|This weekend marks the return of a big fan favorite in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO: the night races! Although this year will actually feature a second pair of night races later on in the season, this weekend features the first night races of the year, set once again in their traditional southern California home. For the third year in succession, Glen Helen Raceway, set right amongst the hills on the outskirts of San Bernardino, CA, will play host to this ever-popular event, as Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2012 championship will unfold under the lights. These night races are often some of the best of the season, and with the added bonus views of flashing exhausts and glowing brake rotors, as well as the simple enjoyment of a balmy summer night in the grandstands, there is a lot to enjoy this weekend. In case you missed the action out on the track, here’s a synopsis of the evening’s proceedings. For all the latest photos, check out Lucas Oil Off Road on Flickr.
Junior 2 Kart
These drivers held their positions on the restart, and with the top eight drivers having run nose-to-tail through the first half, this was still anyone’s race. On lap nine, Trevor Briska picked up fifth spot in his #459 JH Sims Trucking Co, Inc./Fiberwerx kart, and on lap ten, Winbury re-took third from Davis. On lap eleven, Briska made a good run through the whoop section in the latter half of the final corner, got alongside Davis, and just edged him wide as he moved up to fourth. Davis’ luck then got a whole lot worse, as contact with another driver ended up dropping him down to last place, a tough break for sure. Broc Dickerson moved up to fifth as a result, while up front, it was Steele who’d led wire to wire, all the way to the finish, as he picked up his very first win in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series- congratulations Parker! Second went to PeCoy, third to Winbury, fourth to Briska, and fifth to Dickerson in the #423 Dickerson Motorsports/Black Rhino machine.
Junior 1 Kart
Up front, Dickerson, PeCoy, and McMullen were now running nose-to-tail in the top three, and in one sudden burst, McMullen flew past both PeCoy and Dickerson through turns one and two to take over at the front. The other two had no answer for McMullen, who stayed out front to pick up the win, ahead of Dickerson, PeCoy, Nunley, and Gutierrez in the #278 G Brothers/Patrick’s High Performance Graphix machine.
The new top five (Mamer, Cheek, Morris, Hart, and Creed) held their spots on the restart lap, but on lap ten, Hart made an ambitious run towards the very slight right of turn five, where he tried to nose past Morris for fourth. Hart was unable to pull off the pass, and as the course quickly turned left into turn six, he ran wide and into the outside k-rail, hitting hard on his right side. This allowed both Creed and Jeff Hoffman to get past, but Hart was able to continue. Morris then began to slide back down the order as he struggled with a right front flat, and he was quickly out of the top five. Up front, Mamer was still leading, his truck still nearly pristine despite the muddy conditions, and he came home first to get his second win of the season, ahead of Cheek, Creed, Hoffman in the #547 BRT Signs/Cactus Asphalt kart, and Hart. Mamer’s win was all the more special following the passing of his grandfather yesterday, and Mamer’s family celebrated an emotional win with a big hug up in the Spotters’ Area- way to go Cole!
Fitzgerald ran second in the #314 BFGoodrich Tires/Weddle Racing Gears car, with Jordan Poole third in the #310 Riot Racing/GoPro Fraley, Dillon Ayers fourth in the #398 Gear One/Fat Performance Lothringer, and Kevin McCullough fifth in the #389 Gear One/Broken Cartel Geiser. Zac Hunt got by McCullough coming out of turn two to take over fifth on lap two, and on the next lap, things really heated up at the front. Fitzgerald seemed to suddenly turn up the wick, closing right down on Richards into turn five, before pulling alongside down the front straight and nosing into the lead into turn one. Poole followed suit, as he also got by Richards on lap four, and a bit further back, Kyle Quinn managed to get inside of both McCullough and Hunt to move from seventh to fifth in turn three on lap seven. The top two now had a gap over the rest of the field, and at the Competition Yellow, it was Fitzgerald, Poole, Richards, Ayers, and Quinn in the top five.
