LAKE FOREST, CA (September 26, 2013) – Nine championships. Nine. That’s an impressive number, even more so when you consider they were earned in just 15 seasons of racing. Carl Renezeder won just one race in his first season of short-course competition in 1999 and has since built a record book that’s truly legendary. His 114 career short-course wins have garnered nine national championship titles, the latest of which was secured this past Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in round 14 of the 15-race Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series season. He’s one of the most prolific drivers this sport has ever seen, and he’s still at the top of his game.
“This Championship is the best one because it’s the last one, but it won’t be as great as the next on, ” joked Renezeder in victory lane when asked how this title ranked. Then on a more serious note, he went on to describe what an honor it was to be standing there accepting the trophy amongst his family, his sponsors, his team and all the fans. It was a perfect way to wrap up a weekend of two wins, a second and a third. But the weekend didn’t pass by without is’ fair share of struggles.
In the opening round of qualifying for Pro-2 on Thursday afternoon, Renezeder fought to find a quick lap around the six-turn course. The best he could manage was 11th , and it left him baffled about the overall drivability of the truck. He followed that up with a third-place qualifying effort in his Pro-4. Saturday night’s fields were also set on Thursday afternoon, and after some quick thinking by crew chief, Bill Smith, quick work by the crew and some additional studying by Renezeder, they found more in the Pro-2 and put it sixth in Saturday’s field. Shortly after that, he managed a third-place qualifying position again in Pro-4.
The racing on Friday night had the crowd going crazy – from great battles to complete carnage, it was short-course racing defined. Renezeder battled hard and made a great pass on Kyle Leduc for the lead with less than two laps to go in Pro-4. Leduc tried everything to get back around him, but Renezeder held him off by just a nose at the finish line. The Pro-2 race started 17 trucks and only eight remained on the restart of the green-white-checkered finish. Renezeder looked to be our of the race several times, only to battle back each time and earn the third spot on the podium, keeping his hopes alive for a championship title in that division.
Saturday’s races were postponed by just over an hour due to high winds. When the racing finally started it was well worth the wait. Pro-2 went first and Renezeder started on the pole with the six-truck inversion. He held onto the lead for several laps, but when he made a mistake in turn four, causing the back end of the truck to step out, Robbie Woods capitalized on it a made a pass on him in five to take the lead. Renezeder remained patient and on the final lap of the race he closed back in on Woods in turn one, and then retook the lead on the backstretch when Woods had a mechanical failure. It was the second win of the season in that class and long overdue.
“I’m so glad to finally get back to the top of the box in this class,” commented Renezeder. “Like always, my General Tires were hooked up and flawless tonight – they were a huge advantage for us.”
Just a short time later, Renezeder climbed into his Pro-4 to claim another podium finish, this time in second, and his ninth career short-course championship. In just fourteen rounds of racing, where each finishing position is separated by only two points, he managed to distance himself from the rest of the competitors by over 50 points, clinching the title with one more points race to run in October.
The team has a few weeks to prepare for the final weekend of the season – round 15 and the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, October 25-27. Renezeder still has a shot at a Pro-2 championship, and he’s the defending champion of the Cup race. It’s a weekend no race fan would want to miss.