Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series Round 13 from Las Vegas
The Pro 4 Unlimited class kicked off the main event just after opening ceremonies. Kyle LeDuc jumped out to grab the early lead with Mike Johnson close behind in second place. Not far off the pace was Adrian Cenni in third followed by Carl Renezeder in fourth. Cenni was able to move into second place after Johnson spun out in turn one, and he battled LeDuc for the lead and was finally able to get by him.
Meanwhile, Renezeder got tangled in a turn and was pushed back in the pack. Rick Huseman, who started on the back row after a rough day in qualifying, had worked up through the field to move into third place, while LeDuc patriarch Curt worked up into fourth.
Huseman started to pressure LeDuc and was able to rub by him on the inside in turn three, giving him second place before the restart at the halfway point. LeDuc hustled to the hot pits but couldn’t catch back up to the pack and was out of serious contention the rest of the race.
Once the race resumed, Huseman pressured Cenni and was eventually given the lead after Cenni rolled his truck heading into turn three, forcing a yellow-flag lap and a restart. Now Huseman held the lead, Curt LeDuc was in second, Renezeder in third and Travis Coyne in fourth.
With only a few laps remaining, everyone was all out on the restart, and by turn two Renezeder was able to sneak to the inside of LeDuc to move into second. LeDuc got held up in the second turn on the restart and fell back in the pack. Huseman was able to hold on for the win, Renezeder finished in second and Coyne rounded out the podium in third.
“I made a horrible run yesterday, but my brothers worked hard to put my truck back together and we got one lap this morning to test it out and it worked,” Huseman said of his troubles in qualifying yesterday. “The racing out there was awesome. Cenni rolled in front of me and kind of gave that one to me … just one of those races.”
Renezeder was happy to work up into second but felt he had more than his share of issues on the track today.
“It was a little more frustrating getting helped around and spun out,” Renezeder said. “But you know what, that’s part of racing, and coming from the back is also fun, so I had my work cut out for me and we came up one short.”
It looked like it could be a wire-to-wire win for Brian Deegan in Pro Lite Unlimited. Deegan pulled away from the pack early on and just kept putting distance between his truck and the field. Matt Loiodice held the second place spot for much of the first half of the race, but the crafty veteran Marty Hart reeled in Loiodice and took over second place by the yellow flag waved.
After the restart, Deegan again pulled away from the field, but Hart slowly but surely made up the ground. Hart caught and passed Deegan on the final lap, but Deegan then quickly passed him back. With a crash toward the end of the final lap on lapped traffic, Hart was unable to get the opportunity to pass Deegan since there’s no passing allowed during a yellow flag.
“It was a good race,” Deegan said of his win after the race. “I got out and pulled a gap there and it was fun. You know, it’s fun racing like that but it’s even better to battle. I see Marty behind me and I knew he was going to give me a good battle – he wasn’t going to let me have it easy. So I just had to stick to my game plan with smooth lines and not get flustered, and I think many years of competing were able to help me master that over my mind and just have fun.”
Hart made no qualms about his aggressive driving trying to move through the pack during the race, noting that the time is now to make his move with championship close to wrapping up.
“The track actually came together,” he said. “We had more than one line today because last time we followed Brian here we only had one line. So I was able to move around bit, but I don’t think I made any friends here today.”
The Pro Buggy had some swapping in the early going, but many of the top racers stayed up near the front of the pack after the restart. In the end, the top three racers stayed in place the final few laps, with Mike Porter coming away with the win on the same day his daughter, Paige Porter, earned the win in Kart Jr. 2 earlier in the day.
“I’d finish last to see her win,” the proud father said atop the podium, though he was able to come away with a win of his own.
Cody Freeman earned second place in Pro Buggy, holding off another contender in Bobby Pecoy.
“Racing with these two guys here, I can tell you it’s going to be clean racing,” he said on the podium.
With clean racing and good lines, it was rough for anyone to pass toward the end. Pecoy probably summed up the final few laps for both he and Freeman. “I was looking for a mistake somehow.”
The Super Lite class offered some of the best racing of the day despite the fact that Dawson Kirchner kept a solid lead on the field. He and Kyle LeDuc, who was filling in for the injured Ricky James in the #24 truck, had a close battle for much of the race.
Unfortunately for Jeremy “Twitch” Steinberg and Jacob Pearson in the #29 truck, both of which were in contention, the two got their fenders tangled. Stenberg was able to continue on, but Pearson was knocked out of the race after he was running in third place. Stenberg was able to recover and finish in fourth – the same place he was at the time of the accident.
In the end, Patrick Clark was able to move into third and finish there, making this his second podium in only his third race. Dawson Kirchner was able to hold onto his lead to keep LeDuc behind him in second – though only by a few inches, as LeDuc nearly passed him while jumping across the finish line.
“I really never raced with any of these guys or these cars so it’s all a new learning curve,” said LeDuc of his first Super Lite race. “I’ve got to thank my boys at So Cal Super Trucks for hooking me up with this ride. I’m sad to see Ricky James out of the car … but I hope I did him justice.”
The racing finished up on Saturday with the Pro 2 Unlimited Class, and it looked like a battle of the pupil getting the best of the teacher, as Robby Woods jumped out to an early lead ahead of teammate Carl Renezeder and held him at bay as though he were a polished Pro 2 veteran despite being in his rookie season. Behind the two leaders, Deegan again found himself in battle for a podium spot, as he and Rodrigo Ampudia fought for third place.
The whole race was full of action, but the battle up front is ultimately what captured the crowd’s attention. After trailing Woods the entire race, Renezeder, as he’s done so many times before, found a way to get by Woods to earn the win.
“I was waiting for my spot but he wasn’t going to give it to me,” Renezeder said. “He was driving a good race, so the last couple laps I just had to push it a little bit and, you know, that’s where experience comes in, but Robby showed a lot of poise and a lot of patience and he did a really good job. I was impressed.”
Woods didn’t appear disappointed about the loss at all. He was happy to make his first podium of the year and put some of his season’s bad luck in Pro 2 behind him.
“You know, I was thinking the whole time I sure like this clean air,” Woods mused on the podium. “There’s nobody I’d rather get beat by than Carl. He’s an outstanding driver, he’s the cleanest. There were plenty of times he could’ve stuck it in there hard and took me out. You know, at the beginning of the year we had a couple of bad crashes and it really shook my confidence, and [with second] we definitely got it back.”
The battle for the final podium spot was also a good one, but ultimately Ampudia was able to hold off Deegan to earn third place. Deegan finished in fourth, while Rob MacCachren, who had an early spin in the race, was able to recover nicely and finish in fifth place. During his post-race interview, Ampudia chose not to mince any words about the start of the race.
“Yeah, well, tomorrow I’ll just jump the start like they did. I guess it’s fine.”
So … who’s ready for Round 14?