LeDuc, Probst, and Huseman Move to the Top at the Halfway Mark of the 2002 CORR Lucas Oil Series
As the 2002 CORR Lucas Oil Series reaches the midpoint of the season, three drivers are fighting for their first off-road racing championship. With a win in Round 7, Pro-2 driver Kevin Probst and Pro-Lite driver Rick Huseman took the number-one spot from defending champions Scott Taylor and Jeff Kincaid. Pro-4 driver Curt LeDuc had a win in Round 6 and a Second-Place finish in Round 7 at the 33rd Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway to move him ahead of John Greaves in the Pro-4 division.
At the 9th annual Forest County Potawatomi Governor's Cup Challenge race, which was attended by Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum, Scott Taylor finished his weekend as the first ever to win the 10-lap race in a two-wheel-drive truck. The annual race at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway pits a competition between the Pro-4, Pro-2, and Sportsman 2 trucks.
Curt LeDuc (Pro-4) took advantage in Round 6 when his NAPA Skyjacker Ford beat the field to the first turn from the land rush start, and he did not allow Scott Douglas' RANCHO Ford (Second Place) or Greaves' Forest County Potawatomi Toyota (Third) to catch him on the tough 1-3/4-mile track. The win for LeDuc was his second of the year and the 10th championship for his off-road racing career. After Round 6, LeDuc remained one point behind Greaves.
In Round 7, it was Jason Baldwin who finally broke through for his first Pro-4 win in 2002. Baldwin, who had been struggling all season, had one of the most remarkable wins in recent years. Baldwin's Filger Manufacturing Ford powered to the front after the first turn, but after he spun out in front of the finish line on the first lap, LeDuc took over.
With LeDuc maintaining a comfortable lead, Jason Baldwin was determined to break out of his season slump. In the last five laps, Baldwin made up approximately seven seconds on LeDuc, but he was still out of reach on the final lap before LeDuc hit the wall on the final turn, which allowed Baldwin to squeak by LeDuc for his second career win. In the same round, Carl Renezeder's Lucas Oil Chevrolet bounced back from Sixth Place in Round 6 and finished Third, his fourth Top-Five finish in seven rounds. LeDuc is ahead of Greaves by five points, 106 to 101, but both Renezeder (88 points) and Douglas (79 points) are within striking distance for the Pro-4 championship.
Kevin Probst's Quick 'n' Brite Chevrolet moved back into the Pro-2 points lead with his second victory in 2002 in Round 7. Probst did what few are able to do in the Pro-2 division, beating Evan Evans and Scott Taylor to the first turn. Taylor threatened Probst a few times early, but when Taylor got caught in lapped traffic, Probst went on for his seventh career Championship Off Road Racing victory. With two wins in 2002, Probst moved past Brendan Gaughan and Ricky Johnson for Third-place in all-time Pro-2 victories, trailing Evans and Taylor.
A string of bad luck fell over some of the Pro-2 leaders in Round 6. Carl Renezeder, Dan Vanden Heuvel, and Evan Evans each led laps during the 15-minute race, but Evans' GM Hydra-Matic Chevrolets lead at the checkered flag drop gave him his second win in 2002, and his 16th career Pro-2 win. Probst's seven-point gain on Taylor in Rounds 6 and 7 gave him a 109 to 106 lead. Dan Vanden Heuvel's Kumho Tire Chevrolet had two more Top-Three finishes, and he now sits alone in Third Place with 93 points.
In the Pro-Lite division, Chad Hord became the fifth different driver in six rounds to win when he picked up his first career Pro-Lite victory in Round 6. Hord followed closely behind Kincaid, waiting on an opportunity to make his move. Kincaid and Hord raced away from the other competitors -- they were 21 seconds off the field at one point. Smoke began to seep from Kincaid's Forest County Potawatomi Toyota, however, and he had to pull off the track, allowing Hord to lead the final lap.
Rick Huseman returned to the winner's circle for the third time of the year. Huseman's Fabtech Ford took the lead, but Kincaid was close behind. Huseman's lead appeared to dwindle slightly before he got caught in loose dirt at the finish line, allowing Kincaid to take the lead. Moments later, Huseman caught up to the defending champion and finished just ahead of Kincaid and Art Schmitt's Nissan Frontier. With Schmitt's Third-place finish in Round 7, he now has one win and six Top-Three finishes.
Huseman's win was his 10th career CORR Pro-Lite win in 40 starts. Ten points separate Huseman and the Fourth Place driver Jimmie Crowder, making the Pro-Lite division one of the closest divisions. Huseman now has a four-point lead over Kincaid, 103 to 99.
Tommy Bradley continued his dominance in the Sportsman 2 division, picking up his third win of the year in Round 4. Bradley did show signs of mortality in Round 6, though, as he was forced to pull over when he had the lead when he was having problems in the rear of his truck. Mike Oberg's Dynomax Chevrolet took the victory in Round 5, the first of the year for the defending division champion. Bradley currently holds an 85 to 66 lead over Dan Baudoux. Bradley now has 16 career Sportsman 2 wins. In the Stock division, Keith Steele and Mark Kleiman are continuing to shuffle back and forth, since they are the only two drivers in the division to win in 2002.
Steele won for the second time of the year in Round 4, just ahead of Ross Hoe's Superlift Ford. In Round 5, Kleiman won for the third time this season, with Ross Hoek again placing Second. Steele has an 84 to 78 lead over Kleiman, but with four consecutive Top-Three finishes (including three straight Seconds) and 69 points, Hoek's Superlift Ford is on track to catch up quickly with the Top-Two drivers.
In the Super Buggy division, defending champion Scott Schwalbe and Aaron Hawley are distancing themselves from the rest of the field. Schwalbe swept Rounds 4 and 5, while Hawley finished second both times. After his win in round one, Hawley has four consecutive Second Place finishes. Schwalbe leads, 90 to 84, while Third Place driver Todd Wallace has 43 points.
The reigning Sportsman Precision Gear Driver of the Year is showing why he earned that title in 2001. Michael Seefeldt took home two more wins in Rounds 4 and 5, and now has three on the year. In the first five rounds, Seefeldt has three wins with a Second and a Third Place finish. He is leading Steve Socha by 17 points, 90 to 73. Mark Steinhardt is in Third Place with 70 points.
Josh Hintz (Round 5) and Greg Stingle (Round 4) both won in the Light Buggy division, and Hintz is leading Stingle by one point, 67 to 66. Hintz now has three career Light Buggy wins, and Stingle has four. Jason Bort bounced back from a rough start and finished Second in Round 5.