With the 2010 season of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series now going strong and the Round 1 jitters left behind, Round 2 was set to go here in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Overnight rain forced the cancellation of Sunday practice and qualifying, and drivers would start in the order they finished in Saturday’s races, save for any inversions drawn by the Saturday race winners. With clouds looming overhead, LOORRS crews worked quickly to get the action underway and moving along quickly, and the strong crowd that braved the inclement weather was treated to some great racing.
Kicking the action off on Sunday morning were the kids of Modified Kart. After the overnight rain, the inside of turn one on the kart track had become nothing more than a pit of mud soup, and a couple drivers were forced into this area and got stuck off the start, forcing a full restart of the race. After a clean getaway on the second start, Bradley Morris took the lead in his #504 BME Motorsports/K&N Machine. Behind Morris were yesterday’s winner Mitchell DeJong, Blake Lenk, Brandon Vermillion, and Zach Hunt. Vermillion, who’d been the driver caught out worst by the mud pit, was making the most of his second chance, moving his #585 Hart and Huntington/San Manuel Band of Mission Indians kart up to third. Hunt was close behind, moving his #534 past Lenk to take over fourth place. Up front, Morris and DeJong were pulling away from the field, with Morris setting the fast lap early on at a 43.448. At the competition yellow, Morris led DeJong’s second-placed #524 Speed Technologies kart, while third was Vermillion, fourth was Hunt, and fifth was Lenk in the #521 Missing Lenk Motorsports machine. After the restart, Hunt really started to challenge Vermillion for third, and the two ended up in the soup inside of turn one, the second time for Vermillion. With one lap to go, it was still Morris and DeJong holding the top two spots, with a big gap back to third placed Sheldon Creed in the #500 Redline Performance machine (Creed is running the racing livery of fellow kart racer Parker Porter, who is recovering from a motorcycle injury). Fourth was Lenk, and fifth was Hunt. The top three held their positions through the race’s end, while Hunt got around Lenk to take fourth on the final lap.
Junior 2 Karts
After a great finish by the young lady Shelby Anderson in yesterday’s race, it was another girl, Paige Porter, who took her crack at the top step of the podium in today’s Junior 2 Kart race. Porter got off to a great start, slotting in second behind leader Sheldon Creed after the first lap. Chad Graham ran third in the Bulletproof Suspensions/Cornwell Tools machine, followed by Micaela Cheek and Jack Grabowski. The top three were all running very close, and further back, Grabowski was up to fourth in the #427 ProAm kart, ahead of #460 Chad Winkler in the Metal Mulisha machine. Up front, Porter seemed to be able to out-pull Creed on the straights, but Creed managed to hold his lines and maintain the lead in the #422 A.M. Ortega/Team Associated machine through the competition yellow. Porter still ran second in the Redline Performance kart, with Graham third, Winkler fourth, and Grabowski fifth. Winkler jumped up to third after the restart, and pulled himself into the battle for the lead with Creed and Porter. Winkler muscled by Porter to grab second, and carrying the momentum of the fastest lap of the race (a 53.292), was able to get alongside Creed on the final straight of the final lap, taking the lead within the last fifty feet to take the win! Creed finished second, Porter third, Grabowski fourth, and Graham fifth.
Junior 1 Karts
The boys and girls of Junior 1 Kart were up next, and it was yesterday’s winner #212 Brock Heger in the Brock Heger Racing kart who jumped out to the early lead. Preston Roben followed closely in second, with Trevor Doherty third, Cole Mamer fourth, and Jack Yeiser fifth. Once the initial chaos of the start had subsided, the running order amongst the top five stayed the same, and at the competition yellow, it was still Heger out front, followed by Roben in the Duggins Construction/McKenzies #210, Doherty in the #297Autolite/North County Yamaha machine, Mamer in the #235 Mamer Racing/Kartek kart, and Yeiser in the #244 Sway-A-Way Race Runner Shocks machine. The running order was still the same as the white flag came out, leaving all the excitement to get packed into just one lap. First, Doherty slowed briefly, allowing Mamer and Yeiser to get by and take over third and fourth spots. Then, as Doherty was trying to hold off a hard-charging Travis PeCoy, the two got locked together, spun towards the infield, and nearly ran over a scrambling official! Everyone ended up ok, and Jeffrey Winkler in the #260 Arizona Iced Tea/Metal Mulisha kart was able to capitalize on the chaos to nab fifth place at the line. Heger was the winner, taking a clean sweep of the weekend, followed by Roben, whose consolation prize was the fast lap, a 49.396. Third was Mamer and fourth was Yeiser.
