Off Road

2024 Baja 500: Jason McNeil, Tim Herbst withdraw trucks after qualifying crashes

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Credit: Jason McNeil

Jason McNeil and James Dean went for wild rides in Thursday’s qualifying for the Baja 500, forcing them to alter their plans ahead of race day on Saturday. McNeil has pulled his #200 Trophy Truck Spec out of the race entirely, while Tim Herbst, the Driver of Record on Dean’s #19 Trophy Truck, moves to the #219 TT Spec of Thor and Pierce Herbst.

Whilst landing during his qualifying run, McNeil’s truck impacted an upwards incline, damaging the right front wheel. He described the wreck as the “worst crash I have ever experienced in my off-road racing career. It was very scary to say the least.”

McNeil suffered bruised ribs, a neck injury, and a puncture to his shin that had to be closed up via stitches. Although the truck avoided serious damage, his injuries and the advice of his doctors convinced him to sit out the race and recover. Although not driving, he will remain involved by being in the chase vehicle supporting his son Connor McNeil and brother Brandon McNeil, who are sharing the #242 Trophy Truck Spec that qualified seventh.

“After looking over the TSCO race truck, it isn’t as bad as I would have thought and would be fixable for the race if I was good to go but I myself am not going to be able to race due to my injuries,” McNeil explained. “Nothing serious, but the doctors said that it wouldn’t be a good idea and I could possibly cause more damage if I did.”

Later on Thursday, Dean lost control of the #19 TT and sent it into a roll. He and co-driver Carson Wernimont were not injured.

While Terrible Herbst Motorsports expressed hope that it could be repaired, there was too much damage to fix it in time, so Herbst will instead team up with his son Pierce and nephew Thor. The #219 qualified sixth in Spec. Tim’s other nephew EJ Herbst was fourth quickest in the team’s other TT Spec truck.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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