Under the brilliant sun of the beautiful Arizona desert, the Speedworld Off Road Park is currently playing host to Rounds 11 and 12 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series presented by Geico Powersports. With a great crowd braving rather warm temperatures, and drivers facing some even hotter points battles, the stage was set for another great day at the races. No fewer than three drivers took their first class wins in Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series competition here in Round 11, with two of those drivers making those wins the first of their Lucas Oil careers. Points races were almost universally tightened up, and in case you missed it, here’s what happened here in Surprise, AZ.
After a one weekend move in the racing lineup, the Modified Karts were back as the opening act here in Round 11, and it was Jerett Brooks in the #527 Synergy Electric Racing/RC10.com kart who started alongside Sheldon Creed in the #522 A.M. Ortega/Fox Racing Shox machine on the front row. Creed got a good jump at the drop of the green flag, slotting into first and leading the field across the stripe on lap one. In second it was Brooks, followed by Bryan Osborn in the #588 Osborn Racing/iShock Hydrodynamics truck, Trenton Briley in the #507 Pole Position Raceway/Simpson machine, and JR Guthrie in the #555 Guthrie Racing/Gatorwraps.com kart. As Creed and Brooks began to pull away up front, several drivers traded places in the next five positions, with Guthrie, Osborne, and Zac Hunt slotting in third through fifth after four laps. The top five finally settled into place a bit more consistently, with the running order still Creed, Brooks, Guthrie, Osborne, and Hunt in the #534 Creative Fabrication and Design/King Shocks truck at the competition yellow. On the restart lap, Brooks got a good run into turn two to take the lead, dropping Creed to second. Creed was then caught up by Guthrie and Hunt, and these three went three-wide down the front straight. Guthrie and Hunt soon made their way around Creed, who’s truck was now obviously slowing. Creed eventually stopped on track, and at the white flag, it was now Brooks, Guthrie, Hunt, Briley, and Mitchell DeJong in the #524, who’d charged hard to make it back into the top five after a first lap collision. The top five held their spots on the final lap, with Brooks taking his first win of the season, as well as his first win in the top tier of short course off-road karting- congratulations! Brooks also had the fast lap with a 42.506.
Junior 2 Kart
The Honda-powered machines of Junior 2 Kart were second out on track, with Eddie Tafoya Jr. starting his #451 Specialty Fasteners/Lothringer machine alongside the #474 ProAm/Hoosier truck of Maxwell Ries on the front row. Both Tafoya Jr. and Ries were unable to take full advantage of their great starting positions, and it was Paige Porter, Jerett Brooks, and Chad Graham who all got by in turn one to fill out the top three spots at the end of lap one, with Tafoya Jr. and Ries now fourth and fifth. The top five drivers were all in a big clump, but the group soon shrunk slightly as Tafoya Jr. came to a stop on track, which moved Isabella Naughton up to fifth in the #454 ReadyLift/Stronghold Motorsports kart. Sheldon Creed then caught Naughton and passed her to take over fifth spot, while Brooks made a move on Porter to take the lead just ahead of the competition yellow. On the restart lap, Brooks and Porter were able to avoid some chaos behind them to pull out a slight advantage, but those behind were quickly back on the pace and knocking on the two frontrunners’ back bumpers. With Brooks and Porter still first and second, Creed muscled his way past Mamer to take over third and join the hunt for the lead, and with one lap to go, Graham was also in that chase in his #410 Hart and Huntington/Grenade truck. On the final lap, Graham caught the outside k rail between turns one and two, causing him to roll and drop well back. Ries and Micaela Cheek were the beneficiaries, moving up to fourth and fifth places. Up front, Brooks took his second win of the day in his #402 Synergy Electric Racing/Fox Racing Shox machine, followed by Porter in the #462 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats kart, Creed in the #422 The Fab School/Patrick’s High Performance Graphix truck, Ries, and Cheek in the #457 CMI/Jamminproducts.com kart. Fast lap went to Creed with a 47.491 on lap three.