Quinn was hit in turn two on the restart lap, dropping him back several spots, and with Richards also dropping back, Hunt and John Proctor were now up to fourth and fifth. A rollover by McCullough in turn five then brought out a full course caution, and when racing resumed, Poole was caught out by contact in that dangerous turn two, which caused him to loop down to the inside burm and drop back to the tail end of the field. The running order was now Fitzgerald, Ayers, Hunt, Quinn, and Bradley Morris, and that order stayed the same through the white flag. On the final lap, a good race between Quinn and Morris was really heating up, and it was Morris who got the better of Quinn, as he got by for fourth at turn four. Up front, Fitzgerald picked up yet another win to extend his points lead, with Ayers and Hunt rounding out the podium. Fourth went to Morris in the #304 Lucas Oil/K&N Penhall, and fifth place was Quinn in the #311 McKenzies/Bugpack Products buggy.
Pro 4 Unlimited
On lap two, contact sent Adler up into the outside wall at turn five, which brought out a full course caution. Adler was able to re-fire and continue, and on the restart lap, LeDuc got by Renezeder on the inside at turn four, moving up to second place as he tried to chase down Barron. Merrell then rolled at turn five, bringing out a second full course caution. On the restart lap, LeDuc got a got run out of turn one, moving to the inside of Barron and just into the lead in turn two. Barron wasn’t having any of it, though, as he held tough and nosed back ahead out of the corner, forcing LeDuc to try again. The two leaders were now quickly walking away from the pack, while behind them, Todd LeDuc had now gotten by Renezeder down the straight into turn five, moving him up to third in the #7 Rockstar/Makita Ford. Renezeder then spun at turn four on the next lap, and at the Competition Yellow, the running order was Barron, Kyle LeDuc in the #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford, Todd LeDuc, Curt LeDuc in the #43 KCHiLites/Truxxx Lift and Level Kits Ford, and Adler in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/Affliction Ford.
LeDucs were now running two-three-four, and at the head of the family train, Kyle LeDuc was still taking the fight to Barron. On the restart lap, LeDuc was finding it hard to intimidate Barron, and as he tried force his way into the lead, Barron held his line, and LeDuc hit Barron hard side to side at the exit of turn two. Barron gave it right back, though, as he kept his foot in it down to turn three, where he nosed ahead, then swung his tail wide and into LeDuc’s side. The move was a precise measure of revenge, one that seemed all too understandable, and which drew a big cheer from the absolutely packed stands. In all the bumping and banging, something went majorly wrong mechanically on LeDuc’s truck, as he was slowed to a crawl soon afterwards, a devastating end to his strong charge. Todd LeDuc moved into second, with Adler third, Coyne fourth in the #5 ProComp/Team Associated Ford, and Curt LeDuc fifth. Adler spun at turn five on lap 17, dropping him to seventh, but he charged back over the final laps to re-take fifth. Up front, it was a dominant, unshakeable drive by Barron that gave him his second straight win, ahead of Todd LeDuc, Coyne, Curt LeDuc, and Adler.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
On the restart, Fortin got by Holmes to take the lead, with Greinke also getting by later on in the lap to move into second. Fortin then started to open up a gap, but a rollover by Porter, and the subsequent full course caution, erased all his hard work, as the field bunched up behind the ReadyLift Toyota Tundra Pace Truck once again. The field then took the restart, but some questionable actions led officials to call for the restart to be done again. After a couple of laps of sorting out the correct restart running order, the field resumed racing under a green-white-checkers run to the finish. That running order was Fortin, Greinke, Holmes, Steele, and George as the green flag waved, and on the penultimate lap, George got down the inside of Steele to make the pass for fourth at turn three. Steele answered right back, though, as he dive-bombed down into turn five, got alongside George, and simply out-drove him out of the corner to re-take fourth. From there, the top five held their spots, and it was Fortin who picked up the win over Greinke, Holmes, Steele, and George. Fortin’s win was his fifth in a row- can he tie the series record of six straight, set by Pro 4 Unlimited driver Kyle LeDuc during the first six rounds of this very season, here at Glen Helen tomorrow night?
