The 4Runner took the green flag on Thursday and was leading in its class by lap 80.  The Toyota Team ran strong throughout the ever-changing desert race course and successfully ran through the Diablo dry lake bed, the infamous silt beds, and at one point was even outrunning the Toyota Chase Vehicles.  The 4Runner seemed unstoppable, until the team’s luck ran out as the 4Runner suffered damage at race mile 660.

The “Ironman” took over the wheel just north of Loreto (last leg of the race) and headed for a mad rush to make up for lost time before darkness set in.  In the end, it took the team approximately 37 hours of endurance and perseverance throughout Baja’s treacherous terrain to cover 1,061.69 miles.

This was the second attempt for the #778 Toyota 4Runner to win the Stock Mini Class in Baja’s brutal terrain.

 Ivan and Team Toyota were determined to win this year.  The 4Runner ran strong throughout the race, until the unfortunate turn of events. A second place finish is a remarkable achievement and a testament to its durability given the extensive damage incurred by the vehicle”, said Les Unger,

Toyota’s national motorsports manager. The 4Runner Team driver/co-driver combinations were Joe Nolan/ Zach Zwillinger, Ken Ziesemer/Mark Sasaki, and Dwayne Mills co-driver of the final leg of the race with the legendary Ivan “Ironman” Stewart.

“I want to personally thank Long Beach Racers, the TAPG guys, and the chase crews that helped us overcome all the obstacles and repair the 4Runner to finish the race.  We couldn’t of brought home the finish without their support.  “ I was determined to bring it home one way or another”, said Stewart. This year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour NBC Sports special for the seventh consecutive year, airing at 3 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, Dec. 19 on the NBC Television Network. Co-produced by Aura360, it will also air on a delayed basis outside of the U.S. on ESPN International.

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Volume 2010, Issue 11, Posted 7:21 PM, 11.20.2010