumped to share the Baja experience with our fans.” – Driver Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi joins the likes of former Indy 500 winners who have raced in the SCORE Baja 1000 such as Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan and Buddy Rice. Where a typical Indy 500 race may take 4 hours from start to finish, the Baja 1000 has a 36 hour limit before being timed out and the race winner is expected to finish the race in approximately 13 hours.

Jeff Proctor has carefully formulated a plan that matches up each driver’s section and best suits their characters. Rossi will start out and race to San Felipe. Proctor will take over driving through Frog Canyon and then over to Highway 1 at Race Mile 380. Daily will get in and start the journey North to Race Mile 600 before handing it off to Campbell who will take it to the Finish.

“A lot goes into this,” admitted Jeff. “If you are not working on getting ready for the Baja 1000 all year, you are behind. This year, we have been moving our markers forward and achieving all of our objectives so far. We have one more left, and that is to win the Baja 1000. I am thrilled and honored to be sharing the wheel with Alexander Rossi, Johnny Campbell and Pat Dailey for this race. Baja is always tough, but we are well prepared with a very capable Ridgeline race truck and look forward to continuing our momentum to end this season on a high note.”  – Team Principal / Driver Jeff Proctor 

A critical component to handling many moving parts of Team Honda Racing Ridgeline is Team Manager Pat Daily. “I’m really excited for this year’s Baja 1000. To share driving duties with Baja Champion Jeff Proctor, Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, and 11x Baja 1000 Champion Johnny Campbell is something really special. I’m humbled to be a part of this group of wheel men. The Evan Weller prep team has been absolutely fantastic all year with 3 wins and one 2nd place. This is my 8th Baja 1000 and I’ve never felt so prepared for one of these as I do this year with this pit crew and lineup of drivers. I am excited to get down south and start pre-running.” – Team Manager / Driver Pat Dailey

If there was ever a name tied to Baja Racing and Honda, the first to come to mind for many would be Johnny Campbell. Johnny has teamed up with Team Honda Racing Ridgeline and helped drive to the 2017 Baja 1000 Podium Finish. A true racer with grace, Campbell is known as a closer and can be counted on to bring the car home to the finish line. “I am excited to announce my return to racing for the 2018 SCORE Baja 1000 in the 4 wheel category as a driver for the Honda HPD Ridgeline team. Thank you to the team for this amazing opportunity. I look forward to joining team owner Jeff Proctor, and fellow racers Alexander Rossi, Pat Daily and our navigators Evan Weller and Michael Loomis. We are all working hard with one goal in mind, and that is a race win!” – Driver Johnny Campbell

The 2018 SCORE-International Baja 1000, the 51st edition, will be a loop race of 806.76 miles taking place in Baja California, Mexico and will start and end in the sea side town of Ensenada. Over 300 entries, from 35 U.S. States and 20 countries are expected to compete in the race revered worldwide as the “Granddaddy of all Desert Races”.

Team Honda Racing is looking for a third SCORE-International Baja 1000 Victory. It all comes down to whatever happens in the 800 plus miles of Baja desert. With a stellar line up of Honda racing talent, a solid off road race ready Honda Ridgeline, the high performance HPD Honda power, and the well-organized team of off road racing Baja veterans; the chances for a win are pretty good.

Team Honda Racing Ridgeline is supported by Honda Racing / HPDGeneral TireFOXKC HilitesKMC WheelsSparcoEibach SpringsNEO Synthetic OilRPI RacingPCI Race RadiosAEM Air FiltersPro EagleJE REEL Driveline and STEEL-IT Coatings.

For all the latest on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.

Team Honda Racing Ridgeline Is The 2018 Baja 500 Champion

Ensenada, Baja California Mexico

The 50th Anniversary of the SCORE Baja 500 will stand out as a remarkable off road race not easily forgotten. For the racers it will be known as the toughest and most grueling course in recent memory. Team Honda Racing Ridgeline driver, Jeff Proctor won the Class 7 Unlimited division finishing nearly two hours ahead of the 2nd place finisher to be crowned the 2018 Baja 500 Champion.

