RENO, Nev. – The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, was back in action under the lights at Wild West Motorsports Park, and Saturday, some of the series’ lesser-known drivers had those lights shining brightly on them.
On the same night, a couple of serious, longer term accomplishments were made out on track, and for the fans who packed the grandstands, the drivers put on one heck of a show.
In the first race of the evening, the Modified Karts put on a much cleaner race than last night, though there were still a few odd moments. The first of those moments came in the very first corner, as points leader Christopher Polvoorde got rolled, and several other drivers were caught out in the same incident.
While all the other drivers were able to get clear and take the restart (race officials called for a full restart), Polvoorde’s kart was too badly damaged to go any further, a crushing blow for the driver who came into this weekend with the largest points lead of any class in the series.
Broc Dickerson scored his first Modified Kart podium in the national series with his second place finish, and rounding out the podium was Mamer in third. Fourth went to Naughton in the #554 Steele Racing/ReadyLift Off Road Suspension entry, and fifth was her close friend Deegan in the #538 Dirt Princess/4 Wheel Parts kart.
Pro 2 Unlimited
First out onto the full-length track were the Pro 2 Unlimiteds. Once again, Brian Deegan jumped out to the top spot early, and he led in the #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford at the end of lap one. Right behind Deegan came Rob MacCachren in second, RJ Anderson in third, Marty Hart in fourth, and Carl Renezeder in fifth. Deegan and MacCachren started to move just a little bit clear of the pack over the first few laps, but on lap four, Anderson closed back in on MacCachren, who’d lost a few truck lengths to Deegan. On the next lap, Hart suddenly pulled off between turns one and two, and with his truck sitting in a vulnerable spot, race officials called for a full course yellow. Hart’s demise moved Renezeder up to fourth and Jeremy McGrath to fifth, but on the restart lap, the order up and down the order got shuffled dramatically.
Anderson spun at turn one on the restart lap, which dropped him to seventh, and put McGrath up to fifth in the No. 2 Loctite/Maxxis Tires Chevrolet. Renezeder then got by Menzies for second with a nice pass coming out of turn three, and while Menzies just got into the back of Renezeder as the two exited the same corner on the next lap, it was only Menzies who was affected. Menzies spun himself and dropped to seventh, and this moved Woods, McGrath, and Spaccarelli up to third, fourth, and fifth.
Up front, it was two very different looking trucks who had a shot at the win. Deegan was looking pristine after running out front all race. Renezeder’s charge for the win subsided late, as Deegan was just edging away slightly, and he brought home the win to sweep the weekend; Deegan’s third win in a row puts him even further up on the rest of the field in this year’s title fight. Renezeder finished up second, with Woods taking third.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
After a brutal Pro 2 Unlimited race, the Pro Buggy Unlimiteds cleaned things up nicely, as they ran the entire race without a single caution flag. Chad George started fifth, but sliced his way up to second on lap one, just behind the leader, Kevin McCullough. Garrett George ran in third, with Eric Fitch fourth and Steve Greinke fifth.
That closeness didn’t last long, though, as Greinke started to catch McCullough, if ever so slightly, on lap twelve, and was certainly putting some distance on the George cousins behind. Greinke then erased that hard work on the final lap, as he nearly stalled in turn two, giving away any last chance he might have had to make a push for the win.
Out front, it was McCullough who drove a masterful race and after going winless despite a myriad strong runs in the Limited Buggy division, McCullough got his first career national series win. Second went to Greinke, with Chad George third. Fourth place was Garrett George and rounding out the top five was Minnier.
Pro Lite Unlimited
After a surprising run in qualifying and a six-spot inversion of those qualifying results, it was Brandon Arthur who started out front in Pro Lite Unlimited.
Anderson muscled Smith in a bid for fourth at turn two on the second lap, and when Smith seemed to hesitate a bit into the next corner, Anderson got him easily with a smooth outside line. On the next lap, Smith then had a very ugly crash, as he dug his nose in on the landing of the big tabletop jump into turn two. Smith was sent high into the air in a scary end-for-end wreck, before coming down on his wheels in a truck with heavy front end damage. Safety crews were on the scene quickly, and the race was red flagged due to the severity of the crash, yet after a few moments, Smith was able to climb out and walk to the ambulance after waving to the crowd.
Once the incident was all cleared up, racing resumed on lap five, with Arthur, Hart, Deegan, Anderson, and Sheldon Creed now running in the top five. Both Deegan and Anderson got by Hart going into, through, and out of turn one on the restart lap, but Anderson then slowed slightly coming down the hill out of turn four, and he dropped several spots down the order. Deegan was already up to second now, and Anderson’s issue put Creed up to third, with Hart now fourth and Ryan Beat fifth in the No. 51 Lunarpages Web Hosting/Hart and Huntington Dodge.
Up front, Arthur was driving great, and despite being out of gearing with 100 or so yards to go on the front straight, he was leading some vastly more experienced drivers, and not really giving them any place to make ground on him. A full course caution on lap 10, brought out thanks to debris on the track at turn two, gave those behind Arthur the chance to make a move on the restart, but he got a great drive on that restart and easily retained the lead. However, Deegan then managed to get alongside Arthur going up the long hill to turn four, only to have Arthur force him wide in turn four, and Arthur held his lead.
When racing resumed on lap 25, it was now Hart, Beat, Fishback, Creed, and Casey Currie in the top five. In a one-lap final run to the checkered flag, Hart easily kept the competition at bay, as he brought home a terrific first career win in the class. Fishback finished a career best second, third was well-earned by Creed, fourth was Beat, and fifth across the line was Currie. However, Currie was disqualified after failing post-race tech, which put Kyle Lucas up to fifth.
Pro 4 Unlimited
In the final race of the weekend, some history was on the line for points leader Kyle LeDuc. With a win tonight, LeDuc would complete his second straight weekend sweep in Reno, and would also pull himself level with Carl Renezeder for the most Pro 4 Unlimited wins in series history. Renezeder took the lead on the opening lap in his No. 1 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan.
On lap 15, Renezeder closed quickly on Rob MacCachren after having lost the lead, but a full course yellow, which turned into a red flag, momentarily brought that race to a halt. On the final lap, Johnson had a half spin in turn one, which dropped him to seventh, and moved Fortin and Greg Adler up to fourth and fifth. Up front, it was all Kyle LeDuc once again, as he got his Renezeder-equaling 26th Pro 4 Unlimited win in the series, and made it not only his second straight Reno sweep, but also his second straight weekend sweep of the season. Renezeder was again a close second, with MacCachren third, Fortin fourth, and Adler fifth.