LAKE FOREST, CA – The beginning of the 2012 season just isn’t shaping up the way it was supposed to for eight-time champ Carl Renezeder. Both of his Nissan Titan Pro-2 and Pro-4 race trucks have shown moments of brilliance, but the team has struggled to get to the point of battling for a win in the closing laps of the first four rounds of the year.
“It kind of feels like walking the wrong direction on moving walkway,” analyzed Renezeder. “I know I’ll eventually get to the other end, but it’s taking twice as much effort and time. We’ll get this all figured out. It’s just been frustrating that each time we resolve an issue, a new one seems to pop up. But, it’s all part of the racing process, and we’re grateful to be in the game.”
Rounds three and four of the 15-race Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series season were held this past weekend at the newly renovated Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park in Southern California. Race fans and high temperatures showed up in abundance, and Renezeder’s trucks opened the weekend well with a fourth place and first place qualifying effort in Pro-2 and Pro-4, respectively.
Saturday’s racing opened with the Pro-4 main event. The track was starting to come in as the race neared the halfway point, but when the field took the yellow for the mandatory caution and pit stop, Renezeder realized he was pushing water out of the radiator, and the motor was in danger of major damage. The team was able to get the cooling fans to run again, but it was short-lived, as it was ultimately an electronics problem that resurfaced and ended the day.
The weekend started to look up when Renezeder battled in the top three of the entire Pro-2 race, finishing third, but he just didn’t feel like he has what he needed to challenge for the top of the box as the laps wound down. The team was looking forward to being able to make some changes to both trucks and start over again the next morning.
Both trucks qualified in the third position the following morning, but more importantly, Renezeder felt that both trucks were racy. Small tuning changes were all that were going to be necessary before taking the green flag in the afternoon. Unfortunately, he never even got the chance to start the Pro-4 race with the rest of the field. Another electrical issue held the truck in the hot pit for the first four laps of the race. When he was finally able to take to the track, he used the session to test the changes they had made. He took the negative and turned it into a positive, earning some much needed points and ripping off the fastest lap of the race in the process.
The Pro-2 race started with and incredibly slick surface, and Renezeder was doing his best to hold his position in the top six until the track dried out enough to be competitive. The crew scraped as much of the heavy mud off the truck as they could during the mandatory caution, then Renezeder headed back out on the track to make a run at the victory. He battled for fourth with Robbie Woods for several laps, and made the pass with two laps to go. Woods battled back, the two made contact coming out of turn one, and both trucks spun on the backstretch. Renezeder finished the day in tenth.
The first four rounds of the season certainly have made for one of the worst starts to a year Renezeder has had in his 14 years of short-course racing. In the coming weeks, the team will focus on the reliability issues that have plagued the trucks, and they will head to Arizona the weekend of May 19-20 with the simple goal of winning.
Summary of results for Carl Renezeder at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park – Lake Elsinore, California – April 19-22, 2012:
Pro-2: Rnd 3 – Qualifying: 4th; Race: 3rd. Rnd 4 – Qualifying: 3rd; Race: 10th
Pro-4: Rnd 3 – Qualifying: 1st; Race: 9th. Rnd 4 – Qualifying: 3rd; Race: 11th