Off road desert racing is the proving ground where man and machine are put to the test. It was no different for the 50th Golden Anniversary, if not even more of a challenge. The Baja 500 featured a record long 542 miles of pure punishment and plenty of opportunity to surpass the vehicle limits. “This was one of the toughest and most challenging Baja 500 course we have ever raced” Jeff Proctor admitted.

Jeff Proctor started and drove the #709 Honda Racing HPD Ridgeline to race mile 270. Pat Daily drove to the finish completing the race course with a total time of 14 Hours, 36 Minutes, and 46 Seconds with an average speed of 37.10 Miles Per Hour. 2nd place finisher, Dan Chamlee (5x Baja 500 Champion) required over 16 Hours to complete the course.

The Baja desert is the great equalizer and equipment failures are the #1 factor determining race results. When the race course officially closed, only 187 of 321 starters (58.26 percent) completed the Baja 500 race course. The course ran through Northern Baja California starting in Ensenada Arroyo and worked inland towards the rolling hills of Ojos Negros and down the treacherous Goat Trail into the scenic Valle de Trinidad. Once hitting the desert floor of the El Diablo Dry Lake bed the racers hit triple digit speeds before climbing their way back up towards the rough and rocky roads of Mike’s Sky Rancho. The course led racers through the farm roads of Rancho El Coyote and Rancho Meling before heading west towards the coast. Camalu, Colonet, and along the weathered beach of Erendira was the route back into Ensenada.

Starting 4th off the line in Class 7 Unlimited, Driver; Jeff Proctor and Navigator; Even Weller, right from the get-go, encountered blinding dust from competing racers ahead. This early section of the course is very tight cornering and steep canyon walls. It would be easy to make a mistake and take yourself out of contention. Jeff determined the best strategy would be to drive conservatively and patient while holding position, then to finally pass the slower traffic in clean open air. This patience paid off as soon as they approached the rolling jumps in Ojos Negros. Proctor pushed the Honda Ridgeline and overtook 3 positions to assume the lead physically by race mile 55.

Proctor and Weller encountered a bottleneck around race mile 70 in some deep silt with multiple stuck vehicles. “Once the dust began to settle, it looked like a grave yard of stuck vehicles” said Navigator Evan Weller. Fortunately, the pair was able to pick their way through thick brush and navigate a sand wash around the issue only costing them about 4-5 minutes. Now that they were able to find clear air, Proctor was focused on running a conservative pace while also trying to gap the field that may have been stuck behind them.

At the near half way point of race mile 270, Team Honda planned a scheduled pit stop for a full fuel dump, fresh rear KMC Wheels / General Tires, and a driver change. After the well-executed and flawless pit stop, Driver; Patrick Dailey and Navigator; Billy Baroody took over heading for Mike’s Sky Ranch and onward to the coast with a 21 minute lead over second place.

As the sun began to set over Baja, Pat and Billy turned on the KC HiLites and continued to extend the lead. The Honda Ridgeline equipped with FOX shocks and Eibach Springs, raced through the rugged twists and turns of Baja running at maximum performance thanks to NEO Synthetic Oil and AEM Air Filters towards Ensenada. Over 540 miles and a little over 14 hours later, The Honda Ridgeline proved to be tough enough to take the checkered flag for a 1st place victory celebration. This is the second Baja 500 win for the Honda Ridgeline in three years and third straight podium finish: 2016 – 1st, 2017 – 3rd, 2018 – 1st.

“It’s difficult to describe my feelings about what it means to win this race. I am so proud of our entire team! We couldn’t race at this level without the commitment and continued support of our partners and crew! Thanks to Honda Racing / HPDGeneral TireFOXKC HilitesKMC WheelsSparcoEibach SpringsNEO Synthetic OilRPI RacingPCI Race RadiosAEM Air FiltersPro EagleJE REEL Driveline and STEEL-IT Coatings,” said Jeff Proctor.

