The first race weekend at this terrific new facility is now in the books, and more improvements being planned for the future of Wild West Motorsports Park, this is sure to be a track that will host big things in the world of short course off-road for years to come. Right now, though, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series drivers are coming down to crunch time in the 2012 championship, and with just three regular season rounds left to run, everyone will be looking for every last valuable point as the season winds rapidly down. In just four weeks’ time, the battle will be on once again, as we return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Rounds 13 and 14, September 21 and 22. Tickets are on sale now, so get online and get yours today, because you won’t want to miss a minute!
With the drivers having had their first taste (in anger) of the new Wild West Motorsports Park here in Sparks, NV yesterday, they returned with sharpened focus’, improved setups, and an ever-greater burning desire to win. Round 12 of the 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, was once again held on a splendid northern Nevada afternoon, and the new Reno-area fans once again packed the house, cheering wildly throughout the day’s events. After a melee of rough and tumble races yesterday, things were somewhat more subdued today, but the competition was as fierce as ever, so in case you weren’t here to witness it in-person, read on to find out how the sharp end of each field shook out.
Pro 4 Unlimited
Following Opening Ceremonies, the next race out on track was Pro 4 Unlimited. Corry Weller started on the pole following the inversion, and she led the field past the start/finish line after lap one in her #18 Tilted Kilt/Maxxis Ford. Behind her, Curt LeDuc ran second in the #43 KCHiLites/Toyo Tires Ford, with Carl Renezeder third in the #1 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, Greg Adler fourth in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/Affliction Ford, and Todd LeDuc fifth in the #7 Rockstar Energy/Makita Power Tools Ford. Curt LeDuc moved into the lead going into turn two on the second lap, with Renezeder moving up to second in the next corner. Adler, Kyle LeDuc, and Todd LeDuc also all got by Weller by the lap’s end, with Kyle LeDuc then passing Adler for third early on the next lap. Up front, Renezeder got by Curt LeDuc for the lead at turn two on lap three, with Kyle LeDuc following suit as he out-pulled his dad up the hill towards turn four. Adler then pulled off at the hot pits at the end of the lap, and the running order was now Renezeder, Kyle LeDuc in the #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford, Curt LeDuc, Todd LeDuc, and Weller. Todd LeDuc then passed his dad Curt on the inside at turn one on lap five, while ahead of him, his brother Kyle seemed to be slowing down slightly. By the Competition Yellow, Renezeder was comfortably out front, followed by Kyle LeDuc, Todd LeDuc (who’d nearly caught his brother), Curt LeDuc, and Weller.
On the restart lap, Todd got by his brother for second place, while Jerry Daugherty passed Weller for fifth in his #23 E3 Spark Plugs/K&N Chevrolet. Kyle LeDuc was now definitely off the pace, as his shocks were apparently going away badly, and those behind were quickly reeling him in as he was forced to slow substantially over the jumps. Curt LeDuc got back around his son on lap twelve, and a bit further back, Weller overtook Daugherty to re-take her fifth place. Weller then slowed at the start of lap fourteen, allowing both Daugherty and Carey Hart to get around her, both of whom then passed Kyle LeDuc to move into fourth and fifth. The running order was now Renezeder, Todd and Curt LeDuc, Daugherty, and Hart in the #46 eBay Motors/Hart and Huntington Ford in the top five. Behind these guys, Kyle LeDuc was starting to pick up some speed again, as he tried to pick off a few drivers for some extra points by pushing hard in the smoother sections. LeDuc got by Hart up the hill into turn one on lap seventeen, moving himself back into the top five. On the last lap, LeDuc was flying through the final corner, and got by Daugherty for fourth, making it a 2-3-4 finish for one of the most successful families in off-road racing. Ahead of everyone, though, it was Renezeder who picked up the win, his 99th career short course off-road victory, as he continues to try and track down number 100. Todd LeDuc took second, with his dad Curt in third, Todd’s brother Kyle in fourth, and Daugherty in fifth.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Following a pile-up in turn one and a few more incidents in turn two of the opening lap, a full restart was called in the Pro Buggy Unlimited race. After a second start, it was Dave Mason Jr. out front in his #65 Competitive Metals/Eleven Western Builders Alumi Craft, with Steven Greinke, Larry Job, Doug Fortin, and Cameron Steele just behind. Steele got by Fortin on the inside at turn two on lap two, moving his #16 Monster Energy/Horizon Hobby Alumi Craft up to fourth. In the next corner, Greinke got his #23 SC Fuels/Concourse Racer by Mason Jr. and into the lead. On lap four, Fortin re-took fourth from Steele in turn one in his #96 Fortin Racing, Inc./McGrath Fiberglass Products Racer, with Fortin and Steele then both making a pass on Job for third and fourth one corner later. Three laps later, and Fortin was starting to close on Mason Jr., and on lap eight, he got a good run around the outside in turn two. With Mason Jr. coming out of the corner somewhat slowly, Fortin was able to get by and into second, but he was then black flagged for contact with Mason Jr. in the “no touch” zone of turn one, one corner before the pass. At the Competition Yellow, it was Greinke, Fortin, Mason Jr., Steele, and Jerry Whelchel in the #5 Camburg/General Tire Foddrill in the top five, with Fortin contesting the black flag.
