September 27, 2010
With Saturday’s Round 11 now in the books, drivers of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series presented by Geico Powersports had nothing to lose as they returned to competition for Round 12 here at the Speedworld Off Road Park in Surprise, AZ. Throwing caution to the wind, the drivers put on a spectacular series of races under the southwest sun, which shone bright and warm over the large crowd. Those on hand witnessed many memorable moments, and in case you missed it, read up to clue yourself in on what your friends who were in attendance will undoubtedly be smiling about.
Getting things started under the Arizona sun for Round 12 were the young stars-in-training of Modified Kart. After a three-row inversion of this morning’s qualifying results, it was points leader Mitchell DeJong in the #524 Fast-Aid/Speed Technologies kart who started next to Bryan Osborn in the #588 iShock Hydrodynamics/Cross Mobile Detailing truck on the front row. DeJong led Osborne across the line at the end of lap one, with Sheldon Creed in the #522 Patrick’s High Performance Graphix/Fox Racing Shox machine, JR Guthrie in the #555 Gatorwraps.com/Walker Evans Racing kart, and Trenton Briley in the #507 Kal Gard/Canidae All Natural Pet Foods truck all in tow. Briley got by Guthrie for fourth on lap two, but stopped in the mogul section on lap three, race over. Further forward, Creed moved up to second, and he and DeJong were pulling clear of the rest of the field. DeJong then nearly threw it away in turn one, handing the lead the Creed, while Guthrie got by Osborn to take over third position. At the competition yellow, it was Creed leading the field, with DeJong second, Guthrie third, Osborn fourth, and Bradley Morris fifth in the #504 K&N Filters/Kicker machine. A good jump and fast lap of the race (41.604) by Creed gave him a small gap over the rest of the field on the restart, while Morris moved up to fourth on the same lap. Morris then spun in turn one, an incident which also caught out Osborn, dropping both drivers out of the top five, and moving Zac Hunt’s #534 Creative Fabrication and Design/King Shocks kart and Jerett Brooks’ #527 Synergy Electric Racing/RC10.com machine up to fourth and fifth places. While Creed was gradually pulling away out front, Brooks spun himself out while trying to pushing Hunt’s back bumper on the final lap, dropping Brooks to sixth and moving Morris to fifth. Creed was clear of all the chaos, and took a convincing win over DeJong, Guthrie, Hunt, and Morris.
Junior 2 Kart
Second on track were the boys and girls of Junior 2 Kart, and it was Shelby Anderson in the #405 Walker Evans Racing machine and Sheldon Creed in the #422 The Fab School/A.M. Ortega kart starting on the front row. A big pile-up in turn two on the opening lap caused Chad Graham and Micaela Cheek to get hooked together, as well as impede the progress of Maxwell Ries, all of which helped Creed to open a substantial early lead. At the end of lap one, Creed was followed by Isabella Naughton in the #454 ReadyLift/Stronghold Motorsports truck, Ries in the #474 ProAm/P.C.I. Race Radios machine, Jerett Brooks in the Synergy Electric Racing/Fox Racing Shox kart, and Hailie Deegan in the #438 Metal Mulisha/Fiberwerx truck. Graham and Cheek, now unhooked and running fast, were quickly catching the frontrunners, and by lap three, Cheek was up to fifth, before losing the spot to Graham on the next lap. Naughton also lost a spot, dropping to third behind Ries, while up front, Creed continued to grow his lead, which he held through the competition yellow. At this point, Ries was running best of the rest behind Creed, with Naughton, Brooks, and Graham behind him. Brooks and Graham hooked together on the restart, dropping them to the last two spots, and moving Cheek and Deegan up to fourth and fifth. Paige Porter then found her way into the top five in her #462 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats machine, recovering well after dropping well back in the running order in the early going. From here on in, the top five drivers held their positions, with Creed taking his second win in as many races, followed by Ries in second. Third went to Naughton, fourth to Cheek, fifth to Porter, and with Deegan sixth, girls took an unprecedented third through sixth places! Creed set fast lap for the second consecutive race as well, taking it with a 47.812 here.