For all the latest on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.

Team Honda Racing Ridgeline Wins The Season Opener In Parker

1st

Parker, AZ

The Team Honda Racing Ridgeline put on an impressive show at the first event for cars and trucks of the 2018 Best In The Desert series, the Parker 425 off-road race in Parker, Arizona. Parker is known for spectacular scenery along the banks of the Colorado River, but for off-road racers, it’s the deep sand, and crushing rocks that leave an impression. The terrain is punishing, and the lack of precipitation created severely dusty conditions on race day. Racing in such extreme conditions takes skill, patience, and a well-executed performance by the entire team.

 

2nd

Starting in the 4th position out of 11 trucks, it was crucial that the crew members in the pits keep the driver and co-driver informed of their track position at all times. An important key to success in off-road racing, is determining how hard to push. Go too hard, and you risk flat tires, breaking parts, or crashing. If you go too slowly, you get left behind. Every competitor was out to start the season off with a win.

3rd

The pace was fast, right off the start. The team’s game plan was to be smart and settle into a comfortable pace off the start, but the competition was going hard out front. With Jeff Proctor driving, and Evan Weller calling out the navigation, they were able to pick up the pace and soon moved up to 2nd place. The truck was performing flawlessly, and they were running strong with no issues. They got within striking distance of the leader by mile 80, and took the lead on corrected time. In order to build up a cushion, they passed the lead truck in a high speed section of the course, putting them physically first on the road. With a time advantage, they were able to make a pit stop without losing their position. After a quick stop for fresh tires on the rear, and some fuel, they still had a 4.5 minute lead on second place.

4th

On lap 2, the sun started to set and the conditions on the course grew worse. The holes got deeper and the sand was looser. The rocks get pulled up to the surface or knocked into the middle of the track by competitors feeling their way along through the dust. Any time you get off course, you are greeted by the piles of rocks and boulders that make up the berm. Despite the conditions, Proctor and Weller avoided the many pitfalls and the Team Honda Racing Ridgeline performed flawlessly. They not only ran out front, they increased their lead.

5th

On lap 3, the course was in terrible shape and the darkness had completely engulfed the course. With a comfortable lead, Jeff Proctor turned the driver’s seat over to Pat Dailey to bring the truck home safely. Pat put in another solid lap for the team and they crossed the finish line an hour ahead of the second place truck.

6th

“It feels so good to get a win for this Honda Ridgeline team at the season opener.” said Team Principal and driver Jeff Proctor. It was an impressive victory that Pat Dailey summed up well. “I couldn’t be more proud of this entire team, their effort, and commitment to earn a win was unbeatable we would also like to thank our sponsors, Honda Racing / HPD, General Tire, FOX, KC Hilites, KMC Wheels, Sparco, Eibach Springs, NEO Synthetic Oil, RPI Racing, PCI Race Radios, AEM Air Filters, Pro Eagle, MAC Tie Downs, REEL Driveline and STEEL-IT Coatings,” said Team Manager/ Driver Pat Dailey. “The team is now focused on the 50th anniversary of the Mint 400 on March 10th in Las Vegas.”

7th

For all the latest on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.

Honda Racing Ridgeline Team Earns Another Baja 1000 Podium At 50th Anniversary

17honda-b1k-post-1

November 22nd, 2017
La Paz, Baja California Sur

The 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000 had a course layout that was commensurate with the historic nature of the event. A staggering 1134 miles in length, every bit of it was filled with challenging terrain. There was plenty of silt, rocks, sandy whoops, and deep water crossings as it snaked its way from the start in Ensenada, all the way south to La Paz. The first to start the race are the unlimited Trophy Trucks. Their 39 inch tall tires and 900 horsepower engines punish the course. They pull rocks out of the dirt, break up the silt into loose piles, and cut deep ruts wherever the ground is soft. By the time class 7 and the Honda Ridgeline takes to the course, the conditions are as tough as they will be.

