After a hot and blustery day here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway yesterday, the weather was much more kind today as Round 5 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series got underway. Temperatures were warm and pleasant, and the breeze was just right. On track, drivers put on some terrific races, as always, and with one race weekend of experience on this track after Rounds 1 and 2, the drivers were learning how to make many more passes and a lot of excitement for the fans. Here’s how the day’s events unfolded.
Racing action got underway with the future stars of off-road racing: the boys and girls of the kart divisions. First out on track were the Modified Karts, and it was Zach Hunt and Sheldon Creed on the front row when the green flag waved. Hunt jumped out to the early lead in the #534Creative Fabrication & Design, Inc./King Off Road Racing Shocks machine, followed by Creed in the #522 Fox Racing Shox/Team Associated truck, Bradley Morris in the #504 BME Motorsports/K&N Filters kart, Mitchell DeJong in the #524 Speed Technologies machine, and Brandon Vermillion in the #585 Hart and Huntington/San Manuel Band of Mission Indians kart. Points leader DeJong looped it in turn three and dropped way back, and with Myles Cheek doing the same on the next lap and Creed pulling off the track and out of the race, it was now Hunt, Morris, Vermillion, Jerett Brooks in the #527 Synergy Electric Racing/Simpson truck, and Blake Lenk in the #521 Missing Lenk Motorsports/Racer X Motorsports machine as the competition yellow came out. On the restart, Brooks moved up to third and Trenton Briley took over the fifth spot in his #507 Kal-Gard Lubricants/Walker Evans Racing kart. The top five drivers pulled clear of the field in the closing laps, and as the white flag waved, it was still Hunt out front, followed by Morris, Brooks, Vermillion, and Briley. On the final lap, Hunt’s luck fell to pieces. First, he went wide in turn one, which allowed Morris and Brooks to get by. Then, Vermillion got by Hunt between turns two and three to take over third place. Up front, Morris took the win, followed by Brooks, Vermillion, Hunt, and Briley. Fastest lap of the race went to Brooks with a 50.360 on the final lap.
Junior 2 Kart
Chad Graham in the #410 Bulletproof Suspensions/Cornwell Tools Racing machine and Bowen Brooks in the #477 Synergy Electric Racing/San Diego TShirts Online kart took the green flag of the Junior 2 Kart race from the front row, and they sat in first and second at the end of the first lap. They were followed by Maxwell Ries in the #474 ProAm Racing Products/Kartek Off Road kart, Sheldon Creed in the #422 A.M. Ortega/Fox Racing Shox machine, and Micaela Cheek in the #457 CMI/Jamminproducts.com truck. Both Ries and Creed were able to get by Brooks on the second lap, and as Ries began to pressure Graham for the lead, Creed took advantage of the in-fighting ahead to jump past Ries and take over second spot. Brooks soon got by Ries to re-take third, and as the competition yellow came out, it was still Graham out front, followed by Creed, Brooks, Ries, and Cheek. On the restart, contact between several drivers allowed Graham to pull out a little gap on the rest of the field. Behind, Creed was still second, followed now by Cheek, Ries, and Eddie Tafoya Jr. in the #451 Specialty Fasteners Racing/Ultra Custom Boats machine. Cheek and Ries then got into one another, which put Tafoya Jr. up into third, Paige Porter in the #462 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats truck into fourth, and Jack Grabowski in the #427 ProAm/Hoosier kart into fifth. Brooks, who’d been caught up in the stack-up after the restart, was on the move, taking over fifth spot from Grabowski. Up front, Creed had done well to close down the gap on Graham, but despite setting the fastest lap with a 55.651 on the final lap, he couldn’t find enough speed to get around the leader. Graham took a great win, followed by Creed, Tafoya Jr., Porter, and Brooks.
Junior 1 Kart
For the final kart race of the day, a huge field of Junior 1 Karts took to the track. Broc Dickerson and Preston Roben were on the front row for the start, but it was Brock Heger who took the lead on the opening lap in his #212 CMI/MasterCraft Safety machine. In second was Elliot Watson, followed by Dickerson in the #223 Dickerson Motorsports/PCI Race Radios kart, Roben in the #210 Duggins Construction/iTi Performance Motorsports truck, and Cole Mamer in the #235 Mamer Racing/Sunoco Race Fuels machine. Roben and Mamer both moved past Dickerson to take over third and fourth places, while up front, Heger was opening up a good lead. With the competition yellow waving, it was Heger still in first, Watson second, Roben third, Mamer fourth, and Dickerson fifth. After the restart, Mamer slowed, allowing Dickerson and Riley Herbst to get by for fourth and fifth. As the white flag came out, the top three, Heger, Watson, and Roben, were very close, but they all held their positions through the checkered flag. Heger took the win, maintaining his stranglehold on this class and remaining the only unbeaten driver in any class this season. Second went to Watson in the #203 RC10.com/Canidae kart, followed by Roben, Herbst in the #219 Terrible Herbst/Lucas Oil Products machine, and Dickerson.