Junior 1 Kart
The final race on the shorter “kids course” this weekend was that of the Junior 1 Karts. Jack Yeiser started his #244 Hoosier/Kartek truck alongside Brock Heger in the #212 Streight Edje Custom Paint/UPR.com kart on the front row, and it was Yeiser who opened a good cushion over the rest of the field on the opening lap. Heger ran in second at this point, with Preston Roben third in the #210 DCI Duggins Construction/Ultra Custom Boats truck, Cole Mamer fourth in the #235 Xtreme TK Forums/4X4 Unlimited Motorsports machine, and Riley Herbst fifth in the #219 Ball Park/Victory Race Cars kart. As Yeiser slowly expanded his lead up front, the rest of the top five drivers held their positions though the competition yellow. On the restart lap, Heger found some extra speed and made a move on Yeiser to take the lead, and he made it work. Mamer made a move of his own to get past Roben to take over third place, but Mamer then lost some pace and started dropping backwards through the field, which moved Herbst to third, Roben to fourth, and Corey Geiser to fifth in the #245 Canidae All Natural Pet Foods/MasterCraft Safety truck. Up front Heger and Yeiser were clear of the field and battling very closely, and it was Heger who just held off Yeiser to take the win. Yeiser finished second, and did claim the fast lap with a 50.008. Herbst barely edged Roben for third, while Geiser rounded out the top five.
The increasingly exciting UTVs were first out onto the full-size track, with the SR1s (numbers 800-899) and the Unlimited UTVs (numbers 600-699) once again racing head to head. Corry Weller was the pole-sitter for the second race in a row in her in #801 Magnaflow Performance Exhaust/Tilted Kilt Yamaha, and she started next to Doug Mittag in the #848 Custom Off Road Designs/Racer X Motorsports Yamaha on the front row. Weller led Mittag, Code Rahders, Robert Vanbeekum, and Tyler Herzog at the end of lap one, but after Weller went wide in turn four on lap two, Mittag was right there to take over the lead. Chad George was up to fifth briefly in the #642 Funco/Monster Energy Kawasaki, but stopped on the track soon afterwards. Up at the front, Rahders out-jumped his #816 Frostyburger/Makita Yamaha past Weller into the moguls, moving up to second behind Mittag. Rahders was now pressuring Mittag big time for the lead, and with Mittag’s right rear tire going down, he became something of a sitting duck for the rest of the field behind him. Rahders and Weller soon got by Mittag, with Herzog’s #844 Ivy Trucking and Grading/Kronik Energy Yamaha and Vanbeekum’s #664 Xtreme Machine and Fabrication/Muzzys Kawasaki following suit before the halfway point. At the competition yellow, it was Rahders, Weller, Herzog, Vanbeekum, and Mittag in the top five, and while Mittag surprisingly did not pull into the hot pits to change his flattening tire, Weller did, leaving the race for good with an unknown issue. After the restart, Herzog was now challenging Rahders for the lead, with Vanbeekum third, Austin Kimbrell fourth in the #607 Monster Energy/UTVUnderground.com Kawasaki, and Ryan Beat fifth in the #851 Yamaha. Vanbeekum broke a front axle coming into the moguls and rolled in turn four, but landed on his wheels and continued in eighth to the cheers of the crowd. Further forward, Herzog took the lead from Rahders, while Garrett George’s (Chad George’s cousin, filling in for Tyler Winbury) #694 King Shocks/Maxxis Tires Kawasaki and John Dempsey’s #655 Custom Off Road Designs/Fine Line T Shirts Kawasaki were trading places in fourth and fifth. With one lap to go it was Herzog, Rahders, Kimbrell, Dempsey, and Garrett George in the top five. Kimbrell was slowing as he came across the stripe to start his final lap, and in a cruel twist, wasn’t able to finish the last lap. Up front, Rahders was giving it everything to get by Herzog, but Herzog, as he did yesterday, had too strong of a hold on the lead to have it taken away, and he held on to take a clean sweep of the weekend. Second went to Rahders, with Dempsey third, first of the Unlimited UTVs, Garrett George fourth, Mark Turner fifth in the #841 Goodyear Tires Yamaha, and Vanbeekum sixth, rounding out the Unlimited UTV podium. Rahders and Kimbrell each got something of a consolation prize, as they took fast lap in their respective classes. Kimbrell’s 1:03.882 was tops in Unlimited UTV, while Rahders’ 1:01.850 was fastest in SR1 and overall.