Next up were the UTVs, and as with yesterday, both the Unlimited UTV class and the SR1 class would be running together. Yesterday’s winner RJ Anderson in the #637 South Point/Kroyer Polaris jumped out to an early lead, and was followed by Gary Thompson in the #802 Thompson Roofing/K&N Yamaha, Austin Kimbrell in the #607 Monster Energy Kawasaki, Dan Kelly, and John Dempsey. Kelly moved up to second place but then pulled off the track with back pain. Nothing seemed too serious, but medical personnel took him off track just to be safe. This incident brought out a red flag of the race, and when racing resumed, it was still Anderson up front, Thompson back up to second, Robert Vanbeekum third in the #664, Corry Weller fourth, and Tyler Winbury fifth. The order stayed the same through the competition yellow flag, with Weller moving her #801 Weller Racing/Maxxis Tires Yamaha up to third on the restart. Weller put some good pressure on Thompson for second, and the lead in SR1, but couldn’t quite get there in time. Up front, Anderson took his second win of the weekend, posting the best lap of the Unlimited UTV class to boot (1:18.833). Thompson finished second overall, first in SR1, and took the SR1 and outright fast lap at a 1:18.694. Weller was third, Vanbeekum fourth, and Winbury was fifth in the #694 King Shocks/Funco Kawasaki.
Limited buggy faced a three row inversion of Saturday’s race results to determine Sunday’s start order, which put Kenny Freeman and Ricky Gutierrez on the front row for the start. Freeman got a good start in his #302 Freeman’s Carpet Service buggy to grab the early lead over the #399 Menzies Motorsports/Bully Dog machine of Justin Smith. Dave Mason ran third, yesterday’s winner John Fitzgerald was fourth, and Kyle Lucas sat in fifth. Mason began to slide backwards through the field, allowing Fitzgerald into third, Lucas into fourth, and Curt Geer into fifth, while up front, Smith had got past Freeman for the lead. Fitzgerald then moved into second in his #314 mavTV/Hart and Huntington buggy, and at the competition yellow, he still sat second behind Smith, with Freeman third, Geer fourth, and Bruce Fraley now fifth in the #312 BFGoodrich Tires/DFT buggy. On the restart lap, it was déjà vu all over again for Justin Smith, as Fitzgerald got by him to take the lead, just as he’d done on Saturday. Fraley moved up to third, passing both Freeman and Geer. Up front, Fitzgerald was now flying, setting the fast lap at a 1:17.945, and taking the win over second-placed Smith. Fraley got third, and with the last lap slowing of Geer, Freeman got fourth and Kyle Quinn took fifth in the #311 Wilson Motorsports/Goodyear buggy.
SuperLite was up next, and it was Saturday’s winner Brian Deegan in the #38 Rockstar/Maxxis Tires machine who took the lead at the outset of Sunday’s race. Ricky James, who’d missed Saturday’s action with a concussion, slotted in second in the #24 SoCal Super Trucks/Bully Dog truck, with Brandon Ward in third, Chad George in fourth, and Dawson Kirchner in fifth. For reasons unknown to this reporter, James was given a drive-through penalty, which put him at the back of the pack, and allowed Brent Fouch into the top five. James quickly made up some lost ground, slotting back into fifth behind Deegan, George, Ward, and Kirchner at the competition yellow. On the restart lap, George tried to get his #42 Monster Energy/Kawasaki-sponsored truck into the lead, but Deegan was having none of it. James had got by the #92 Troy Lee Designs truck of Ward and the #16 Speed Technologies truck of Kirchner to get into third place, and despite a hard charge on the final lap, he moved no higher. Deegan won over George, with James third, Kirchner fourth, and Ward fifth. Fast lap of the race went to James with a 1:17.219.
