Here at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, beautiful southern California weather greeted the drivers and fans for the final regular season round of the 2013 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO. With championships still up for grabs in six of the seven classes racing here today, there was much to fight for. For all the drivers, there was certainly the chance to make a lasting impression at this final race weekend, before the series moves into the off-season. All this meant that the action, as usual, would be at its peak it this season finale, with virtually everything to gain and nothing to lose going into the upcoming three month break. Champions were crowned here today, and while some championship hopefuls fared very well, others suffered some heartbreaking issues.
Junior 2 Kart
First out onto the track for the season finale was Junior 2 Kart, and with a 30-point lead going into today’s season finale, Hailie Deegan had a pretty solid lock on the championship, and would only need to 17th or better to secure the championship. Parker Porter grabbed the early lead in his #461 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats machine, with Deegan second in the #438 Dirt Princess/4 Wheel Parts kart, Parker Steele third in the #449 Steele Racing/Lucas Oil truck, Hayden Cling fourth in the #418 Kyle Green Fab/Cling’s Manufacturing entry, and Broc Dickerson fifth in the #423 LGE/CTS Motorsports/ZLT machine. Deegan moved into the lead quickly, as she got past Porter in turn one on the second lap; Dickerson also picked up a position in that corner, as he moved ahead of Cling to take over fourth. Dickerson then picked up another spot coming out of turn three on the next lap, and coming out of turn four on lap four, he got by Porter as well to take over second. Lap five saw Porter, Cling, and Steele collect as they came out of turn one, and that allowed some new drivers to enter the top five. With Dickerson then challenging Deegan strongly for the lead as the two came up to the Competition Yellow flag at the end of the lap, Deegan just managed to stay a nose ahead. Behind these two, Ryan Carey now ran third in the #422 Lawrence Equipment/Mothers truck, with Bryce McDaniel fourth in the #425 Metal Mulisha/We All Ride kart, and Timmy Moran fifth in his #416 Simpson/Hoosier entry. A botched restart forced officials to call everyone back for a second restart, and after this one, Dickerson got by Deegan and into the lead coming out of turn four on the restart lap. Deegan got Dickerson right back, though, as she passed back into the lead going into turn one on the next lap, and with Dickerson then losing it at turn two on the next lap, Deegan’s closest challenger for the win was now out of the picture. Many drivers swerved to miss Dickerson as he got himself straightened out and back underway, and again the running order up front was re-shuffled. At the white flag, it was now Deegan, Carey, McDaniel, Moran, and Alyssa Fortin in the #496 Fortin Racing, Inc./Fox Racing Shox kart in the top five. Up front, Deegan brought it home in spectacular fashion, as she won not only the battle, but the war as well, picking up both the race win and her first career champion. Hailie Deegan is your 2013 Lucas Oil Off Road Junior 2 Kart Champion- congratulations from all of us Hailie! Carey finished second today, with McDaniel taking third, Moran fourth, and Fortin fifth.
Junior 1 Kart
Roaring out on track next were the Junior 1 Karts, and this race would feature the closest list of title contenders coming into the championship decider. Ricky Gutierrez held a slim 9-point lead over Blaze Nunley, with Daely Pentico another one point back, Madix Bailey one more point behind, and Kali Kinsman just six points further adrift. On track, that effectively meant that only nine finishing positions separated the top five runners in terms of points, so there were a lot of potential champions coming into today’s race. A tangle in turn one led to a full restart, and among those caught out in the incident was Kinsman, who shot into the hot pits for a quick repair, before re-emerging several seconds behind the tail end of the field as the rest of the drivers took the restart. A second incident at turn one caught out Blaze Nunley, Bailey, and Bear Nunley, but this time, no restart was called for. Mason Prater led at the end of lap one, with Gutierrez just behind in second, Pentico third, Ray Roben fourth, and Justin Wilson fifth. Pentico got by Gutierrez and up to second in his #218 LEX/King Off-Road Racing Shocks kart on lap two, but remained a part of a very close trio of drivers who were battling for the lead. Gutierrez got back by Pentico going into turn four on the next lap, moving his #278 G Brothers/B&D Performance truck up to second as a result. Pentico then nearly spun Gutierrez out as the two exited turn one on the next lap, but Gutierrez did a good job to hold his kart straight, though he dropped back to third after the contact. At the Competition Yellow, Prater still held the lead in his #205 Racer X Motorsports/SDHQ Off Road Racing entry, with Pentico second, Gutierrez third, Roben fourth in the #210 Duggins Construction, Inc./Media1 machine, and Wilson fifth in the #256 Legacy Motorsports/DASA truck. Roben came to a stop at turn three while the field circulated under yellow, and after he was unable to get re-fired, he was pushed off the track by safety crews. Roben’s misfortune moved Wilson up to fourth and Blaze Nunley to fifth in his #230 RC10.com/Kevin McMullen Fabrication & Transaxles kart for the restart, and on the restart lap, it was Gutierrez who again got by Pentico for second place early on. At the end of the next lap, Kinsman nosed ahead of Nunley and into fifth just at the start/finish line, as she continued to charge through the field after her misfortune following the first start. On the final lap, Gutierrez suddenly got the lead from Prater going out of turn one, and he stayed there to the checkers, emulating Deegan in the previous race by winning both the race and the title. Congratulations to Ricky Gutierrez, the 2013 Lucas Oil Off Road Junior 1 Kart champion! Second went to Prater, who fell just short after leading masterfully for nearly the entire race, while Pentico rounded out the podium in third. Kinsman edged out Wilson by a nose for fourth at the line in her #236 Pink Motorsports/7 Heaven Racing, showing that she certainly would’ve been a contender for the win today had she not had such bad luck on the first start; Wilson finished a close fifth today.
