Author: Brian Binkert Photos: Brian Binkert/Bink Designs
Wild West Motorsports Park outside Reno, Nevada is a track unlike all others found in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO. It climbs high to the ridgelines at either end, then plunges back down in the middle. When standing in turn one or turn four, it’s a long ways down to the front straight. For those at the top of the standings, the view down to the bottom is not that far. There are valid contenders in every class trying to climb to the top. The point’s leaders were on the podium in both rounds but the challengers came out on top across the board.
In Pro-4, Carl Renezeder seemed un-beatable at the beginning of the season; winning the first 7 races. Eric Barron put an end to his streak and he hasn’t won since. Kyle LeDuc is building his own streak. His back-to-back wins made it three wins in a row. Carl was in the hunt; he ran the fastest in qualifying on Saturday but Kyle was right behind in second. During Sunday’s qualifying session, Kyle was fastest, Carl was back in fourth.
On the track, Carl and Kyle battled it out up front in both rounds 11 and 12. Carl’s two second place finishes keeps him on top of the points standings but Kyle’s victories helped close the gap on Rob MacCachren who went into the weekend second in the points. Rob had a disappointing weekend failing to reach the podium in Pro-4. It was Corry Weller who took the final podium spot in round 11, Greg Adler in round 12. “Reno is one of the fastest and most aggressive tracks on the planet,” said Kyle, “We owned it this weekend. It was an amazing feeling to dominate at Wild West Motorsports Park.”
In Pro-2, point’s leader Rob MacCachren had the target on his back. In round 11 it was Brian Deegan, third in points, who ran away with the win. Robby Woods, who has several third place podium finishes got his best finish yet following Deegan to the line for second, Bryce Menzies was third. Rob MacCachren finished seventh.
In round 12, Bryce Menzies took the win, his second victory in only 4 races. He joined the series late in the season so he is not a championship contender, merely a spoiler. Second place went to Deegan. MacCachren got his only podium of the weekend with a third. “I got spun out in the first turn,” said Rob. “I went all the way to the back of the pack and came back to finish 3rd! I wasn't leaving here without a podium. I owed it to the team, they worked so hard.”
Brian Deegan took his shot at Pro-2 points leader Rob MacCachren but guess who sits in the lead in Prolite. Just like Renezeder in Pro-4, Deegan got back-to-back second place podiums but was denied a victory. The Prolite class is just insane. There are so many contenders, it’s anyone’s race to win every single round. Deegan, Sheldon Creed, RJ Anderson and Bradley Morris all have multiple victories. In round 11, Deegan had the early lead but a bad endo and ensuing crash by Jimmy Fishback brought out a red flag. Jimmy walked away but the truck he was driving, belonging to Chris Lawrence had to be towed off the track. Several laps later, Kyle Hart had a similar wreck to Jimmy Fishback’s crashing in the same spot. The field had been dicing back and forth the entire race but Deegan was still holding the lead. When he ran slightly wide in turn one it was all that Sheldon Creed needed. Deegan tried to take the spot back but Creed held him off for the win. Bradley Morris, who won back-to-back in rounds 9 and 10 finished third.
In Round 12, Morris picked up another win and RJ Anderson took the third spot behind Deegan. The contenders were having their way but the Pro Buggy class would break the trend. The point’s leader and defending champ Steven Greinke ruled both rounds 11 and 12 winning back to back. Greinke came to Reno with the points lead over second place Dave Mason jr. who had a streak of eight straight podiums. He was looking to impress his new sponsor LoanMart Racing and did well in round 11 with another third place finish. In round 12 he could only manage tenth. Third place in round 12 went to Bradley Morris. Second place in both rounds went to Eric Fitch who sits in ninth place in the standings but is looking to move up. Fitch’s back-to-back podiums might signal a late season run which will serve him well. If Greinke is starting a similar run, the rest of the field is in big trouble. His back-to-back wins could lead to back-to-back titles.
Rounds 11 and 12 prove that nobody is safe. Those who trail in the standings are not going down without a fight. They will be laying it all on the line when the series heads to Las Vegas, Nevada September 20-21 to race under the lights.