Junior 1 Kart
Closing out the kart action were the youngest drivers of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, the boys and girls of Junior 1 Kart. The Subaru-powered machines had the #212 Brock Heger Racing/ Sunoco Race Fuels machine of Brock Heger and the #235 Mamer Racing/Cousin’s Hay truck of Cole Mamer on the front row for the start, and it was Mamer who led Heger, Isabella Naughton, Jack Yeiser, and Corey Geiser at the end of lap one. Yeiser then stopped on track, and although he was able to get going again later on, his misfortune allowed Geiser to fourth and Eliott Watson to fifth in the #203 AlumiCraft/iTi Performance Motorsports kart. The top five settled into a consistent running order for a few laps, with Mamer and Heger pulling away up front as the competition yellow approached. Once the mandatory yellow did come out, it was still Mamer, Heger, Naughton, Watson, and Geiser in the top five. Watson stopped on track under yellow, and although he was able to get re-fired, he was too late to re-join the pack in his previous fourth place as the green flag dropped again. This allowed Geiser into fourth and Riley Herbst to fifth in the #219 Ball Park/Terrible Herbst truck. These two then battled over fourth spot, with Geiser eventually rolling coming out of turn two and handing the position to Herbst, and fifth to Carlye Lenk in the #221 Missing Lenk Motorsports/McKenzie’s kart. After this, the top five drivers held their positions through the end of the race, with Mamer driving a very mature race to take the win. Heger finished runner-up, followed by Naughton in the #254 Stronghold Motorsports/Lamb Energy machine. Herbst and Lenk finished fourth and fifth, and both barely held off a hard-charging Preston Roben to finish in the top five, with these three coming across the line in a near-photo finish. Heger had the fast lap at 50.860, the only driver to crack the 51 second barrier in this class.
First out onto the full-length track was the two-class UTV race. Once again the two-wheel-drive SR1s would go head to head with the four-wheel-drive Unlimited UTVs, and Speedworld is a track where the speed of the SR1s has seemed to put them at a slight advantage. With no inversion of the qualifying results, Corry Weller would start her #801 Tilted Kilt/Magnaflow Performance Exhaust Yamaha alongside the #844 Ivy Trucking and Grading/Kronik Energy Yamaha of Tyler Herzog. Herzog out-pulled Weller to take the lead into turn one, and led the field across the stripe at the end of lap one. Weller ran in second, followed by Code Rahders in the #816 Frostyburger/Makita Yamaha, Doug Mittag in the #848 North County Yamaha/Custom Off Road Designs Yamaha, and Robert Vanbeekum in the #664 Xtreme Machine and Fabrication/Muzzys Kawasaki. Rahders was pressuring Weller hard, and soon got around her to take over second place. Vanbeekum then slowed to a stop coming into turn four, which put Chad George up to the lead in Unlimited UTV and fifth overall in the #642 Monster Energy/Funco Kawasaki. Further forward, Rahders and Weller were still battling, and Weller found her way around Rahders to re-take second spot before the competition yellow. As the field bunched up under yellow, it was still Herzog up front, followed by Weller, Rahders, Mittag, and George. Mittag moved up to third on the restart lap, and was looking to make a move on Weller to take over second just a few moments later. However, just as Mittag pulled alongside Weller coming down the back straight, something went awry and forced him to slow to a stop, heartbreaking to say the least. With the pressure somewhat off Weller, she tried to make a run on Herzog with about a lap and a half to go, but Herzog’s command of the race was not to be denied, as he held tough to take a wire-to-wire win over Weller and Rahders. George took the Unlimited UTV win and fourth overall, followed by John Dempsey in the #655 Custom Off Road Designs/Racer X Motorsports Kawasaki, Gary Thompson in the #802 Thompson Roofing Yamaha, Dan Kelly in the #824 Yamaha, and Mark Turner in the #600, who rounded out the Unlimited UTV podium. Herzog’s best lap was his last lap of the day at a 1:01.763, fastest of both classes, while George had the top time in Unlimited UTV, a 1:03.609.
