Alexander Rossi will become the fifth former winner of the great American race to compete in the SCORE Baja 1000. Rossi is the International open-wheel racer who won the 2016 Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. The 51st SCORE Baja 1000 is set for Nov. 14-18 in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
Rossi, 27, from Nevada City, California, has raced in Formula 1 and is now a regular with Andretti Autosport in the IndyCar Series. He will share driving responsibilities in the SCORE Baja 1000 with Jeff Proctor in the No. 709 Honda Ridgeline. Rossi won three races, had eight podiums, earned three poles and had a series-high 321 passes while finishing second in the 2018 Indy Car Series point championship.
Proctor, 39, Glendora, California, won his class in the SCORE Baja 1000 in both 2015 and 2016 in his No. 709 Honda Ridgeline factory-supported race truck.
SCORE races have classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. Class 7 is the division for Unlimited, six-cylinder production appearing trucks or SUVs.
Indy Champs in Baja
Rossi joins four other former Indy 500 winners who have competed in the Baja 1000. Besides Rossi (2016 Indy 500 winner), the other Indy 500 winners who have raced in the SCORE Baja 1000 and the year(s) they won in Indy are Parnelli Jones (1963), Rick Mears (1979, 1987, 1988, 1991), Danny Sullivan (1987) and Buddy Rice (2004). Between them, the five racers have eight victories in the Indy 500.
IndyCar season champions who have raced in the SCORE Baja 1000 are Mears, Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Paul Tracy.
Of the former IndyCar racers who have competed in the SCORE Baja 1000, only Jones has wins in this race, having won in both 1971 and 1972.
More IndyCar Ties
Ties between IndyCar racing and the SCORE Baja 1000 run deep. Nearly 30 Indy 500 racers have competed in the legendary SCORE Baja 1000.
Among the other former IndyCar racers who have competed in the SCORE Baja 1000 over its first 50 years are Roger Mears (Rick Mears’ older brother), Jeff Macpherson, Mike Groff, Robbie Groff, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., Dominic Dobson, Josele Garza, Robby Gordon, Roberto Guerrero, Pete Halsmer, Stefan Johansson, P.J. Jones, Michel Jourdain, Jr., Bernardo Jourdain, Danny Ongais, Ted Pappas, Oriol Servia, Johnny Unser, Bill Whittington and his brother Don Whittington.
In an interview since he retired from racing, four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears summed up his thoughts regarding SCORE Baja racing saying, “Desert racing is far more demanding than people realize. It taught me so much. You can’t memorize a 100-mile lap or a 1,000-mile course down the Baja peninsula, and you have to adapt to surfaces in the desert that vary from asphalt to sand to dirt to mud, rocks and even snow. After that, Indy racing seemed so easy: nice smooth surface, no ruts or holes, and just four hours, when I’d been used to 10 or 12 without a break in the desert.”
More than 300 entries from 35 U.S. states and 20 countries are expected to compete in this year’s 51st anniversary celebration of the SCORE Baja 1000. The world’s longest continuously held desert race will be a loop race of 806.76 miles in the northern state of Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula. It will start for the 44th time and finish for the 25th time in Ensenada.
The race is annually the finale of the four-race SCORE World Desert Championship, which has been held exclusively for the past three years in Baja California. The start/finish line compound will once again be adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center.
This year’s course map is available on the SCORE website under race info on the SCORE Baja 1000 page at SCORE-International.com.