2014 Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series - The Midseason Battle IgnitesPosted in Events on October 1, 2014
Points Battle Hits Halfway
The 2014 Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series started in March at the renamed Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona. Drivers know they need to get as many points as they can in hopes of grabbing that coveted championship trophy. Fast-forward to five weekends later at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, and the series has reached its halfway point. It’s a time where consistent finishes and podiums are more important than ever to secure a shot at winning the championship at the final round of racing in October. For many drivers, this means the race truck has to be 100 percent every time it rolls out of the semi and onto the track. Equipment failures can and will take drivers out of the championship hunt. Drivers cannot afford to make mistakes on the track. Every corner they turn and every jump they go over will cost them valuable championship points if not done correctly. A driver can earn a maximum of 50 points for winning a round of racing. Second Place awards 48 points and Third is awarded 46 points. Additionally, drivers can earn extra points for leading at the halfway point in a race as well as being the fastest qualifier.
Freestyle X-Games Gold Medalist Brian Deegan has collected four championships in both Pro-Lite and Pro-2. Last year, Deegan narrowly missed the Pro-2 championship after a fierce battle to the end with Rob MacCachren. Deegan still managed to lock up the Pro-Lite championship, and this year he’s back in contention to win both Pro-lite and Pro-2. Deegan wasted no time putting his Pro-2 out front in Round 7 and pretty much stayed there to hold off Carl Renezeder to earn a win. Round 8 wasn’t so easy for “The General.” MacCachren, who broke his truck early in Round 7, wasn’t going to throw Round 8 away so easily. MacCachren spent several laps trying to get around leader RJ Anderson. A series of cautions allowed Deegan to move through the field, however, he was only able to pull of a Third Place finish while MacCachren took the win. Deegan now has the points lead in the Pro-2 class. In Pro-Lite points, Deegan has his work cut out for him. During Round 7, “The General” was out front and leading every lap earning a smooth First Place finish. Deegan had it a little harder in Round 8. Sheldon Creed wasn’t going down without a fight. Creed held off Deegan for the win. Creed is now 17 points ahead of Deegan.
Carl Renezeder has over 100 career short-course wins under his belt. Eight total championships in Pro-2 and Pro-4 combined in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. The team spent the off-season finishing a new Pro-2. Starting off as a Steve Barlow chassis, the team added all the parts and set it up the way Renezeder likes it. Renezeder is very particular on his truck setup. If Renezeder fails to make the podium, the team goes back to the pit to figure out what happened. They look at every part of the truck and review every frame of video. Renezeder came into Round 7 sitting second in points behind Deegan. Failing to win last year’s Pro-2 championship, Renezeder is a man on a mission. Renezeder qualified Fourth for Round 7. It wasn’t until the last lap that Bryce Menzies got aggressive and spun himself out making way for Renezeder to move past Menzies and RJ Anderson for Second Place. The team was in good spirits and confident on Sunday morning. Round 8 was looking good for Renezeder. He started out on the pole but was quickly sidelined when the right front trailing arm tore away from the chassis—a part failure that will be highly scrutinized back at the shop. Renezeder cannot afford to have any more problems if he is to win the Pro-2 championship this year. Renezeder needs 45 points to get ahead of Deegan. Renezeder is the defending Pro-4 champion, and thus far is not having the best season in that class. Renezeder has spent a couple of rounds early in the season struggling and now has to make up 57 points on leader Kyle Leduc. Renezeder failed to make any spot on the podium during both Pro-4 races in Utah.
After taking time off from racing, both Chad and Garrett George are back in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. The two cousins have been battling each other on the track. Both buggies were built in house by their grandfather’s FUNCO race shop. Normally found in the dunes of Glamis, these buggies have done exceptionally well this season. Midway through Round 7, Chad George was able to get around Eric Fitch for the lead and take his fourth win of the season. Luck didn’t go so well for Garrett George who had to pull into the hot pits for a flat with two laps to go in the race. In Round 8, Chad George battled hard for the lead with Kevin McCullough and would end up with a Second Place finish. Garrett George continued to struggle, only pulling off a Fifth Place finish. Steve Greinke has won the Pro-Buggy championship two years in row and is the current defending class champion. Greinke comes out of Utah with a 76-point gap from leader, Chad George. Separating Chad from Garrett is 62 points. Dave Mason Jr. is also tied with Garrett George. While Greinke is trying to get every critical point to secure a third consecutive championship, ahead of him the Georges are locked in a family battle for the championship as well!
Last year Kyle Leduc held the Pro-4 number one plate until he had to turn it over at the end of the season to Carl Renezeder. Leduc has only missed the podium once this year, in Round 2 when he was collected in a multi-truck pile up. Leduc has consistently won every other race this season, getting bonus points for leading and qualifying first. Currently Leduc has a comfortable 42-point lead over MacCachren, who is also trying to get a Pro-4 championship. All eyes are on Leduc to see if he can sweep every remaining round this year.
One of the most drama-filled and action-packed classes this year has been the Modified Kart class. Known as the young-guns of short-course off-road racing, in a few short years, these kids will be mixing up with the big names in Pro-lite, Pro-2 and Pro-4. While the Karts don’t run the full Lucas track, there is always plenty of action in their class. When the green flag dropped in Round 7, the Karts were four wide through the first turn. A few cautions and 12 laps later Cole Mamer was on the podium in First Place. In Round 8 the drama heated up big time when Mamer was disqualified by tech officials and not allowed to race after it was found he had contaminated fuel in his Kart during the morning qualifying session. The green flag dropped and Isabella Naughton rolled on the first lap bringing out a full restart. As the Lucas officials were trying to get the lineup back in proper order, Trevor Briska came flying around the first turn at race speed and crashed hard into the back of Daely Pentico. That incident would cause Briska and Pentico enough damage to their Karts and an end to their day. A few laps and cautions later, the Lucas officials decided to throw the checkered flag early to get the rest of the racing day back on schedule. Broc Heger grabbed that win putting him 13 points over Travis Pecoy in the championship standings.
Practice Makes Perfect
After the Utah event, a number of drivers took advantage of the time between races to test their equipment on empty tracks as well as race laps on fully prepped tracks. Todd Leduc tested two days at the Lucas Oil Regional Series at Glen Helen. Leduc, who took advantage of a fully groomed and watered track, spent a Friday afternoon in July working on fuel delivery issues with his truck. Pro-Lite driver Myles Cheek also took advantage of the regional practice sessions as did the Hart team. Teammates Bryce Menzies and Ricky Johnson packed up their trucks and hit the road from Las Vegas to Southern California for some test time. The more time a driver has on the track with his or her truck, the better they feel on race day. This is always the best time to discover problems and gremlins that can pop up on race day.
|Lucas Points Standings Points After Utah Rounds 7 & 8|