Pro Lite Unlimited
On the restart lap, Sheldon Creed got into Beat a little bit as they came out of turn one, and Creed was then able to go by into turn two. Creed was up to fifth, but then spun and dropped back on the same lap, promoting George up to fifth once again in the #42 Discount Tire/Yokohama Ford. Deegan also moved up on the same lap, taking over third from Anderson, before a rollover by Todd Cunningham in turn two brought out another full course caution. Racing resumed briefly, only to be interrupted again by yet, this time for a rollover in turn two by Shannon Campbell. A green-white-checkers finish was then called for by race officials, and all drivers had their crosshairs fixed squarely on the back bumper of Morris. Fortunately for Morris, he possesses mental toughness well beyond his years, as he held off a stacked field to take his first ever win in this class- way to go Bradley! Second went to Currie, third to Deegan, fourth to Anderson, and fifth to Chris Brandt in the #82 BFGoodrich Tires/Livestrong Toyota.
Morris’ win proves that Lucas Oil Off Road’s ladder system is working, as he has risen from success in Modified Kart to success in Limited Buggy, and now to yet more success in Pro Lite Unlimited. Who knows where this young star’s talent will carry him in the years to come?
On the restart, a big rollover by Hagy meant that the Pace Truck would come right back out again, and while Hagy was out, thankfully he appeared to be ok. Hunt had now taken over fourth, with Garrett Poelman lying fifth in the #62 Supercross.com/Loctite truck. On the restart lap, Britt moved by Kirchner for second, with Poelman passing Hunt for fourth. A rollover by Eric Roner then forced another full course caution, with a green-white-checkers finish then being called for. On the restart, Johnson forced Kirchner wide on off the track in a dangerous way between turns one and two, and was rewarded with a rollover in turn two, his second of the night. With yellow waving yet again, it would now be a one-lap sprint to the finish under green. This race had already been filled with incidents, but it saved the best for last, as Gregg Godfrey’s truck climbed atop the back of Bryan Osborn’s, where the two got stuck together so well that they required heavy equipment to get them separated after the race. As a cap to the race, four other trucks had their own pile-up in turn four, while out front, it was Creed who’d kept out of trouble all the way to get the win, ahead of Britt, Kirchner, Hunt, and Poelman.
Pro 2 Unlimited
Deegan and McGrath pulled into the hot pits under yellow, which was an especially costly choice for Deegan, as he had to surrender his fourth place in exchange for a new tire. The two re-emerged at the tail end of the field, without having fallen off the lead lap, and on the restart, it was now Adler in fourth and Justin Davis in fifth in his #85 Green Army/General Tire Ford. Rodrigo Ampudia got by Davis on the restart lap, moving up to fifth in his #36 Lucas Oil/Papas & Beer Ford, as he continued to recover well after getting hooked onto a spinning Renezeder and dropping well back in the early going. Up front, Clark and MacCachren were now closing on Hart, and three laps later, Adler tagged himself on behind them. With Ampudia joining in a lap later, Hart now had a train behind him, as either his tires or his setup were starting to fade, However, those behind didn’t have enough to do anything about that, as Hart continued to hold them at bay. On the final lap, Adler and MacCachren had a tense last minute collision at turn three, from which both drivers luckily escaped. Hart kept his cool up front as he brought home the win, his third of the season, ahead of Clark (who finished a career best in this class) in second, MacCachren in third, Adler in fourth, and Ampudia in fifth. Ampudia had faded on the final lap, and an apparent steering issue sent him into the outside wall after the finish. Fortunately, it was a glancing touch, but Ampudia was lucky to hang on for a top five finish.
That wraps up the night’s events here at Glen Helen. If you missed tonight, worry not, as the lights will be back on again tomorrow night, with Round 10 happening right back here in San Bernardino. Gates will open to the public at 4:00 PM once again, with racing scheduled to begin with Junior 2 Kart just before, at 3:45 PM. Opening Ceremonies will kick off at 5:45 PM, followed by the first Pro class race, Pro 4 Unlimited, at 6:15 PM. Get here early to avoid parking difficulties, and to make sure that you get the best seats possible for what is sure to be another thrilling evening under the lights.
Please find the event outline available for download here:
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the Midwest tradition of short course off road racing infused with a West Coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door to door action to challenging, fan friendly tracks.
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