CHANDLER, Ariz. – As the 2012 season of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, comes to its dramatic conclusion, the drivers and their teams return to where this year’s tale began: the friendly confines of Firebird Int’l Raceway.
While the Pro Lite Unlimited and Limited Buggy titles have already been awarded, the remaining seven championship races are still ongoing, with several of these having real potential to come right down to single digit point differences between title contenders. Qualifying saw the first of 52 maximum available points for Round 15, the final regular season round, handed out yesterday, and for some, that single point was extremely valuable.
Today, the remaining 51 points were up for grabs: one point for leading at the Competition Yellow, 50 points for the win. Beyond that, it’s a two-point drop for each finishing position, so every position on the track is crucial.
With only tomorrow’s Lucas Oil Challenge Cup races remaining, those who’ve been chasing a championship will be placing great importance on today’s races, as they will determine their final positions in the championship standings.
For the rest of the field, there’s still the ever-present reward of a race win, so everyone will have something to shoot for here today. To find out how the season wrapped up, read on for all the details.
The first race of the morning was Junior 2 Kart, and this would be the first of several closely-fought title races here today. Coming into today, Dylan Winbury led Travis PeCoy by just five points, while Shelby Anderson, the only other driver still alive in this race, looked forced to sit this one out due to an untimely neck injury. Fortunately for Anderson, she was able to get Modified Kart driver Corey Geiser to sit in for her, so she would still have a shot at the championship.
Broc Dickerson grabbed the early lead in his No. 423 Black Rhino/Racer X Motorsports kart, and was chased by PeCoy in the No. 411 Hoosier/Signpros machine, Parker Steele in the No. 449 Steele Racing/Martori Farms entry, Ronnie Anderson in the #420 Walker Evans Racing/Polaris truck, and Parker Porter in the No. 461 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats kart. Ronnie Anderson got an inside run on Winbury and made a pass for third at turn two on lap two, but then gave the position right back after a slow run through the low line at the either/or section on the same lap. Anderson and Porter then tangled at turn one on the next lap, dropping these two back to the last two spots in the running order.
On lap five, Jeremy Davis (now running fourth) had a big bicycle in turn three, and had to run off the track to stay on all four wheels. He ended up turning left and back onto the track where turn five dumped onto the front straightaway, with race officials quickly shuffling him to the back of the pack as the field then slowed for the Competition Yellow.
Dickerson still led as the field re-grouped, with PeCoy, Winbury, Steele, and Darren Hardesty in the No. 456 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/Lucas Oil truck in-tow. Dickerson dropped from first to fifth on the restart lap, moving PeCoy into the lead, and giving him the potential to score a much-needed 50 points for the win as he tried to overcome Winbury for the title.
Unfortunately, Winbury sat in second, which would give him 48 points, enough to retain the title by a mere three points. On lap nine, Hardesty moved up to third, while up front, PeCoy and Winbury were breaking away as the field entered the final lap. PeCoy held tough out front to get the win, ahead of Winbury, Hardesty, Dickerson, and Steele, but PeCoy’s win wasn’t quite enough to nab the title from Winbury, who held on by just three points to take the 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Junior 2 Kart championship in his No. 469 Famous Stars and Straps/Black Rhino/Magnum Off-Road/Walker Evans Racing/Wagon Burners Racing kart.
Next up was Junior 1 Kart, and another close championship fight would be on in this one. This time, Conner McMullen came into this weekend leading defending champion Broc Dickerson by seven points.
Dickerson picked up one point after taking pole in qualifying yesterday, thus narrowing the gap to six points coming into today’s season finale.
McMullen had the early lead, with Travis PeCoy, Dickerson, Darren Hardesty, and Ray Roben close behind. Dickerson moved up to second by using the low line at the either/or on lap two, with Hardesty then taking over third from PeCoy early on lap four. Hardesty then got a good run on Dickerson between turns four and five, and made the pass for second coming out of turn five. PeCoy briefly got by Dickerson early on the next lap as well after Dickerson bobbled a bit as Hardesty went by, but Dickerson got him back quickly.
Hardesty then strangely ran the high line, and at the stripe, Dickerson had edged ahead of Hardesty by a nose to re-take second ahead of the Competition Yellow.
McMullen was still leading, and gained back the point he’d lost to Dickerson in qualifying by leading at the Competition Yellow. The running order was now McMullen, Dickerson in the No. 1 Dickerson Motorsports/Walker Evans Racing kart, Hardesty in the No. 231 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/RC10.com machine, PeCoy in the No. 211 King Off-Road Racing Shocks/Simpson entry, and Roben in the #210 Duggins Construction, Inc./Canidae truck in the top five.