The final race before Opening Ceremonies was Limited Buggy, and with Bruce Fraley having picked up his first win of the season in Round 11, it seemed like it could be time for another driver to find his way back to the top step of the podium in Round 12. Curt Geer and Jeff Knupp started on the front row, and it was Geer in the #392 BDI Bowden Development Inc./Lakeshore Homes and Stables Lothringer who led Knupp’s #354 Behrent’s Performance Warehouse/General Tire buggy, John Fitzgerald’s #314 Lucas Oil/Hart and Huntington buggy, Kevin McCullough’s #389 Gear One/Jimenez Racing Engines machine, and Justin “Bean” Smith’s #319 Bully Dog/Ringers Gloves Fraley at the end of lap one. Smith and Kyle Lucas moved up to fourth and fifth on lap two, while Fitzgerald jumped into second on lap three. Smith then spun in turn five, which dropped him to tenth, and a spin by McCullough caught out Lucas’ #325 mavTV/Lucas Oil buggy as well McCullough, leaving the top five as Geer, Fitzgerald, Knupp, Bruce Fraley in the #312 MSD Ignition/BFGoodrich Tires Fraley, and Quentin Tucker in the #377 Locher Roadsiding/Fox Racing Shox buggy. Geer and Fitzgerald were clear of the field and battling cleanly up front, with Fraley diving down the inside of Knupp to take over third in turn six. Tucker pulled alongside Knupp in the same turn, and was soon past him and into fourth before the competition yellow came out at the end of the following lap. Under yellow, the running order was Geer, Fitzgerald, Fraley, Tucker, and Knupp, and on the restart lap, it was the always quick Smith who jumped up to fifth. Fraley then had something go wrong as he ripped through the moguls, and he ducked into the hot pits to have it fixed.. This allowed Tucker to take over third, Smith to move up to fourth, and Knupp to get up to fifth. From here until the final lap, the top five drivers held their positions, with Geer taking his first win since Round 2 of 2009; hard to believe for such a talented driver! Fitzgerald finished second, with Smith taking third after barely edging by Tucker on the final lap. Tucker finished fourth, and Knupp rounded out the top five. After his misfortune that dropped him back in the running order, Fraley re-focused well and set the fast lap at a 1:02.247 in the late going.
Pro 4 Unlimited
A unique edition of Opening Ceremonies was held at the midway point of the racing schedule, and it included the presentation of a specially-built Toyota Tundra desert racing chase truck to Motocross and FMX superstar Jeff “Ox” Kargola from builders West Coast Customs, courtesy of General Tire. Kargola is currently chasing a motorcycle championship in the SCORE desert racing series, and the new ride should prove to be a great help to he and his team’s efforts in November’s Baja 1000.
After Kargola and the crowd were witness to the unveiling, it was time to get back to racing, Pro 4 Unlimited style. Bryce Menzies’ #7 Super Clean/Bully Dog Ford and Mike Johnson’s Ironclad/K&N Filters Ford started on the front row, and it was Johnson in who led Kyle LeDuc, Rick Huseman, Adrian Cenni, and Carl Renezeder at the end of lap one. Huseman moved up to second after just bumping LeDuc’s nose in turn six, but LeDuc got the spot right back on the next lap. With the top three drivers all running very close and Renezeder just hanging off the back of the train in fourth, it was LeDuc who took over the lead on lap five in his #99 Rockstar/Toyo Tires Ford. Huseman and Johnson then got into each other in turn three, and Huseman was able to out-jump Johnson into the moguls to take over second in his #36 Traxxas/Oakley Toyota. Huseman was right on LeDuc’s back bumper now, and with the competition yellow waving, they ran one-two, ahead of Johnson, Renezeder in the #1 General Tire/Lucas Oil Ford, and Cenni in the #11 Atrium Payroll/King Shocks Chevrolet in the top five.
