It was an absolutely gorgeous day here at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT, and the fans packed the stands in droves for Round 7 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO. All afternoon, spectators were treated to a succession of fantastic races, and were regularly screaming from the edges of their seats as they watched with excitement. With surprises and close racing abounding throughout, many of the usual suspects were up to their old tricks here today, but there were also a few drivers who’d either been down on their luck, lacking experience in a new class, or just plain new to the sport, who also tasted success in Round 7. For more on the goings on, read about some of the most exciting racing so far this season.
Junior 2 Kart
First out on track today were the Junior 2 Karts, and after a collision before turn one, which involved Ricky Gutierrez and Parker Steele, race officials called for a full restart. On the second go-around, it was a case of numerical alignment at the front, as #422 Ryan Carey led #423 Broc Dickerson and #424 Dylan Plemons at the head of the field; Hailie Deegan and Steele ran in fourth and fifth. On lap three, Dickerson moved his Legacy Motorsports/Black Rhino kart by Carey on the inside coming out of turn one, and assumed the lead as a result. Deegan put her #438 Dirt Princess/4 Wheel Parts truck up to third on the same lap, moving past Plemons to move into a potential podium position. Two laps later, Alyssa Fortin briefly got hooked bumper-to-bumper with Steele in turn five, which slowed them both and allowed Bryce McDaniel to close down on them. McDaniel then made his move in the next corner, as he passed them both to take over fifth in his #425 America’s Tire/We All Ride machine. As the Competition Yellow then came out, it was Dickerson, Carey in the Mothers/Lawrence Equipment entry, Deegan, Plemons in the B&D Performance/Eibach Springs kart, and McDaniel in the top five. On the restart lap, Carey dropped two spots to fourth, while just behind him, Parker Porter was up to fifth in his #461 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats machine. Two laps later, Steele half spun Porter coming out of turn four, and just as he’d been earlier, McDaniel was the beneficiary of the misfortune of those ahead of him, as he went by both Parkers to move up to fifth once again. Further forward, Plemons was now halfway alongside Deegan at the start/finish line as they began the final lap, but Deegan nosed back ahead and held Plemons off on the final go-around. Up front, Dickerson was well out in front, and breezed home for the win, ahead of Deegan, Plemons, Carey, and McDaniel.
Junior 1 Kart
Next up were the Junior 1 Karts, and as was the case in Junior 2, a collision in the very early going forced a full restart of the race. When the field re-grouped to try again, Mason Prater got the lead in his #205 King Off-Road Racing Shocks/SDHQ Off Road Racing kart, with Kali Kinsman, Ricky Gutierrez, Kamrin Dickerson, and Bear Nunley in-tow. Madix Bailey moved up to fifth in his #217 Madix Racing Carburetion/Loctite machine on lap two, and two laps later, Gutierrez got alongside Kinsman out of turn one, as he was really trying hard to make a pass for second. Gutierrez moved ahead into turn two, and quickly began to pull away from Kinsman as he ate into Prater’s lead. Kinsman, meanwhile, was getting chased down by Bailey and Nunley, and at the Competition Yellow, the two boys were right behind the young lady in a close battle for third, with Prater and Gutierrez further up the road in first and second. On the restart lap, it was Nunley who made a great restart, as he got by both Bailey and Kinsman right away to jump up to third spot. On the next lap, Bailey managed to get right alongside Kinsman at the start/finish line, but Kinsman nosed back ahead to maintain her fourth place. On the final lap, though, Bailey got into the back of Kinsman on the final straightaway to the finish line, causing her to spin and drop well back. In the confusion, both Dickerson managed to sneak past, taking fourth place as a result. Up front, it was Prater, who’s just turned eight years old, who grabbed the win after facing strong pressure from Gutierrez in the second half. Prater’s win was the first of his career- congratulations Mason! Second went to Gutierrez in the #278 G Brothers/B&D Performance entry, and third place was Nunley in the #215 Black Rhino/Hoosier truck, fourth was Dickerson in the #223 Legacy Motorsports/LGE/CTS Motorsports kart, and fifth was Bailey.
