Words by Lucas Oil Off Road
Photos and Video by Prerunner Maniac
After a great Round 9 under the lights here at Glen Helen Raceway, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, came back to do it all again in Round 10.
Another gorgeous evening unfolded in southern California, and with no racing to worry about after tonight, drivers threw caution to the wind in pursuit of the top step of the podium. Just about anything that could happen DID HAPPEN, with racecars flying every which way through the night sky, and, for the most part, landing safely to the delight of the crowd. Battles between drivers were as close as they’ve ever been this season, and those in attendance really got an eyeful tonight. We hope you were here to see all this for yourself, but if not, here’s what happened.
Last night, the young aces of Modified Kart took a turn in the spotlight that follows Opening Ceremonies; tonight, they switched it up and got the whole ball rolling as the first class on track. After two attempts at starts, which ended in multiple crashes, the field managed to make it stick on the third try, with Bradley Morris grabbing the early lead in his #504 K&N/Tri-State Materials machine. Jerett Brooks ran second in the #527 Synergy Electric Racing/Maxima Racing Oils truck, with Mitchell DeJong third in the #1 Traxxas/Red Bull kart, Kyle Hart fourth in the #523 GearUp2Go.com/Duncan Racing entry, and Sheldon Creed fifth (after starting on the last row!) in the #522 Camburg/ A.M. Ortega kart. DeJong and Hart both got by Brooks on the second lap to take over second and third spots, but Brooks got Hart back on the following lap to get back into the top three. Creed was quite a bit less fortunate on his third lap, as his right rear wheel came right off as he approached turn five, ending his charge for the evening. This moved Trent Williams into the top five in his #525 Victory Race Cars/Terrible Herbst machine, and at the competition yellow, the top five was made up of Morris, DeJong, Brooks, Hart, and Williams.
These drivers held their spots on the restart, as well as for several successive laps afterwards, until Cole Mamer finally cracked the top five with just a few laps left in his #535 Full Tilt Trophy Karts/Simpson truck. On the final lap, Mitch Guthrie Jr. grabbed that fifth spot from Mamer, while up front, Morris was driving like a madman to hold of DeJong. Morris skied it high off the jump into turn two, and managed to keep the lead through the checkers to get the win, his first of the season. DeJong followed up yesterday’s win with a second place today, and was followed home by Brooks, Hart, and Guthrie Jr. in the #555 DASA/K&N entry.
Junior 1 Kart
Next up were the Junior 1 Karts, and it was Eliott Watson who took the early lead in his #203 Lucas Oil/Fox Racing Shox kart, ahead of Travis PeCoy in the #211 K&N/Hoosier Racing Tires truck, Cole Dexheimer in the #226 RC10.com/Racer X Motorsports entry, Wolfgang Ries in the #273 McQueen Prototype Design/ProAm machine, and Broc Dickerson in the #223 Dickerson Motorsports/KarTek truck. Yesterday’s winner Dickerson was on the move early, picking off Ries, Dexheimer, and PeCoy on successive laps, moving him up from fifth to second by lap four. At the competition yellow, Watson still led, with Dickerson hot on his heels, and PeCoy, Dexheimer, and Ries also close behind. On the restart lap, Ries moved up to fourth after getting by Dexheimer, and on the penultimate lap, Dickerson got a great drive out of turn two to pull past Watson and into the lead. From there, Dickerson continued to pull away, and got the win to make it a clean sweep of the weekend. Watson finished second, with PeCoy third, Ries fourth, and Dexheimer rounding out the top five.