On the restart lap, Garrett George moved up to fifth in his #71 Anenberg/Abu Dhabi Funco, but Whelchel got the position back at turn one on the next lap. Further forward, Steele moved by Mason Jr. and into third, with controversy really starting to stir as Fortin continued to refuse to serve his black flag. A full course caution then came out after Eric Fitch rolled up in turn four, and Fortin finally gave in and tried to serve his black flag, but was forced to wait and serve it properly, under green flag racing conditions. On the restart lap, Fortin ran a bit slowly, and several drivers got by him before he pulled in at lap’s end to serve his penalty, leaving the new running order of Greinke, Steele, Whelchel, Mason Jr., and George in the top five with one lap to go. On the final lap, Mason Jr. got into Whelchel and knocked him out really wide in turn three, causing Whelchel to spin around, and dropping him from third to eighth by race’s end; Mason Jr. escaped without a penalty, and finished in third. At the head of the field, a big win by Greinke has helped put him right back in the fight for the title, while second went to Steele, third to Mason Jr., fourth to George, and fifth to Geoffrey Cooley in the #22 Competitive Metals/BFGoodrich Tires Alumi Craft.
Pro Lite Unlimited
After a tumultuous race yesterday, today was set to provide another landmark race in Pro Lite Unlimited. RJ Anderson took the early lead in his #37 Monster Energy/South Point Dodge, followed by Brian Deegan in the #38 Rockstar Energy/Makita Power Tools Ford, Ryan Beat in the #51 Premiere Motorsports Group/Black Rhino Ford, Bradley Morris in the #24 GoldStar Asphalt!/Lucas Oil Ford, and Casey Currie in the #2 Monster Energy/General Tire Nissan. On lap three, Noah Fouch came to a stop in turn three, forcing officials to throw a full course caution to get him towed off. Once racing resumed, Morris got around Beat and up to third place, and on the next lap, Deegan got around Anderson on the outside at turn two, moving ahead and into the lead. On lap seven, Morris started to really put the pressure on Anderson for second place, and on the next lap, he may have gotten into Anderson at turn one, as Anderson went up on two wheels, allowing Morris to get by on the inside and up into second place. At the end of that lap, it was time for the Competition Yellow, and the running order up front was Deegan, Morris, Anderson, Beat, and Currie.
Currie pulled into the hot pits with a flat as soon as the Competition Yellow came out, which moved Austin Kimbrell up to fifth in his #88 Toyo Tires/ProAm Ford for the restart. The restart had to wait a bit longer, though, as the track went from yellow to red flag conditions after a small fire broke out onboard Chad George’s truck. The fire was quickly subdued by safety crews, and when racing resumed, the top five held their places through the end of the next lap, when a rollover in turn one forced another full course caution. On the restart, Deegan was simply caught napping, and several of those behind him swarmed up alongside, with a few getting past him. At the end of the restart lap, it was now Beat out front, ahead of Morris, Deegan, Anderson, and Matt Cook in the #55
Supercross.com/Loctite Toyota. Deegan re-gained a position by moving past Morris and into second on lap fifteen, with Anderson also getting by Morris on the next and final lap. Out front, however, Beat could not be caught, and he brought it home for the first victory of his career in this class- congratulations Ryan! Second went to Deegan, third to Anderson, fourth to Morris, and fifth to Cook.