This running order stayed the same on the restart lap, but on lap eight, McMullen bobbled in turn one, allowing Dickerson to get by on the inside and into the lead. A few corners later, McMullen mysteriously chose to run the slower high line at the either/or, allowing both Hardesty and PeCoy to pass him on the low line, which dropped the championship leader back to fourth.
As they ran on track, McMullen now held the championship lead by just one point, but that one point was enough, as the running order in the top five held up through the race’s end. Dickerson did all he could in the second half, but McMullen’s having led at halfway turned out to be the deciding point of the season.
Dickerson did get the race win, ahead of Hardesty, PeCoy, McMullen, and Roben, and it was McMullen who picked up the 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Junior 1 Kart title by a single point in his No. 288 Monster Energy/Kevin McMullen Fabrication & Transaxles/Speed Energy/Foddrill Motorsports/Racer X Motorsports kart.
In terms of points and number of championship contenders, Modified Kart would be the closest championship race of the day. Myles Cheek, last year’s Junior 2 Kart champion, came into today just five points up on Brock Heger, twelve points up on Cole Mamer, 36 ahead of Bradley Morris, and 41 ahead of Sheldon Creed.
Blake Lenk had the lead after lap one in his No. 521 Team Associated/Racer X Motorsports kart, with Cheek, Creed, Mamer, and Jeff Hoffman filling out the top five. Creed got by Cheek for second on lap two, and on lap five, he out-jumped Lenk out of turn five to take the lead coming onto the front straightaway. At the Competition Yellow, Creed now led the way in his No. 574 Trophy Kart/Kar Tek Off Road truck, ahead of Lenk, Mamer in the #535 Simpson/Full Tilt Trophy Karts entry, Cheek, and Hoffman in the #547 Cactus Asphalt/BRT Signs machine in the top five. Creed picked up one point for leading at the halfway point, closing his gap to Cheek down to 40 points.
On the restart lap, Sterling Cling got rolled on the takeoff for the jump at the start/finish line, forcing officials to bring the yellow flag back out. Cling’s wreck was quickly cleared (584 was able to continue), and just before the green flag came back out, Mamer was shuffled back to third for jumping the restart after the Competition Yellow.
When racing resumed, Cheek got a great restart lap, and took the lead from Creed as the field approached the final lap. Further back, Lenk and Hoffman were caught out near turn four, dropping them well back, and bringing Scotty Steele and Morris up to fourth and fifth. From there, the top five drivers held their positions, and it was Cheek in the No. 557 Rockstar/Metal
Mulisha/ThyssenKrupp Materials Motorsports/DASA/CBR kart who took back-to-back championships, as he added the 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Modified Kart title to the championship he won last year in Junior 2 Kart. Second went to Creed, third to Mamer, fourth to Steele, and fifth to Morris.
First out onto the full-length track today were the Limited Buggies, and with John Fitzgerald already having locked up the championship back in Las Vegas, today’s race would just be for bragging rights, as well as deciding some of the championship positions further on down the order.
Bradley Morris got out to the early lead in his No. 304 Lucas Oil/K&N Penhall, with Fitzgerald second in the No. 314 BFGoodrich Tires/Livestrong buggy in second, Kevin McCullough third in the No. 389 Gear One/Broken Cartel Geiser, Jordan Poole fourth in the No. 310 No Fear Energy/Riot Racing Fraley, and Jim Price fifth in the No. 383 VP Racing Fuels/Foddrill Motorsports Lothringer. After three laps of unchanged running order up front, Fitzgerald got alongside Morris into turn four on lap four.
The two went side by side along the lower line towards turn five, with Morris then appearing to give way slightly as Fitzgerald moved into the lead. The two continued to battle for the lead on the next lap, but as Fitzgerald ever-so-slowly opened up a couple of car lengths worth of lead, McCullough got around Morris on lap six to move into second.
Two laps later, and it was time for the Competition Yellow, at which point Fitzgerald still led, followed by McCullough, Morris, Poole, and Price.
The running order up front was the same as the field returned to green flag racing, and as the frontrunners headed into turn three, Fitzgerald was out front slightly, with Morris, McCullough, and Poole running three-wide for second. McCullough spun himself out in the scramble at turn three, dropping him to seventh, and moving Dillon Ayers into the top five in his No. 398 Gear One/BFGoodrich Tires Lothringer.