The summary for this class can only be called provisional, as official results were still under review at the time this was written.
The Unlimited UTVs and SR1s came out together as the first group on the full-length track, and it was Austin Kimbrell in the #607 Monster Energy/UTVUnderground.com Kawasaki and Chad George in the #642 Monster Energy/Funco Kawasaki on the front row for the start. Doug Mittag took the lead on the first lap in his #848 Custom Off Road Designs Yamaha, and was followed by Kimbrell, George, RJ Anderson in the #637 Walker Evans Racing/South Point Polaris, and Robert Vanbeekum in the #664 Xtreme Machine and Fabrication/Muzzys Kawasaki. Smoke was coming out of Mittag’s machine, and with a spin out of turn four, he dropped to fifth, handing the lead to Kimbrell. Corry Weller then moved up to fifth in the #801 Tilted Kilt/Magnaflow Exhaust Yamaha, and moved up one more spot to fourth before the competition yellow. At this point, it was still Kimbrell out front, followed by George, Anderson, Weller, and Vanbeekum. On the restart lap, there was a lot of swapping of positions between Anderson, Weller, and Vanbeekum, but they all came across the start/finish line in the same order they were in at the start of the lap. On the final lap, however, Weller became the big mover, setting the fastest lap overall at a 1:17.135, and jumping past Anderson and George to take over second place. Kimbrell, however, was not to be caught today, and he went on to take the overall and Unlimited UTV wins, as well as the Unlimited UTV fast lap at a 1:17.558. Second overall and first in SR1 went to Weller, who was followed by George and Anderson (who were second and third in Unlimited UTV), Code Rahders in the #816 Frostyburger/Makita Yamaha (second in SR1), and Tyler Herzog in the #844 Ivy Trucking and Grading/Beard Seats Yamaha (third in SR1).
A huge field of Limited Buggies, 22 in all, came out on track next. Curt Geer and Bryan Freeman started on the front row, and after a red flag of the race following Kyle Lucas’ rollover in the first start, it was Freeman, filling in for Kyle Quinn, who took the lead in the #311 Wilson Motorsports/Rancho Performance Transaxles buggy. Close behind came Geer in the #392 Green Army/BDI Bowden Development, Inc. Lothringer, John Fitzgerald in the #314 mavTV/Lucas Oil buggy, Justin Smith in the #319 Menzies Motorsports/Bully Dog Fraley, and LJ Kennedy in the #382 Wilson Motorsports/RADesigns buggy. Freeman pulled away a little bit up front, while behind him, Fitzgerald moved up to second and Quentin Tucker moved up to fifth in the #377 FAT Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels buggy. The top five ran clean and in order through the competition yellow, and at that point it was still Freeman, Fitzgerald, Geer, Smith, and Tucker. After the restart, Smith got out of shape going off the jump out of turn six, which allowed Tucker up into fourth. As the flagman prepared to drop the white flag, Fitzgerald slid wide into turn eight and moved Freeman out of the way to take the lead, which he held through the checkered flag for the win. Second went to Freeman, third to Geer, fourth to Tucker, and fifth to Smith. Fitzgerald had the fast lap of the race with a 1:16.561.
