The 2017 Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series is back with Round 1 going down yesterday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler Arizona. With a hot day in the Arizona desert the drivers brought the heat and kicked off the season with some great battles. The Arizona fans love their short course and the full crowd was treated to an exciting day of racing.
In the Pro 4 race lots of questions were going to be answered. How will Kyle Leduc do in his brand new truck dubbed Evvo99? Will Doug Mittag who bought Stello, Leducs championship winning truck drive it to its full potential? Can Bryce Menzies, who hasn’t driven his short course truck since his bad crash last August, jump back into the mix after multiple knee and shoulder surgeries? And will Carl Renezeder, who’s concentrating only in Pro 4 after announcing his retirement after the 2017 season, be able to focus and take back the #1 plate from Leduc?
All those questions were answered today starting off in the morning where Mittag qualified first setting fast lap. Leduc was fast today grabbing a third place finish in the race letting everyone know that his new truck will be a force to be reckoned with, and with each race get more dialed. The biggest answer was with Menzies who put all doubts aside by taking home the win and giving himself a much needed confidence boost in his driving after dealing with injuries.
Pro 4 Results
1. Bryce Menzies
2. Carl Renezeder
3. Kyle Leduc
Prolite saw a first time winner in Brock Heger leading from green to checkered the whole race. It didn’t come easy though with Ryan Beat and last years champ Jerett Brooks breathing down his neck all race. The majority of the field can all contend for podium spots as seen in qualifying, where the top 11 were all less then a second apart.
Prolite rookie Hailie Deegan made her debut and didn’t disappoint in qualifying 5th, and finishing the race even better in 4th spot and almost setting fast lap in the process. Big things are in Hailie’s future and she keeps showing that racing is in her blood.
1. Brock Heger
2. Jerett Brooks
3. Ryan Beat
Pro Buggy had a few top guys in Mike Valentine and Keaton Swane switch over to Prolite this year but an influx of fast rookies coming over from the regional circuit brought some new blood into the division. Round 1 however turned into a battle of Fox versus Bilstein as Elliot Watson held off Darren Hardesty Jr. to take home the win.
Pro Buggy Results
1. Elliot Watson
2. Darren Hardesty Jr.
3. Kyle Aarup
The final race of the day was the Pro 2 race and it ended the day with style. Earlier in the day in qualifying the top 10 were all separated by less then a second so it really was anyones game. Rob MacCachren qualified first but after pulling a six for the inversion, it was Jerett Brooks and Bryce Menzies starting up front. With this being Brooks first race in a Pro 2 he had plenty of pressure on his shoulders.
The two battled hard most of the race with Menzies leading and Brooks right behind him in hot pursuit. With a few laps to go and right before going into turn two, Brooks came in a little hot and ended up putting his front end underneath Menzies truck slightly disrupting him which gave him just enough opportunity to take the inside and put his nose into the lead.
Going into the last turn the two were door to door and what looked like front tires touching caused Bryce to get shot off course putting him to the back of the pack while Brooks would take over the lead. It was now Jeremy McGrath’s turn to try and take over the lead but on the last lap while trying to sneak inside on Brooks, Rob MacCachren was able to make a pass of his own and secure a second place finish. That would mean Brooks would take the win in his very first Pro 2 race.
Pro 2 Results
1. Jerett Brooks
2. Rob MacCachren
3. Jeremy McGrath
What was a great day of racing will be done all over again today. If you can’t make it out to the race you can always watch live on LucasOilRacing.TV.
Photos by Jason Zindroski of HighRev Photography