The 2012 LOORRS season comes to a close after 15 rounds of some of the best racing ever.
Author: Craig Perronne Main Image: Vincent Knakal/Mad Media
When the last engine was finally turned off at the final round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Firebird International Raceway, it marked the close of what may have been one of the most competitive and history-making season of LOORRS short-course racing ever. For 2012 it seemed as if the short-course world had been put in a snow globe and given a thorough shaking. What had been accepted as the normal “pecking order” of drivers for years was unceremoniously tossed out the proverbial window as a whole new crop of drivers rose to challenge the grizzled veterans of the series.
The influx of new blood into the upper levels of LOORRS also proved that the carefully crafted path developed by the series was finally bearing fruit. Young drivers who’d started off honing their skills in TrophyKarts had now moved their way through the ranks and were making an impact in the top classes. Others who had taken advantage of the affordability of the Pro Lite Unlimiteds to make an entrance into racing were now running at the front of the class or had even stepped up to the faster full-size trucks, and those who had jumped straight into Pro 2 or 4 Unlimited were no longer backmarkers, but giving the top racers a run for their money.
All of this movement in the ranks resulted in both chaos and competition. No single team could count on constantly being on the podium as the mix of fresh-faced newbies determined to make their mark and veterans looking to defend their reputations was way too chaotic to predict. And while the economy continued to flat line, its effect on LOORRS seemed minimal as huge fields took the green flag at every race. While some may have preferred the familiarity of the past, what the new mix did bring about was some of the best racing ever. Epic battles were witnessed at almost every round of competition and across all classes. Fights for championships throughout the 2012 season were tight, as drivers did whatever it took to earn those all too precious points.
Once the dust settled and the race vehicles were loaded back on their transporters for the final time, most could look back on what was a damn good season. After 15 rounds of exhaustive, difficult racing only a chosen few survived the fray to emerge at the top and call themselves champions. For this special section we salute the champions of the 2012 LOORRS season, and our congratulations go out to them all.
Carl Renezeder became the only two-time winner of the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup taking the victory in the Pro 4 vs. Pro 2 race. Photo: Jason Zindroski/Mad Media
The 2012 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup
After all the points battles have been resolved and champions crowned, one final day of racing remains and, for many, the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup is the highlight of the season. With drivers no longer concerned about points and plenty of time until next season, the racing is always all-out with lots of carnage. Adding fuel to the mad dash to the finish line are huge cash purses for the winners that are only seen once a year. And, of course, the unique format of the two main races that pits Pro Buggy Unlimited against Pro Lite Unlimited and Pro 2 Unlimited against Pro 4 Unlimited makes the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup one of the most epic days of short-course racing, and this year would definitely not disappoint.
Mike Porter (lower right) held onto the lead to win the Pro Lite vs. Pro Buggy race. Photo: Jason Zindroski/Mad Media
In the Pro Lite Unlimited vs. Pro Buggy Unlimited battle, the traditional format of starting the buggies half a lap behind the trucks was scrapped due to the faster lap times of the now V8-equipped Pro Lites. Instead, the trucks were only given the benefit of starting on the inside row, with the buggies lined up on the outside. To make things even more interesting, the starting order was also inverted according to points, with those tenth in the championship on the front row of the grid and the champions on the last row.
Almost instantly, carnage occurred with a rollover by Matt Cook forcing a single-file restart. Doug Fortin would then roll at the end of the first lap, forcing another full-course yellow. Dave Mason and his Alumi Craft quickly jumped out front with another Alumi Craft buggy in second driven by Mike Porter, followed by the first Pro Lite of Noah Fouch. The front-runners would maintain the same order as the two buggies pulled out a sizeable gap while the Pro Lites battled behind them. Eventually, Casey Currie would get past Fouch for third and Brian Deegan made the pass as well, slipping into fourth.
After a full-course yellow when Steven Greinke’s buggy came to a stop in the middle of the track, Porter was able to get past Mason, but then Mason quickly passed him back. Behind them, RJ Anderson had worked his way into third, with Casey Currie trying to figure out how to get around RJ. Eventually the two made contact in mid-air off a jump, causing a huge crash involving a good chunk of the field.
Casey Currie and RJ Anderson’s collision caused a huge wreck. Thankfully, both were okay. Photo: Vincent Knakal/Mad Media
When racing resumed after the restart, Porter led Mason and Deegan, the first Pro Lite. Deegan quickly got into Mason, with the collision causing steering issues that ended Mason’s run. After yet another restart, Deegan was able to get by Porter, but his lead was short lived as Porter passed him back and held on to the lead, collecting the $20,000 prize and making it 4-0 for the buggies over the trucks. As the first Pro Lite, Deegan netted $10,000 for his efforts.
