Rounds 10 and 11 of the 2011 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series are coming up quick. This weekend’s event, the Canidae Off Road Nationals, Presented by Rockstar Energy, will be held Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California, where the racers will get to deal with one track condition they haven’t had to deal with all year – the races will be held at night, under the lights.
This one variable has the power to change the racing conditions tremendously. One obvious variable is that the lighting will be different, which means shadows and the like will become an issue for the racers, but another less-obvious variable will come from moisture. When the sun goes down, temperatures drop, and many times this leads to moisture coming back to the surface of the track, which can put a much higher importance than usual on tire choice and track position.
With these new variables, defending Pro 4 champ Rick Huseman must be hoping he can try and steal some momentum from current points leader Carl Renezeder. Huseman had won the first four events of the 2011 season before Renezeder caught fire, and now Renezeder – at one point, a full 20 points behind defending champ Huseman in the title chase – leads the points by 18 over Huseman. And both of them have their hands full of late with Kyle Leduc, who has won two of the last three Pro 4 main events.
In Pro 2, it’s an even closer affair, with X Games Rallycross Champ Brian Deegan trailing Renezeder by only three points due primarily to his consistency. Deegan has a reputation for being a wild one, but he has been the most consistent driver on the track in Pro 2 this year so far. However, winner at round two, Robert Naughton, has recently caught fire again himself, winning the last two main events, so he’s someone who should make his presence felt under the lights at Glen Helen.
Despite his consistency in Pro 2, Deegan has suffered a bit in Pro Lite Unlimited. He has won half of the main events this year, but in the other four he has recorded two DNFs. This puts him 26 points behind Chris Brandt for this year’s title, and Deegan has stated multiple times that he wants to win this championship before moving up to Pro 2 full-time. Brandt will have something to say about that, though.
The championship looks similar right now in SuperLite, with RJ Anderson still leading the charge. He has been on the podium in every race this year except for one, which was a DNF, and he leads by 24 points over Patrick Clark. And at Glen Helen, they’ll all have to deal with motocross stars Nick Wey and Ricky Dietrich as well as the usual deep field of strong competitors.
And finally comes Pro Buggy Unlimited, with the tightest championship chase of the bunch this year. At the moment, Steven Greinke is leading the charge, but he only holds two points over Mike Porter, and then another two over Doug Fortin in third. And even more impressively, fourth and fifth in points – Jerry Whelchel and Justin Smith – are only eight and 14 points out of the championship lead, respectively. And all five of these men have won at least one race this year. It’s anyone’s game at Glen Helen.
Make sure you come out and check out the action at Glen Helen this weekend, and don’t worry about the heat, because with all of the action taking place at night, the heat should be confined mostly to the racetrack.
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