(Image Credit: Andrew Collins)

Five months ago, my friends and I got worked over in Baja something fierce. Our car crashed and crushed our dreams as it collapsed onto the dust 45 miles into a 500 mile race. This week, we’re back with a vengeance.

The 2017 Baja 1000, which officially runs on Thursday, is the historic 50th running of the race. Thousands of humans and something like 400 competitive vehicles are converging to celebrate the race’s golden anniversary with a motorstorm of sand and gasoline and fire and blood.

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I’m rolling down with the same crew I ran the race with in 2015 and tried to earlier this year- the Off-Road Brands/Desert Race School team. We’ve got the same four-cylinder rear-drive BajaLite that faltered on us at the 500, but this time, well, we’re pretty sure it’s not going to kick a wheel loose for laughs.

Joking aside- we do have a significantly better-sorted vehicle for this race. I know this because we’re leaving for Mexico in about 12 hours and we’re not still working on the thing. We’ve also got Ultra4 pro and Nitto Tire factory off-road driver Loren Healy taking the wheel for a stint, so our operation’s got a new layer of professionalism this time around.

But we’re still a pretty humble game. So while my dear friend Jason Torchinsky will be soaring from one checkpoint to another in a private airplane and climbing into a Subaru-powered buggy, I’ll be shaking my fist and shovel at him from, probably, the bottom of a sand pit.

Why do I keep doing this to myself?

(We’re number 3003, by the way. Baja race sanctioning body SCORE will probably have a tracker on its website come race day if you want to look at laugh to see where we’re stuck.)