Centrix team wins Baja 1000 class

In the 38th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 race held this past weekend on Mexico’s Baja peninsula, Team CENTRIX’s five Wide Open Baja Challenge class entries finished first, third, fourth, ninth and 12th with a mix of drivers from professional racing, Hollywood and business on the teams.

Winning the challenge class for the third time in four tries was Team CENTRIX’s BC6 car, driven by CENTRIX Financial chairman and CEO Robert E. Sutton, rally legend Rod Millen, Baja 1000 veteran Mike “Mouse" McCoy. They finished in 19 hours, 38 minutes and 56 seconds.

“This was the most difficult course I’ve seen yet," said Sutton. “This team overcame many challenges to win this race. We had two flats at the same time and a number of mechanical issues throughout the race, but this team refused to give up. Mouse proved that he’s a champion on four wheels as well as two, and Rod’s combination of driving ability, perseverance and smarts were key to the BC6 team victory."

In third place for Team CENTRIX were last year’s Baja Challenge class winners, Mexico’s own Michel Jourdain Jr., Bernard Jourdain, Michel Jourdain Sr. and Jean-Pierre Jourdain.

“Coming in third feels like a win for us," said Michel Jourdain Jr. “The course was incredibly rough this year and we are proud to finish with our other CENTRIX teammates. The entire team had a lot of talent and desire to win – it was a great group that CENTRIX brought."

Following in a close fourth were Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais, Claire Ragot, Wally Fisk III, and extreme skier Glen Plake. “We tried to finish to receive a podium but four is not bad," said Bourdais. "Claire, my girlfriend, started the race with me. It was very nice at the end, nice roads and we just had a good time. When we saw the finish line, we felt such relief. We saw the checkered flag, that’s all we wanted to see. Compared to what I usually drive, you just have to forget what you know, begin from scratch and enjoy yourself."

The ninth place team was made up of Robert Sutton’s son David Sutton, brothers Ryan and Rhys Millen, and Burt McCready. And although they didn’t finish in the top ten, the 12th place Team CENTRIX entry made up of NASCAR driver Boris Said, Champ Car driver Oriol Servia, Kate Sutton, daughter of Robert Sutton and “Grey’s Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey, came in with just one minute to spare under the 30-hour time limit, making them the final official finisher of the grueling race.

“The Baja 1000 is about never giving up; we had a lot of mechanical issues, so just getting the BC5 car across the finish line under the 30-hour time limit felt like winning to me," said Dempsey. “It’s hard to come up with the words to describe the emotion I felt when we crossed the finish line."

Two camera crews followed the adventures of Team CENTRIX throughout the event. One crew was shooting a reality series about Hollywood stunt car driver and Formula D Champion Rhys Millen and the other film crew shot Glen Plake’s Baja 1000 experience. NBC will air a special one-hour feature about the 2005 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 on Saturday, December 10, at 3:00 pm ET.

This year, a record 359 entrants from 31 U.S. states and 12 countries entered the 30-hour race to take on the 709 mile Baja 1000 course through some of the region’s roughest terrain. Twelve of the 16 Wide Open Baja Challenge class entries finished the event, which started and finished in Ensenada-Baja California, Mexico.