The final race of the day on the shorter “kids” track was Modified Kart, and coming into this one, defending champion Myles Cheek was looking strong to repeat his title-winning performance from last year. With a 28-point lead over Cole Mamer, 32 over Preston Roben, 39 over Jeff Hoffman, 46 over Gavin Harlien, and 51 over Brock Heger, Cheek technically had five other potential championship contenders to deal with, but barring significant issues, Cheek would likely bring home the crown. Race officials didn’t like the first start to the race, and called for a restart. Unfortunately, the second start didn’t go so well, either, as a massive pile-up ensued as the field exited turn one. Among those caught out was Cheek, who had dropped back enough positions behind Mamer for the two to sit virtually equal on points as they ran on track. Race officials then called for another restart, and after the field got back in order and took yet another start, it was Brock Heger who had the lead after lap one on the first start that “took.” Cheek ran second, with Parker Steele third, Travis PeCoy fourth, and Preston Roben fifth. Heger slowed a bit early on lap two and dropped to third, before slowing substantially and falling out of the top five before lap’s end. Heger pulled off at the start of the next lap, and the top five was now Cheek in the #1 ThyssenKrupp Motorsports/Metal Mulisha kart, Steele in the #549 Trophy Kart/Lucas Oil machine, PeCoy in the #573 FMF/Oakley truck, Roben in his #514 Duggins Construction, Inc./Boost Composites entry, and Gavin Harlien in the #555 Team Associated/Ironclad machine. Mamer picked off Harlien for fifth on lap three, but remained embattled in a strong race with PeCoy, Roben, and Harlien over third place. Up front, Cheek and Steele were well clear by the Competition Yellow, and the two continued to run first and second, ahead of PeCoy, Roben, and Mamer in the top five, as the field returned to green flag racing on lap eight. Both Mamer and Harlien got by Roben at turn one on the restart lap, taking over fourth and fifth in the process. Mamer then got past PeCoy coming out of turn two on lap nine, but PeCoy got him back on the inside at turn one on the next lap. Harlien then picked off Mamer as well, shooting past as he entered turn two on the same lap. A full course caution then came out on lap 11 for an on-course incident, and after the grid got sorted out over the next two laps, racing resumed on lap 14. Somehow, Mamer was placed back in third place, behind Cheek and Steele, and ahead of PeCoy and Harlien in the top five. PeCoy and Harlien got hooked together coming out of turn three on the restart lap and came to a stop, which put Christopher Polvoorde and Roben up to fourth and fifth at the white flag. Polvoorde then ran wide at turn one, and a spectacular, scary barrel roll by Daely Pentico into turn two significantly shuffled the running order on the final lap. Up front, Cheek was unaffected, and he made the “win the battle, win the war” motto ring true for all three classes, as he picked up his third win of the season, as well as his second consecutive title in the category. Congratulations to Myles Cheek, our Lucas Oil Off Road Modified Kart champion for 2013! Steele finished the race in second, with Mamer third in the #535 Simpson/T.I.S.I. Racing kart, Roben fourth, and Darren Hardesty Jr. fifth in his #599 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/Ogio entry.