In the final race of the day on the shorter “kids” course, it was time for Modified Kart. After restarts in both Junior 2 and Junior 1, the much quicker Mods had a relatively uneventful opening to the race (if a Modified Kart race could ever be called “uneventful”). Brock Heger grabbed the early lead in his #511 Legacy Motorsports/Walker Evans Racing machine, with Scotty Steele second in the #548 Northland Motorsports/Pro-MXStore.com truck, Jeff Hoffman third in the #547 Fox Racing Shox/Kevin McMullen Fabrication & Transaxles kart, Myles Cheek fourth in the #1 Metal Mulisha/CMI entry, and Gavin Harlien fifth in the #555 Team Associated/Smith Optics machine. Then came the truly “uneventful” time, as the five frontrunners held their positions all the way through the Competition Yellow. On the restart lap, it was sixth-placed Cole Mamer who had an incredible restart, jumping right up to third very quickly, putting Hoffman and Cheek back to fourth and fifth in the process. Cheek and Harlien both got by Hoffman soon afterwards, shortly before a pile-up in turn four forced a full course caution on lap eleven. On the restart, a rollover by Broc Dickerson forced another full course caution, and when the field re-took the green, it would be a white-checkers finish. Harlien would get past Cheek for fourth on the final lap, and up front it was Heger who picked up the win, ahead of Steele, Mamer in the #535 Simpson/Black Rhino truck, Harlien, and Cheek.
Pro 4 Unlimited
With an eight-race win streak on the line, it was Carl Renezeder in the #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan who was out front once again in the early going here today in Pro 4 Unlimited. Behind him, a hard-charging, pole-sitting Rob MacCachren ran second in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, with Eric Barron third in the #32 LAT Racing Oils/Rancho Performance Drivetrain Toyota, Kyle LeDuc fourth in the #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford, and Greg Adler fifth in the #10 ProComp/4 Wheel Parts Ford. Adler went wide and up into the outside barrier at turn five on lap two, dropping him back to seventh, and promoting Todd LeDuc to fifth in the #7 Rockstar Energy Drink/Maxxis Ford. On lap five, Kyle LeDuc got alongside Barron at turn five, and stayed there through turn two on the next lap, where he nosed ahead and up to third position. Just afterward, a right front suspension on Barron’s machine made itself apparent, as his tire laid noticeably inward on many occasions. Up front, the top thee had now tightened right up on lap nine, while further back, Adler had caught back up to Todd LeDuc, and he made the pass to get his fifth spot back at turn four. A full course caution followed on the next lap, as safety crews needed an opportunity to get out and clear a large piece of debris off of the front straightaway. When racing resumed, the top three closed up again, and on lap 13, they were oh-so-close together, with MacCachren really hounding Renezeder for the lead. On lap 14, MacCachren got inside Renezeder into turn two, then pulled alongside and past going up and over the big tabletop on the back straight. The two collected slightly in turn three, but Kyle LeDuc was right there to dive in and break them up just right, as all three then got away cleanly. MacCachren then got a little wide at turn four, put it up on the bike, and finally laid it over on its side, ending his charge for the win almost as quickly as he’d began it. This brought out a full course caution, and MacCachren lost a lap while getting turned right side up, before emerging from the hot pits later at a greatly-reduced speed. On the restart lap, Barron briefly touched Kyle LeDuc and was forced to back out of the throttle near turn two, which allowed Adler to get by and up to third. A fierce race for the final podium spot then ensued between Adler and Barron, but with Adler dramatically over-jumping some big jumps on the penultimate lap, it was Barron who drove smarter to re-take third at turn three. Barron quickly got away from Adler, and despite his damaged suspension, managed to get right up to Kyle LeDuc’s back bumper by the final corner of the race. Up front, it was Renezeder who held off a few late race charges from Kyle LeDuc to take his ninth win in a row, and his seventh straight this season; both of these marks (nine straight overall, seven straight in the same season) are series records! Kyle LeDuc still had a good race, especially considering how he rolled and did substantial damage to his truck in qualifying this morning, as well as the fact that he’s been hit by food poisoning this weekend. Barron picked up a well-earned third place, with Adler taking fourth and Todd LeDuc fifth.