Ayers was actually now in fourth, having passed Price for the position, and when Poole then bicycled out of turn four and ran up onto the high line, Ayers inherited third as Poole dropped to fourth. With on lap to go, the best race on the track was now between Ayers and Poole for third, and as the two exited turn three, they hit side to side off the jump into turn four.
Both drivers bobbled as they landed, with Ayers then spinning out and dropping to fourth. The incident looked like an unfortunate racing incident, and Poole therefore received no punishment. Up front, Fitzgerald came home the winner for the seventh time this season, ahead of Morris, Poole, Ayers, and McCullough, who finished the last lap-plus on a flat right rear tire.
The stands were now packed as Opening Ceremonies came to a close, and as the afternoon set in under a gorgeous Arizona sky, it was time to get back to racing. One of the most impressive races of the day was Pro 4 Unlimited. Brothers Kyle and Todd LeDuc were the only ones mathematically alive in the title battle coming into today, with Kyle leading by 16 points. With seven wins to Todd’s one, Todd would need to beat Kyle by nine positions to overhaul him for the title, so he would definitely have his work cut out for him today, and would also have to hope for some bad luck on Kyle’s part. Kyle, meanwhile, could afford to take it easy, but with engine issues causing him to elect to start at the back as opposed to row one (where he’d been slated to start), he would be hoping for attrition to take its toll and for his engine to hang on.
Eric Barron took the early lead in his No. 32 Mickey Thompson/Fox Racing Shox Toyota, with Josh Merrell running second in the No. 22 MavTV/Hart and Huntington Ford, Carl Renezeder third in the No. 1 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, Greg Adler fourth in the No. 10 Affliction/4 Wheel Parts Ford, and Todd LeDuc fifth in the No. 7 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford. Adler and LeDuc traded positions twice on lap two, with LeDuc then getting ahead of Adler once again on the straightaway between turns one and two on lap three.
LeDuc then moved up to third early on lap four, with Merrell then pulling off the track and out of the race early on the next lap. Meanwhile, Adler was now obviously struggling with some issue which was affecting his handling, as he tumbled back through the field while battling to keep his truck pointed in the right direction. Up front, Barron was running away with the race, and at the Competition Yellow, he led by a sizeable margin over Renezeder, LeDuc, Ryan Beat in the #46 eBay Motors/Hart and Huntington Ford, and Travis Coyne in the No. 5 ProComp/Maxxis Ford.
When green flag racing resumed, Renezeder was immediately all over the back of Barron’s truck in a bid for the lead. Renezeder seemed as though he might have been playing possum in the first half, and anyone thinking so must’ve felt like they were right in the early laps of the second half, as Renezeder came alive and really put the pressure on Barron. Barron is not easily intimidated, though, as he has shown many times this year, so Renezeder would need to make the most of any opportunity if he was going to get by Barron.
A rollover by Corry Weller up in turn four brought out a full course yellow, and after a lengthy delay getting her cleared from the track, green flag racing resumed, and Renezeder was right on it in his effort to get by Barron. Renezeder dove deep down the inside of turn one, then swung out wide to block Barron’s line as he slid into the lead. Renezeder hit Barron across the nose, and both drivers lost a bit of momentum, which briefly created an opportunity for LeDuc to get by them both.
As they headed out of turn one, LeDuc kept his foot in it up the straightway and over the jump between turns one and two, and with his truck being very quick on the straights, he was quickly alongside Renezeder for the lead. The two bumped side to side in mid-air, with Barron just behind, and the three came sliding this way and that into turn two, as all three tried to scrub speed and re-gain control.
Renezeder came out ahead, with LeDuc now second and Barron third, but Barron’s run then ended abruptly, as he pulled off the track at turn one on the next lap, race over. LeDuc did his best to pressure Renezeder for the lead, and for a little while, he held right on to Renezeder’s back bumper.
As the final laps closed down, though, Renezeder just edged away, and with attrition having guaranteed that there wouldn’t be enough drivers between Todd and Kyle for Todd to get the championship, Kyle turned up the wick and went for broke as he charged up to full speed. At the white flag, Renezeder led Todd LeDuc, with Beat third, Kyle LeDuc fourth, and Curt LeDuc fifth in the No. 43 KCHiLites/Mickey Thompson Ford. Renezeder and Todd LeDuc held one-two through the checkers, while Kyle LeDuc out-drug Beat out of the final corner to round out the podium on the last lap. Beat wound up fourth, and Curt LeDuc finished fifth.