Pro 2 Unlimited
In the closest points race of any Pro class, Rob MacCachren came into today’s season finale with just 18 points over Carl Renezeder, while Brian Deegan and Marty Hart were much more distant title contenders, as they sat 38 and 43 points adrift, respectively. Though the points were somewhat close, MacCachren would still have to drop at least nine positions to Renezeder in order to lose the title in the final race, so barring a major disaster, things were looking good for the Las Vegas native. A scary end-for-end crash off the first jump by Mike Porter got things started fairly auspiciously, but after Porter safely emerged from his truck and the wreck was cleared, racing went on following a full restart. Deegan got the lead right away in his #38 Rockstar/Makita Ford, but had Bryce Menzies in the #70 Loctite/Moapa Energy Ford, MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar/Makita Ford, Jeff Seifert in the #95 Sak Tea/Maxima Racing Oils Ford, and Greg Adler in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/Airaid Ford close behind. A full course caution then came out on lap two, after Matt Cook came to a stop over in turn four, and as the field circulated under yellow, Renezeder pulled into the hot pits with a right front flat tire. Renezeder had been caught out in a turn three pile-up on the opening lap, and despite his tire change, he only lost one position in the running order, as he re-joined clear down in sixteenth for the restart. On the restart lap, MacCachren ran wide at turn four, allowing Menzies to get by on the inside and up to second; Kyle LeDuc got by Adler and up to fifth on the same lap. On lap seven, Seifert pulled off an impressive pass, as he got by MacCachren and up to third at turn three. Myan Spaccarelli then stopped alongside the whoop section between turns three and four with big smoke coming from his truck, and this brought out a red flag. As the field came to a stop, and then began to file around slowly as the track went from red to yellow flag conditions, Seifert hen pulled off the track; he’d slowed just before the red flag, and after such a promising run, his race came to a very sad premature end.
All this moved Adler up to fourth and Patrick Clark to fifth in the #25 Tuff Country EZ-Ride Suspension/Amsoil Chevrolet, but on the restart, a great jump by Marty Hart moved him up to fifth even before the start/finish line. Hart then got past Adler after a lengthy battle from turns two to four, and was now up to fourth in his #15 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/GearUp2Go.com Ford. Renezeder was charging forward, as well, and was up to fifth by the end of lap 11, but with smoke then coming out the back of his truck, Clark got back by him from turns one to two on the next lap. Up front, Menzies was really pressuring Deegan for the lead from laps 12 to 14, but Deegan managed to hold him at bay. On lap 13, Renezeder’s run for the title came to a quiet end, after complete rear suspension failure sent him into the hot pits for the balance of the race. However, his title rival wouldn’t have it all his own way, either, as a very audible motor issue from his truck made itself readily apparent at the end of lap 15. As MacCachren and his crew frantically tried to work out the math, making sure that the title was still within reach while Deegan ran out front, MacCachren continued to circulate as best he could, nursing his truck along with the hope of salvaging as many points as possible. MacCachren dropped to sixth by lap 16, and to ninth on the next lap. Deegan and Menzies were still running close up front, and just as Deegan had opened just a sliver of breathing room, he balked at lapped traffic, and Menzies was right back on him. As these two put MacCachren a lap down while simultaneously taking the white flag, MacCachren pulled off track, having done all he could to salvage the best possible result for his title hopes. As it happened, he’d done enough, as he brought home the title by 17 points over Deegan- congratulations to Rob MacCachren, the 2013 Lucas Oil Off Road Pro 2 Unlimited champion! Deegan, who’d publicly aspired to take his third consecutive title in the category, did get a resounding win today, with Menzies second, Hart third, Clark fourth, and Adler fifth.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Coming into today’s race, Steven Greinke enjoyed a massive 50-point lead over Bradley Morris in the title race; in essence, all he needed to do was take the start and not get disqualified in order to take home his second consecutive championship in the category. Morris got out front early in his #24 K&N/Tri-State Materials Alumi Craft, with Greinke running second in his #1 SC Fuels/Fortin Racing, Inc. Racer. Garrett George ran third in the #71 Mickey Thompson/King Off-Road Racing Shocks Funco, with Eric Fitch fourth in the #97 Parts On A Shelf/BFGoodrich Tires Racer, and Geoffrey Cooley fifth in the #22 Competitive Metals/Jackson Motorsports Group Alumi Craft. Fitch dropped well back with a spin on lap two, and with Cooley also falling back a few spots, it was now Dave Mason Jr. fourth in the #65 LoanMart/Combat LED Alumi Craft and Kevin McCullough fifth in the #62 ProAm/Broken Cartel Foddrill. Eddie Tafoya then came to a stop between turns two and three on lap two, which brought out a full course caution, and when racing resumed, the top five runners held their positions on the restart lap. On lap five, Cooley then got by McCullough on the inside at turn one to re-enter the top five, but three laps later, he then had his mirrors full of Larry Job, who was challenging the young driver strongly in a bid for his fifth place. Lap nine saw Dillon Reimer roll over at turn