Junior 2 Kart
The final race on the “short track” this weekend was that of the Junior 2 Karts, and it was yesterday’s winner Myles Cheek who was again up front today, grabbing the early lead in his #457 CMI/ JamminProducts.com kart after the first lap. Hailie Deegan ran second in the #438 Metal Mulisha/4 Wheel Parts machine, with Paige Porter third in the #462 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats truck, Broc Dickerson fourth in the #423 Dickerson Motorsports/Eibach Springs entry, and Chad Graham fifth in the #410 MavTV/Hart and Huntington truck. Brock Heger briefly moved up to fifth spot in the early laps, but was black flagged after causing Graham to spin. This allowed Shelby Anderson to move up to fourth in her #405 Walker Evans Racing/Anderson’s Nu Power kart, with Dickerson now fifth. By the competition yellow, the running order in the top five was Cheek, Deegan, Porter, Anderson, and Dickerson, and these young drivers maintained their positions after the green flag dropped again. After the restart, Preston Roben moved into fifth and then fourth on laps seven and eight, while up front, Deegan was now closing on the leader Cheek. On the final lap, Deegan drove it really deep into turn two in a bid for the lead, but Cheek managed to hold her off and get the win and make it a sweep for the weekend. Deegan once again scored her best career finish, this time with a closely-fought second place, with Porter third, Roben fourth in the #414 DCI Duggins Construction/RC10.com kart, and Anderson fifth.
The SR1 and Unlimited UTVs took to the track next, and it was RJ Anderson who led the field in his #637 Walker Evans Racing/Kroyer Racing Engines Polaris after the first lap. Ryan Beat was already second after starting sixth in his #851 Hart and Huntington/Black Rhino SR1, with Code Rahders third in the #816 SuperChips/Black Rhino Yamaha, John Dempsey fourth in the #855 Monster Energy/FineLineTShirts.com Kawasaki, and Tyler Winbury fifth in the #694 Magnum Off Road/Deviate Films Kawasaki. The greater power of the SR1 engines helped propel Beat into the lead on lap two, with Rahders following suit and moving into second on the next lap.
Further back, Dan Kelly had moved into the top five overall in his #824 OffRoadMagnet.com/Maxxis Tires, and was up to fourth by lap four. Up at the head of the field, Rahders was now putting the pressure on Beat for the lead, and got by on the outside at turn four to move up to first on lap five. On the next lap, Kelly moved up again, taking over third overall from Anderson. At the competition yellow, though, Kelly had gone off the track briefly, dropping him well down the running order.
Meanwhile, Rahders had the lead, and was followed by Beat, Dempsey, Anderson, and Robert Vanbeekum in the #664 Monster Energy/Muzzys Kawasaki. After the restart, Beat re-took the lead from Rahders, with Vanbeekum charging up to third. Corry Weller was also moving up, and was now fourth in her #810 Tilted Kilt/Magnaflow Yamaha. Two laps later, Vanbeekum rolled to a stop in turn five, moving Weller to third, Dempsey to fourth, and Anderson to fifth. Dempsey then dropped by the wayside on the penultimate lap, and at race’s end, it was Beat who swept the weekend with his second win in as many nights.
Beat got the SR1 and overall wins, with Rahders and Weller second and third in SR1 and overall. Fourth overall, and tops in Unlimited UTV was Anderson, Chad George taking second in the class in his #1 Monster Energy/Funco Kawasaki, and third going Winbury.
The final race before Opening Ceremonies was the Limited Buggy race, tonight’s race was a special one for sure. Fresh off of his win in Modified Kart, Bradley Morris took the lead from the drop of the green flag in his #304 Lucas Oil/K&N AlumiCraft. Dave Mason slotted in second, with Curt Geer third, Jake Laff fourth, and Geoffrey Cooley fifth. Laff pulled off on the second lap, moving Quentin Tucker to fourth, ahead of Cooley, who remained fifth. On the same lap, Mason grabbed the lead from Morris in his #365 SR Performance/Eleven Western Builders AlumiCraft. Several young drivers were really making an impression on the field this evening, and the next to do so was Zac Hunt, who moved up to fifth in his #334 Speed Energy/Concrete Coring Company AlumiCraft. Meanwhile, the battle for the lead was still on, and Morris grabbed the lead back after driving inside of Mason at turn three on lap six. Two corners later, Geer also got by Mason and up to second in his #385 Bowden Development Inc./BFGoodrich Tires Lothringer. Mason’s drop in performance looked to be due to a flat left rear tire, and at the competition yellow, he pulled into the hot pits for a change, dropping him well back and moving Cooley up to fifth in the #322 Competitive Metals/USA Wheel AlumiCraft.
