Lake Elsinore, California (September 23, 2016) – For the second weekend this season, racing action for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, is back at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park here in southern California. Some subtle track changes have been made this weekend, including some noticeable banking in turn one and the combining of pairs of double jumps into large single jumps in the rhythm section between turns three and four. It’s hard to say how much these changes contributed to the speed our racers showed here under the lights tonight, versus how much of that speed was simply down to the desperation of the championship chases going on within each class, but either way, the drivers were putting in some very impressive performances here on this fine fall evening. Fans packed the stands to watch the drivers tackle this challenging, high-flying track, and those fans were treated to some fantastic racing, as quality, pulse-pounding competition was seen amongst the frontrunners in every one of our classes here this evening.
As the sun was just dipping behind the coastal mountains that border this track to the west, it was time for Modified Kart. Starting from pole after the post-qualifying inversion, Nathan Barry led the field after the first lap in his #528 CBR Performance Products/DASA machine, ahead of Trevor Briska in the #559 JH Sims Trucking Co., Inc./Prolong Super Lubricants kart, Hailie Deegan in the #538 NOS Energy/Traxxas entry, Christopher Polvoorde #594 The Palms River Resort/Salazar truck, and Trey Gibbs in the #515 Kicker/Ethika machine. On lap two, Gibbs got by Polvoorde at turn two to take over fourth spot, and at the end of the next lap, championship leader Deegan got by Briska just at the start/finish line to move up to second. Once she’d gotten past Briska, Deegan quickly pulled a small gap over Briska, while Gibbs and Polvoorde looked as though they were being held up slightly behind the third place runner. After the Competition Yellow, which fell at the end of lap five, Polvoorde got a great drive on the restart to get by both Gibbs and Briska, which put Polvoorde up to third. A full course caution then fell during lap eight after Chris Nunes suffered a rollover in turn one, but safety crews were able to quickly get Nunes righted, and he was able to continue. When racing resumed, both Briska and Gibbs got back by Polvoorde on the restart to re-take third and fourth spots, but after that, the running order within the top five went unchanged. At the stripe, it was Barry who scored the big win, the first of his career in a National series Modified Kart race- congratulations Nathan! Second was Deegan, who extended her points lead from 12 to 18 with just two races remaining. Third went to Briska, while Deegan’s closest championship rivals, Gibbs (second in the title race) and Polvoorde (third in the title race) finished up fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the 4 wheel drive ranks, Doug Mittag wowed his visiting fans from Indonesia by grabbing the early lead, ahead of Carl Renezeder, Rob MacCachren, Greg Adler, and Kyle LeDuc. Doug Fortin caught the inside k rail at turn three and spun, and when Adrian Cenni swept onto the scene just behind, he clipped Fortin’s right rear and rolled over, bringing out the full course caution at the end of the opening lap. Cenni’s truck sustained heavy damage and was soon on the sidelines following the return to green flag racing, while further forward, LeDuc got past Adler on the inside at turn two to move his #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford up to fourth. Renezeder then got by Mittag out of turn one to move into the lead in his #17 Lucas Oil/Lucas Oil Racing TV Ford on the next lap, with several more drivers then quickly sweeping past Mittag, as mechanical issues put Mittag out of the running. Mittag actually came to a stop just out of turn three, which forced a second full course yellow, and on the restart lap, LeDuc dove deep into turn four to try and get inside of MacCachren, but MacCachren chopped LeDuc off and held the position. Up front, Renezeder was getting just a little bit of breathing room as MacCachren and LeDuc continued to battle for second place, but on lap eight, LeDuc completed a prolonged pass on MacCachren as the two exited turn four, after the two had battled side by side from turn two clear to turn four. On lap 11, Renezeder then bicycled majorly at turn four, and this dropped him two spots to third, handing the lead to his title rival LeDuc. After a rough start to the season, LeDuc has battled his way back to within six points of Renezeder coming into this weekend, and by scoring the pole in qualifying earlier this afternoon, that put him within five points. Renezeder pulled it back out to six by leading at the halfway point, but as the two now ran on track, LeDuc was slated to pull back four more points, theoretically cutting the deficit to just a scant two points. Renezeder wasn’t going to take that laying down, though, and he knocked out three consecutive fastest laps (laps 12-14) to get back by MacCachren with a little bump down the inside at turn two on lap 13, before pulling himself back within striking distance of LeDuc. However, LeDuc then laid down an even quicker lap, the race’s fastest, on lap 15, to keep himself in the lead, and he stayed ahead to grab his sixth win of the season. LeDuc’s win gave him another two points back on Renezeder, who finished second, and the gap between the two now stands at four points in Renezeder’s favor with two races to run. MacCachren finished third in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools Ford, and he remains third in the title race, now 28 points back. Fourth went to Adler in the #10 4 Wheels Parts/ProComp Ford, and fifth was Fortin in the #96 General Tire/E3 Spark Plugs Toyota; Fortin sits fourth in points, 42 points back.