Despite having to play it safe for much of the race, Kyle LeDuc managed to show, in the closing laps of this race, the tremendous speed and ferocious tenacity that carried he and his No. 99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires/RC10.com/Makita Power Tools/K&N Ford to seven wins and the 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Pro 4 Unlimited championship.
Only two drivers remained in the championship chase after 14 rounds in the Pro Buggy Unlimited division: Steven Greinke and Doug Fortin. Greinke led Fortin by 26 points coming into today, and though the two are good friends off the track and always speak well of one another, each driver had to be hoping to come out on top here this afternoon. Fortin would need to beat Greinke by thirteen positions here today, so his odds were long, but anything can happen here in Lucas Oil Off Road, so there was certainly everything to fight for. Greinke, meanwhile, could afford to play it cool and lay back, forego any risks, and cruise home to take the title, but would still need to stay out of trouble.
Jerry Whelchel and his No. 5 ProAm/General Tire Foddrill had the lead after lap one, with Fortin running second in the No. 96 Fortin Racing, Inc./Fox Racing Shox Racer, Dave Mason third in the No. 65 Romney/Ryan 2012/Jamar AlumiCraft, Geoffrey Cooley fourth in the No. 22 Romney/Ryan 2012/BFGoodrich Tires AlumiCraft, and Greinke fifth. Lap two saw a great battle for the lead between Whelchel and Fortin, with Fortin getting by Whelchel in turn two, Whelchel taking the lead back in turn three, and Fortin grabbing the lead back by running the low line at the either/or. Garrett George also moved up on lap two, taking over fourth in the No. 71 Yokohama/Abu Dhabi Funco, while Mason then dropped back several spots by using the slower high line on lap three.
Cameron Steele and Mason then moved back up to fourth and fifth by using the quicker low line on lap four, while up front, the top three drivers had broken away by lap six. Fortin then started to edge away just slightly, while the battle for second between Whelchel and Cooley was now really getting on in earnest.
At the Competition Yellow, Fortin led to pick up the one bonus point that goes along with leading at the halfway mark, which closed his gap to Greinke down to 25 points. Whelchel was just ahead of Cooley in second, with Cooley third, Mason fourth, Steele fifth, and points leader Greinke sixth, and provisionally losing an additional ten points to Fortin as they ran on the track.
On the restart lap, Steele put a nice pass on Mason for fourth in turn two, while just ahead, Fortin was again just starting to pull out a gap, with Whelchel and Cooley again battling closely for second. On lap thirteen, Cooley slid a bit wide and bumped Whelchel’s left rear with his right rear, upsetting Whelchel’s car slightly, and allowing Cooley to get by and into second.
Cooley’s teammate also moved up on lap thirteen, as he re-took fourth from Steele. Cooley then slowly started to close up on Fortin on laps fourteen through sixteen, and his got closer, Cooley really picked up the pace to close the gap more quickly on lap seventeen. Fortin held tough, though, and kept Cooley at bay to get his seventh win of the season.
Cooley finished a close second, with Mason snagging third from Whelchel on the final lap. Whelchel came home fourth, and rounding out the top five was Steele in the No. 16 Monster Energy/Yokohama AlumiCraft. Fortin had done all he could, and would now have to rely on some last lap bad luck on Greinke’s part if he was to get the title.
That bad luck didn’t hit Greinke, though, as he cruised home in sixth to take the 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro Buggy Unlimited championship in his No. 23 SC Fuels/Concourse/Fortin Racing, Inc./Redline Performance/Signpros Racer.
The Pro Lite Unlimited championship has already gone to RJ Anderson this season, which meant that this afternoon’s regular season finale would mostly be about bragging rights. Brian Deegan got out front from the get-go in his #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, and just behind, it was Casey Currie in the #2 Monster Energy/General Tire Nissan, Anderson in the #37 Monster Energy/South Point Dodge, Chris Brandt in the #82 BFGoodrich Tires/National Concrete Cutting Toyota, and Bradley Morris in the #24 GoldStar Asphalt!/Lucas Oil Ford. A flash fire onboard the Jimmy Stephensen truck brought out a quick red flag of the race, but Stephensen’s truck was alright, and racing soon resumed. On the restart lap, Morris got inside of Brandt to take over fourth in turn two, and a right rear flat on Brandt’s machine then forced him into the hot hits and out of contention for a top spot. Justin Smith picked up fifth in his #19 Competitive Metals/Metal Mulisha Ford, and a full course caution then came out on lap seven after Matt Cook came to a stop at the small jump heading into turn three. Once Cook was towed off, racing resumed, but a wreck involving Jacob Person, Aaron Daugherty, and Brandt in turn one forced another full course caution, which also served as the Competition Yellow. The running order was still Deegan, Currie, Anderson, Morris, and Smith as the field circled behind the ReadyLift Off Road Suspension Toyota Tundra Pace Truck.