Pro 4 Unlimited
Rain had started to sprinkle as the Super Lite race started, and though some fans had started to leave, those who stayed were now in for the treat of Pro 4 Unlimited. Mike Johnson and Rick Huseman started on the front row thanks to a three row inversion, and Huseman rocketed out to a substantial early lead in his #36 Monster Energy/Traxxas Toyota. Carl Renezeder ran second in the #1 Lucas Oil/General Tires Ford, with Johnson third, yesterday’s winner Scott Douglas fourth, and Kyle LeDuc fifth in the #99 Toyo Tires/Makita Ford. As Huseman gapped away from the field, Douglas, LeDuc, and Adrian Cenni got by Johnson to slot in third, fourth, and fifth. Douglas then did a great move to out-drive Renezeder into turn two, taking over second place. At the competition yellow, it was Huseman way out in front, Douglas second in the #27 AMSOIL/Kumho Tires Ford, Renezeder and LeDuc close behind in third and fourth, and Cenni fifth in the #11 Atrium/King Off-Road Racing Shocks Chevrolet. On the restart, Cenni made a mistake in turn one that allowed Johnny Greaves into fifth place. LeDuc got by Renezeder and Douglas to take over second, but then both he and Greaves each lost a spot with small mistakes. LeDuc then crashed into the barrier on the outside of turn three and was out of the race. Up front, Huseman was again streaking away, and finished way ahead of the field to get the win. Huseman had been fast from the word go, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap one with a 1:08.519. Douglas came in second, Renezeder third, Cenni fourth, and Greaves finished fifth in the Monster Energy/Fox Racing Shox Toyota.
Pro Lite Unlimited
Another three row inversion put Matt Loiodice and Casey Currie on the front row of Sunday’s Pro Lite Unlimited race, and after a big pile-up just past the start/finish line collected Chris Brandt, Anthony Verdone, and Corey Sisler, a full restart of the race was called upon. Verdone was unable to continue, and something wasn’t quite right with Brandt’s truck, but both he and Sisler made the restart. On the restart, Currie grabbed the lead in the #2 Monster Energy/Magnaflow Exhaust Ford, and was followed by Marty Hart, Rodrigo Ampudia, Brian Deegan, and Loiodice in the #20 MasterCraft Safety/Competitive Metals Ford. Hart, Ampudia, and Deegan quickly moved into the top three spots, but Deegan then slowed and pulled into the hot pits. He re-emerged quickly, but had lost several spots, and it was now Hart, Ampudia, Currie, Loiodice, and Todd Cuffaro in the #46 Maxxis Tires/Lucas Oil Mazda in the top five. Hart then crashed into a barrier coming off the jump out of turn one, damaging the left front corner of his truck and putting him out of the race. Ampudia inherited the lead in his #36 Lucas Oil/BFGoodrich Tires Ford, with Currie second, Loiodice third, Cuffaro fourth and Sean Geiser fifth in the #16 ReadyLift/Slednecks Toyota at the competition yellow. On the restart lap, Currie slowed to a stop and was out, while Geiser got into the barrier on the outside of turn three and lost a few spots. Cuffaro also dropped back, and the running order was now Ampudia, Loiodice, Adam Wik in the #11 Wik’s Racing Engines Chevrolet, Deegan in the #38 Rockstar/Metal Mulisha Ford, and Brandt in the #82 mavTV/Hart and Huntington Toyota, whose truck had come to life after a few shaky laps in the early going. Wik got around Loiodice briefly, but lost it coming into turn five and dropped back to fourth. Deegan then dropped out, and with one lap to go, LeRoy Loerwald was now up to fifth in the #8 K&N/Oakley Ford. The top five held their positions on the last lap, with Ampudia taking first, Loiodice second, Brandt third, Wik fourth, and Loerwald fifth. However, post-race inspection found Ampudia’s truck to have too short of a wheelbase. Although the difference was small, officials were forced to disqualify Ampudia, handing the win to Loiodice. Hart clearly had the fastest lap of the race at a 1:14.612 in his #15 Stronghold Motorsports/Kolpin Ford, the only Pro Lite Unlimited to go below 1:15.