Pro 4 Unlimited
It was an all Toyota front row for the start of the Pro 4 Unlimited race, with the #36 Traxxas/Monster Energy Toyota of Rick Huseman and the #16 Monster Energy/MasterCraft Safety Toyota of Johnny Greaves leading the field at the drop of the green flag. Huseman led the pack across the stripe at the end of lap one, followed closely by Greaves, Kyle LeDuc in the #99 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Ford, Travis Coyne in the #5 Pro Comp Suspension Systems/KMC Wheels Ford, and Adrian Cenni in the #11 Atrium/BFGoodrich Tires Chevrolet. Driving a new-to-him truck, Mike Johnson moved up to fifth in the #31 K&N Filters/Alpinestars Ford. Greaves dropped to fourth after briefly snagging himself on a barrier, and at the competition yellow, it was Huseman, Cenni, Coyne, Greaves, and Johnson in the top five. On the restart lap, Cenni out-jumped Huseman off the jump out of turn one to take the lead in flying style, while Renezeder, who’d started in the back after ducking into the hot pits just before the start, had made it all the way back to third in his brand new #1 Lucas Oil/General Tires Ford. Johnson had broken his left rear suspension and was out of the race, while up front, the top three were running very close. Cenni and Huseman got together coming out of turn two, and as the two plowed off track, Renezeder breezed by to take the lead. Huseman and Cenni slotted back in second and third, and as the white flag waved, they were followed by Greaves and Coyne in fourth and fifth. The top five drivers held their positions through the end of the race, though Huseman put up a valiant effort (including the fastest lap of the day, in any class, at a 1:07.293) to catch Renezeder on the final lap. After the race, Cenni thanked Elvis Presley, saying that he’d put on new blue suede driving shoes and nearly won the race, and hoped to do a bit better tomorrow.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Buggy drivers came to Las Vegas in droves this weekend, as yet another big field, 22 to be exact, took the start of the Pro Buggy Unlimited race. Chuck Cheek started alongside Bobby PeCoy, and it was PeCoy in the #973 downloadactionvideo.com/Maxxis Tires AlumiCraft who led Cheek in the #957 Stronghold Motorsports/LAMB Energy at the end of lap one. In third it was Doug Fortin in the #996 Fortin Racing, Inc./Fox Racing Shox Racer, followed by Cody Freeman in the #994 FCS Flooring/Goodyear Racer, and Steve Greinke in yet another Racer, the #923 SC Fuels/Crane Rental Service Inc. buggy. Top qualifier Jerry Whelchel briefly moved into fifth in the #901 BFGoodrich Tires/Toyota Foddrill, before Greinke got the position back. Further forward, Fortin was up to second, and after a bobble by PeCoy coming into turn eight, Fortin drove around on the outside to take the lead. Whelchel was putting in some sensational lap times, and had moved up to fourth behind Fortin, PeCoy, and Freeman, and just ahead of Cheek, at the competition yellow. Whelchel continued his march forward on the restart, moving up to second. The leader Fortin then spun off between turns four and five, handing the lead to Whelchel. Now Whelchel was able to check out from the rest of the field, and after setting the fastest lap at a blistering 1:12.899, Whelchel went on to set the next three fastest laps of the race en route to a dominating victory. Second went to PeCoy, who was followed to the finish by Justin Davis in the #985 Green Army Racer, Larry Job in the #907 Super Clean/Blanco Basura AlumiCraft, and Cheek.
Up next were the Super Lites, and it was Jacob Person in the #29 Geiser Bros. Design and Development/K&N Filters truck who managed to pass front row starters Dawson Kirchner and CJ Greaves to take the lead on lap one. Greaves ran second in the #33 Traxxas/Method Race Wheels machine, followed by Kirchner in the #16 Speed Technologies/Goodyear Tires truck, Chad George in the #42 Monster Energy/Kawasaki-sponsored truck, and Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg in the #88 Pacsun/Metal Mulisha machine. George, Stenberg, and Brandon Ward (driving the #92 Troy Lee Designs machine) each moved up, filling in spots three through five, though Ward couldn’t make it stick, as Kirchner got back into fifth before the competition yellow. At this point, it was still Person up front, followed by Greaves, George, Stenberg, and Kirchner. On the restart, George got caught out by some contact in turn one, which dropped him to fifth, while up front, Greaves took over the lead from Person. At the white flag, it was Greaves up front, ahead of Person, Kirchner, Stenberg, and George. On the final lap, Greaves and Person got together in turn five, allowing Kirchner, Stenberg, and George to get by. Stenberg came out best of these three, but Kirchner was able to muscle his way by to take the lead through turn seven. As the two leaders struggled with each other, George closed in on them quickly, and after getting by Stenberg (who’d been moved aside by Kirchner), George carried more momentum than Kirchner into turn eight. The two came out extremely close and pointed straight at the finish line, leaving nothing but a drag race to the finish between themselves and the top spot on the podium. George came out the winner, edging Kirchner by just over a tenth of a second at the stripe. Third went to Stenberg, fourth to Chuck Dempsey in the #50 VP Racing/Exotic Engines truck, and fifth to Brent Fouch in the #21 Bioniccigs.com machine. Greaves, who’d been robbed of his first Super Lite win just a few turns from the end for the second time in three races, did manage to grab the fastest lap, a 1:18.623.