Sheldon Creed and his #74 A.M. Ortega/BFGoodrich Tires truck took the lead from the get-go in the Super Lite race, and at the end of lap one, it was Garrett Poelman, Cody Rahders, Bryan Osborn, and Drew Britt who were following behind in the top five. Britt moved his #7 Quick Lane/Mickey Thompson entry up to fourth on lap two, and with Rahders then running slowly out of turn two on the next lap, Britt was able to get by him as well and take over third place. Rahders was again slow out of turn three, allowing Osborn and Fouch to get by and into fourth and fifth. Poelman then slowed as well on the next lap, and the Osborn/Fouch duo picked him off as well, before Poelman pulled into the hot pits with a right rear flat. Osborn then also picked up a flat, which allowed Fouch to get past him, with Osborn then pulling in to the hot pits for a tire change as well. Fouch then served a black flag penalty for contact in the “no touch zone” earlier in the race, and at the Competition Yellow, the running order in the top five was Creed, Britt, Matt Buyten in the #95 SMP/Exotic Engine machine, Jessie Johnson in the #15 SoCal Super Trucks/Speed Energy truck, and Poelman in the #62 Supercross.com/Toyo Tires entry. On the restart lap, Fouch moved by Poelman and into fifth place in the #21 Fouch Racing truck. Tee laps later, Johnson continued his remarkable charge through the field, which began back at turn one on lap one, where he was hit and then nearly driven OVER by Dawson Kirchner, dropping Johnson to second-to-last position. Johnson got by Britt for second with under two laps to go, but with the small remaining distance in the race, he was unable to get up to Creed to challenge for the lead. Out front, Creed brought it home for a wire-to-wire win, his sixth of the season, followed by Johnson, Britt, Buyten, and Fouch.
Pro 2 Unlimited
As is usually the case, Pro 2 Unlimited was the final race of the weekend. A big crash by erstwhile points leader Rob MacCachren yesterday meant that he had to call some friends in southern California last night, and have them bring his spare truck (the truck he’s driven in the last two seasons) up to the track overnight, and then have his crew install an engine, transmission, underdrive, the bodywork, and more, all in three hours! He managed to get one shakedown lap in earlier today, and was hoping things would go smoother here this afternoon.
Following a missed opportunity for a win in Pro Lite Unlimited, Brian Deegan was once again out front in this one, heading the pack after lap one in his #38 Rockstar Energy/Makita Power Tools Ford. Rodrigo Ampudia ran second in the #36 Lucas Oil/Toyo Tires Ford, with Carl Renezeder third in the #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, Rob MacCachren fourth in the #21 Rockstar/Makita Ford, and Jeremy McGrath fifth in his #2 Monster Energy/Walker Evans Racing Ford. Rob Naughton’s truck came to a stop in turn two on lap two, forcing a full course caution as safety crews came to give him a tow. Once he got rolling, Naughton was able to re-fire and continue, and when racing resumed, McGrath got on the move. Pulling alongside MacCachren in turn one, McGrath stayed there through turn two and around on the longer outside line in turn three, before finally gaining the advantage in momentum, moving past MacCachren and into fourth place. On the same lap, Renezeder moved up to second coming through and out of turn four. Three laps later, McGrath then got by Ampudia with an inside pass at turn two, while up front, the top two (Deegan and Renezeder) were starting to open up a gap on the rest of the field. On lap nine, another full course caution came out when RJ Anderson (filling in for Patrick Clark) came to a stop in the middle of the long hill up to turn four. The yellow flag came just as the Competition Yellow was set to be waved, and as the field bunched up behind the Toyota Tundra Pace Truck, it was Deegan, Renezeder, McGrath, Ampudia, and Marty Hart in the #15 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/GearUp2Go.com Ford in the top five.