The top five drivers held their positions on the restart lap, as well as the next two laps, and as LeDuc and Huseman edged away up front, a huge plume of smoke coming from the back of Cenni’s truck signaled the end of the race for the bright orange machine. This brought out a full course yellow, and put Travis Coyne up to fifth in the #5 ProComp/RC10.com Ford. LeDuc got a great restart, and with the white flag waving, he looked to have the race all locked up. However, a full course yellow was again called after Josh Merrell got hooked together with LeDuc’s dad Curt coming into the mogul section, causing the officials to issue the order for a green-white-checkers finish. The running order was now Kyle LeDuc, Huseman, Renezeder, Johnson, and Coyne, and as the drivers cruised around under yellow, it’s almost as if they got together on the radio and agreed to take back the spotlight that the Pro 2 Unlimiteds had stolen in Round 11, because the last two laps of this race were as eventful as they could get.
Green waved again, and Huseman had a much better restart than he’d had earlier on, and he was now much closer to LeDuc with less than two laps remaining. As the field steamrolled towards the white flag, LeDuc got up on two wheels and bicycled towards the exit of turn six, nearly going over the outside burm and dropping him down to fourth. Huseman stormed into the lead, and as the drivers battling behind threw themselves into turn four with everything they had, Johnson rolled and Renezeder spun out, the combination of which let LeDuc squeak through before forcing the other drivers to stack up in the corner. With drivers going every which way behind him, Huseman was well clear of the chaos to take his eighth win of the season, with LeDuc salvaging a second place finish. Coyne wound up third, Eric Barron fourth in the #3 LAT Racing Oil/Fiberwerx Chevrolet, and Josh Merrell fifth in the #22 Hart and Huntington/Grenade Ford. Huseman scored fast lap of the race with a 54.587.
Pro Lite Unlimited
If the Pro 4 Unlimiteds had put on the best show of the day, the drivers in Pro Lite Unlimited gave them a run for their money. Jimmy Stephensen’s #33 Yokohama Tires/Racin’ Dirty Nissan started next to Marty Hart’s #15 ReadyLift/Kolpin Ford on the front row, and after a tangle-up between Adam Wik and Stephan Papadakis between turns one and two forced a full restart of the race, it was Hart who took command at the front of the field on the second start of the race. In second it was Matt Loiodice in the #20 Competitive Metals/KCHiLites Ford, followed by Stephensen, Chris Brandt in the #82 Lucas Oil/BFGoodrich Tires Toyota, and Corey Sisler in the #19 Forgiven Energy/CBR Ford. On lap three, Stephensen was slow out of turn five, which allowed Brandt to get by and up to third. A full-course yellow was then called for Sean Geiser’s rollover in turn six, and although the crowd was cheering loudly as Geiser’s battered truck re-joined the fray, he was only able to do so at about half speed. On the restart, Sisler and Brian Deegan were able to get by Stephensen, with Deegan then moving up to fourth in his #38 Rockstar/Etnies Ford. Loiodice then half spun while battling with Brandt in turn five, and the two were slowed by the incident, allowing Deegan to pass them both and move up to second, just ahead of the competition yellow.
