Checkered Flag For LOORRS Season - The Championship CupPosted in Events on January 23, 2015
It’s been an eventful eight weekends of racing for the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. After a long season for many, everything finally wrapped up with the running of Round 15 and the Challenge Cup. It was the busiest weekend on the 2014 Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series schedule. Lucas officials had to fit in Round 14 after rain and lightning forced the cancellation of the race in Las Vegas during the month of September. Crews and drivers stayed busy right up to Saturday night swapping parts, fixing broken trucks and hanging body panels. It was also the weekend where season championships were decided and, for some, a chance to court current and potential sponsors for the 2015 season.
Kyle Leduc had a stellar season. Leduc stood on the number-one spot on the podium at least nine times in 2014. At the end of the 2012 season Leduc won the championship. Last year, Leduc’s season didn’t go as planned. Carl Renezeder would take away the championship. This put Leduc on a mission to regain the title. There are few excuses why Leduc missed the podium this year. In the second round in Chandler, Arizona, Leduc was taken out in a crash. Mechanical gremlins got the best of Leduc in Reno paving the way for Doug Fortin to grab his first career short-course Pro-4 win. Leduc went back east to Crandon in September and dominated the weekend winning the Cup race. Later that month in Las Vegas, Leduc struggled once again. The crew was ready for the final round at Elsinore. Leduc had a championship to win and he wanted everyone to know that he was going to get it. A Round 15 win Friday night helped that cause, but Leduc still had to race the makeup Round 14. Again out front and winning the race, Leduc was back. He had won the No. 1 Plate back from Carl Renezeder. In the off-season Leduc says he will build a new truck that’s expected to be faster and more competitive.
One of the tightest points battles was in the Pro-Lite class. Just 14 points separated Sheldon Creed and Brian Deegan heading into Lake Elsinore. Creed and Deegan have swapped podium positions all season. Deegan has three Pro-Lite championships on his résumé. Creed has never won the championship in the class. Deegan finished Friday night’s Round 15 in Second while Creed failed to make the podium. Deegan was down to a six-point deficit behind Creed. There was still the makeup round 14 to be run. Deegan grabbed Second and Creed Third bringing the points difference to just four. Creed would be crowned the 2014 Pro-Lite Champion, his first championship for the class. Creed just a few years ago won the Modified Trophy Kart Championship. Deegan still walked away with the Pro-2 Championship, bringing his record to a total of six in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. Chad George had the Pro-Buggy championship locked up going into Elsinore with an 81 points lead. All George needed to do was start the race.
With all of the points battles out of the way, it was time for the Annual Challenge Cup race. Modified Kart, Pro-Lite, and Pro-Buggy all have their own Cup races. Large checks are awarded to First through Third Place. In the Kart class, Cole Mamer took the win. Newly crowned season champion Chad George was the winner in Pro-Buggy while Jerrett Brooks got his first Cup win in Pro-Lite. The race that fans in the packed grandstands were waiting for was Pro-2 versus Pro-4. Both classes are started at different positions on the track. It doesn’t take long for Pro-4s to catch the Pro-2s. Before you know it there are 25-plus trucks banging and beating on each other for positions on the track. The safety crew was busy with rollovers, debris retrieval, and removing broken trucks off the track. Johnny Greaves had a score to settle with Kyle Leduc. Leduc went to the Fall Crandon race and dominated on Greaves home turf. Unfortunately for Greaves, the nose of his truck would end up kissing the dirt early in the race. As the laps ticked away Leduc made his move around several Pro-2s and was out front. Chasing Leduc down was Eric Barron, who made his return to Elsinore after a fiery crash that left many stunned early in the season. As the checkered flag flew after 16 laps Leduc had won the Cup race and a $30,000 check.
Once the trucks were loaded up into race haulers and onto trailers, it was time to clean the mud and dirt off and head to the awards banquet held at nearby Pala Casino. There, all of the series champions were recognized with awards. Kyle Leduc won the Lucas Oil Off-Road Driver of the Year award. The Menzies team took the Team of the Year award. Ever since Rick Huseman’s fatal plane crash in 2011, a “Huseman Award” has been given out to a driver who exemplifies talent, skill, and sportsmanship. Doug Fortin was the winner of that award.
Every form of motorsports has their “off-season” or “silly season.” That few months where rumors fly around on who has what sponsorship deals, drivers switching teams, new truck builds, or those simply out of money and not able to race the upcoming season. As always the rumors begin flying around the Lucas pits the minute the trucks come off the track for the final time. While Dirt Sports + Off-Road cannot divulge what has been heard in the pits, you can guarantee you will see a few new trucks next season, teams with new sponsors, and sadly teams that have lost some sponsorship. The “Silly Season” is in full swing!
Championship Results Box