The first of the two open-wheel buggy classes on track was Limited Buggy, and after a six-position inversion of the qualifying order, it was Jeff Knupp in the #354 Volkspower/General Tire machine alongside Quentin Tucker in the #377 Logher Roadsiding/Fox Racing Shox buggy for the start. Tucker was quickest at the drop of the green flag, leading John Fitzgerald, Knupp, Bruce Fraley, and Kenny Freeman past the stripe at the end of lap one. Fraley moved his #312 ProAm/BFGoodrich Tires Fraley up to third soon afterwards, while Justin Smith picked up fifth in the #319 Menzies Motorsports/Bully Dog Fraley. Up front, Tucker and Fitzgerald were moving clear of the field, with Fitzgerald pulling up tight to Tucker’s back bumper. Tucker still lead at the competition yellow, however, with Fitzgerald second, Fraley third, Knupp fourth, and Smith fifth. On the restart lap, Smith and Curt Geer moved up to fourth and fifth places, with Fraley taking over second on the following lap. The top three drivers (Tucker, Fraley, and Fitzgerald) were now very close, with Smith using the fast lap of the race (a 1:01.801) to sneak up from fourth to join the fray. Tucker then rolled onto his side in turn four, dropping him well back, and promoting Kyle Lucas to fifth in the #325 Lucas Oil/mavTV machine. On the final lap, Smith put his buggy up on two wheels and nearly lost it in turn four, but managed a fine recovery and did so without even losing a position! Up front, Fraley, who’d inherited the lead following Tucker’s roll, went on to take the win, followed by Fitzgerald, Smith, Geer in the #392 BDI Bowden Lothringer, and Lucas.
Pro 4 Unlimited
After a thoughtful invocation, a round of special awards presentations, and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem during Opening Ceremonies, it was time to return to racing action, and what better way to do that than with the beasts of Pro 4 Unlimited? Travis Coyne and Mike Johnson started on the front row, and after a big collision in which Kyle LeDuc rear-ended Coyne coming into turn four, a huge pileup ensued and a full restart was called for. The boys settled down and had a clean second start, with Johnson putting his #31 K&N Filters/Ironclad Ford up front at the end of lap one, followed by Coyne in the #5 ProComp/Team Associated Ford, Carl Renezeder, LeDuc, and Adrian Cenni in the #11 Atrium Payroll/King Shocks Chevrolet. Contact between Johnson and Coyne on the back straight then dropped Coyne to fourth, with Cenni also making his way by Coyne soon afterwards. LeDuc then nearly went over the outside edge of turn four, bringing him within reach of Cenni, who got by him out of the next turn. With the top three drivers (Johnson, Renezeder, and Cenni) now pulling away up front, it was points leader Rick Huseman making his usual run through the field further back. Huseman was up to fourth in his #36 Monster Energy/Oakley Toyota after passing LeDuc, who’s overheating issue was forcing him to slow a bit, and was closing in on the top three before a big spin in turn six dropped him to sixth. Up front, Renezeder had done the best in the battle amongst the top three, taking the lead in his #1 Lucas Oil/General Tire Ford and holding it as the competition yellow came out. At this point, Johnson ran second, Cenni third, LeDuc fourth, and Coyne fifth. Huseman was on the move again after the restart, again moving up to fourth, but again, just before an incident. This time, Huseman spun in turn four and high centered himself on the inside burm, dropping him to dead last. Up front, Renezeder was now pulling away, and a classic inside-outside move by Cenni moved him past Johnson and up to second. LeDuc also got by Johnson, out-jumping him off the first jump on the final lap to take over third in the #99 Rockstar/Makita Ford, while up front, Renezeder set the fast lap of the race at a 54.562 as he reeled in Huseman to put him a lap down! Renezeder went on to take the win, the 90th of his career, finishing ahead of Cenni, LeDuc, Johnson, and Coyne.
