Chamlee takes on Rough Terrain of Baja
The Factory Racing traveled to Ensenada to compete in the 45th Baja 500 from May 31- June 2. This year’s course was a very rough 502 mile course. There were 276 teams from 25 countries to take on the challenge with only 162 of them being able to complete the course in the 22 hour time limit. Dan Chamlee was one of those finishers, finishing in 20:16, and placing 2nd in Class 7. In class 7 there were 7 starters and 3 finishers. This finish puts him back in first in the season point’s championship.
Dan and co-driver Eric Nystrom, who was the winner of the Lou Grant auction co-driver seat, were first in class off the line at 11:30 a.m. and held that lead until he lost a transmission on the dry lake bed known as Laguna Salada. A chase crew took a transmission to race mile 162 where they replaced it in 107 degree weather and losing valuable time while waiting, losing 1 ½ hours. As the sun was setting at mile 230 the team had a co-driver change, Martin Ganguiano, of Martin Roofing took over the duties. As they neared the coast they encountered heavy fog. This section was a little slow due to visibility and a GPS failure causing them to rely on visual course markers instead of satellite mapping. Danny Ganguiano hopped in at race mile 359 to the finish. They got stuck in the sand along the beach near Eredira. Having driven through the night as dawn arrived and the fog lifted they were able to pick up the pace finishing at 7 a.m.
The support vehicles had their own issues. The Raptor hit a rock after taking the transmission to the truck causing a flat tire. The Super Duty also got a flat tire and its alternator went out causing the team to be creative in keeping the batteries charged. But the whole team made it home safely with more stories to tell.
The pit support was provided by BFGoodrich volunteers and the chase team was: Laurie Chamlee, Amy Tate, Kurt Kimball, Carter Kimball, John Lund, Kevin Downs, Michael Buchmiller, Chava Ganguiano, Chris Kiesendahl, Brett Jenkins. The Factory racing partnered and combined pit support with former La Conchita resident Scott Brady and his team which included AJ Dununzio of Cory Motors, David Owens of Owens Electric, Gino Bantilan of SB Plumbing. Thanks go to King Shocks, Rigid Lights, Sunoco Race Fuels. BF Goodrich, Rod End Supply