The Dark Horse isn’t so dark anymore.
Round 10 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series brought a healthy Kyle LuDuc and an ambitious underdog; Eric Barron.
As the sun set on Glen Helen Raceway, the Pro 4 Unlimited class kicked off opening ceremonies with a dog fight that continued from Round 9. When the green flag dropped, it didn’t take long for Monster Energy driver Kyle LeDuc and the LAT / Maxxis / Toyota driver Eric Barron to continue right where they left off in Round 9; at the front of the field. Trying every angle he could, Kyle LeDuc attempted to muscle his way past Barron at every turn. The “never say die” spirit of Barron would prevent LeDuc from passing at will. Lap 6 would bring out a full course caution after Josh Merrell would find himself in a familiar position; upside down. This would give Kyle LeDuc a chance to make a move early on but unfortunately for LeDuc, he would have to hope for another caution in order to catch Barron who had his Toyota absolutely dialed.
The half way point in the race would come and go before you knew it and STILL point leader Kyle LeDuc could not make a pass. Older brother Todd LeDuc would find himself working his way to the front of the field, but after an “aggressive driving” warning (after a pass on Merrell early in the race) Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series officials made it clear to Todd LeDuc that he would be black flagged for ANY contactable would have to leave the bumping and banging to younger brother Kyle.
Barron would not submit to the LeDuc duo and would go on to win his third consecutive race and sweep at Glen Helen Raceway. Kyle LeDuc and Todd LeDuc would round out the podium.
“I think Barron hit every rut out there… Twice” said Kyle LeDuc.
Just when we thought that Pro Lite Unlimited racing couldn’t get better than it did in Round 9 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Round 10 proved to be just as electrifying.
The crowd was on the edge of their seat while series title contenders started at the front of the field, along with Round 9 winner Bradley Morris. Morris could continue right where he left off in Round 9 as he led the Pro Lite Unlimited field of 24 trucks to the green flag, gapping the rest of the field by a minimum of 6 truck lengths at any point in time.
The Pro Lite Unlimited field would come to a halt when the red flag came out for Justin “Bean” Smith while he was upside-down in the truck tipping turn 2 of Glen Helen Raceway. When the field was reset it was: Deegan, Brandt, Anderson and George who would battle for every inch. Chad George would push the issue and stick an impressive pass on Chris Brandt and RJ Anderson, but with every high comes a low and George would put his Funco Traxxas on its lid in the infamous turn 2 to bring out a full course yellow.
Three laps after the half way point, series points leader RJ Anderson would find himself catching a bad break and would go down with mechanical failure to the rear of his Monster Energy Walker Evans Racing Shocks Pro Lite Unlimited.
Despite a bobble on the white flag lap, the young gun Bradley Morris would hold off last years champ Brian Deegan to take the win in Round 10. Brian Deegan and Casey Currie would round out the podium in an absolutely brutal round of racing.
Pro 2 Unlimited racing action paid dividends to some of the classes most overdue competitors.
“The General” Brian Deegan quickly took command of the race and set a pace that couldn’t be matched. While Deegan has had his string of bad luck in the Pro 2 Unlimited division in 2012, this was finally an open door for Deegan to take full advantage of. While Deegan checked out, the battle for the second place position between seven time AMA Supercross champion Jeremy “Showtime” McGrath and the young rebel of Robby Woods was some of the cleanest racing we have seen from the unfortunate couple who seem to always find some sort of chaos among the field.
Although the majority of the race was compiled of a game of “follow the leader”, it was nothing short of a spectacular display of a 900 horsepower two wheel drive ballet around the shortcourse track at Glen Helen Raceway.
Brian Deegan would go on to take the checkered flag in the fist place position followed by Jeremy “Showtime” McGrath and Robby Woods.
Although we are beyond the half way point in the series with just five rounds remaining, unsuspecting drivers are coming out of the woodworks and making their way to the top of the podium. Racing continues North towards Reno Nevada August 25th and 26th as the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series heads into Rounds 11 and 12.
Words by Adam “Gunnslinger” Gunn
Photos by Jason Zindroski