Lake Elsinore, CA – After posting great results at rounds 3 and 4 in Las Vegas, Team LoanMart was hoping for a little smooth sailing at rounds 5 and 6 in Lake Elsinore. With the level of competition in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing series, that’s just not possible. Every round has been an intense battle on and off the track. With most of the LoanMart teams going through a season of firsts, the only constant has been the amount of work put in by the entire team, their steady progression and the consistent performance of defending Prolite champion RJ Anderson. RJ did not finish round 5 but came back with his third win of the season in round 6. “It was awesome taking our third win of the season,” said RJ, “I think we have proved to be the team to beat, we just need to focus on improving our Saturday finishes.”
For Oscar Rodriguez, it was a bit of a mental challenge. “Our weekend started cautious as I had a previous injury at lake Elsinore during testing,” said Oscar, “Saturday I was a bit overly cautious and managed to avoid the wreck to finish 14th out of 28. On Sunday, I felt great and was driving aggressive. If it was not for a flat, I would have been well within the top ten. Mentally, Elsinore is the hardest track for me, I look at the other tracks as a piece of cake, we’ll see.”
Ryan Beat’s weekend was up and down. He was fast on Saturday, finishing 4th in round 5. On Sunday he backed it up when he was 2nd fastest in group 1 qualifying but dropped to 21st with mechanical troubles during the race. “After being fastest in practice we were running top five on Saturday,” said Ryan, “I was passing Caddell for third when I got spun out from behind; dropping us to 9th. I made it back up to 4th in two laps but was disappointed with what should have been a podium finish. On Sunday we qualified third overall giving us a second row starting position but at the drop of the green flag we broke a valve spring in the motor. All I could do is limp around and try to salvage some points. I just want to run with RJ and Sheldon up front. When we have been on the track we have been fast but have been having some bad luck. We want to get out there and show everyone why we finished second in the points last year.”
In Pro2, Austin Kimbrell had a solid top five on Saturday. In round 6 on Sunday, he was running in 5th place again when he blew a tire. The crew changed the tire in no time but his trip to the hot pits under a green flag dropped him back to 19th. The pressure was on to make up lost ground. He came charging back to 9th in only three laps but was sidelined when the transmission expired. “We know we are a top five truck every race now,” says Austin, “It’s just a matter of following the learning curve and getting the truck figured out.”
Corry Weller had a great weekend in Pro4 competition posting back-to-back 4th place finishes but it didn’t come easy. Both rounds she had to tangle with the cagey veteran Curt LeDuc. LeDuc has been around forever and knows every trick in the book. He doesn’t like to get passed and doesn’t mind a little fender banging. “We were locked up on the front straight but I stayed into it because, IT’S A RACE!” says Corry, “He started to get sideways off the jump so I hit the brakes hard as I landed so he wouldn’t barrel roll. We were on the throttle so we both got pushed into the K-rail; I ended up on his hood. I heard him get on the gas in reverse so I hit the gas and drove over his front end. I ended up battling with Brandon Bailey who just beat me for the last podium spot. I’m not sure if Curt was sore but I’ve been driven over, spun sideways, flipped and been on fire, that’s shortcourse racing. It all comes with the territory, I love it!”
With rounds 5 and 6 in the books the LoanMart Team has five weeks to get ready for rounds 7 and 8 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. Miller Motorsports Park is a beautiful facility and always provides great action for the fans as well as the racers.