Pro Lite Unlimited
Pro Lite Unlimited saw a very exciting front row of the starting grid, as a six-truck inversion put young gun Broc Dickerson alongside Sarah Burgess at the drop of the green flag. However, it was Brock Heger who came up from row two to take the early lead in his #12 Icon Vehicle Dynamics/Maxxis Toyota, ahead of Dickerson, Jerett Brooks, Ryan Beat, and Cole Mamer. Both Brooks and Beat got by Dickerson for second and third on lap two, while further back, Ronnie Anderson suffered an unfortunate rollover, which brought out the full course yellow at the end of the lap. Once racing had picked up again, Brooks made a very nice run on Heger down the inside at turn two, but Heger just managed to hold Brooks off and keep the lead. That same lap saw Dickerson drop back to eighth, which moved Mamer up to fourth in the #35 Support Childhood Cancer!/Rare Cross Nissan, and Arthur up to fifth in the #6 Competitive Metals/Toyo Tires Chevrolet. Up front, Heger and Brooks had now opened up a good gap back to third placed Beat, as their pace was simply on a level that nobody else could match. Arthur got by Mamer at turn four to move up to fourth on lap eight, with the top five then settling down for a bit. On lap 12, Burgess rolled in turn three, which brought out a second full course yellow, and when racing resumed, Brooks was again all over Heger in a push for the lead. Heger was perhaps driving a little too defensively, and seemed to be compromising his own speed in order to put himself down to the inside line at every opportunity. Brooks was persistent, and on lap 13, his dogged determination paid off, as he got by Heger at turn three to move into the lead. Once ahead, Brooks put the hammer down in his #77 Rigid Industries LED Lighting/Bilstein Shock Absorbers Nissan, and edged out several truck lengths over the field in just the final lap, again showing why he is the championship leader. On that same final lap, Beat and Arthur moved right up behind Heger to make themselves contenders for his second place, and as the trio piled through the final corner, Arthur swept around Beat on the outside to grab third. Arthur had great momentum, and nearly edged Heger at the line as well, missing out on second place by just 0.041 seconds! Fourth was Beat in the #51 Rockstar Energy Drink/Lunarpages Chevrolet, and fifth was Mamer. Brooks’ win increased his points lead to 30 over second placed Arthur, with Heger now third at 48 points back, and Beat fourth, 53 points off the lead.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Darren Hardesty Jr. and Kevin McCullough started from the front row in the Pro Buggy Unlimited race, and they still sat in first and second at the end of lap one, ahead of Garret George, Taylor Atchison, and Sterling Cling in the preliminary top five. Lap two saw Cling slide wide in the slippery conditions exiting turn one, where he clattered into Atchison and sent him into a wild rollover, which immediately brought out the full course caution. Atchison was alright, albeit understandably agitated, as his car was too damaged to continue tonight. When racing resumed, Cling was given the black flag for his part in the incident, and that put Bud Ward in the #17 Ramona Tire/Fortin Racing, Inc. Funco and Mike Valentine in the #78 Royal Purple Synthetic Oil/Jamar Funco up to fourth and fifth. Up front, McCullough was putting big pressure on Hardesty Jr. in the first few laps after the restart, but gradually, Hardesty Jr. started to edge out just a little breathing room. However, on lap 12, things went badly wrong for Hardesty Jr., as he rolled in turn two after clipping the broken down car of Jason Bates, which had been sitting up against the outside barrier just in the landing zone of the step-up jump into the corner. The full course yellow flag was just coming out for Bates as the incident occurred, but unfortunately for Hardesty Jr., it didn’t come out fast enough. Worse still, Hardesty Jr. rolled into the path of George as he came through the corner, and the two came together fairly heavily, causing enough damage to both cars to put them both out of the race. The full course yellow was now most certainly out, and as the field circulated under yellow, McCullough ducked into the Hot Pits, handing the lead to Ward, with Valentine, Eliott Watson, Cling, and Chad Hill now filling out the top five. On the restart lap, Cling got by Watson to move up to third, while