Brian Deegan survived to take second overall and first in Pro Lite during the Pro Buggy vs. Pro Lite battle. Photo: Vincent Knakal/Mad Media
Next up was the horsepower-happy battle between the Pro 2 Unlimited and Pro 4 Unlimited trucks. As in the previous race the grid was inverted according to season points, but this time the Pro 2s were given a half-lap head start over the four-wheel-drive Pro 4s. Carl Renezeder and Kyle LeDuc quickly became the first two Pro 4 trucks in the field, while at the very front were the two-wheel drives of Robby Woods and Patrick Clark. Upon the restart from the full-course yellow for Ryan Hancock’s crash, Renezeder and LeDuc began rapidly moving through the field as Carl climbed from eleventh place to seventh in a single lap with Kyle right behind him. At the front, Rob MacCachren in his Pro 2 passed Rob Clark for second behind leader Woods. Renezeder continued his amazing charge through the field, working his way into third, right behind MacCachren. Rob then put the moves on Woods, passing him for the lead, but it was short-lived as Renezeder soon worked his way past Mac to take first.
After the restart from the competition yellow, MacCachren was sitting in second, sandwiched by the Pro 4s of Renezeder in the lead and LeDuc in third. LeDuc quickly got past MacCachren and then eventually passed Renezeder for the lead, but on the very next lap LeDuc crashed off a jump, ending his race and handing the lead back to Renezeder. Kyle’s brother Todd (in another Pro 4) then passed MacCachren to move into second. MacCachren was doing his best to keep up with the two four-wheel drives with his Pro 2, but Renezeder was pulling out a big gap. The constant change in the running order wasn’t over though, as Todd LeDuc spun out, sending him way back in the field. Finally at the checkers it was the Pro 4 of Renezeder in first, MacCachren’s Pro 2 second and Ryan Beat (in another Pro 4) third. The victory made Renezeder the only driver to have won the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup twice, and netted him $30,000 while Mac took home $15,000.
Other 2012 LOORRS Champions Junior 1 Kart Conner McMullen Junior 2 Kart Dylan Winbury Limited Buggy John Fitzgerald Modified Kart Myles Cheek SuperLite Sheldon Creed
Photo: Vincent Knakal/ Mad Media
RJ Anderson-2012 LOORRS Pro Lite Unlimited Champion
Perhaps no other driver proves that one can climb their way through the ranks and be successful than RJ Anderson. Like many of the current crop of talented younger drivers, Anderson’s first short-course experience was behind the wheel of a TrophyKart. After honing his skills there, he transitioned to the UTV ranks where he became class champion in 2011. That same year he also competed in PRO Light in the Traxxas TORC Series (along with being named that series’ Rookie of the Year) and in the SuperLite class with LOORRS.
For 2012 Anderson focused completely on the LOORRS series, teaming with the powerhouse that is Stronghold Motorsports. The strategy proved to be a perfect one as RJ clawed his way to the top of the Pro Lite Unlimited points chase after 15 brutal rounds. “I got into off-road racing five years ago starting in TrophyKarts, then I went into UTVs, then SuperLite and now Pro Lites. It was cool working my way through the ranks and proving myself in each class before moving up. It is great to be part of the wave of young kids who started in TrophyKart and now to be only 19 years old and win my first Pro Lite championship is amazing. I always used to watch the Pro Lites as a kid and think what it would be like to drive one. I hope this makes the young kids who are driving TrophyKarts now think that it is possible if they stick with it,” shared Anderson about his championship.
Photo: Jason Zindroski/ Mad Media RJ Anderson’s Season At A Glance Firebird International Raceway Round 1 4th Firebird International Raceway Round 2 1st Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 3 2nd Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 4 1st Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 5 1st Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 6 1st Miller Motorsports Park Round 7 9th Miller Motorsports Park Round 8 3rd Glen Helen Raceway Round 9 4th Glen Helen Raceway Round 10 18th Wild West Motorsports Park Round 11 2nd Wild West Motorsports Park Round 12 3rd Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 13 2nd Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 14 1st Firebird International Raceway Round 15 15th
Photo: Jason Zindroski/ Mad Media
Brian Deegan-2012 LOORRS Pro 2 Unlimited Champion
When Brian Deegan first arrived on the short-course scene, many figured he was more flash than function. Some couldn’t look past the tattoos and image, doubting that Deegan would last more than a season. Others figured it was more of a public relations stunt before moving onto some other form of racing.
Deegan quickly went about proving all the doubters extremely wrong by dedicating himself to short-course with a laser-sharp focus on constantly improving his driving skills. The results of all his hard work paid off during an amazing 2011 season when he won championships in two of the most competitive classes in LOORRS, Pro Lite Unlimited and Pro 2 Unlimited. Proving that he is truly a talented driver and those championships were not just the result of good fortune, Deegan backed up his 2011 Pro 2 title with another one this year. “Getting into truck racing and getting the right guys, the right team and the right sponsors, like Rockstar and Ford, and everyone behind me, I feel like I have had the best opportunity,” offered Deegan. “The best payback for when people give you an opportunity like that is to go out and win championships. That is what I set my mind out to do, and pretty much the only thing we will accept is winning. Back in the day on dirt bikes, I never got the good equipment and I did suffer. I didn’t have the ability to win championships then, but now I do. I think as long as I am at the racetrack we are going to be in the hunt to win a championship and people look at us that way now.”