Anderson got re-fired and was able to continue, and on the restart lap, Hart got into McGrath in turn two, but then bounced to his right and ended up driving up onto the inside k rail and getting stuck. This brought out another full course caution, which lasted for a couple of laps while safety crews brought the barriers that Hart had managed to move back into place. Hart was towed free, and continued at the back of the pack when racing resumed. On the restart lap, MacCachren moved up to fifth place, then got alongside McGrath coming up to and out of turn four, and the two charged down the front straight in a drag race for fourth spot (Ampudia had gotten by McGrath early on this lap). At the start/finish line, Ampudia suddenly slowed a fair amount, forcing McGrath and MacCachren to split to either side of him to avoid contact, with MacCachren moving ahead of McGrath up into turn one. Just afterwards, Naughton had a big rollover coming off the steep jump out of turn one, which brought out another full course caution. The crash was scary-looking, but Naughton was ok when he climbed out of the truck, if not a little dizzy following his multiple rollovers. Once Naughton’s wreck was cleared, it was going to be a green-white-checkers finish, and the running order up front was now Deegan, Renezeder, MacCachren, McGrath, and Jeff Geiser in the #44 Tap It Brewing Co./BulletProofDiesel.com Chevrolet. On the restart lap, Greg Adler moved past both Geiser and McGrath, and up into fourth place in his #10 4 Wheel Parts/Airaid Ford. He was the last driver to make a change in the top five, though, as Deegan brought it home for a masterfully-driven wire-to-wire win, ahead of Renezeder, MacCachren, Adler, and McGrath.
Junior 2 Kart
In the first race of the day, it was “Hot Sauce” Darren Hardesty who had the early lead in Junior 2 Kart, ahead of Parker Porter, Travis PeCoy, Dylan Winbury, and Shelby Anderson. The top five quickly started to break clear of the rest of the field, with lots of moving and shaking going on amongst those top five. On lap three, both Porter and PeCoy got around Hardesty to slot into first and second, with PeCoy then getting by Porter out of turn seven on the same lap to take over first in his #411 Fox Racing Shox/Simpson kart. Porter then got his spot right back after going by PeCoy on the inside at turn four on the next lap, re-taking first in his #461 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats machine. Just behind, Winbury and Anderson also got by Hardesty, moving up to third and fourth in the process, with Winbury then taking his #469 Famous Stars and Straps/Black Rhino truck up to second on lap five. On that same lap, Porter had a half spin at turn six, but managed not to lose too much ground, though he did force several other drivers to check up. The Competition Yellow then came out, and the running order in the top five was now PeCoy, Winbury, Porter, Anderson, and Trevor Briska in the #459 JH Sims Trucking Co, Inc./Prolong Super Lubricants kart. On the restart lap, Briska and Broc Dickerson got by Anderson on the inside at turn two, which moved these two up to fourth and fifth, respectively. Briska then spun at turn six (he may have had some help from Dickerson), dropping him to last place. Up front, Winbury got alongside PeCoy at the end of lap eight, and moved up to first as the two headed into turn one on lap nine.
Junior 1 Kart
In Junior 2 Kart, it was Travis PeCoy in the #211 Simpson/King Off-Road Racing Shocks kart who led the field past the stripe at the end of lap one. Behind PeCoy, it was Conner McMullen in the #288 Monster Energy/Kevin McMullen Fabrication & Transaxles truck, Blaze Nunley in the #230 RC10.com entry, Broc Dickerson in the #1 KarTek/Walker Evans Racing machine, and Darren Hardesty in the #231 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/Hoosier kart. Dickerson got by Nunley for third on lap two, but then spun at turn six, collecting Nunley in the process, which dropped these two to the last two spots in the running order. The running order was now PeCoy, McMullen, Hardesty, Parker Darland, and Barrett Nunley in the top five, with the top three running well clear out front. On lap four, McMullen got inside PeCoy at turn six, and went by and into the lead. One lap later, Hardesty got by PeCoy coming out of turn seven, moving himself up to second just ahead of the Competition Yellow. At this point, the running order up front was McMullen, Hardesty, PeCoy, Darland in the #241 Alexander Ford/Lincoln/RC10.com truck, and Barrett Nunley in the #215 RC10.com kart. The first restart didn’t meet the satisfaction of race officials, who called for a second restart, and on their second try, the young drivers got it right. On the second restart, PeCoy got by Hardesty on the inside at turn one, and grabbed second spot as a result. Dickerson also had a good restart lap, and moved from sixth to third. On the final lap, Dickerson then got by PeCoy on the inside as they climbed the hill up to turn two, moving himself up to second place. Up front, McMullen had a bit of a gap over those behind, and he came home the winner for the fifth time this season. Dickerson finished up second, with PeCoy third, Hardesty fourth, and Barrett Nunley fifth.