On the restart lap, Smith got halfway spun around and put up onto the inside burm at turn two, dropping him well down the order, and promoting Noah Fouch into the top five in his No. 52 Universal Technical Institute/Fiberwerx Ford. Fouch had also gotten around Morris, and now ran in fourth, with Morris then re-taking the position in the first half of lap twelve.
Amazingly, though, Fouch pulled off an astounding pass on the outside of Morris in the very narrow low line of the either/or section, re-taking fourth in a move that must’ve been a big surprise to Morris. The pass was a clean one, and Fouch kept the position out of that split lane section. Up front, the top three were now clear by a good margin, with Deegan just marginally ahead of his closest two chasers.
On lap fifteen, Morris got back around Fouch for fourth, and on the next lap, Anderson managed to pass Currie for second. Anderson then picked up a left front flat, forcing him into the hot pits and out of the race for the lead. Those behind each moved up a spot, with Currie now second, Morris third, Fouch fourth, and Chad George now fifth in the No. 42 Discount Tire/Traxxas Ford. Lap seventeen saw a full course caution due to debris on the track, but racing resumed at the end of lap 18.
Jerett Brooks moved up to fifth on the restart lap, and at the white flag, it was Deegan, Currie, Morris, Fouch, and Brooks in the top five. From there, these drivers held their positions, and it was Deegan whose truck looked as clean at the finish as it had at the start, as he picked up his fourth win inside the category. Second went to Currie, third to Morris, fourth to Fouch, and fifth to Brooks in the No. 77 Synergy Electric Racing/Cooper Tires Ford.
Three drivers were left in mathematical contention for this year’s Super Lite crown coming into today’s season ender: points leader Sheldon Creed, second-placed Drew Britt (-20), and third-placed Ryan Hagy (-49). So long as Creed and Britt made the start, there weren’t enough trucks to give Hagy a shot at the title, but Britt still had a more reasonable (if not still distant) chance, as he needed to beat Creed by eleven positions to take the title. Creed could afford to cruise this afternoon, and with three championships already under his belt here in Lucas Oil Off Road, Creed knows how to do what it takes to come out on top.
Cody Rahders took the lead on the opening lap in his No. 16 Superchips/Toyo Tires machine, with Creed in second, Dustin Jones third in the No. 12 Zero To Inzane/Justice Brothers entry, Jessie Johnson fourth in the No. 15 LoanMart/Kimbrell Racing truck, and Garrett Poelman fifth in the No. 62 Supercross.com/Loctite machine. On lap two, Johnson got inside of Jones at turn two, moving him up to third on lap two. Hagy then moved up to fifth on the next lap in his No. 27 General Tire/Valli Construction truck, and two laps later, Jones was slow out of turn two, dropping him back to sixth.
The running order was now Rahders, Creed, Johnson, Hagy, and Britt in the top five, with Johnson closing on Creed for second on laps five and six. Up front, Rahders was still enjoying the strong lead he’d opened up early, and at the Competition Yellow, he was still out front, ahead of Creed, Johnson, Hagy, and Britt in the No. 7 Universal Technical Institute/Quick Lane truck.
On the restart lap, Britt was among several drivers who were caught out in a turn one incident, and at the end of the lap, both he and Brent Fouch were still stopped in that corner, which forced a full course caution. Britt was able to re-fire and continue (though he had to head to hot pits for a little help from his crew before continuing), while Fouch left the track on the tow hook. When racing resumed, Jones was black flagged for his involvement in the earlier incident, and Britt re-joined the action after his time in the hot pits.
On the penultimate lap, Hagy, Johnson, and 10 all piled into Creed and physically forced him wide at turn three, dropping him back to fifth as a result. Creed survived the brief scare, though, and was still looking good for the championship.
Up front, Rahders had led wire to wire as he picked up his second win of the season, ahead of Hagy in second, Eric Hunter in third in the No. 10 Hunter Enterprises Racing/H&H Grading, Inc. entry, Johnson fourth, and Creed fifth.
