When the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series announced that the we’d be heading East to Wheatland, Missouri over a year ago for a pair of races in 2017, I’m not sure any of the drivers and racing teams really new what they were in for. Of course, the first thing on most people’s minds was probably checking the distance on Google Maps… roughly 1600 miles from Southern California to Lucas Oil Speedway. For Jerett Brooks, it was 1657 to be exact from his hometown of Alpine. But that didn’t stop the defending Pro Lite Champ from storming into Wheatland and putting on a show.
Fans poured in from all over Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, and even as far as Florida to witness the best short-course off-road action take place on the biggest, most insane off-road race track the series has ever delivered, and the drivers couldn’t wait to hit the track. With 1.3 miles of track length, the course would provide 9 turns, one of them even mimicking a Talladega NASCAR-style turn, a table-top jump that would deliver flight distances of nearly 250 feet, a five-pack rhythm section, and the first ever over/under bridge jump. By the end of rounds 7 & 8, the fans were the clear winners of the weekend!
In round 7 of Pro Lite, Jerett would start on the pole after a the 4-truck qualifying inversion. The defending champ would make quick work as the green flag dropped and settled into 1st through turn 1. A couple turns later, championship rival and good friend Brock Heger would make a move from 3rd to 2nd where he’d follow Jerett closely until the caution flag flew on Lap 5. With most of the action behind them, Brock would make a dive down low on Jerett on the restart but it wasn’t enough to get by. Jerett would hold on and take the wire-to-wire victory, his second win of the season in the Rigid Industries #77 Pro Lite. The win would extend the points lead from 13 to 16 for Jerett over Heger in the standings after 7 rounds of racing.
“I just got in my zone and hit my lines every lap”, said Jerett. “I knew I’d have Brock right there waiting for me to make a mistake and I did make a couple bobbles. But I was able to keep it together and stay out front. The track was insane so any mistake could cost me big time. I’m stoked to get another win and extend the points lead!”
No more than an hour later, Jerett would jump into the General Tire, Bilstein Shocks #77 Pro 2, where he’d start on the outside of row 3. At the start of the race, positions shuffled coming through turn 1. Jerett was forced off the track around the backside of turn 2 where he’d re-enter the track at the back in last. Jerett would spend the next couple of laps moving from 10th up to 7th as the caution flag waved on Lap 4. On the restart on Lap 5, now in 6th place, Jerett would take advantage of some carnage ahead of him and jumped up to 3rd. Now with Brian Deegan and RJ Anderson in 1st and 2nd, Jerett would slowly reel them in. Unfortunately on lap 8, Jerett would suffer a mechanical failure while running in podium position and his day would end with an 8th place DNF.
Round 8 would deliver a bit more action for Jerett in the #77 Pro Lite. Starting 5th, there would certainly be more traffic to navigate through and 2 turns into the race, Brock Heger would over-rotate slightly in front of him. Jerett would end up clipping the back of Heger while trying to avoid the traffic jam and ended up rolling over in turn 2. Although he was down, he was not out. After a 2-tire change in the hot-pit and restarting a half a lap back, Jerett would have no other option but to simply burn laps trying to reel the pack back in. With the help of a caution on lap 5, the field would tighten up and Jerett would have the opportunity to start picking positions off one at a time. After spending the next 3 laps working his way through the pack, Jerett would catch the lead pack on the last lap and make a pass attempt on Ryan Beat for 3rd position with only a couple of turns left. Unable to make the pass stick, he’d finish in 4th place after moving up 10 spots after the roll-over. Jerett extended his points lead on Brock Heger by 2 more, now up 18 in the championship standings.
In Pro 2, the final race of the weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway, Jerett would leave it all on the track in an effort to bounce back from the unfortunate DNF in round 7. Starting again in the 3rd row, Jerett would settle into 5th position off the start. After some contact between RJ Anderson and Rob MacCachren, Jerett was able to move up to 4th position, where he’d remain through the competition caution halfway through the race. After losing a position after another restart with 3 to go, Jerett would find an opportunity to get his spot back and then some as Bradley Morris made hard contact with RJ Anderson, taking Anderson out of the race. Jerett would sneak by on the outside taking the 3rd position. With 2 laps to go, Jerett would gain another position after Brian Deegan blew a motor and pulled off the track. Now in 2nd with 2 laps to go, he’d chase Patrick Clark for the lead. But the action wouldn’t stop there. On the last lap in turn 3, Patrick Clark would also lose a motor and Jerett would end up losing his momentum as Clark slowed in front of him. This would allow Jeremy McGrath to sneak by on the bottom of the Talladega turn. Jerett would regain his position and finish in 2nd for his third Pro 2 podium of his rookie season.
After the race, Jerett had this to say.. “It feels so good to get another podium in this stacked Pro 2 class. We’re getting more and more comfortable with the truck and we’re starting to run up front more consistently. I can’t thank my crew enough for all the hard work and I really want to say thank you to General Tire and Bilstein Shocks for supporting this program and helping dial us in right here at the track. This thing is really coming together and we wouldn’t be here without them and the rest of our sponsors!”
Jerett Brooks Racing is sponsored by General Tire, Rigid Industries, Bilstein Shocks, KMC Wheels, Maxima Racing Oils, Optima Batteries, FK Rod Ends, K2 Coolers, Black Rhino Performance, Magnaflow Exhaust, Factory Canopies, Fortin Racing, Casper’s Concrete Busters, Eibach Springs, Howe Performance, Kroyer Racing Engines, Jones Racing Performance, Camburg, NoGrady Racing Engines, Adidas Motorsport, and Impact Safety.
The Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series heads to Reno, NV August 26-27 for rounds 9 & 10. For more information, visit www.lucasoiloffroad.com.