two, bringing out another full course yellow. Once the accident was cleared, the top six runners were all running very close on the restart lap. Greinke got by Morris coming out of turn four on that lap, and he took over the lead in the process. The next lap saw George hit Morris hard wheel to wheel at turn two, and this sent Morris wide and out to the outside wall, dropping him back to 12th place as a result. This left Greinke well clear out front, and moved Cooley up to second, Mason Jr. to third, George back to fourth, and John Fitzgerald up to fifth in the #14 BFGoodrich Tires/Napa Auto Parts Alumi Craft. Fitzgerald got by George out of turn one on the next lap, and two laps later, Larry Job got by George coming out of the same corner. On the penultimate lap, Mason Jr. spun at turn three, which put him back to seventh, and moved Fitzgerald, Job, and Sterling Cling up to third, fourth, and fifth. From there, the top five runners held their positions, and it was Greinke who capped a dominant season with a commanding victory. Congratulations to two-time class champion Steven Greinke, the 2013 Lucas Oil Off Road Pro Buggy Unlimited champion. Cooley finished second, with Fitzgerald third, Job fourth in the #7 Loctite/Toyo Tires Alumi Craft, and Sterling Cling fifth in the #77 Cling’s Manufacturing/KyleGreenFabrication.com Alumi Craft.
Pro Lite Unlimited
With the championship all but wrapped up coming into this weekend, Brian Deegan took a 51-point lead into today’s final race of the 2013 championship over Sheldon Creed. After Creed rolled in qualifying, forcing him to start back on the sixth row, things were looking even better for Deegan, who would only need to take the start and not get disqualified in order to lock out his third championship in the category. Deegan got the early lead, and his ultra clean #38 Rockstar/Makita Ford was quickly opening up a lead over the rest of the field. Noah Fouch ran second in the #52 GoPro/BFGoodrich Tires Ford, with RJ Anderson third in the #1 LoanMart/Maxxis Dodge, Kyle Hart fourth in the #41 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Southwest Ground Control Dodge, and Bradley Morris fifth in the #24 K&N/Kicker Ford. Over the opening three laps, the top five held their positions, but on lap four, Morris came to a stop just out of turn three, which forced a full course yellow. Racing resumed on lap seven, but a rollover in turn two by Trenton Briley brought that yellow right back out. Briley was able to re-fire and continue, despite heavy damage to his front suspension, but as for the leader, things were suddenly a bit different. As the field slowed to bunch back up behind the pace truck, smoke became evident from the back of Deegan’s truck, and with nothing more to gain, Deegan elected to pull into the hot pits and save any further damage to his truck. On the return to green flag racing, it would now be Fouch, Anderson, Hart, Jerett Brooks in the #77 Synergy Electric Racing/Radar Tires Nissan, and Creed in the #74 Traxxas/Method Race Wheels Dodge running in the top five.
Hart got by Anderson for second early on the restart lap, but Anderson came right back to strongly challenge Hart over the next two laps. These two, along with the leader Fouch, then ran three-wide over the biggest jump on the track (out of turn two and down into turn three), with Anderson coming out in the lead after the next corner. Brooks managed to pass Hart there, as did Creed, and it was now Anderson, Fouch, Brooks, Creed, and Hart in positions one through five. On the next lap, another trio of drivers went three-wide over the same jump, but this time, things didn’t end so smoothly. Creed, Hart, and Fouch were the drivers involved, and Hart got the worst of it. Hart started into a twisting barrel roll in mid-air, and landed nearly on his roof, which sent him sideways and into a violent, fast set of snap rolls. With nothing to slow him, Hart did at least eight full rolls down the slope into turn three, before finally coming to a stop off to the left of the entrance to turn three. Hart was ok, but was nonetheless transported off-site for further evaluations. Our thoughts are with Hart and his family, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
After a long red flag/yellow flag period, racing finally resumed, with Anderson, Brooks, Jimmy Fishback, Jacob Person, and Justin Smith running in the top five. Fouch had suffered broken front suspension, and for some reason, Creed was now at the back of the pack. Smith got by Person at turn one on the restart lap to take over fourth, and Casey Currie then got around both Smith and Person on the inside at turn three to move into fourth. Smith picked off Currie for fourth on the next lap, and got Fishback coming out of turn three on lap 17 to move up to a provisional podium finish. On the final lap, Brooks suffered a heartbreaking end to a terrific run, as mechanical issues sent him to the side of the track in turn one. Up front, this left Anderson well clear, and he brought home his sixth win of the season, a nice consolation prize after he missed out on defending his 2012 championship. Smith finished a season-best second in the #19 Competitive Metals/Metal Mulisha Ford, and Fishback equaled his stunning result from back in Round 5, right here at Lake Elsinore, as he rounded out the podium in third in his #48 General Tire/Maximum Turbine Support Nissan. Currie picked up fourth in the #2 Monster Energy/General Tire Jeep, and fifth went to Chris Brandt in the #82 BFGoodrich Tires/Simpson Toyota. Despite his DNF this afternoon, Deegan still garnered his third title in five years in the class. Congratulations to Brian Deegan, the 2013 Lucas Oil Off Road Pro Lite Unlimited champion!
