KMC driver Carlos “Apdaly” Lopez wins historic 50th running of Baja 1000

LA PAZ, Mexico -- KMC-backed driver Carlos "Apdaly" Lopez scored an historic win at the Baja 1,000 on Friday. As the sun broke above the horizon just after 6 a.m., Lopez brought the orange RPM Off-Road Team truck across the line in first place overall.

Racing for the RPM Off-Road Team on forged beadlock KMC XD Machete wheels, the 22-year-old racer put in a measured drive, steadily climbing the rankings with the passing of each successive checkpoint. He achieved an unofficial time of 20 hours and three minutes in the gruelling point-to-point drive some 1,134 miles along the length of the Baja Peninsula.

Lopez was an early favorite for a strong result. The winner of the SCORE International Trophy Truck championship in 2015 and 2016, the young driver made his debut in the championship at the 2011 Baja 250 and won the gold medal in the Stadium Super Trucks class at the X Games Austin 2014. His father, Juan Carlos Lopez, is also a professional off-road racer.

KMC Wheels driver Bryce Menzies crossed the line in 22 hours and 37 minutes, unofficially scoring a fourth-place result in the Trophy Truck class. He had been a contender for the overall victory until mechanical failure knocked him out of podium contention in the closing stages of the race.

No. 1 qualifier Robby Gordon had also looked promising early in the race, but he dropped well back after a mechanical problem in the Speed Energy Truck on Robby Gordon Signature KMC XD Wheels.

The race saw a total of 412 entries in Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. Organizers recorded racers from 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories and 27 countries.

Motorcycles and quads started first, at midnight, while truck, car and UTV classes hit the course starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday. The 50th anniversary BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 traced a traditional point-to-point route over 1,134.4 miles from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, to La Paz, Baja California Sur.

Although the leaders have crossed the finish line, the race is expected to continue into Saturday. Teams are given up to 48 hours to complete the route and score an official result. Some back markers will use every minute.

The first official running of the event started in Tijuana, BajaCalifornia, on October 31, 1967, and was named the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. Many dignitaries and celebrated racers were on hand this year to celebrate the event’s milestone 50th running including grand marshall Sal Fish and veterans Rod Hall and Ivan “Ironman” Stewart.

Full coverage of the 50th anniversary BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 will air on tape delay as a two-hour special on the El Rey Network.

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