The running order was now Hart, Deegan, Brandt, Loiodice, and Sisler, and on the restart, Sisler pushed Loiodice wide out of turn one and into the outside k rail, which broke something on Loiodice’s right front corner and sent him into the hot pits. Loiodice was able to re-join the race later, albeit with a very injured race truck. Sisler, meanwhile, pulled off the track coming into the moguls with an unknown issue, race over. Up front, it was still Hart, Deegan, and Brandt, with Stephensen now fourth and Leroy Loerwald fifth in the #8 Raceline Wheels/Pancho’s Tacos Ford. Loerwald was having to fend off the advances of Adam Wik and his #11 Wik’s Racing Engines/Kumho Tires Chevrolet, and Wik soon got the better of Loerwald to take over fifth spot. Further forward, Deegan was now challenging Hart for the lead, and as Hart struggled against a loss of power steering, Deegan and Brandt were able to get by Hart on the final lap. Deegan, who’d fought multiple issues all weekend, was an elated winner as he climbed to the top step of the podium for the first time since Round 2. Brandt finished runner up and did grab the fast lap with a 58.956, the only driver under 59 seconds. Third went to Hart, with Stephensen fourth and Wik rounding out the top five.
Pro 2 Unlimited
With two exciting truck races having just gone back to back, it was up to the boys of Pro 2 Unlimited to make it three in a row, and they didn’t disappoint. Todd LeDuc started his #8 Makita/Circle K Ford next to Greg Adler’s #10 4 Wheel Parts/Magnaflow Ford on the front row, but it was Rob MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar Energy/BFGoodrich Tires Ford who pulled an absolutely beautiful inside pass on Adler in turn five to take the lead on the opening lap. In second it was Adler, with LeDuc third, Carl Renezeder fourth in the #17 Lucas Oil/Team Associated Ford, and Robert Naughton fifth in the #54 ReadyLift Suspension Inc./ProAm Ford. LeDuc then slowed and pulled off the track, though he was able to continue at a reduced pace soon afterwards. This moved Bryce Menzies up to fifth, but he was quickly passed by the #99 Lucas Slick Mist/SuperChips Chevrolet of Robby Woods. A big cloud of smoke from the back of Naughton’s machine meant the end of his race, and with the competition yellow now waving, it was MacCachren, Adler, Renezeder, Woods, and Menzies in the top five. As he’d done on the opening lap, MacCachren again pulled a gap on the field on the restart lap. Adler then slid wide in turn five, allowing Renezeder and Woods to get by for second and third. Menzies soon caught and passed Adler as well, while up front, Renezeder was now reeling in MacCachren. Adler then dropped out of the running, and with a flash of big flames from the underside of his truck forcing Woods to the sidelines, the race was red flagged to make sure Woods was ok. Woods quickly jumped from his truck, and with the fire soon neutralized, the racers lined up again for the restart. MacCachren made yet another quick getaway on the restart to give himself some breathing room, but a massive rollover by Jeff Geiser between turns four and five forced another full course yellow. Geiser was quick to get out under his own power, but the truck was too thrashed to continue. With green now waving again with just two laps to go, MacCachren was off like a rocket once again, continuing his streak of terrific restarts, setting fast lap at a 55.811 (just 0.05 seconds quicker than Renezeder’s best of a 55.816), and again leaving those behind in his dust. MacCachren took the win, his seventh of the year, leading the race wire to wire. Renezeder finished second, swapping Saturday’s podium spots with MacCachren, with Menzies taking third in the #7 Super Clean/O’Neill Ford, Rodrigo Ampudia fourth in the #36 Papas & Beer/Fox Racing Shox Ford, and Jeff Ward fifth in the #3X Speed Technologies/Method Race Wheels Chevrolet.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
The piercing engines and fierce drivers of Pro Buggy Unlimited were up next, with Bobby PeCoy in the #973 downloadactionvideo.com/Maxxis Tires AlumiCraft and Rich Ronco in the #999 Livorsi Marine, Inc./King Shocks Tatum staring from the front row. PeCoy showed great speed on the first lap as he opened a small gap on those chasing behind. In second it was Doug Fortin in the #996 Fox Racing Shox/BFGoodrich Tires Racer, with Jerry Whelchel third in the #901 ProAm/Madrid Motorsports Custom Graphics Foddrill, Mike Porter fourth in the #900 Rockstar/Makita AlumiCraft, and Ronco fifth. Larry Job then bumped by Ronco to take over fifth, while further forward, Fortin was quickly closing on PeCoy for the lead. PeCoy responded, however, upping the pace to maintain the lead, though it was now Whelchel who was reeling in both PeCoy and Fortin. The top five were gradually closing up, and at the competition yellow, their running order was still PeCoy, Fortin, Whelchel, Porter, and Job. Job moved his #907 Bully Dog/Blanco Basura AlumiCraft past Porter to take over fourth on the restart lap, with Job’s teammate Cameron Steele following suit soon afterwards. Some laps later, Fortin was again closing on PeCoy, and with a big run through the moguls and some deep braking into turn five, Fortin was able to squeak by PeCoy as PeCoy was forced a little wide. Fortin assumed the lead just ahead of the white flag, and held on to take the win, his fourth of the season. PeCoy finished second, and did manage fast lap with a 58.013. Third went Whelchel, with Job finishing fourth and Steele rounding out the top five in his #916 Menzies Motorsports/Super Clean AlumiCraft.