The running order was Morris, Geer, Tucker in the #377 Fox Racing Shox/McKenzies buggy, Hunt, and Cooley as the field returned to green flag racing, but what appeared to be multiple flat tires forced Tucker to the hot pits and out of the top five. Cooley, who’d moved up to fourth on the restart lap, now ran third following Tucker’s misfortune, with Hunt fourth and Bruce Fraley fifth in the #312 Race Fuel Energy Drink/Freeman’s Carpet Service Motorsports Fraley. Hunt then moved past Cooley with an inside pass out of turn three to move into third, and from there on in, the top five drivers held their positions. Picking up the big win, his first in the class and his second of the day was Morris- way to go Bradley! Second went to Geer, third to Hunt, fourth to Cooley, and fifth to Fraley. Interesting side note: three of the top four finishers came from the kart ranks; it seems as though the premonition that these kids would be challenging the adults for wins is really starting to come true.
Pro 4 Unlimited
After Opening Ceremonies, it was time for Pro 4 Unlimited. Greg Adler, filling in for the injured Travis Coyne in the #5 ProComp/Team Associated Ford, got the jump on the field on the first lap, and led Adrian Cenni, Rick Huseman, Kent Brascho, and Carl Renezeder after the first lap. Renezeder quickly moved his #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Ford past Brascho on lap two, with Kyle LeDuc following suit on the same lap in his #99 Rockstar/Makita Ford. On the next lap, Cenni bicycled in turn five, and was helped a little further by Huseman, as he went wide and lost two spots to Huseman and Renezeder. Huseman now ran behind the leader Adler, and only a few corners later, blew by him on the inside of turn two and into the lead. With flames spitting from Huseman’s exhaust, combined with the crackle of his screaming, 9800+ rpm engine, his #36 Monster Energy/BFGoodrich Tires Toyota was a sight and sound to behold as he sped away up front, leaving Adler, Renezeder, Cenni, and LeDuc in a big pack, battling for second. All four drivers barreled into turn three on lap five, with Renezeder coming away the best as he moved up to second, ahead of LeDuc, Cenni, and Adler. Two laps later, LeDuc made a beautiful pass down the inside of Renezeder in the same corner, picking up second place for his efforts. Behind them, LeDuc’s brother Todd was up to fifth in the #4 Rockstar/Makita Ford, and at the competition yellow, it was Huseman, Kyle LeDuc, Renezeder, Cenni in the #11 Atrium Payroll/Maxxis Tires truck, and Todd LeDuc in the top five.
After the restart, Kyle LeDuc was really starting to pressure Huseman, but after going wide at turn five, the outside half of his truck went atop the outside barricade, sending him into a brief rail slide before he managed to pull himself back down on track. This cost him his second place, as Renezeder snuck by to pick up the spot, but with Renezeder then getting pushed wide at turn three, LeDuc had his position right back.
The final five laps were truly some of the most exciting that this reporter has ever seen. On lap 17, a near-spin by Kyle LeDuc allowed Renezeder and Cenni by, and as LeDuc tried to race back by, he and Renezeder touched in mid-air going into turn five. The contact looked to be sending both into a bad crash, but the two somehow managed to stick the landing without missing a beat. Two laps later, a half-spin by Cenni in turn two let Renezeder by, while a fire onboard Todd LeDuc’s truck forced a red flag of the race. Todd was out quickly and ok, and a green-white-checkers finish was called for.