The final race of the weekend on the shortened kart track, which is very exciting in and of itself, was Modified Kart, and this one was a real thriller. Sheldon Creed was out front early in his #574 Trophy Kart/PAC Racing Springs machine, ahead of Myles Cheek in the #557 Rockstar/Metal Mulisha kart, Cole Mamer in the #535 Simpson/Full Tilt Trophy Karts entry, Bradley Morris in the #504 Trophy Kart/K&N truck, and Jeff Hoffman in the #547 Cactus Asphalt/BRT Signs machine. Up front, the top three were quickly starting to pull clear in the opening laps, but the top five held their running order through the first five laps. Hoffman then got around Morris early on lap six, but Morris got back by on the inside at turn five. At the Competition Yellow, the running order in the top five was still the same, but on the restart lap, Sterling Cling moved by Hoffman and into fifth in his #584 Cling’s Manufacturing/KyleGreenFab.com truck. Cling then rolled at turn six on the next lap, dropping him to the back of the pack. Hoffman also rolled in this corner, and while Cling had landed on his wheels and was able to continue un-aided, Hoffman did not, and this forced a full course yellow. Once Hoffman was righted, racing resumed with a green-white-checkers finish in-store, and on the restart lap, Cheek was shuffled back four spots from second to fifth, and some further bumping and banging meant that at the white flag, it was now Mamer out front, with Morris, Creed, Blake Lenk in the #521 Team Associated/Racer X Motorsports kart, and Cheek in the top five. On the final lap, several drivers forced Lenk way wide at turn one, and sent him over the outside burm and into a scary-looking end-for-end crash into the ditch below. Fortunately, Lenk was able to come up on his wheels, re-fire, and finish the lap, to the collective applause of the crowd. Up front, the lead pack was well-bunched, and after such a strong run early on, Creed spun in turn six, dropping him from second to sixth. Meanwhile, at the head of the field, Mamer got another win, his third in four races, and made it a clean sweep of the weekend. Morris finished up in second, with Cheek third, Gavin Harlien fourth in the #555 Full Tilt Trophy Karts/Simpson kart, and Brock Heger fifth in the #511 Kacon Framing Inc/LGEPaint.com truck.
The final race before Opening Ceremonies was Limited Buggy, and it was points leader John Fitzgerald who had the early lead in his #314 BFGoodrich Tires/Wiks Racing Engines buggy, with Jordan Poole, Bradley Morris, Keaton Swayne, and Kevin McCullough in-tow. McCullough got by Swayne on the inside at turn one on the second lap, and McCullough’s teammate Dillon Ayers also got by Swayne on the same lap. Two laps later, Ayers then passed his own teammate on the inside at turn one, moving himself up to fourth in the #398 Gear One/Fat Performance Lothringer. On lap five, Poole got a little squirrelly through the jumps into turn two, allowing Morris to get by him in turn two and move up to second in his #304 Lucas Oil/K&N Penhall. Once into second, Morris moved up to start really putting the pressure on the leader Fitzgerald, but on lap seven, Fitzgerald squeezed Morris up against the inside barrier in turn three, which dropped Morris back to third. Ayers also fell back on the same lap, dropping to seventh, which moved Jim Price up to fifth in his #383 Specialty Fasteners/General Tire Lothringer. Up front, the top three were now running very close in a race for the lead, but the Competition Yellow put a temporary break in that battle.
At this time, the running order in the top five was Fitzgerald, Poole in the #310 Riot Racing/Yokohama Fraley, Morris, McCullough in the #389 Gear One/Broken Cartel Geiser, and Price. On the restart lap, both Poole and Morris got by Fitzgerald out of turn one, but Morris then came to a near-stop out of turn two after apparently missing a shift big time, which allowed Fitzgerald and McCullough to get by, dropping Morris back to fourth. Morris moved back up to third after passing McCullough on the inside at turn one on lap twelve, with Ayers also getting by McCullough and up to fourth as the two came down the long front straight at the end of lap thirteen and into lap fourteen. On the final lap, Fitzgerald had a very uncharacteristic half spin in turn three, which dropped him from second clear down to eighth, ending any last hopes he’d had of picking up a win at every track this season, a streak which he’d kept intact through Glen Helen. Up front, it was series rookie Jordan Poole who picked up his first career Lucas Oil Off Road win- way to go Jordan! Second place was Morris, third was Ayers, fourth was McCullough, and fifth was Price.