The final race of the weekend here at Speedworld was Super Lite, and with an ever-increasing talent level, this class is fast becoming a real treat for the fans. Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg and Jeff “Ox” Kargola made it an all-Metal Mulisha front row at the start, with Kargola taking the early lead in his #2 General Tire/Lost machine. Stenberg ran second in the #88 Rockstar/Maxxis Tires truck, with RJ Anderson third in the #37 Walker Evans Racing/MoTec ride, Brandon Ward fourth in the #92 Troy Lee Designs/KMC Wheels machine, and Tanner Foust fifth in the #69 Rockstar/Lucas Oil truck. Stenberg then muscled Kargola wide in turn four to take the lead, with Ward also moving up to take over third position. As Stenberg began to open a small gap on the those behind, a very tight train wasforming from second through eighth places, which couldn’t last for long. Kargola and Chad George got hooked together briefly, moving Ward to second, Foust to fourth, and Pat Clark to fifth in the #25 Exotic Engines/VP Racing Fuels ride. Anderson then got by Ward for second as Ward bobbled in turn five, while further back, Jacob Person was up to fifth in the #29 Stand-Up-MRI of Arizona/Geiser Bros Design and Development truck. Foust then broke his right rear suspension, ending his day, and it was now Stenberg, Anderson, Ward, Person, and CJ Greaves in the #33 Traxxas/Simpson truck in the top five. Person got into Ward in turn five on the restart lap, moving Greaves, George in the #42 Yokohama Tires/King Off Road Racing Shocks machine, and Clark up to third through fifth places. Clark then got by George to take over fourth spot, and with the white flag waving, it was Stenberg, Anderson, Greaves, Clark, and George in the top five. Heading for the white flag, Anderson seemed to miss a shift, allowing Greaves to breeze by before Anderson was able to recover, and putting Greaves up to second place. Just ahead, Stenberg went on to take the win, with Greaves finishing second, and Anderson rounding out the podium in his Super Lite debut weekend. Clark also had an impressive debut weekend, finishing fourth, ahead of usual frontrunner George, who took fifth. Fast lap of the day went to yesterday’s winner Ward, who’s 1:00.751 was nearly seven tenths of a second better than the best lap of any other driver in the class, the largest fast lap margin in any class for the entire weekend.
The sun was now setting, both physically and metaphorically, on the weekend’s festivities here in the Arizona desert, with an impressive fireworks display capping a great weekend of racing. The fans who braved the heat went home with stories they’re sure to be telling for weeks to come, and you can do the same by coming to a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event to see it in person. Up next, we’ll head back to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Rounds 13 and 14 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, with racing on Saturday and Sunday, November 6-7, so get yourself there. Until then, stay tuned to lucasoiloffroad.com for all the latest info in the world of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the Midwest tradition of short course off road racing infused with a West Coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door to door action to challenging, fan friendly tracks. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course. For more information please visit LucasOilOffRoadRacing.com
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