As the trucks prepared to roll out for the final two laps, Renezeder found himself with a right rear flat, while Cenni’s truck simply refused to re-fire. Sadly, Cenni was towed back to the hot pits, though he was able to get re-fired and re-join the race, albeit after the rest of the field had gone back to green. Up front, Renezeder was easy pickings for Kyle LeDuc, who moved past Renezeder’s compromised truck to take over second. LeDuc then set his sights on Huseman, and did everything he could to put pressure on the leader. Huseman was too good tonight, though, and kept the lead all the way to the checkers, making it a clean sweep of the weekend, and scoring all 103 available points along the way. Kyle LeDuc took second, with Renezeder hanging on to third, Adler fourth, and Brascho fifth in the #8 K&N/KMC Wheels Ford.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Pro Buggy Unlimited saw some unfortunate faltering from three of the top points contenders, while the other two took full advantage of the opportunity they’d been handed. Doug Fortin failed to start the race, and Steve Greinke was sidelined after only a few laps, while up front, it was Jerry Whelchel grabbing the early lead in his #5 Select Glass/BFGoodrich Tires Foddrill. Unfortunately, Whelchel lost a right rear wheel on the second lap, making him the third points contender to hit bad luck tonight. This gave the lead to Justin “Bean” Smith in the #19 Competitive Metals/Metal Mulisha AlumiCraft, with Cody Freeman second in the #2 Race Fuel Energy Drink/Freeman’s Carpet Service Racer, Mike Porter third in the #8 Redline Performance/Speed Energy AlumiCraft, Malcolm Pointon fourth in the #78 K&N/Southwest Processors buggy, and Pat Dean fifth in the #21 King Off Road Racing Shocks/Butch’s Speed Shop Tatum. Pointon got spun in turn three on the next lap, moving Dean to fourth and Brandon Bailey to fifth in the #17 Stronghold Motorsports/L.A.M.B. Energy AlumiCraft. Bailey then spun on lap four, moving Eddie Tafoya up to fifth in the #51 Specialty Fasteners/Crower Lothringer.
The field was now spread all around the circuit, and at the competition yellow, it was Smith, Freeman, Porter, Dean, and Tafoya in the top five. Tafoya got up to fourth on the restart lap, and after stopping briefly on track, Dean dropped back to sixth, handing fifth back to Pointon. Dean then recovered from whatever issue had been slowing him for a few laps, and picked off both Pointon and Tafoya to move into fourth. Up front, Smith had once again opened up a lead, and was untouchable on his way to the big win and a nice boost in the points chase. Freeman finished second, with Porter taking another strong podium in third for some nice points. Fourth and fifth were taken by Dean and Tafoya.
Pro Lite Unlimited
What a thrilling race it was tonight in Pro Lite Unlimited! Cameron Steele started from pole in the #16 Yokohama Tires/Stronghold Motorsports Ford, and took the lead from the drop of the green flag. After the first lap, Steele still led, with Corey Sisler in the #19 BFGoodrich Tires/CBR Performance Ford, Brian Deegan in the #38 Lucas Oil/Metal Mulisha Ford, Chris Brandt in the #82 Aero Motorsports/Oakley Toyota, and Rodrigo Ampudia in the #36 Papas & Beer/Tecate Ford right behind. Ampudia was having some sort of difficulty with turn three for a couple of laps, which soon cost him his fifth place to the #2 Monster Energy/Magnaflow Nissan of Casey Currie.
Up front, Sisler was really hounding Steele for the lead, and it was great to see two drivers, each with no wins in this class, battling for first place. Just behind, Brandt had managed to pass Deegan for third, and by the competition yellow, the running order was Steele, Sisler, Brandt, Deegan, and Currie. After the restart, the top five was still the same, but Currie soon pulled into the hot pits and out of the race with an unknown issue. Just afterwards, Brandt suddenly stopped on track, and combined with Ampudia’s losing a right rear wheel and stranding him in turn three, the race went under full course caution. When the race resumed, it was then Deegan who dropped by the wayside with a mechanical issue, leaving the running order of Steele, Sisler, Jimmy Stephensen in the #33 Ironclad Energy/Yokohama Nissan, Matt Cook in the #55 Aero Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires Toyota, and Todd Cunningham in the #6 Mickey Thompson Tires/Traxxas Chevrolet.
In the final few laps, Sisler was still pouring it on to try and get the lead, but Steele was unbeatable tonight, and after getting robbed of podium finishes several times this season, Steele made his first trip to the Pro Lite Unlimited box a good one as he grabbed his first win in the category, much to the delight of a throng of supporters who greeted him and cheered when he stepped onto the podium. While being interviewed, Steele admitted to the great difficulty he’d faced in losing his good friend Jeff “Ox” Kargola this spring, and how tough it’d been for him to return to racing- hopefully this is the start of better days for the man who is such a good friend to so many in our off-road family; congratulations, Cameron! Sisler picked up second place for the second time in as many nights, with Cook snagging the final podium spot after just managing to pass Stephensen, who suffered a complete failure, and subsequent destruction, of his right front suspension on the last lap. Stephensen did pick up fourth, and Cunningham rounded out the top five.