Looking back at the season results, the wins tally was certainly lopsided in favor of Creed, who brought home seven victories in the No. 74 A.M. Ortega General Engineering Contractor Inc./BFGoodrich Tires/McKenzies/Kar Tek Off Road/Racer X Motorsports truck, en-route to the 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Super Lite championship.
The final race of the afternoon was Pro 2 Unlimited, and the proverbial “they” sure saved a good one for the end. Brian Deegan led a close three-way battle for the championship coming into today, as he sat 13 points up on Marty Hart, and 20 points ahead of Rob MacCachren. Both Hart and MacCachren would need Deegan to falter somewhat in order to have a shot at the title, and while Deegan could afford to sit back somewhat and take it easy, this rough and tumble field doesn’t exactly take kindly to those who run in the middle of the pack, so he would still need to keep his pace high.
Multiple incidents forced a full restart on lap one, and on the second go-around, it was Robby Woods who was out front early in the No. 99 Lucas Slick Mist/General Tire Chevrolet. Hart ran second in the #15 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension Ford, followed by Jeff Seifert in the No. 95 Sak Tea/Lenco Ford, Deegan, and MacCachren in the No. 21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford. A full course caution was thrown at the end of lap one to allow crews to clear a tire/wheel and other debris from the track, and on the restart lap, Deegan moved up to third coming up to turn two.
On the same lap, Ryan Hancock’s rollover in turn three forced another full course caution, and it was quickly becoming apparent that tensions were running very high in this one. As the field ran under caution, Woods pulled into the hot pits and returned to his pit, victim of yet another mechanical gremlin; this poor guy has had the worst luck this year! Racing resumed, and it was now Hart, Deegan, Seifert, MacCachren, and Rodrigo Ampudia in the No. 36 Papas & Beer/Toyo Tires Ford running in the top five.
MacCachren moved up to third on the restart lap, with Ampudia then getting by Seifert for fourth out of turn two on the following lap. Jeremy McGrath got around Seifert one corner later, moving up to fifth in his No. 2 Monster Energy/E3 Spark Plugs Ford. Up front, the top three were already running with a good gap back to the rest of the field.
On lap ten, McGrath got inside of Ampudia at turn four, and hit him hard side to side. Ampudia held tough, though, and nosed back ahead before the stripe, where the Competition Yellow was waiting for them.
Hart led at this point, and picked up one point as a result, putting him within 12 points of Deegan in the title race. Deegan and MacCachren ran in second and third, so it was really shaping up to be a great race between the championship contenders in the second half.
Behind these three, Ampudia ran in fourth, and McGrath rounded out the top five. The top five held their positions on the restart lap and the following lap, but on lap thirteen, a full course caution came out after Jeff Geiser helped push Seifert sideways at the start/finish line.
Seifert rolled, then slid down the embankment on the inside of the track and into the infield. Seifert was ok, but his truck was heavily damaged, and unable to continue in the race. Just before the caution had been thrown, smoke had been seen coming from the back of Hart’s truck, and the leader was now looking vulnerable as the field returned to green flag racing on lap sixteen.
MacCachren got a nice outside run to pass Deegan in turn three on the restart lap, and came hot into turn four, where he hit side to side with Hart as he tried to pass for the lead. MacCachren nosed ahead, with Hart dropping to second, and now facing severe pressure from Deegan in third. As it turned out, the smoke from Hart’s truck was a result of his loss of rear brakes, so he did indeed have his hands full in holding Deegan at bay.
On lap 18, RJ Anderson pulled off to the outside at turn one, forcing another full course caution, and when racing resumed, it was now MacCachren, Hart, Deegan, Carl Renezeder in the No. 17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, and Geiser in the No. 44 Tap It Brewing Co./Canidae Chevrolet in the top five.
On the restart, Renezeder was black flagged for earlier contact with McGrath, which moved Geiser to fourth and Greg Adler to fifth in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/Airaid Ford. From there, the top five held their positions, and it was MacCachren who got the win, with Hart second, Deegan third, Geiser fourth, and Adler fifth.
This year’s Pro 2 Unlimited championship was very evenly-fought between Deegan, Hart, and MacCachren, as each driver picked up four win apiece this season. In the end, though, it was Deegan in the No. 38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools/Metal Mulisha/Maxxis Tires/DVS Shoe Company Ford who had slightly better consistency, and who kept his cool in the thick of today’s fight to take his second consecutive title in this class