SCORE-International’s inaugural Rigid Industries Desert Challenge couldn’t have gone any sweeter for the team out of Corpus Christi, Texas. Mills Motorsports came to Imperial Valley with winning on their minds and took victories in both the Trophy Truck SPEC and Class 8. With a multi-day, multi-heat short course race set up, the entire Mills Motorsports program was put to the test – and not just the drivers behind the wheel. Zero mechanical issues left all trucks in the field outclassed by Mills Motorsports driving, prep and tuning in both Spec TT and Class 8.
Mills Motorsports brought in Mike Meeks to man their #824 920hp V10 Class 8 truck. Meeks, 55, is a professional Sprint Car racer from the team’s home state of Texas. He currently holds a land speed record at Bonneville, raced motocross professionally in the Seventies and NASCAR in the Eighties. Navigator, Matt Nelson, was Meeks’ right hand man inside KORE’s “Gustav” SRT10 Class 8. Meeks and Nelson are an aggressive team and know how to go fast.
Meeks took off the start line in Friday’s heat with vengeance, spitting dust in the face of his paired start line opponent. From then on, Meeks checked out and put a full lap on the other vehicles in his heat. At that point, The Mills Motorsports crew radioed Meeks to bring down the pace twenty percent; there was no need to push the limits. Had he been allowed to run his original pace, he could have made a podium finish in Trophy Truck class.
In the second Class 8 Heat on Saturday, Team Manager, Kent Kroeker, told Meeks to drive at a modest 60 percent. Kroeker’s years of experience conveyed that there was no reason to create a situation in which mechanical failure could cost them the race. Despite the throttle control, Meeks still lapped most of the field and easily cruised to a win. Meeks said at the finish line, “My sprint car experience was a big help on this short course. We had a lot of fun.”
After persistent second place finishes in the SCORE series this year, Taylor Mills and navigator Josh Huff came to Imperial Valley with the overall lead in points in the SPEC TT class. In order to win the SCORE points championship, Taylor has shown ultra consistent driving in the #841 SPEC Trophy Truck. Taylor jumped out to an early lead, winning the first heat by four minutes.
In a controversial and questionable mistake by SCORE, and despite Taylor winning the first heat, the field was inverted for the second heat and Taylor was sent to the back of the pack. In true “Whatever it Takes” team motto form, Taylor confidently said at the start line, “I don’t care where I start, I’m going to win either way.”
The heavy dust that plagued the race all weekend was too much for the #841 to bang its way to the front on day two but with the lead built after the previous days heat win, Taylor took the overall win in SPEC Trophy Truck. “The course was really dusty in lapped traffic, so we had to slow a couple times because we couldn’t see,” Taylor said at the finish line. “We’re very happy with our performance and are now focused on winning the Baja 1000.”
Mills Motorsports now leads the SCORE Spec TT class by 54 points and will campaign for the overall points championship at the granddaddy of the them all, the Baja 1000.