Story By:HALEIGH JORDAN / MIKE MARSAL RACING – BAJA, CA – The No. 236 SPY+ Optics Spec Trophy Truck fought back from a flat tire in qualifying to finish fourth in the Baja 400 this weekend. The flat tire meant that Mike Marsal had to start Saturday’s K&N 4th Annual SCORE International Baja 400 presented by VP Racing Fuels from 33rd in the starting order.
Marsal and his navigator Hudson Hall began pre-running the Baja California terrain on Sunday
September 10th to start preparing for the qualifying race of the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. Marsal was joined by Troy Grabowski in the pre-running and race efforts. Grabowski co-drove in the Baja 400 and will rejoin Marsal at the Baja 1000 to help break up the driving duties in this 1200 mile + grueling race.
Thursday saw a brief qualifying round to set the starting lineup for Saturday’s 384.66 mile race. Unfortunately, Marsal and Hall had a flat tire towards the beginning of the qualifying run, landing them with a 8:21.630 second lap time, meaning a starting position at the rear of the field.
Rolling off the start line from 33rd, Marsal was quickly able to drive the Evan Weller Racing-prepped Spy+ Optic machine to ninth. Just shy of the 230 mile mark, there was another dose of bad luck as the effort was slowed by another flat tire, costing critical time. Marsal and Hall were quickly able to remedy this problem and get back on pace.
After a near flawless full-service pit stop, Grabowski then took the reins of the Spy+ Optic machine for the closing leg of the race. Sticking close to their detailed pre-running notes, Grabowski was able to push to cross the finish line in a well-deserved fourth place position.
“We had a great week pre-running,” said Marsal.
“Evan (Weller) brought both a great practice and race truck as always. We didn’t get the qualifying position that we deserved due to an unfortunate flat tire, but that’s part of the game. We were able to get up to speed pretty quickly and I was able to get up towards the front before handing the car to Troy (Grabowski). Troy did a great job bringing it home. I think rolling off fourth in the 1000 will be a huge advantage and I think we have a great team to back us up. I’m excited to get back down there for the 1000.”
Mike Marsal Racing welcomed a new sponsor, Tremrr Forged Beadlock Wheels at the Baja 400. The team saw the Baja 400 as the perfect opportunity to test this new wheel package as they prepare for the Baja 1000.
Mike Marsal Racing will be back in action November 16-18th in Baja California for SCORE International’s season finale, the BF Goodrich SCORE Baja 1000 presented by K&N. Marsal and team head into the final round third in championship points standings and will start the race from fourth off the line. A full team lineup for the Baja 1000 will be announced in the coming weeks.