Lucas Off-Road Racing Series Rounds 7 & 8 were held on July 25th and 26th, “under the lights” at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex, much to the appreciation of those of us who sweltered through the afternoon races held here nearly a month ago. Attendance figures are not yet available, but Saturday’s crowd was a “sellout” according to LOORRS officials. From the looks of the grandstands on Sunday, about 75% of the 5000 seats were full; not bad for a Sunday night! The event was once again, professionally run and for the most part, fast paced with minimal down time between rounds.
During the practice session on Friday, they fell about an hour behind schedule to perform some modifications to the track. Apparently, the annoying kicker just before Turn 1 – the bump that took out Ampudia and Whelchel last month – needed to be re-groomed. Ampudia flipped again at almost the same spot on Friday. Fortunately, his team was able to put everyting back together in time to make the green flag on Saturday.
BIG TRUCKS HAVE BIG TURNOUT
With entries of seventeen Unlimited 2 and ten Unlimited 4 racers, full size truck fans received plenty of bang for their buck. For the first time in the history of this series, the Unlimited 4’s were able to have an exclusive, “Unlimited 4 only” race. Previous LOORRS rounds featured combined “Unlimited 2/4” final events due to low U-4 entry numbers. Breaking this barrier is a giant step for both LOORRS and the short course industry in general.
Making his Unlimited 4 wheel drive class debut in this series, Kyle LeDuc was second fastest qualifier, just .044 seconds behind Carl Renezeder. Kyle went on to sweep the weekend, finishing first on Saturday and Sunday nights
in his Ford. Impressive, to say the least, considering that the young LeDuc finished third and fifth in Bark River, Michigan (2222 miles east of Lake Elsinore) the previous weekend.
Alan Pflueger’s #71, (ex-Renezeder) Unlimited 4 wheel drive Chevy was being driven by Mike Johnson, a Hollywood stunt driver who drove for Pflueger in the CORR Series. Mike had a great weekend, finishing second on Saturday and third on Sunday.
The Herbst boys were there too; Tim & Troy each racing their red Unlimited 4 Fords. Tim was on the podium both Saturday and Sunday nights, with third and second place trophies, respectively. Troy had “double nickels”, claiming fifth place both nights.
In Unlimited 2, Todd LeDuc followed Brother Kyle’s lead by sweeping the weekend with two first place finishes in his Ford. Renezeder was second both Saturday and Sunday. Third place went to Rodrigo Ampudia on Saturday. In Sunday’s main event, heading into the white flag lap, leader Bryce Menzies looped it in the infield, unfortunately turning his gold to bronze.
Curt LeDuc, (also making his series debut in the #43 Unlimited 4 Ford), was plagued with transmission issues the entire weekend. Regardless, his incredible skills as a fabricator and team owner were clear and present.
“Although I had some transmission parts failures, the boys ran our good, traditional fast stuff and we got the results we were looking for. The only way my weekend could have gotten better is if I got second behind Kyle so, all in all I’m pretty happy with the outcome.” The elder LeDuc went on to say, “I was excited as a team owner. On Saturday, I built. well, all three trucks came out of my shop. I can’t say that I built them but, you know, Robert Naughton’s is one of Kyle’s old trucks, the boys, of course built their own trucks in the shop… but you know, as bad as I got beat up as a driver, I felt pretty good as a team owner, as a business guy, you know. I’m excited for Rockstar because they got involved with the Series as a sponsor and was sampling.and on Sunday, they swept the (Unlimited) Lites, Chris Brandt won, and the boys so I mean it was a sweep. For a sponsor to get involved and have that kind of results, it shows that they made the right choices with teams and drivers.”
LITES UNDER THE LIGHTS
Unlimited Lites, (12 entries), was dominated by Brian Deegan for most of Saturday’s race until Rob “Fig” Naughton snuck around in the final turn of the checkered flag lap, earning a well deserved first place. Chris Brandt rounded out the top three with the third place spot. Sunday, the podium was shared by Chris Brandt, Brian Deegan, (Uh, that’s M-I-L-I-T-I-A!) and Chuck Dempsey; first, second and third respectively.
Super Lites, with 9 entries went to Ricky James, Dawson Kirchner and Andrew Comriepicard on Saturday. Sunday’s winners were Ricky James, John Harrah and Chad Leising. Quote of the day goes to Ricky James, who lost the use of his legs in a motocross crash several years ago: “If I keep this up, you guys are going to have to build a ramp to the podium!”
DRIVE ME BUGGY
In the Unlimited Buggy Class, Saturday’s top three were Greg George, Mike Dondel and Rich Ronco. Sunday’s winners were Mike Dondel, Cameron Steele and Rich Ronco.
Limited Buggy winners were John Fitzgerald, Bruce Fraley and Curt Geer on Saturday, Bruce Fraley, John Fitzgerald and Sean Geiser on Sunday.
Additional details are available at Lucas Oil Off Road Website