Reno, NV – Despite many unknowns, the LoanMart racing team was eager to hit the track at the Wild West Motorsports Park in Reno, Nevada for rounds 11 and 12 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. The Wild West track is unlike any other on the circuit. It takes track time and a good baseline set-up to be successful; Most of the team had neither.
New to their respective classes, Austin Kimbrell and Corry Weller are building their databases on track set-ups for their Pro-2 and Pro-4 trucks as they go this season. Since the Wild West track is so different, the data they have from other tracks is not very useful. “There is more to it than most people think,” says Austin, “We need to come up with the proper gearing, the right torque converter, the suspension settings, shock valving, tire pressures and grooving. Teams who have raced here before have a baseline they know works. They can do minor tweaks to get it dialed in. We had to roll the dice and honestly, we were chasing our tails a little.” Austin was consistently in the top ten with ninth place finishes in both rounds but anytime you can go to a new track and run solid both days without tearing up the truck; it’s a victory.
Corry Weller ran a great Pro-4 race in round 11. She started in the back but held her lines and stayed out of the carnage till the end. Corry finished on the podium in third place. During round 12 on Sunday, she was not as lucky. At the start her visor popped up and her eyes got filled with dirt. Partially blinded, she got her visor back down and cleared some of the dirt from her eyes.
She stalled in turn two but quickly re-fired and re-entered the fray. “After a messy first lap, I gathered myself up and set out to chase the leaders,” said Corry, “Part of the way through the race I came into turn one a little hot. There were two trucks stalled in the corner and I clipped one with my rear tire. It did some damage to the rear suspension. First the rear shock blew then the brakes went out.” Corry was running fourth and had third place in her sights. She kept on the gas even as her truck started to disintegrate out back. Her driveshaft let go and stuck in the ground. It ripped out an oil line starting a small fire and launched the back end into the air. She had no choice but to shut it down. “It was frustrating, we were so close to another podium,” said Corry.
Andrew Caddell was filling in for Oscar Rodriguez in his LoanMart Prolite. It was Andrew’s first time racing at Wild West; he was another LoanMart driver who had a steep learning curve in Reno. “We were a little off on Saturday and we went the wrong way with our changes,” said Andrew, “We raced our way out of the LCQ and had a pretty good race in the main. We moved up through the field and didn’t have any crazy stuff happen in front of us.” On Sunday he qualified for the main but had a nightmare during the race. “Sunday was out of control,” said Andrew, “Every wreck happened right in front of us. We were totally frustrated, it was not much fun.” Andrew finished ninth on Saturday but was dropped back to fourteenth in Sunday’s crash fest.
The newest member of the LoanMart team Dave Mason, had an up and down weekend in the Pro Buggy class. He qualified well on Friday and after a two car inversion would start on the pole for Saturday’s main event. He dropped as low as fifth place during the race but battled back to the front to finish on the podium in third. On Sunday Dave was running third on lap one but slowly dropped through the pack to finish tenth. “Turn two is really rough,” said Dave, “You hit a tabletop and have to be already turned when you hit the corner. My car kept going into limp mode when I landed. In the three seconds it takes to re-set the computer you can get passed by two guys.” Tough luck for Dave who would normally be at the front dicing with the leaders.
RJ Anderson’s weekend was much better. He had experience at the track and it showed. He got banged around on Saturday but ended up fourth. He and teammate Ryan Beat were battling with the leaders but several yellow flags killed RJ’s momentum and Ryan suffered from a late race spin that dropped him to seventh.
On Sunday, The two teammates were at it once again. Ryan improved on his results finishing in fifth while RJ landed on the podium in third. “I gave it all I had today, the truck was awesome,” said RJ, “We made it from tenth all the way to third. We learned a lot this weekend and passed about 22 trucks. I’m pumped for Vegas next month!
The next Lucas Oil Off Road Race will be a night race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV September 20 – 21. Some on the LoanMart Team will be off on an adventure this coming weekend. Look for an announcement soon!
For more information as well as weekly updates and videos, visit LoanMartRacing.com.