Cajon Speedway track record holder climbs racing ladder

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Tony Cortes in Utah.jpg

Tony Cortes, a track record-holder at old Cajon Speedway, continues to climb racing’s ladder. Last month, Cortes was part of a team, which finished in second place in its division of the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, which ran from Ensenada To La Paz (Baja Mexico Peninsula Run) on November 14-17. It was a rigorous journey of 1,123 miles.

Tony Cortes, a track record-holder at old Cajon Speedway, continues to climb racing’s ladder. Last month, Cortes was part of a team, which finished in second place in its division of the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, which ran from Ensenada To La Paz (Baja Mexico Peninsula Run) on November 14-17. It was a rigorous journey of 1,123 miles.

“It was pretty uneventful,” said Cortes, who operates True Line Wheel Alignment in El Cajon, located across the street from the site of Cajon Speedway on the south side of Gillespie Field. “And in racing, that’s a good thing.”
Competing in Class 6 during the third weekend of November, Cortes was a member of a team, which experienced just one minor problem. “We discovered we had a small oil leak at the first pit stop,” he recalled. “Fortunately, our sponsor placed pit stops every hundred miles or so for just their cars, so we were able to check it often and top off the oil.”

The challenging effort to drive through rugged, desert territory was key to average a solid 40 miles per hour, especially in the middle third of the trek where there is nothing available to assist the driving teams except for their wits for kilometers in the arduous conditions.

“I was in the middle leg when Ramsey El Wardani was driving,” added Cortes. “And let me tell you, he did some stellar driving. While a lot of cars, including the big boys, were getting stuck in severe silt beds, he knew how to pick a line to get through them.”

Dave Caspino drove the team’s first stretch through the desert. In the end, team owner John Quintero brought the 4-wheeler from El Rosario to San Ignacio and then over the finish line in a record time for the team
“The last couple of years, we finished in 34 and 36 hours, but this year we finished in just over 28 hours. It was a great run with no flat tires along the way. The official time of 28:02:53 was 3.5 hours behind division champion Eduardo “Lalo” Laguna. Despite the obvious differences, the Baja 1000 is a similar sporting event to the Ironman Triathlon — you’re a winner simply by finishing.

Cortes knows a thing or two about records. When Cajon closed its doors in 2005, he held one of the track’s speed marks – “which will live forever,” he mused – in the Trophy Truck class.

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