Lucas Oil Off Road - Qualifying Report At Surprise
Action Heats Up In Round 11 Qualifying
Under the heat of the Arizona sun, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by Geico, is back at the Speedworld Off Road Park here in Surprise, AZ, for Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2011 season. The temperatures were high, but not altogether overbearing, despite placing extra strain on both man and machine out on the track. As the final push towards the end of the season is now in full effect, drivers were pushing their throttle pedals harder and their braking points deeper in search of that extra edge for the pole position, and the extra one point and better starting position that come with it. In case you couldn't be here, read on to find out what happened.
Pro 4 Unlimited
First out on track this afternoon was Pro 4 Unlimited, and hot off back to back wins at Glen Helen, it was Rick Huseman who came out at the top of heap after lap one, turning a 57.294 in his #36 Monster Energy/E3 Spark Plugs Toyota. Huseman only managed one lap, however, and his time was quickly bettered by the #11 Atrium Payroll/Maxxis Tires truck of Adrian Cenni, who ran a 56.409 on lap two. Cenni bettered his session-leading time twice more on laps three and four, but that was all the longer he was able to run, and on lap five, it was the #99 Rockstar/Makita Ford of Kyle LeDuc who took over the top spot with a 54.751. LeDuc went quicker twice more, ending the session on top with a 54.223, nearly a full second clear of runner-up Carl Renezeder, whose best lap was a 55.192 in the #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Ford. Cenni's best time was a 55.328, and was good enough for third, with fourth going to Travis Coyne, who set a 56.764 in his #5 ProComp/Team Associated Ford. Rounding out the top five was LeDuc's dad, Curt, who hustled his #43 Rockstar/Makita Ford to a best lap of 56.860.
The boys of Super Lite are certainly turning this into one of the most fiercely-contested classes in this series, and that was made all the more evident this afternoon, as no fewer than five different drivers held the fastest time in the span of just six qualifying laps. Ryan Hagy got things started with a 1:03.605 on lap one in his Metal Mulisha/General Tire machine, but was quickly eclipsed by Brent Fouch, who turned a 1:02.902 on lap two in his #21 Bionic Cigs truck. Newcomer Drew Britt then grabbed the top spot for a couple of laps, with efforts of 1:02.527 and 1:02.485 on laps three and four, before giving way to Chad George, who set a 1:01.946 in his #42 Kawasaki/Yokohama machine. On the final lap, though, it was points leader Patrick Clark who grabbed the pole with a 1:01.403 in his #25 BFGoodrich Tires/Method Race Wheels truck. Second went to George, third to RJ Anderson in the #37 Dethrone/Walker Evans Racing entry (1:02.007), fourth to Fouch (who improved to 1:02.072), and fifth to Britt.
Pro Lite Unlimited
Unlike most qualifying sessions, this afternoon's Pro Lite Unlimited fracas needed just one lap to determine a pole-sitter. Chris Brandt, coming off of his first winless weekend of the season, got right back in the swing of things by grabbing the top time of 58.348 on the opening lap in his #82 Aero Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires Toyota. Behind Brandt, a close second went to Brian Deegan, who turned a 58.620 in his #38 Metal Mulisha/Lucas Oil Ford, with third going to Rodrigo Ampudia in the #36 Papas & Beer/Tecate Ford (his best lap was a 58.852). In fourth it was the #19 BFGoodrich Tires/Method Race Wheels Ford of Corey Sisler (59.213), and rounding out the top five was Cameron Steele in the #16 Monster Energy/Yokohama Ford; his best lap was a 59.691.
Pro 2 Unlimited
General Tire teammates Carl Renezeder and Robby Woods had a good battle for the pole in Pro 2 Unlimited, with Renezeder grabbing the early advantage in his #17 Lucas Oil/Team Associated Ford after turning a 58.175 on lap one. Woods then snagged the top spot with laps of 57.337 and 57.008 in his #99 Lucas Slick Mist/SuperChips Chevrolet on laps two and three. Woods' time held through lap four, but on the fifth lap, Renezeder re-gained the top spot for good with a 56.501 to get the pole. Woods' time held up for second, with third going to the #1 Rockstar/MasterCraft Safety Ford of Rob MacCachren, whose best lap was a 57.038. Brian Deegan finished up the session fourth with a 57.252 in his #38 Rockstar/Makita Ford, and Rodrigo Ampudia rounded out the top five with a 57.467 in his #36 Lucas Oil/BFGoodrich Tires Ford.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
It was an all-Justin affair in Pro Buggy Unlimited qualifying, with Justin "Bean" Smith grabbing the early top spot with a 58.455 in his #19 Competitive Metals/Metal Mulisha AlumiCraft. Smith improved his class-leading time to a 58.057 on lap two, and that time held up for two further laps, but it was then Justin Davis who, on lap five, moved ahead to take the top spot away and keep it, turning a 57.939 in his #85 Green Army/General Tire Racer. Smith's time was still good enough to take second, with Steven Greinke rounding out the top three at 58.157 in his #23 SC Fuels/BFGoodrich Tires Racer. Jerry Whelchel finished fourth with a 58.377 in his #5 ProAm/BFGoodrich Tires Foddrill, and fifth went to the #2 Race Fuel Energy Drink/Freeman's Carpet Service Racer of Cody Freeman; his best lap was a 58.560.
In a classic battle of youth versus experience, it was the veteran Bruce Fraley, along with up-and-comers Dave Mason and Bradley Morris, who ran at the head of the field in Limited Buggy this afternoon. Fraley's #312 Race Fuel Energy Drink/Freeman's Carpet Service Motorsports Fraley was up front early, with laps of 1:04.455 and 1:03.692 on the first two laps. Fraley's time was good through the end of lap three, but by lap four, young Mason had gone a bit quicker, with a lap of 1:03.246 in his #365 SR Performance/B&R Buggie AlumiCraft. Mason then improved to a 1:02.713 on lap five, but on the next (and final) lap, it was Morris who got the pole with a 1:02.669 in his #304 K&N/Lucas Oil AlumiCraft. Mason's time was good enough for second, with Fraley improving to 1:02.941 for third. Fourth was Curt Geer, who ran a 1:03.091 in his #385 Green Army/Bowden Development, Inc. Lothringer, and John Fitzgerald rounded out the top five with a 1:03.228 in his #314 Aero Motorsports/Simpson buggy.
The final qualifying session of the afternoon was that of the UTVs, and by just one thousandth of a second, it was Corry Weller who had the fastest opening lap, her 1:01.681 putting her #801 Weller Racing/Tilted Kilt Yamaha just ahead of the #664 Monster Energy/Muzzys Kawasaki of Robert Vanbeekum. On lap three, though, Code Rahders put the session away with a 1:01.020 in his #816 SuperChips/Black Rhino Yamaha, grabbing the overall and SR1 poles. Vanbeekum improved to 1:01.394 to get the Unlimited UTV pole, taking second overall, with Weller second in SR1, third overall after improving to 1:01.488. Fourth overall, third in SR1 was John Dempsey in the #855 Monster Energy/747 Ink Kawasaki (1:01.950), with Tyler Winbury fifth overall, second in Unlimited UTV at 1:02.645 in his #694 Deviate Films/4130 Clothing Kawasaki. Chad George took the third spot in Unlimited UTV, sixth overall, with a 1:03.201 in his #1 Monster Energy/Funco Kawasaki.