McCullough then got back into the top five on the next lap after taking the restart back in seventh. On the final lap, Valentine tried to dive bomb Ward into turn three, and he then forced the issue by trying forcefully to get by Ward out of the corner and into the rhythm section. Ward held tough, though, and despite briefly hooking wheels, Ward stayed ahead, and brought it home to grab his first career National Series Pro Buggy Unlimited win- congratulations Bud! Second went to Valentine, third to Cling in the #77 Cling’s Aerospace/BFGoodrich Tires Alumi Craft, fourth to Watson in the #3 Fox Racing Shox/Tom Watson Inc. Solar Power Alumi Craft, and fifth to McCullough in the #62 Stapleton Roofing/ DA8 Training Foddrill. George’s misfortune means that he has now dropped out of the points lead, as he now trails new points leader Valentine by just five points with two races remaining. Hardesty Jr. sits a further nine points back, with McCullough another single point behind, Ward down by 32 points from Valentine, and Watson 48 points off the lead.
Pro 2 Unlimited
Starting from the front row here tonight, Brian Deegan and Jeremy McGrath ran one-two after the opening lap of the Pro 2 Unlimited race, with Rob MacCachren, RJ Anderson, and Carl Renezeder close behind in the early top five. Lap four saw Anderson over-rotate and drop from fourth to fifth in turn four, and in the early part of the next lap, MacCachren got past McGrath to take over second place. Once ahead of McGrath, MacCachren and his #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools Ford quickly closed down the leader Deegan early on lap six, and now the race for the lead was really heating up. On lap eight, MacCachren pulled a brilliant move in turn one to briefly get a nose ahead of Deegan, and as the two sped out of the corner and down the back straight, it looked like MacCachren might have the chance to stay ahead heading up to the step-up jump. However, a big crash for Patrick Clark coming out of turn one brought out a full course yellow, briefly pausing the action between Deegan and MacCachren. Fortunately, Clark was okay, but his truck was not, as it had sustained heavy front end damage, and he had to be towed off. Once racing resumed, officials didn’t like the drivers’ first attempt at a restart, and so forced them to give it a second try. The field got it right on that second attempt, and on that restart lap, Renezeder was quickly by McGrath and up to third, with Anderson then getting by McGrath as well going into turn two. The next lap saw Deegan and MacCachren swap the lead twice in and out of turn one, with Deegan again emerging ahead; Deegan was really showing the resilience and skill that has made him a three-time champ in this class. On that same lap, Anderson got past Renezeder to move up to third spot in the #37 Rockstar Energy Drink/Polaris RZR truck. Renezeder nearly got back by two laps later, and forced Anderson well wide coming out of turn one. Anderson held tough and maintained his position, though, while up front, MacCachren finally got by Deegan going into turn three. Once in the lead, MacCachren was nearly inch perfect, giving no places for the competition to make any ground on him, and he brought home the win for the fifth straight race to extend his already sizeable points lead; so long as MacCachren takes the start in the final two races of this season, he will clinch this year’s championship. Deegan finished second in the #38 NOS Energy Drink/Mickey Thompson Ford, with Anderson third, Renezeder fourth in the #17 Lucas Oil/Team Associated Ford, and McGrath fifth in the #2 Maxxis/Carlyle by NAPA truck.
The racing was certainly awesome here at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park tonight, but if history is any guide, tomorrow night’s races have every chance of being even better, so be sure to join us then. Gates open to the public at 2:00 PM, with qualifying starting at 3:00 PM, the first race of the evening at 6:30 PM, Opening Ceremonies at 7:30 PM, and the first Pro class race of the night immediately after Opening Ceremonies. Get out here and enjoy what should be another beautiful fall evening under the lights, it’s a great way to spend your Saturday night!
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. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course. For more information, please visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com.