Pro 2 Unlimited
After a thrilling Pro Lite Unlimited race, fans were now reveling in better weather (the rain had let up) and the roaring thunder of the Pro 2 Unlimiteds. Robby Woods and Rodrigo Ampudia started on the front row, and the race was a thriller from the outset. Out of turn one, Woods crashed down the landing of one of the biggest jumps on the course, doing a series of spectacular barrel rolls. Amazingly, nobody hit Woods’ truck, and Woods himself emerged disappointed but unharmed. A full restart was called for, and as the green dropped again, Ampudia grabbed the lead in the #36 Papas & Beer/Tecate Ford. Close behind were Rob Naughton in the #54 Stronghold Motorsports/ReadyLift Ford, Saturday’s winner Ricky Johnson in the #48 Red Bull/Kumho Tires Ford, Rob MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar/ProAm Ford, and Bryce Menzies in the #7 Bully Dog/Super Clean Ford. Naughton then snagged the lead from Ampudia, and further back, Jeff Ward was up to fifth in the #3X Speed Technologies/SuperLite Chevrolet. Jeff Geiser’s #44 Canidae Dodge then caught fire, forcing a red flag of the race. When action resumed, Johnson got by Ampudia for second, then took advantage of Naughton’s bicycling in turn four to grab the lead. MacCachren and Ampudia also got by Naughton thanks to Naughton’s mistake, and at the competition yellow, it was Johnson, MacCachren, Ampudia, Naughton, and Ward in the top five. On the restart, Ward lost it in turn one and dropped well back, handing fifth to Menzies. A hard-charging Jeremy McGrath was just behind Menzies, and after the two got together in turn four, McGrath’s #15 Monster Energy/Traxxas Toyota was up to fifth. On the final lap, McGrath also got by Naughton, and with a last desperate leap over the final jump, so did Carl Renezeder in the #17 Lucas Oil/Team Associated Ford. Johnson was the big winner, taking a clean sweep for the weekend. MacCachren finished second, while fast lap setter Ampudia (1:11.189 on lap two) got third. McGrath took fourth, and reigning points champion Renezeder rounded out the top five.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
The final race of the weekend was that of the Pro Buggy Unlimiteds, and it was a Cameron Steele/Rich Ronco front row at the start. Steele grabbed the early lead in the #916 Menzies Motorsports/Metal Mulisha AlumiCraft, ahead of yesterday’s winner Doug Fortin in the #996 Fortin Racing Inc./Fox Racing Shox Racer Engineering buggy. Ronco sat in third in the #999 Tatum Motorsports Tatum buggy, with Cody Freeman fourth in the #994 FCS Flooring/Wik’s Racing Engines Racer Engineering buggy, and Larry Job fifth in the #907 Menzies Motorsports/Bully Dog AlumiCraft. Freeman went off the track while trying to pass Ronco, dropping well back in the field. Ronco then started to slide backwards, and behind Steele and Fortin, it was now Job, Randy Minnier in the #995 Ramtek/Onsite Energy AlumiCraft, and Chuck Cheek in the #957 Stronghold Motorsports/Lamb Energy AlumiCraft at the competition yellow. After the restart, Fortin really began to put the pressure on Steele, who’d previously seemed to be faster than Fortin. Eventually, Fortin capitalized on what appeared to be a missed shift by Steele, taking the lead and never looking back. Fortin took the fast lap of the race with a 1:12.763 (the only driver to dip into the 1:12s), and went on to take back-to-back wins. Steele finished second, his teammate Job got third, Minnier got fourth, and Freeman recovered from his early mistake to get fifth.
All in all, the last-minute venue change proved to be a more than surmountable hurdle for the LOORRS team, and those who witnessed the action here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway went home happy. Be sure to join us in April at the Speedworld Off Road Park in Surprise, AZ, just north of Phoenix, for Rounds 3 and 4. Action starts Friday April 16th with qualifying, and racing will take place on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th. Until then, be sure to check back with lucasoiloffroad.com to keep up on all the latest Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series news and updates.
Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.