Round 8 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series continued to shake things up in the points standings at Miller Motorsports Park, as the tide has changed once again but only to find old faces making new appearances on the podium.
Opening ceremonies kicked off with the Pro 4 Unlimited division taking to the track first. Being the first Pro division to take the track, it was a game of patients until the track dried out and came to optimal driving conditions. Although Curt LeDuc qualified fast enough to sit on the pole position, he would not start the main event due to a blown motor. This would leave Travis Coyne finding himself sitting on the pole all alone. It didn’t take long before the slippery track conditions would take its first victim and cause a log jam in turn 2. Last years champion Carl Renezeder found himself facing the opposite direction and quickly shuffled to the rear of the field.
The battle ensued as Pro 4 Unlimited rookie Eric Barron put the hammer down on his Toyota truck and took command of the pace of the race. Point’s leader Kyle LeDuc worked his way from the third position and immediately put in work in an attempt to put a pass on Barron. With brother Todd LeDuc in tow, Kyle LeDuc really put on a show for the Utah crowd in an unsuccessful attempt to make a pass stick on Barron.
As the yellow flag waived for the competition caution, this might be the break that Kyle LeDuc was looking for in order to pass Barron. The field of trucks stacked back up and was released for mayhem on lap later. With only eight trucks remaining, last years champion Carl Renezeder headed to the hot pits to change a flat and would put Renezeder back to the rear of the field. Renezeder would end up finishing in the fourth position. Continuing to charge as fast as he could, Barron had his eyes focused on the top of the podium. There was no looking back for Barron as he would cross the finish line in the first place position leaving the LeDuc brothers to settle for the remaining two positions. Kyle LeDuc would retain his points lead in commanding fashion and end the weekend settling for second place while Todd LeDuc finished third.
Point’s leaders stacked the top of the field and the Pro Lite Unlimited race was bound for some amazing battles. Arguably one of the most competitive classes and without a doubt one of the most exciting to watch; the Pro Lite Unlimited’s were set to take on Miller Motorsports Park.
Justin “Bean” Smith and Ryan Beat would be the ones to lead the charge when the green flag dropped. “Bean” knowing that Brandt, Deegan and Anderson were breathing down his neck behind him, took a no-holding back approach and quickly put a sizable gap between himself and the rest of the field. Continuing to chip away at the number of laps remaining, Justin “Bean” Smith found himself at the front with a clean truck and a fresh set of Tear-offs going into the mandatory competition caution lap. With last years champ (Brian Deegan) and the current points leader (RJ Anderson) hot on his tail, Justin “Bean” Smith knew that it wouldn’t be long before his truck might get dirty.
Not long after the competition caution, Pro Lite Unlimited veteran Chris Brandt got loose in the whoop section right in front of Casey Currie. Currie held his line through the whoop section and got into the back of Brandt, causing Brandt to loose track position. Immediately following the incident with Chris Brandt, the flagman reached for the black flag and sent Currie to the Hot Pits for a stop and go penalty. Although the Utah crowd all believed it was “just a racing incident” the Lucas Oil officials didn’t feel the same way and left Currie to battle his way towards the front once again. While this is all taking place, Shannon Campbell sends his truck end over end in the whoop section and brings out a full course caution. This was the break that Brian Deegan (who currently was sitting in the second position) was looking for in order to have any possible chance in catching Bean. Once the wreck was cleared and the race was restarted, Deegan made sure he pushed the issue and made his way past Justin “Bean” Smith. The Metal Militia teammates would find themselves finishing in the fist and second place position while current points leader RJ Anderson would have a hard fight for a third place finish.
Not one person from the sold out crowd at Miller Motorsports Park went home without talking about the last race of the evening, the Pro 2 Unlimited race. There was a lot to talk about in the Pro 2 Unlimited race, but the biggest thing on everyone’s mind had to have been: the carnage.
The Pro 2 Unlimited race started just as the previous seven rounds of racing have started, with tons of chaos and a lot of aggression. The king of chaos Rodrigo Ampudia led the field of 15 angry racers to the green flag.
Straight out of the gate the 900 horsepower Pro 2 Unlimited’s made their way around the slick racetrack trying to gain every bit of traction that was physically possible. The whoops leaving turn 4 would find it’s next victim. Jeff Geiser would get loose on the water soaked track and end up locking horns with ReadyLift driver Marty Hart. Hart and Geiser were locked up pretty good until Carl Renezeder would find himself getting too impatient and forcing a pass on both Hart and Geiser as they were locked together, completely spinning Geiser all the way around. While everyone was expecting the black flag to come out for Carl Renezeder, the flagman pulled the black flag out as if it was going to be rewarded to Renezeder but soon returned back into the flag stand.
Just after the competition caution, Carl Renezeder was in the thick of things again, except this time they were exiting the whoops section. Carl was able to get into the back of Rodrigo Ampudia causing him to spin, with nowhere to go, Greg Adler snowplowed Ampudia and caused Ampudia to try and work his way from the back of the pack this time.
After it was all said and done, the nine trucks remaining would be beaten and battered from the rest of the carnage scattered through the course. Rob MacCachren would end up walking away with top honors in the Pro 2 Unlimited division, followed by Brian Deegan (who saw the podium for the fourth time this weekend) and Carl Renezeder rounding out the top three.
Rounds 7&8 were nothing short of spectacular. When it comes to short course off road racing there just isn’t any describing how epic the day really was. Some of the chaos was wanted by some but unfortunately everybody got just a little piece, weather they asked for it or not.
Words by Adam “Gunnslinger” Gunn
Photos by Jason Zindroski of HighRev Photography