Chandler, AZ – The LoanMart Racing team set out for the first rounds of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Firebird International Raceway with new trucks, new classes and new challenges. Austin Kimbrell was back for another year of racing but in a new Pro-2 truck instead of his familiar Prolite from last year. Pro-2 is loaded with some of the best drivers on the planet. Not only does Austin need to get up to speed quickly but he has to do it against a long list of championship contenders.
He put in some very fast laps during testing the week before the race, so he felt confident coming into the race weekend. He qualified 13th Saturday morning just a few tenths of a second outside the top ten and had plenty more for the race. After only three laps, a power steering hose leaked fluid until the pump ran dry leaving Austin stranded without steering. “It was unbelievable, said Austin, “We ran 60 laps and the truck was fine. I’m not sure if the hose was nicked by a rock but it ended our race in a hurry.”
During Sunday’s race Austin was putting in good lap times, moving up through the field when either the transmission or the under drive locked up ending his race. “We’ll get it sorted out,” said Austin, “We put in some good laps. I think people noticed us. We’ll be back strong once we get the new truck sorted out and running at 100%.”
In Pro-4 Corry Weller had some problems of her own. She was running in fourth on Saturday when her front drive started going away due to some contact with another driver. It failed completely on the last lap causing her to lose that spot to Greg Adler dropping her to fifth. On Sunday, the rear drive went out causing Corry to finish the race with only the front wheels pulling. She did however make it to the finish once more scoring valuable points.
In Prolite the LoanMart team had three drivers competing, RJ Anderson, Oscar Rodriguez and Ryan Beat. Ryan had a tough time getting clear of the pack. He only ran 8 laps on Saturday but came back on Sunday to finish 12th, the last truck on the lead lap.
For Oscar, it would be his first race in the Lucas Oil Off Road Series. “It was amazing,” said Oscar, “There were so many trucks out there it looked like black Friday at Wal-Mart; there was a lot of contact. On Saturday, we only ran three laps because the alternator died. Jimmy Owens drove to his shop, Extreme Machine and Fabrication, worked through the night to make a new bracket and then drove back to the track. He pulled in at 4:00 am with the part we needed to race on Sunday. We couldn’t have done it without him. I finished 10th on Sunday our whole team is proud of that.”
With all the new stuff going on at LoanMart Racing one thing hasn’t changed, RJ Anderson knows how to win. He had a rough race on Saturday despite qualifying first. He got a flat and then a black flag for hitting the truck in front of him when it slowed abruptly due to a flat tire. On Sunday, he put in a perfect drive for the win, the first for LoanMart this season.
“I’m proud to be on this LoanMart team,” said RJ, “There were so many trucks on the track it was gnarly. It felt great to finally run out front after we qualified so strong. The view is always great when you are out front.”
The next stop for LoanMart Racing team will be Las Vegas Motor Speedway April 26-28 for rounds three and four of the Lucas Oil Off Road Series.
Photography By: Brian Binkert