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Today’s Pro Buggy Unlimited main event was one filled with carnage, and the early leader was Geoffrey Cooley in the #22 Competitive Metals/Impact Alumi Craft. Steven Greinke ran second in the #1 SC Fuels/BFGoodrich Tires Racer, with Dave Mason Jr. third in the #65 Rockwell Watches/Mickey Thompson Alumi Craft, Larry Job fourth in the #7 Loctite/Toyo Tires Alumi Craft, and Robb Harvey fifth in the #18 Interstate Batteries/BFGoodrich Tires Alumi Craft. The top three were already well clear after the opening lap, as a spin from someone behind them forced everyone else to slow up significantly to avoid getting into a pile-up. On lap two, Cooley seemed to miss a shift out of turn five, which allowed Greinke to get by and into the lead. A full course caution came out at the end of the next lap, after Keaton Swayne suffered major left front suspension damage on the far side of the course. On the restart, Bradley Morris, who had moved up to fifth, half spun on the inside at turn one, yet the field somehow managed to get past without hitting him, and he returned to the action in eighth or ninth place, with John Fitzgerald now fifth in the #14 BFGoodrich Tires/Simpson Alumi Craft. Three laps later, and Job suddenly dropped well down the order with an incident, and that moved Fitzgerald to fourth and Morris to fifth in the #24 K&N/Maxxis Alumi Craft. A full course caution then came out on lap ten after Sterling Cling came to a stop just out of turn two, and on the return to green, Morris got by Fitzgerald on the inside at turn three to move into fourth. On the following lap, Cooley bobbled at turn five once again, which forced the field to take evasive action behind him. In the confusion, Fitzgerald lost several spots, and Morris came away with a broken tie rod, which left him resigned to limping around the track to try and pick up as many points as he could salvage.
After a full course yellow following this latest incident, it was now Greinke, Cooley, Mason Jr., Tony Lisa in the #28 Patent It! Race Team/Redline Performance Foddrill, and Job in the top five, with Job moving past Lisa for fourth on lap 15. Eric Fitch got by Lisa one lap later, but then ran into the back of Morris on the next lap (Morris may have cut in front of him at the last minute), and this brought out another full course yellow. On the return to green, it was to be a white-checkers finish, and it was now Greinke, Cooley, Mason Jr., Job, and Lisa in the top five. Fitzgerald got by Lisa quickly on the restart, but it was turn three where things really got shaken up. Here, Cooley started to spin, which forced those behind to scramble for a way around. Mason Jr. got by on the inside, but Job, who tried to go inside Mason Jr., wasn’t as lucky, as he got partway up the inside barrier and rolled. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald got through quite cleanly, and was quickly alongside Mason Jr. in a last-minute dash for second place. Mason Jr. held him off, despite Fitzgerald holding at less than half a car length back all the way to the checkers. At the stripe, it was Greinke with the win, despite a poorly running car yesterday which turned almost no laps in practice. Second place was Mason Jr., with Fitzgerald taking third, Lisa fourth, and Fitch fifth in the #97 BFGoodrich Tires/VP Racing Fuels Racer.
Pro Lite Unlimited
Bradley Morris started up front in today’s Pro Lite Unlimited fracas, and was the early leader in his #24 K&N/Kicker Ford. Behind Morris, Sheldon Creed ran second in the #74 A.M. Ortega/Go Rhino! Products Dodge, with Jerett Brooks third in the #77 Synergy Electric Racing/Comfort Mechanical Nissan, RJ Anderson fourth in the #1 LoanMart/Maxxis Dodge, and Casey Currie fifth in the #2 Monster Energy/Black Rock Jeep. Ryan Beat got himself backed up against the outside edge of turn four on the opening lap, and with no drive, he was unable to move, which forced a full course caution on lap two. On the restart, Currie got inside of Anderson at turn one, and moved past out of turn two to move up to fourth. Anderson got back by coming out of turn three, then collected with Currie at turn four, which allowed Brian Deegan to sneak his #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford past them both on the inside. The running order was now Morris, Creed, Brooks, Deegan, and Anderson in the top five, and it stayed that way until lap nine, by which point Morris and Creed had started to edge out a bit of a gap over the rest of the field. Behind them, Brooks was slow out of turn five, which allowed both Deegan and Anderson to get past, and Brooks soon pulled off with a mechanical issue early on lap ten. Morris then spun at turn three and dropped to second on the same lap, but thank to Noah Fouch’s leaving an errant tire and wheel behind in the whoops section on the previous lap, a full course caution had to be thrown, and by virtue of the “last completed lap” rule, Morris was given the lead back. Morris made the most of his second chance, as he led strongly after the restart, while those behind began to battle viciously.