Pro Lite Unlimited
One of the closest points battles of the 2010 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is going on in the Pro Lite Unlimited category, and as there would almost certainly have to be, there was a big shake up in the points here in Round 11. Adam Wik started his #11 Wik’s Racing Engines/LAT Racing Oil Chevrolet next to Marty Hart’s #15 Stronghold Motorsports/Maxxis Tires Ford on the front row, and as if shot from a cannon, Hart leapt out to a substantial early lead at the end of lap one. Wik was next in line, with Jimmy Stephensen third in the #33 Ironclad Energy/JS Pest Control Nissan, Chris Brandt fourth in the #82 mavTV/Lucas Oil Toyota, and Matt Loiodice fifth in the #20 MasterCraft Safety/Jimco Ford. Brandt found his way around Stephensen to take over third, while an incident for Wik dropped him to sixth. Jacob Person was now fifth in the #92 Stand-Up-MRI of Arizona/Geiser Bros Ford, but soon slowed and dropped out of the race. Up front, Hart was blitzing the field, leading by nearly the entire front straightaway, but today wasn’t to be the points leader’s day. Just before the competition yellow, smoke began streaming out of Hart’s audibly injured motor, and although he was able to lead the field to the competition yellow, it was a foregone conclusion that his lead wasn’t going to last. At this point, Brandt ran second, with Stephensen third, Loiodice fourth, and Wik rounding out the top five, and as the green flag waved, the whole field stormed by Hart’s stricken truck. A new battle for the lead ensued, and after pressuring Brandt hard for several laps, Stephensen braked really late into turn four and was able to take over the top spot. Brandt isn’t an easy customer, though, and with his top points rival more or less out of the running, he had to make the best of his chance to score maximum points, and he soon battled back against Stephensen to re-take the lead. Further back, Wik pulled into the hot pits with a right front flat, allowing Leroy Loerwald up to fourth in the #8 K&N Filters/Fiberwerx Ford, and Stephan Papadakis to fifth in the #4 Magnaflow Performance Exhaust Nissan. Brandt and Stephensen battled well all the way to the end of the race, but in the end, it was Brandt who held on to take the win, with Stephensen taking second and dedicating the finish to his late father, who passed away four years ago today. Third went to Loiodice, fourth, to Loerwald, and Papadakis rounded out the top five. Stephensen might not have gotten the win, but the fast lap was his at a 59.658.
Pro 2 Unlimited
After the Pro 4 Unlimiteds seemed to steal the show during both nights at Glen Helen, it was time for the other big boys, the Pro 2 Unlimiteds, to step back into the spotlight here in Surprise, and this stacked field gave us nothing less than the best race of the day, no questions asked. The #31 Method Race Wheels/Swaghouse.com Ford of Mike Johnson and the #7 Super Clean/Blanco Basura Ford of Bryce Menzies started from the front row, with Menzies leading Johnson, Greg Adler, Rob MacCachren, and Carl Renezeder at the end of lap one. For no apparent reason, Johnson seemed to be an easy target for those following, as Adler, MacCachren, and Renezeder all passed him in quick succession to pick up second through fourth places. A full course caution was then brought out to allow track workers to clear Kevin Probst’s stranded truck from the mogul section, and after the restart, Renezeder moved up again, driving deep down the inside of turn three to pick off points leader MacCachren. At the competition yellow, Menzies was still up front, followed by Adler in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/BFGoodrich Tires Ford, Renezeder in the #17 General Tires/RC10.com Ford, MacCachren in the #21 MasterCraft Safety/Rockstar Ford, and Johnson. The top five drivers held their positions for several laps after the restart, but it was finally Renezeder who again picked up a position, this time slipping past Adler to take over second place. The top four drivers were all running extremely quick in a blistering train of sorts, with something eventually bound to come undone, and when it did, it did in a big way. Multiple contacts amongst the top four in turns four and five dropped Menzies from the lead to fourth, with Renezeder now first, MacCachren second, and Adler third. The top four then split into two separate battles for first and third places. A mid-air bump between Renezeder and MacCachren on the back straight elicited a big cheer from the crowd, and a pass on Adler by Menzies was big too. On the final lap, both pairs were battling as hard as they could, and Adler bicycled up in turn four and rode along Menzies’ door through the turn before rolling over at the exit. Up front, MacCachren almost seemed to out-drive himself, and could not get by Renezeder, who picked up his second win of the day, and certainly seems to have shaken off his rough summer of Rounds 7-10. MacCachren did set the fast lap on the last lap with a 56.498, and his second place finish helped increased his already sizeable points lead, with Menzies taking third, Johnson fourth, and Todd LeDuc fifth in the #8 Rockstar/Makita Ford.