Alumi Craft racers were the fastest on the track during rounds 7 and 8 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Held on a brand new offroad track at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, nobody knew what expect when they showed up to the virgin race track. At 1.2 miles in length, the track includes 9 turns, huge tabletop jumps and a tricky whoops section to test the drivers. Each team started with a blank slate so it was also a test for the crew chiefs to get their cars up to speed in a hurry. While some struggled at first, Alumi Craft racers were quick right off the bat. During the first practice session, Alumi Craft racers ran 1st thru 5th fastest. During the race on Saturday, they swept the top three podium positions. Pro Buggy points leader Elliot Watson was on the top of the box with defending champ Darren Hardesty Jr. in 2nd and Sterling Cling in 3rd.
The entire facility at Lucas Oil Speedway is top notch. In addition to the new offroad track, there are man-made lakes for boat racing, excellent facilities for camping, and the well-established dirt oval that is called the Diamond of the dirt tracks. The purpose built offroad track is an adrenaline filled playground for drivers, and the fans. Many drove from as far away as Florida and the northeast to witness Lucas Oil Off Road Racing for the very first time. Saturday’s race was a hard fought battle but was nothing compared to the all-out war that took place between Watson and Hardesty on Sunday.
When the Pro Buggy field lined up for Sunday’s race, everyone had a taste of the track the day before and ample time to make changes. “It was a tough track for me to get figured out,” said Sterling Cling, “It was so big, they had to prep it in sections. One corner might be loose dirt, and the next would be hard pack with blue groove, (when rubber build-up from the tires sliding across it takes on a shade of blue). When we showed up on Friday, our gearing was off so we swapped the transmission out. By the time the race came around on Saturday, we were good enough to finish on the podium. On Sunday, we had a car spin out right in front of us during qualifying so we ended up 5th fastest. After the race started, we slipped back to 7th before making a charge towards the front. We were running in third behind Watson and Hardesty and those two were battling hard!” Cling crossed the line in 3rd but was moved to 2nd after officials had a word with the two drivers up front.
According to Hardesty, he and Watson were racing as hard as they could. They battled back and forth for the lead and were not being shy about contact. Normally bad things happen when a pair of open wheel cars get together, but these two are capable of handling their cars like a surgeon handles a scalpel.
A tap here, a nudge there; they were both trying to get in each other’s head to try and force a mistake. Sterling Cling was not the only one to catch what was going on. Lucas Oil officials reviewed the tape and determined that contact from Watson in one corner was over the line. They gave him a black flag and dropped him several positions down in the order. The result was Hardesty with the win, Cling moved up to 2nd, and Alumi Craft racer Broc Dickerson was 3rd for a second straight Alumi Craft sweep of the podium.
On such an incredible track, there was a lot of adrenaline flowing. It ended up getting the best of Elliot Watson but the rivalry between he and Hardesty gave the fans an incredible show of skill, and determination. After round 8, the two are only separated by a single point in the championship standings. Their next meeting at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, NV on Aug 26 and 27 ought to be exciting!
The race weekend in Wheatland proved once again the strength and performance built into every Alumi Craft car. The domination shown by Alumi Craft Pro Buggy cars speaks loudly about their speed and consistency. Alumi Craft racers have the confidence to push their cars and trucks, even when the conditions are at their worst. Every vehicle they build benefits from years of refinement and the proper application of technology and materials. Alumi Craft has an impressive record in competition, but they also build the most reliable and best performing pre-runners and sand cars available. Regardless if you are doing course reconnaissance, racing for a championship, or just having a blast with your friends, Alumi Craft is dedicated to providing you with a fun, safe and reliable vehicle that exceeds your expectations. If you demand the best, give Alumi Craft a call at 619-596-9841 or go to: http://alumicraft.info/ to find out more about our race products and services.
Photography By: Bink Designs