WHEATLAND, Mo. – After racing trucks at high speeds, banging doors with opponents and soaring through the air for 19 years, Carl Renezeder said his decision to retire from the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at season’s end is simple.
“I’ve been in this sport for a long time and I just think I’ve kind of run my course in short-course racing,” Renezeder said. “I’m ready to try some different things.”
But before the nine-time national champion with 122 short-course victories calls it quits, Renezeder is eager to chase one more series title and fly around the new off road track at Lucas Oil Speedway this weekend.
The 53-year-old southern California native is one of the star attractions as the series makes a rare appearance in this part of the country. But for those with long memories, it’s not Renezeder’s first time to race in south-central Missouri.
Back in 2007, the Lucas Oil World Series of Off Road Racing came to the oval track. But now it’s a whole new ballgame, with a devoted 1.3-mile course built with turns, jumps and banking that promises to challenge the sport’s best drivers.
“My understanding is this is going to be a little different than other tracks we see,” Renezeder said. “It’s longer than what we’re used to and has some different elements. It’ll be interesting.”
Renezeder has been thrilling fans for two decades in the unique form of racing that is most-often associated with the deserts of the southwestern United States. In fact, he got his start in desert racing, doing Baja 1,000 and 500 events more than 20 years ago.
But the short-course style of off road appealed to him and he’s been one of the sports stars ever since, driving in both the Pro 4 and Pro 2 divisions. He became the first driver to win championships in both the two-wheel and four-wheel divisions in the same season when he captured the 2009 Unlimited 2 and Unlimited 4 divisions in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
This season he has one victory and is third in Pro 4 points, behind Kyle LeDuc and Rob MacCachren.
“It’s the door-to-door, side-by-side type of racing that we get to do that appeals to me,” Renezeder said. “We get to fly through the air and the trucks have a lot of horsepower. It’s just a lot of fun.”
He said the fans seeing the sport in person for the first time will literally feel the power.
“It’s similar to drag racing, though not quite to that extent, you’re going to hear 12 trucks get on the gas at the start of the race and you feel it through your whole body,” Renezeder said. “Seeing the trucks jumping through the air, on some tracks as far as 200 feet, that’s something people aren’t used to seeing.”
With only three events remaining on the schedule after this weekend, Renezeder’s days of going fast and flying high are limited. But he said it’s time and is content with his decision.
“I have bucket-list items that I need to check off,” Renezeder said of what’s next. “I want to get back to doing triathlons again and training on my bicycle and swimming. Just doing some things that I haven’t been able to do as much as I would have liked these last few years.”