Pro Lite Unlimited
Adam Wik and Marty Hart took the start of the Pro Lite Unlimited race from the front row, but Wik didn’t stay there for long, as he rolled in turn one. Wik landed on his wheels and was able to quickly re-fire and continue from mid-pack, however, so a restart wasn’t called for. Hart led the field in his #15 Stronghold Motorsports/ReadyLift Ford at the end of lap one, and was followed by Jacob Person, Brian Deegan in the #38 Lucas Oil/Maxxis Tires, Chris Brandt, and Matt Loiodice in the #20 Jimco/KCHiLites Ford. Deegan moved up to second, then dropped out after smoke began to come out of his truck. Hart moved well clear of the field, and at the competition yellow, he still lead, followed by Person in the #92 Stand-Up-MRI of Arizona, LLC/R-N-R Steel Ford, Brandt in the #82 mavTV/Hart and Huntington Toyota, Loiodice, and LeRoy Loerwald in the #8 Raceline Wheels/Fiberwerx Racing Bodies Ford. Brandt pulled out of the race on the yellow flag lap, and on the restart, the field was shaken up quite a bit more. Loerwald rolled in turn one, dropping him well back, while Loiodice moved up to second and Jimmy Stephensen got up to fourth in the #33 Racin’ Dirty/Yokohama Tires Nissan. Wik also moved up, taking over fifth and then fourth as he continued to recover terrifically following his rollover on lap one. Further forward, Person got into Loiodice in turn five and they both spun out, dropping them to fourth and fifth with one lap to go. Loiodice got back by Person as Person bicycled in turn one on the final lap, while up front, Hart took a dominant win, leading the race wire to wire. Second went to Wik in his #11 Wik’s Racing Engines/King Off Road Racing Shocks Chevrolet, third was Stephensen, fourth was Loiodice, and fifth was Person, who managed the fastest lap at a 1:15.595.
Pro 2 Unlimited
The final race of the day was the Pro 2 Unlimited, and it could be said that “they saved the best for last.” Todd LeDuc and Ricky Johnson started on the front row, and LeDuc led the field in his #8 Toyo Tires/Jägermeister Ford at the end of lap one. Second was Rob Naughton in the #54 Stronghold Motorsports/Maxxis Tires Ford, third was Rob MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar/MasterCraft Safety Ford, fourth was Mike Johnson in the #31 Ironclad/Swaghouse.com Ford, and fifth was Carl Renezeder in the #17 General Tires/Team Associated Ford. MacCachren and Renezeder moved up to second and fourth on lap two, and MacCachren quickly closed down the gap on the leader LeDuc. Naughton spun in turn three, which moved Mike Johnson to third and Rodrigo Ampudia to fifth in the #36 Lucas Oil/Tecate Ford. Ampudia then moved up to fourth and then third, and was driving brilliantly despite the use of only one foot after wrenching his knee terribly shortly after Round 4 last month. Up front, MacCachren had gotten by LeDuc to take the lead, and was now pulling out a sizeable advantage on the rest of the field. Just before the competition yellow, Renezeder spun and dropped back to tenth, which moved Greg Adler up to fifth in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/Magnaflow Exhaust Ford. At this point, it was MacCachren, LeDuc, Ampudia, Mike Johnson, and Adler in the top five, and on the restart lap, Bryce Menzies moved his #7 Bully Dog/O’Neill Ford up to fourth. Menzies’ tenure there was short-lived, however, as he lost it in turn one and dropped back to ninth, allowing Jeff Ward into the top five in his #3X Speed Technologies/Goodyear Tires Chevrolet. At the white flag, MacCachren still led, followed by LeDuc, Ampudia, Adler, and Ward. On the final lap, Adler tried to get by Ampudia into turn three, but he bobbled as Ampudia got out of shape ahead of him, and Adler half spun and dropped to fifth. Ampudia recovered well and set his sights on LeDuc, whose truck was struggling with transmission issues. Ampudia hunted LeDuc down in the closing corners, and while catching huge air with a last-ditch effort over the final jump, he edged LeDuc by just 54 thousandths of a second to snag second place. Ahead, MacCachren took a dominant win to pad his points lead, and grabbed the fast lap as well with a 1:11.156. Fourth went to Ward, and Adler rounded out the top five.
That’s all for the action from Round 5. Be sure to get out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see Round 6 for yourself. If you can’t make it, tune in to race-dezert.com to follow live race coverage, and of course stay close to lucasoiloffroad.com for the latest LOORRS news.
Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.