On lap 14, Deegan bumped Creed hard door to door, so Creed returned the favor as they exited turn five. Throughout the melee, Anderson got by them both, and on the next lap, a bicycle by Anderson in turn four forced those behind to check up, and by the end of the lap, Kyle Hart had passed Creed to take over fourth in the #41 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Southwest Ground Control Dodge. A two-truck rollover at turn four on the next lap forced a full course caution, and when racing resumed on lap 19, Creed got by Hart on the outside from turns two to three, re-taking his fourth spot in the process. Jackson Stephens’ coming to a stop in turn three forced another full course caution on lap 21, and on the restart lap, Creed got by Deegan for third on the inside at turn two. Deegan then got squirrelly coming out of turn four (thanks to a flat left rear tire), which allowed Hart to get by him coming down the whoop section into turn five. At the white flag, it was still Morris out front, followed by Anderson, Creed, Hart, and Deegan. In a heartbreaking final lap, both Morris and Hart hit trouble, Morris first. Morris spun out in turn three, all on his own, losing the lead and many more spots besides as the field raced past. Anderson inherited the lead, and despite being extremely sick this weekend (he was reportedly nearly too sick to get out of bed on Thursday), he came home an unlikely winner in perhaps the most demanding race of the season in any class so far this season. Creed picked up second place, while third was Justin “Bean” Smith in the #19 BFGoodrich Tires/Metal Mulisha Ford, who nipped Hart by a nose at the line after Hart hit his own mechanical issue and was substantially slowed off the final corner. Hart had to settle for fourth, and fifth was Chris Brandt in the #82 BFGoodrich Tires/ThyssenKrupp Toyota.
Pro 2 Unlimited
The final race of the day was Pro 2 Unlimited, and after a race so fraught with issues just beforehand, it was nice to see a relatively calm, relaxed race. Relatively is, of course, the key word here.
Bryce Menzies spun in the first corner, but somehow wasn’t touched before or after the spin, and it was Carl Renezeder who grabbed the lead and an early gap in his #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, as many of those behind did their best to avoid hitting Menzies. Behind Renezeder, it was Rob MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, Brian Deegan in the #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, Greg Adler in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/Magnaflow Ford, and Marty Hart in the #15 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Maxxis Ford. On lap two, Hart got by Adler on the outside from turns one to two, and moved up to fourth in the process. Up ahead, Renezeder’s leading margin was short-lived, as MacCachren chased him down in a hurry, before making a huge flying pass for first place over the tabletop on the back straight. MacCachren assumed the lead into turn three, and just as quickly as he’d caught Renezeder, he was now pulling out a sizeable lead over his pursuers. Behind him, Deegan collected with Renezeder at turn four, and although both drivers got away without losing a position, Deegan was minus a hood and a right front quarter panel. MacCachren continued to streak away up front, with Deegan then getting by Renezeder out of turn five on lap five, taking over second as a result. Adler got around Hart for fourth on lap eight, and by lap ten, Kyle LeDuc had tacked on to the back of the Deegan-Renezeder-Adler-Hart train in sixth position. Hart re-took his fourth spot from Adler coming out of turn four on lap 13, but it wasn’t until the penultimate lap that things finally heated up in this one. First, Hart pulled off a brilliant pass on Renezeder in turn three, before they both came barreling too hot into turn four, where Hart ran into the back of Deegan and spun him out. Hart was given the black flag, which he served at the end of the last lap, dropping him back to eleventh in the final race results. Up front, it was MacCachren who simply dominated the field, coming home a full 8.4 seconds clear of the competition for his third win of the season. Renezeder wound up second, with Adler third, LeDuc fourth in the #98 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford, and Deegan fifth.
With that, racing in Round 7 has come to a close. However, we’ve got it all to do again tomorrow, as the drivers of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, will hit the track once more in Round 8. It’s expected to be another beautiful day here in northern Utah, so get out and experience a great day at the races for yourself; with nothing to hold back for, it should be an exciting afternoon! Tomorrow’s schedule will be the same as today’s, with gates opening to the public at 9:00 am, followed by the first qualifying session at 9:15 am. Racing starts with Junior 2 Kart at 12:30 pm, Opening Ceremonies is at 2:00 pm, and the first Pro class of the afternoon, Pro 4 Unlimited, is slated to start at 2:15 pm.
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the Midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a West Coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course. For more information, please visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com. Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series