The penultimate race of the night was the Super Lite contest, and it was Chad George in the #42 Yokohama/Bull Outdoor Products machine who rocketed into the lead from the get-go. George was quickly opening a gap over the field by the end of lap one, leaving Patrick Clark, Austin Kimbrell, Jacob Person, and Dawson Kirchner to battle it out for the “best of the rest.” These five all stayed in order clear through the competition yellow, until finally, on the restart lap, Kirchner changed the order by moving up to fourth in his #16 Torchmate/Speed Technologies truck. Two laps later, Person then spun entering turn three, dropping him back to ninth, and moving Jessie Johnson to fifth in the #15 Lowe’s/A.M. Ortega entry. The order went unchanged for a couple more laps, but on the final lap, Kirchner again moved forward, picking off Kimbrell to grab the final spot on the podium.
At race’s end, it was George who was simply un-catchable at the head of the field, as he led wire-to-wire for his first win of the season in this class. Second went to Clark and his #25 BFGoodrich Tires/Method Race Wheels machine for the second night in a row, with Kirchner rounding out the top three. Fourth went to an ever-improving Kimbrell in the #88 Xtreme Machine and Fabrication/Fiberwerx truck, and fifth went to Johnson.
Pro 2 Unlimited
The final race of the weekend was Pro 2 Unlimited. Starting from pole, Rodrigo Ampudia and his #36 Lucas Oil/Tecate Ford were leading the field after the first lap, followed by Robby Woods in the #99 Lucas Slick Mist/General Tire Chevrolet, Brian Deegan in the #38 Rockstar/Makita Ford, Carl Renezeder in the #17 Lucas Oil/Team Associated Ford, and Greg Adler in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/BFGoodrich Tires Ford. On lap two, Rob MacCachren got by Adler to move into fifth in his #1 Rockstar/MasterCraft Safety Ford, and on the following lap, Woods was slow coming out of turn two, which cost him three spots to Deegan, Renezeder, and MacCachren. Renezeder slowed just long enough to lose two spots coming into turn five on lap four, then dropped back to sixth after nearly spinning between turns one and two on lap seven. Adler re-took fifth spot here, while up front, Ampudia was holding off a very hard-charging Deegan to keep the lead. Renezeder managed to get back by Adler with a nice inside pass at turn four on lap nine, and at the competition yellow, the order was Ampudia, Deegan, MacCachren, Woods, and Renezeder in the top five.
On the restart lap, MacCachren got by Deegan for second going into and out of turn three, then used his telltale inside line tactic to get by Ampudia in turn two on the next lap. MacCachren now led, and looked to be headed for a sweep of the weekend, but on lap 14, a strange rear end kick coming into turn four sent him end for end, very uncharacteristic for a driver who this reporter had never seen crash until tonight. Heads up driving kept Ampudia from getting caught up in the crash, and he re-took the lead as a full course caution came out. MacCachren was ok and he was able to continue, but substantial front end damage meant that his pace was nowhere near what it was. On the restart lap, Deegan, who’d looked like he had a steering issue while rolling around under yellow, now grabbed the lead after muscling by Ampudia through turns three and four. All of the top five drivers came into those turns hot, with Adler coming away well to move into third, ahead of Renezeder and Woods. Unfortunately for Adler, he was then passed back by both those guys, and at the white flag, it was Deegan, Ampudia, Renezeder, Woods, and Adler up front. On the final lap, a much more aggressive Renezeder tried to get Ampudia going into turn three, but was pushed wide and into the outside barrier. Ampudia was somewhat caught out here, and Woods was the big benefactor, moving clear and into second.
Up front, Deegan was flying, and some quick blips of the throttle as he crossed the line meant that he got the big win, his first in this class- way to go Brian! Second went to Woods, third to Ampudia, fourth to Renezeder, and fifth to Adler.
Special shout out to Rob MacCachren for doing well after a terrible crash on Sunday. Saw him at the Vegas to Reno race with his arm in a sling but he was in good spirits.
That wraps up the action from here at Glen Helen.
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