Photo: Jason Zindroski/ Mad Media
Brian Deegan’s Season At A Glance Firebird International Raceway Round 1 12th Firebird International Raceway Round 2 2nd Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 3 1st Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 4 5t Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 5 8th Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 6 13th Miller Motorsports Park Round 7 1st Miller Motorsports Park Round 8 2nd Glen Helen Raceway Round 9 7th Glen Helen Raceway Round 10 1st Wild West Motorsports Park Round 11 6th Wild West Motorsports Park Round 12 1st Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 13 7th Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 14 3rd Firebird International Raceway Round 15 3rd
Photo: Jason Zindroski/ Mad Media
Kyle LeDuc-2012 LOORRS Pro 4 Unlimited Champion
For Kyle LeDuc, this season was one of absolute domination in LOORRS’ highly contested Pro 4 Unlimited class. Winning an absolutely jaw-dropping six races in a row, LeDuc started the season extremely strong and never looked back. While 2012 was definitely LeDuc’s year, his climb to the Pro 4 championship actually started more than a year ago and was the result of some carefully calculated moves and tons of hard work. “This year I made the move to Monster Energy and Toyo Tires came with me. I went on a mission to try to change how I have been running my life, my career and my racing,” explained LeDuc. “Everything changed in a very short amount of time. My crew chief Richard Holmes and Kevin Huseman, myself, and my family reacted the right way. We did everything we could to win. Everyone says there are endless nights before race weekends, but there legitimately was. It was a thrash to get everything right and look like we had been a team for five years. That was a hard challenge before the season even started. Everything was new this year except the race truck. The configuration of my truck is drastically different from most of the others. The first half of 2011 was a development year for me, and the last half was where the truck started to come in and I started to get used to it. Going into this season I was excited because of the amount of time we put in during 2011. That was why we were successful in 2012. We didn’t break any parts out of the gate and went out and won a lot of races. That is why we won six in a row, because we spent a year getting the truck dialed.”
Photo: Vincent Knakal/ Mad Media
Kyle LeDuc’s Season At A Glance Firebird International Raceway Round 1 1st Firebird International Raceway Round 2 1st Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 3 1st Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 4 1st Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 5 1st Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 6 1st Miller Motorsports Park Round 7 8th Miller Motorsports Park Round 8 2nd Glen Helen Raceway Round 9 2nd Glen Helen Raceway Round 10 2nd Wild West Motorsports Park Round 11 1st Wild West Motorsports Park Round 12 4th Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 13 5th Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 14 3rd Firebird International Raceway Round 15 3rd
Photo: Art Eugenio Steven Greinke-2012 LOORRS Pro Buggy Unlimited Champion
One of the often overlooked classes in LOORRS is Pro Buggy Unlimited. However, those in the know will confide that the Pro Buggies are extremely fast and the field is deep in talent. With such drivers as Mike Porter, Larry Job, Jerry Whelchel and Doug Fortin mixing it up every weekend, the class often produces some absolutely epic racing. This season was no different as a tight points battle developed between Doug Fortin and Steven Greinke. The two would spar non-stop throughout the 15 rounds of racing with Greinke eventually coming out on top. For Greinke, in only his second full season in Pro Buggy Unlimited, claiming the championship was a moment he will never forget. “We started this year similar to last year and were leading the points up to Glen Helen. Then we had some bad luck and Doug Fortin took over the lead after Glen Helen and we basically played catch up with him the rest of the season. The majority of the season we had to drive thinking about points instead of winning races. We were never able to relax,” confided Greinke. “It is definitely the largest accomplishment of my racing career. I have won several races, but hadn’t been successful at winning a championship. The final race was a very big day, and it has taken a while to set in. I am definitely proud of the team and very happy for all of us to win it.”
Photo: Art Eugenio
Steven Greinke’s Season At A Glance Firebird International Raceway Round 1 1st Firebird International Raceway Round 2 2nd Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 3 2nd Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park Round 4 4th Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 5 2nd Speedworld Off-Road Park Round 6 3rd Miller Motorsports Park Round 7 3rd Miller Motorsports Park Round 8 3rd Glen Helen Raceway Round 9 2nd Glen Helen Raceway Round 10 14th Wild West Motorsports Park Round 11 2nd Wild West Motorsports Park Round 12 1st Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 13 3rd Las Vegas Motor Speedway Round 14 1st Firebird International Raceway Round 15 6th