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Another very close points battle is being had right now in the Pro Buggy Unlimited, with the top three drivers (Larry Job, Doug Fortin, and Cameron Steele) being separated by just thirteen points coming into this weekend. Steven Greinke started alongside Steele on the front row, and it was Steele who took the lead from the outset. After the first lap it was Steele up front in the #916 Menzies Motorsports/Metal Mulisha AlumiCraft, with Jerry Whelchel in the #901 ProAm/Fat Performance Foddrill, Greinke in the #923 SC Fuels/Crane Rental Service Inc. Racer, Job in the #907 Rusty/Bully Dog AlumiCraft, and Chuck Cheek in the #957 Maxxis Tires/Lucas Oil AlumiCraft all in tow. Contact between Greinke and Job in turn four then helped them to swap positions, and another incident for Greinke dropped him two more spots to sixth and moved Fortin to fifth in the #996 Fortin Racing, Inc./Custom Decals Racer. Fortin then moved to fourth, while up front, Job was closing on the battle between Steele and Whelchel. At the competition yellow, Steele still led, with Whelchel second, Job third, Fortin fourth, and Cheek fifth. Cheek pulled off to the hot pits under yellow with what appeared to be a flat tire, and was able to re-join, albeit at the back of the pack, promoting Greinke to fifth. After the restart, Fortin closed in on Job and tried to get by in turn five, but contact caused him to spin and drive up onto the burm on the inside of the turn, dropping him to tenth. Cody Freeman was now fourth and Greinke fifth following Fortin’s misfortune, while up front, the battle for the lead continued to rage between Steele, Whelchel, and Job. Whelchel narrowly grabbed fast lap from Steele with a 58.518, but Steele held tough to the end, leading from start to finish and finally picked up a long-overdue first career Pro Buggy win, his first win in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Whelchel took second, the self-proclaimed meatball in the Menzies Motorsports sandwich, with Steele’s teammate Job finishing third. Fourth went to Freeman in the #994 FCS Flooring/Goodyear Tires Racer, and Greinke rounded out the top five.
The final race of the day was Super Lite, and those on hand were witness to the appearance of perhaps the biggest driving star yet to grace the starting line of a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event: television star, rally driver, and 2010 X Games double gold medalist Tanner Foust. Brandon Ward and Patrick Clark started on the front row, with Ward leading Jacob Person, Foust, CJ Greaves, and Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg at the end of lap one. Greaves’ #33 Monster Energy/Traxxas truck and Stenberg’s #88 Metal Mulisha/Maxxis Tires machine both got around Foust in the early going, while up front, Person was using his #29 Stand-Up-MRI of Arizona/Fox Racing Shox truck to really put the pressure on the leader Ward, but started to overdrive the truck and briefly fell back within reach of Greaves. Meanwhile, Foust wasn’t finding this an easy field of drivers to beat, as young Dawson Kirchner showed great determination and was able to get around Foust after several laps of trying in his #16 Speed Technologies/General Tire machine. Further forward, Person had re-gained his composure by setting fast lap at a 1:00.397, and was again hounding Ward for first place. A mistake by Ward coming out of turn five allowed Person to finally take the lead, just ahead of the competition yellow. At this point, Person and Ward ran one and two, with Greaves third, Stenberg fourth, and Foust back up to fifth in the #69 Rockstar Energy/Lucas Oil machine after Kirchner had pulled into the hot pits with a substantial issue while the course was under yellow. On the restart lap, Ward re-took the lead from Person, and following some contact and jamming up in turn five, and a rollover by Person in turn six, it was now Ward, Stenberg, Chad George, Foust, and RJ Anderson in the #37 Walker Evans Racing machine in the top five. Foust briefly ducked into the hot pits, and Anderson had an on-track incident, both of which pushed Jeff “Ox” Kargola up to fourth and Clark up to fifth in the #25 MoTec/Exotic Engines truck. George moved his #42 Bull Outdoor Products Inc/Beard Seats truck up to second in the late going, but didn’t have enough to catch Ward, who took his first career Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series win in the #92 KMC Wheels/K&N Filters machine and celebrated with a great series of donuts for the cheering crowd. George finished second, with Stenberg third, Kargola fourth in the #2 General Tire/Lost truck, and Clark rounding out the top five.
That’s all from the Round 11 action here in Surprise. Be sure to get yourself to the grandstands as we do it all again on Sunday for Round 12 here at Speedworld, and if you can’t be here, follow the action via live streaming broadcast at race-dezert.com. For all the latest news, stay tuned to lucasoiloffroad.com
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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