By: Brian Binkert
The night time start at Rounds 9 and 10 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Glen Helen did nothing to cool the action that took place on the track. It’s easy to see why the night race at Glen Helen has become such a fan favorite. The weekend was filled with huge upsets and fierce competition on every lap.
Carl Renezeder, who has dominated Pro-4 with a record setting 9 wins in a row, turned only three laps in round 9 and was out on lap one in turn one of round 10. In Carl’s absence, Kyle Leduc and Eric Barron fought intensely for the lead in round 9. As the battle got more physical, the two made hard contact in turn three putting Leduc out of the race. Two laps later, the wounded Barron fell out as well. This left Rob MacCachren, Greg Adler and Curt Leduc in contention. MacCachren, who was leading, started drifting wide in the corners after a right front CV failure left him with only three wheel drive. Adler pounced on him and motored off to take the victory. MacCachren held on to second and Curt Leduc finished in third. In round 10, Renezeder broke a hub in the first corner leaving the rest of the field to duke it out. There was no repeat of the battle between LeDuc and Barron. Barron had problems, dropping out on lap 6. LeDuc was not to be denied. He led wire to wire taking the top spot followed by MaCachren with another second place and a hungry Ryan Beat grabbing third. Brandon Bailey passed MacCachren to finish in second place but he too was penalized for rough driving after the race. His podium finish was short-lived.
In round 9, the Pro-2 podium was in turmoil after Brian Deegan, who finished physically in third, was dropped back to 13th for rough driving. He tried to bully his way past both Robby Woods and Rob MacCachren in the same corner. He got past Woods but tagged MacCachren in the door causing him to lose fire; the incident dropped MacCachren to fifth. Woods, who was in the pits instead of on the podium, was awarded third place after the penalty. The turmoil for third place was nothing compared to the battle up front between Bryce Menzies and Marty Hart. Hart put a gap on the field in the early going but a pair of cautions allowed Menzies to close the gap. When it comes to competition, there are few tougher than Hart but with only a few corners left Menzies put a move on him that stuck. “Marty would pull away after a few clean laps,” said Bryce, “I had to jump him on the re-start if I was going to make a pass. I dove inside and he hit a rut allowing me to slide past.”
In round 10, Hart got swift redemption with a much deserved victory. Deegan stayed clean for second and Robby Woods took his second, third place podium of the weekend, this time without the drama.
Prolite was dominated by Bradley Morris who took back-to-back victories. Incredibly, he did the same thing last season at Glen Helen which must be weighing heavily on the minds of his competition. In round 9, Bradley had a fierce battle with defending champ RJ Anderson who finished close behind in second place. Sheldon Creed held off Casey Currie to finish third.
Creed’s luck ran out in round 10. He crashed twice putting him out on lap 6. Anderson had some bad luck of his own. He ducked into the pits under the full course caution for Creed’s roll; rejoining the field at the back of the pack. His charge towards the front got him back up to fifth at the checkers. At the post race technical inspection fourth place Noah Fouch was disqualified moving Anderson up to fourth. Casey Currie and Brian Deegan battled back and forth through the crashes and cautions to finish second (Currie) and third (Deegan). Glen Helen was the debut of the last chance qualifier (LCQ) in Prolite. With a record number of entries it has become necessary to limit the field. Only the top two in the LCQ would earn a spot in the main event, six racers were sent home.
Pro Buggy racer Geoffrey Cooley continued his momentum from round 8 taking his second win in a row in round 9. He was followed by defending champ Steve Greinke in second and John Fitzgerald in third. Bradley Morris was fourth. In a raucous round 10, Cooley broke his rear suspension. His momentum was crushed. Bradley Morris would take Cooley’s place on the top of the podium with Steve Greinke in second and John Fitzgerald in third once again.
The Lucas Oil series heads to Wild West Motorsports Park in Reno, Nevada August 23-25. Glen Helen demonstrated that anything can happen when these incredibly talented and highly motivated drivers hit the track. Some will be looking to redeem themselves; others fighting to remain on top. With the season past the midway point in round 9, it’s going to get even more intense as the rounds begin to dwindle.
Round 9 Pro-4: Greg Adler, Rob MacCachren, Curt LeDuc Pro-2: Bryce Menzies, Marty Hart, Robby Woods Prolite: Bradley Morris, RJ Anderson, Sheldon Creed Pro Buggy: Geoffrey Cooley, Steve Geinke, John Fitzgerald
Round 10 Pro-4: Kyle LeDuc, Rob MacCachren, Ryan Beat Pro-2: Marty Hart, Brian Deegan, Robby Woods Prolite: Bradley Morris, Casey Currie, Brian Deegan Pro Buggy: Bradley Morris, Steve Geinke, John Fitzgerald