Honda Ridgeline, Baja 1000, General Tire, Rigid Industries, KMC Wheels, Bink Designs

Because of the staggering distance involved, and the number of hours needed to complete the race, team owner Jeff Proctor assembled three pairs that would share the driving and navigating duties. First to take the wheel would be Jeff Proctor with Evan Weller navigating. The second pair would be Eric and Jared Hardin with Eric driving. The critical final leg would be handled by 11 time Baja 1000 winner Johnny Campbell with Jamie Campbell navigating. It was a stellar line-up of talent with tons of Baja experience.

Honda Off Road, Jeff Proctor, Honda Racing, General Tire, Rigid Industries, STEEL-IT, KMC Wheels, Bink Designs

Right from the drop of the green flag, the Honda Performance Development twin turbo HR35TT 3.5L V6 engine was belting out horsepower. They took the lead, and started making their way through some of the classes that started ahead of them. By the time they had made it through Valle De Trinidad and where heading towards San Felipe, they hit a section of heavy sand.

Honda Ridgeline, Off Road Racing, Class 7, Jeff Proctor, Rigid Industries, KMC Wheels, STEEL-IT, FOX, FiberwerX

Their General Tires hooked up so well in the tacky sand that they spit out the driveshaft. The terrain made it difficult to get the shaft swapped out quickly. The repair caused them to lose the lead. Once back underway, they made a stop for fuel and fresh tires. Once they were back at full strength, they caught and passed the leader to be out in front again. With some clean air ahead, they checked out; building a big lead.

Honda Ridgeline, SCORE Baja 1000, General Tire, KMC Wheels, XD Series, Rigid Industries, STEEL-IT, AEM Intakes, Off Road, Bink Designs

At the next pit, the Hardin brothers got in the truck. They had a very tough section to run. Covered in deep silt and whoops, low laying fog contributed to the challenging conditions. They got stuck briefly in a silt bed but got out while still holding the lead. With only three miles to go to the next driver’s change, they got stuck again. This time, it would not be so easy to get out. While trying to get out of the deep silt, they were turning the front wheels back and forth in some deep ruts. The extreme load on the power steering pump caused it to overheat and fail. There was no way to get to them with the chase truck, so they were left to their own resources. This time, it took them 3 hours to get free. Once they made it to the pit, it was another hour to make repairs, and get back going.

Honda Off Road, Jeff Proctor, Honda Ridgeline, KMC Wheels, Bink Designs, Baja 1000

Now sitting in third place, Johnnie and Jamie Campbell got in the truck. They clicked off some fast miles, overtaking the truck ahead to climb into second. They were on a blistering pace, but ran out of time to catch the leader.

Honda Racing, General Tire, KMC Wheels, SCORE Baja 1000, STEEL-IT, FOX, Rigid Industries, MAC Tie Downs, Pro Eagle, AEM, Johnny Campbell

“We ran into a little bad luck but clearly had a truck that was fast enough to win,” said Jeff Proctor, “With the help we receive from Honda Racing / HPD, General Tire, FOX, Rigid Industries, KMC Wheels, Sparco, Eibach Springs, NEO Synthetic Oil, RPI Racing, PCI Race Radios, AEM Air Filters, Pro Eagle, MAC Tie Downs, RaceCarCoatings.comREEL Driveline and STEEL-IT Coatings, we have refined the Honda into a potent machine. I can’t say enough about our crew and the excellent work they’ve done all season. We are very excited about 2018. Normally we would already have the truck torn down for preparation but we are scheduled to go back on The Rich Eisen Show for a follow up on our race. They wanted us to leave it dirty.”

The Honda might be a little dirty, but the special metallic red paint they applied for the 50th Baja 1000 still shines through the dust. The team is also looking forward to shining through the dust next season when they take on the biggest offroad races in the US and Mexico.

For all the latest on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.
Photography By: Bink Designs