Author: Bink Designs Photos: Bink Designs
The final weekend of racing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series was filled with contrasts. Points leaders were out to protect their standings; everyone else it seemed was willing to throw caution to the wind. The final round on Saturday had serious championship implications but Sunday’s cup races were a no holds barred slugfest for bragging rights and big bucks. Kyle LeDuc summed up the cup race perfectly stating, “There’s no tomorrow.” It all added up to action-packed racing for the fans and the live television audience on Sunday.
Going into the final round Carl Renezeder had already wrapped up the Pro-4 championship, all Brian Deegan needed to do to win in Prolite was to take the green flag and Steven Greinke was poised to win back-to-back titles in Pro Buggy. With that said, there was still plenty to contest; primarily the Pro-2 championship and runner up spots in Prolite, Pro Buggy and Pro-2.
Rob MacCachren was leading Carl Renezeder by 8 points in Pro-2. He would have to stay ahead of Carl at any cost to win the title. Carl could take the title from Rob but if he came up short, he still had to hold off Brian Deegan. Carl’s luck would not fare well; he broke the rear suspension and dropped out on lap 13! With Carl done, Rob could go all out for the win but developed problems of his own. His engine went sour just a few turns later on the same unlucky lap 13. He limped around the track to gain as many points as possible but dropped to 16th and then 17th before he was lapped by Menzies and Deegan. A lap down, he parked it but the championship was his. Deegan won the race and passed Renezeder for second in the Pro-2 championship. Bryce Menzies finished the race in second, Marty Hart was third.
In Prolite Sheldon Creed had a crash during qualifying that put him in the back. That jeopardized his second place in the standings if third place RJ Anderson did well. RJ did do well, he won the race. Creed fought his way up to 6th but that might not be enough to maintain his place; final standings have not been published yet. Justin Smith was on the podium in 2nd followed by Jimmy Fishback in 3rd. Deegan’s truck started smoking around lap 8 so he parked it with enough points to clinch his third Prolite title. Kyle Hart had one of the worst wrecks in memory; barrel rolling about a dozen times. He went three wide off the big jump with Sheldon Creed and Noah Fouch. All three banged fenders in midair; the contact causing Hart to rotate; landing on his side. Thankfully, he climbed out of his truck on his own. He was taken to the hospital for observation but reports are he was not seriously injured.
The Pro Buggy race had its share of crashes, passes and wheel to wheel action. Steven Greinke was a lock for the title but Dave Mason trailed Bradley Morris by only seven points; second place was up for grabs. Morris was out front early with points leader Greinke in 2nd; Mason was busy working his way up to 4th. After a full course caution for Dillon Reimer’s rollover, Greinke took the top spot away from Morris. On the next lap Garrett George tried to put a move on Morris for 2nd. They banged wheels sending Morris wide towards the wall and backwards in the running order. This was the break Mason needed but he then spun on the second to last lap dropping him back to seventh, Morris finished 8th. Whoever wins second place in Pro Buggy it will be by a razor thin margin. Greinke went on to win the race with Geoffrey Cooley 2nd and John Fitzgerald 3rd.
With the final round in the books, all that was left were the cup races on Sunday. They lived up to expectations with non-stop action and some strange twists. In the Prolite cup race Justin Smith was out front with RJ Anderson in second. Anderson tried everything to take the lead away but Smith held on despite several cautions that bunched up the field. In the final corner Anderson tried to dive underneath but Smith held a tight line despite contact to his rear quarter. Anderson went sideways heading for the wall but Creed and Morris, who were both fender to fender, hit Anderson which straightened him out. The three were sandwiched together until Creed broke free to finish 2nd, Anderson was 3rd and Morris was stalled on the track. It was Justin Smith’s first Prolite victory since he moved from the Pro Buggy class.
The Pro Buggy cup race was similar to the way the season unfolded. The young guns jumped out front early but then the veteran Greinke reeled them in. After a full course caution just after the start, Morris took the lead and began checking out. He then spun; backing into the wall and collecting Dave Mason. Several cars then tangled after the following re-start; Sterling Cling ended up on his lid. After that caution, John Fitzgerald inherits the lead with Eddie Tafoya 2nd, Greinke is 3rd. Mason then gets by both to take 2nd, Tafoya and Greinke are left battling for 3rd. Fitzgerald and Mason were checking out when Fitzgerald spun leaving Mason out front. The whole while Geoffrey Cooley was charging through the field despite a left front tire that was flat. After still another caution, Greinke jumps Mason on the re-start and takes the lead. Greinke goes on to win, Mason is 2nd, Larry Job 3rd and Cooley takes 4th. As the leaders crossed the line there was a huge wreck involving John Fitzgerald and Eddie Tafoya. Fitzgerald unexpectedly slowed off the big jump causing Tafoya to ride over the back of Fitzgerald’s car. The two tumbled after landing so violently that it ripped the engine completely out of Tafoya’s car.
After removing the wreckage from the Pro Buggy race it was time for the Pro-2, Pro-4 cup race to begin. The Pro-2’s get a head start to compensate for the Pro-4’s all wheel drive advantage. Eric Barron got spun on lap dropping him to the back of the Pro-4’s and causing damage to his hood that blocked his vision. He charged back to the front but collected a smoking Kyle LeDuc when he over rotated in the corner. The resulting caution allowed Barron to dive into the hot pits and remove his hood. After the re-start it was Bryce Menzies running out front, followed by Robby Woods. The rear suspension on Bryce’s truck broke allowing Woods to get out front. The leading Pro-4 of Carl Renezeder clips Menzies as he slows taking out the brakes on Carl’s truck. Unable to stop Carl flies past Brian Deegan and hits Woods in the side. Woods holds on to the lead with Deegan stuck to his back bumper. Woods looked like he would go on to take his first victory but in the second to last corner he caught a rut that put him sideways and scrubbed his speed. Barron, who had charged all the way to the front, hit Woods and shot out to the lead and the checkered flag. Officials instantly made a call that Barron should be penalized for aggressive driving which dropped him to 9th. The benefactor was Brian Deegan who was running 3rd but got past Woods for second after the contact. Deegan crossed the line 2nd but was awarded the win after Barron’s penalty. Every Robby Woods fan was crushed by the turn of events but to Robby’s credit he was extremely gracious and positive on the podium. The weekend left some with broken dreams, bent race cars and hurt feelings but the racers and fans all had one thing in common; they can’t wait to get back to racing in 2014!