Pro 4 Unlimited
The final race of the regular season was Pro 4 Unlimited. With the championship already sewn up, Carl Renezeder was free to fly for a simple race win here this afternoon, but then again, so was the rest of the field. Eric Barron grabbed the lead straight away after starting on the second row in his #32 LAT Racing Oils/Mickey Thompson Toyota, with Greg Adler running second in the #10 ProComp/4 Wheel Parts Ford, Kyle LeDuc third in the #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford, Renezeder fourth in the #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, and Rob MacCachren fifth in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford. LeDuc got by Adler for second early on lap three, and while Barron was at this point holding a comfortable lead over his pursuers, LeDuc immediately began to slowly reel Barron in once he’d gotten past Adler. On lap five, Renezeder got by Adler for third at turn two, and three laps later, MacCachren also passed Adler, this time at turn one, as MacCachren moved up to fourth. Up front, LeDuc was now within remote striking distance of Barron, and was given an even better shot at the lead when a full course yellow was thrown to allow safety crews to clear debris from the track up in turn two. On the restart, LeDuc’s shot at the lead was then dashed, as Renezeder spun him as the two exited turn two. This dropped LeDuc back to eighth, while MacCachren got by both LeDuc and Renezeder to take over second spot. Renezeder remained third, while Ryan Beat was now up to fourth in the #51 Lunarpages/MavTV Ford, and Jerry Daugherty ran fifth in the #23 E3 Spark Plugs/Team Losi Racing Dodge. LeDuc quickly began to fight his way back, and on the next lap, he was already up to fifth after passing Daugherty out of turn three. Nearer the front of the pack, MacCachren suddenly put in a hard charge to close the gap on the leader Barron on lap 14, but just as quickly, his truck suddenly went up in flames at turn four. MacCachren managed to skillfully guide his truck safely to the infield before quickly climbing out to safety, and track safety crews were right on the scene to get the sizeable fire extinguished almost immediately. The race was briefly red flagged, but resumed pretty quickly, with Barron, Renezeder, Beat, LeDuc, and Daugherty running in the top five. On the restart lap, Daugherty was forced wide in turn one and dropped back to seventh, with Adler moving up to fifth as a result. On the final lap, Renezeder really tried hard to get by Barron, and even did a deep slide into the final corner in a last-ditch shot at the win. Barron drove brilliantly, though, and held the lead from the first lap to the last as he picked up his second win of the season, closing out the regular season with a flourish. Renezeder was a close second, with LeDuc taking third after passing Beat out of turn three on the penultimate lap. Beat finished fourth, and Adler rounded out the top five. Renezeder, as mentioned earlier, had already wrapped up the title back in Las Vegas, but he nonetheless garners our congratulations- way to go Carl Renezeder, the 2013 Lucas Oil Off Road Pro 4 Unlimited champion!
With that, our 2013 championship season has come to a close. Now, everyone’s attention turns to tomorrow’s Lucas Oil Challenge Cup races. Heading into a three-month off-season, drivers and crews will send their very best efforts into these big money, big pride races, and nobody will be holding anything back. It’s everything or nothing, and the action will culminate in the highly anticipated, very popular Pro 2 Unlimited versus Pro 4 Unlimited shootout. The 4wds hold a 3-1 winning record over the 2wds, and two-time winner and defending champion from a year ago Carl Renezeder must be seen as a favorite going into this one. Of course there are plenty of other big names who should be worthy challengers; Eric Barron takes momentum from a race win today, as does Brian Deegan from the Pro 2 Unlimited ranks, and Kyle LeDuc is always a threat in any race he enters. Gates open to the public at 9:00 am tomorrow morning, and the first race is slated to start at high noon. Opening Ceremonies are set to go at 2:00 pm, followed immediately by the first Pro class Cup race at 2:15 pm. Get here early and get a good seat; you won’t want to miss a minute of the most anticipated race day of the year!
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. Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series