Nighttime off-road racing is back in southern California, as the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, makes its triumphant return to the legendary Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino. This is the home of off-road racing, and the once-a-year excitement of a packed house enjoying the balmy summer night and the hot action on the track make this race a fan favorite. With expectations high, the drivers didn’t disappoint, as they put on a performance that will keep those who played witness talking for a week. In case you missed it, read on to find out what so many got to enjoy.

Limited Buggy
A massive swarming beehive of a Limited Buggy field rolled out next, and was about to put on a great show as the day faded into night. Dave Mason grabbed the early lead in his #365 B&R Buggie/SR Performance AlumiCraft, with Curt Geer, Zac Hunt, Quentin Tucker, and Bradley Morris in hot pursuit. A brief full-course caution was thrown to allow crews to pull Kyle Lucas’ car off a barricade, and after the restart, Mason and Geer were still running first and second, with Sean Kennedy now third, Hunt fourth, and Geoffrey Cooley fifth. As a whole host of drivers jockeyed and crashed back and forth in a battle for third, Mason and Geer moved clear of the carnage in a close race for the lead. Following another full-course caution, this one for a rollover by Jeff Richards, the restart lap helped Tucker to move into third, with Hunt still fourth, and Bruce Fraley now fifth, as Mason and Geer still headed the field. The top two continued to battle, and after getting alongside Mason but failing to grab the lead, Geer made his move stick on the following lap, grabbing the lead after the briefest of contact coming out of turn two. Behind them, Hunt was now up to third in the #334 Speed Energy/BDI Bowden Development, Inc. AlumiCraft, while Fraley’s evening took a turn south as he rolled in turn two. Fraley’s misfortune moved Geoffrey Cooley up to fifth, and at the competition yellow, it was Geer in the #385 Green Army/Gatorwraps.com Lothringer, Mason, Hunt, Tucker in the #377 General Tire/Fox Racing Shox buggy, and Cooley in the #322 Competitive Metals/Fat Performance AlumiCraft running in the top five. On the restart lap, Mason dropped several spots after going wide in turn two, with Hunt also falling back after he and Tucker got together between turns four and five, which sent Hunt off the track. Tucker didn’t get away without incident, either, as he looked to have a flattening left rear tire. Tucker did well to keep driving despite his malady, and managed to maintain his second place, while up ahead, Geer was free to fly to the victory, his third of the year. Tucker took second, with Mason third, Lindsay Geiser a very impressive fourth in the #395 CANIDAE/Geiser Bros Design and Development Geiser, and Morris fifth in the #304 Lucas Oil/K&N AlumiCraft.

Pro 4 Unlimited
With all the stadium lights now shining bright, the monsters of Pro 4 Unlimited thundered out on track. After a six-position inversion of the qualifying results, it was Curt LeDuc and Greg Adler, filling in for the injured Travis Coyne, who started up front. Adler’s first foray into Pro 4 Unlimited started as well as it could have, as he took the early lead in his #5 ProComp/Lucas Oil Ford, ahead of Curt LeDuc in the #43 Rockstar/Makita Ford, Adrian Cenni in the #11 Atrium Payroll/Maxxis truck, Rick Huseman in the #36 Monster Energy/E3 Spark Plugs Toyota, and Todd LeDuc in the #4 Rockstar/Makita Ford. On lap four, Kyle LeDuc out-drove his brother Todd into turn three, moving up to fifth in his #99 Rockstar/Makita Ford. Ahead of them, Huseman also picked up a spot to take over third from Cenni. On the following lap, Huseman picked off Curt LeDuc to take over second, and on the lap after that, he easily out-charged Adler through the rhythm section, nosing ahead and into the lead into turn three. As Huseman began to quickly pull open a gap over the competition, Curt LeDuc’s truck suddenly slowed near the start/finish line, which caught out Cenni who rear-ended him before managing to get by. This allowed Kyle LeDuc to move into third, with Cenni now fourth and Todd LeDuc fifth. Huseman continued to pull away from those behind, and had a good gap over second-placed Adler by the competition yellow. With the UTI Toyota pace truck picking up the field, Kyle LeDuc drove by and into the hot pits to fix a flat tire, dropping him to the back of the pack. At the restart, it was Huseman, Adler, Cenni, Todd LeDuc, and Carl Renezeder in the top five, with Adler getting shoved wide at turn two, dropping him back to fifth. Huseman still held the lead, with a fierce battle for second going on just behind between Cenni and Renezeder. As Renezeder tried every move in his repertoire to get past Cenni, Huseman’s lead suddenly looked tenuous, as wisps of smoke began shooting intermittently from the back of his truck. Cenni and Renezeder seemed to smell blood, and started to close the gap on the leader as the smoke began to come out in bigger puffs. Huseman kept his cool, though, and as the smoke output began to level off, his lead evened out as well. Behind him, Renezeder was still trying his best to grab second place, and on the final lap, he made a great outside-inside pass on Cenni through turn three to grab the spot, much to the delight of a packed house. Up ahead, Huseman got back to his winning ways after a very unusual (for him) four-race winless streak, as he picked up his fifth of the season. Renezeder came home second to keep a good lead in the points, with Cenni taking third, Todd LeDuc fourth, and Adler a fine fifth.

Earlier this week, Jeep hinted at expanding its product lineup by building a pickup truck and, according to the latest reports, the new model has officially been given the green light.

The vehicle in question is said to resemble the 2005 Jeep Gladiator concept, using the Wrangler Unlimited platform but with two-doors and a bed in the rear. Said to be headed into production in 2011, it should arrive on dealer lots in 2012.

Chrysler is no stranger to organizing events that allow everyday people to show up and actually test their Jeep vehicles off road, and the Jeep Rocks & Rock Tour will offer that opportunity again in 2010. The Rocks & Road Tour will travel to 11 different venues across the United States from July 16 to October 31, offering the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Jeep and actually drive it in an off-road environment.