Lucas Oil Off-Road - E3 Spark Plugs Utah Off Road Nationals
Surprises and Dominations in Round 8
Following a rousing batch of races in Round 7, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, was back in action again today, as the gracious host track, Miller Motorsports Park, was again the venue here in Round 8. Strong breezes and warm temperatures were on hand again today, but with cloud cover getting blown in from the south, it was a very nice day to be out at the races. The action out on track kept everybody's interests peaked throughout the afternoon, and fans will be headed home happy, with plenty to talk about around the water cooler tomorrow. For all the latest photos, check out our Lucas Oil Flickr Page .Junior 2 Kart
After taking the win yesterday, Dylan Winbury couldn't have asked for a better starting position than pole today. Winbury used this to full advantage, putting his #469 Famous Stars and Straps/Fiberwerx truck out front early, ahead of Shelby Anderson in the #405 Walker Evans Racing/Anderson's Nu Power kart, Travis PeCoy in the #411 Fox Racing Shox/CMI entry, Jeremy Davis in his #485 Green Army/Rigid Industries LED Lighting machine, and Parker Porter in the #461 Redline Performance/Advantage Boats kart. Parker had a spin on lap three, dropping him well down the order, and promoting Broc Dickerson to fifth in the #423 Driscoll's Surf 'N' Skate/Kar Tek machine. The top five drivers had now spread out slightly, with an even little gap between each driver, and their running order remained the same through the Competition Yellow. On the restart lap, though, Parker Steele cracked into the top five in his #449 Foddrill Motorsports/SDHQ Off Road Racing kart, moving past Dickerson and into fifth place. Davis also moved up, taking over third from PeCoy on the next lap. At the white flag, it was Winbury, Anderson, Davis, PeCoy, and Steele in the top five. On the final lap, Steele got a good run through the whoops to close down on PeCoy, and with a daring dive down the inside into the final corner, he made the pass to move up to fourth place. Up front, Winbury was the man, picking up his fifth win of the season en route to a clean sweep of the weekend. Anderson got some redemption with a second place today after a rough race yesterday, and Davis rounded out the podium in third. Steele finished in fourth, and PeCoy took fifth.
Junior 1 Kart
As was the case in Junior 2 Kart, yesterday's Junior 1 Kart winner, Conner McMullen, got the early lead in today's race. With McMullen's #288 Monster Energy/Sunoco Race Fuels kart out front, it was Broc Dickerson running second in the #1 Dickerson Motorsports/Black Rhino machine, Darren Hardesty Jr. third in the #231 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/RC10.com entry, Parker Darland fourth in the #241 Alexander Ford/Lincoln/King Off-Road Racing Shocks truck, and Travis PeCoy fifth in the #211 Signpros/Lucas Oil machine. Hardesty Jr. got by Dickerson on the inside at turn one on lap three, and moved up to second as a result. The top four drivers were already opening up a gap over the rest of the field, and before the Competition Yellow, that top four group became a top three group, as Darland fell off the back of the leading group. However, that running order was still the same by the Competition Yellow, and stayed that way after the restart. At the end of lap seven, the top three fanned out, and came across the stripe three-wide, but somehow slotted back into their same running order as the went into turn one. On lap eight, PeCoy had a spin, which allowed Blaze Nunley's #230 kart to move up to fifth place. After that, the top five held their places, and it was McMullen who brought out the broom, sweeping the weekend from the top step of the podium. Second went to Hardesty Jr., third to Dickerson, fourth to Darland, and fifth to Nunley.
In the final race of the weekend on the shorter "kids" course, the Modified Karts once again put on a show that proved their billing as "the future stars of short course off-road." Brock Heger got the early lead in his #511 Kacon Framing Inc./LGE Paint machine, ahead of Kyle Hart in the #523 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Duncan Racing kart, Bradley Morris in the #504 Trophy Kart/K&N truck, Sheldon Creed in the #574 Trophy Kart/RC10.com entry, and Jeff Hoffman in the #547 Cactus Asphalt/BRT Signs machine. The battle for the top spot was frantic from the get-go, with Hart getting inside of Heger at turn three on lap three, and Morris getting inside of Hart in the very same corner. Morris went from third to first in the blink of an eye, and held the lead all the way to the Competition Yellow. Hart still ran second at this point, with Heger third, Creed fourth, and Hoffman fifth. On the restart lap, Hart was passed by Heger in turn three, then stalled at the exit of turn four, dropping him well back. Creed moved up to third, with Myles Cheek now fourth in the #557 Rockstar/ThyssenKrupp Materials NA kart, and Hoffman still fifth. On the penultimate lap, Heger got by Morris on the inside at turn three, took the lead, and quickly opened up a few truck lengths over Morris. On the last lap, though, Morris got the spot back, passing Heger on the inside at turn four. Morris had the lead, and this time it was his to keep, as he came home the winner, ahead of Heger, Creed, Cheek, and Blake Lenk in the #521 Redline Performance/Walker Evans Racing machine, who got around Hoffman on the final lap.
In the final race before Opening Ceremonies, the Limited Buggies streamed out on track, with substitute driver Curt Geer having a sudden target on his back after beating the class regulars in his first race back in the class since December of last year. Geer had the early lead again today in his #310 Riot Racing/Yokohama Fraley, albeit by the skin of his teeth, with John Fitzgerald, Kevin McCullough, Dillon Ayers, and Keaton Swane close behind. On lap three, Geer got sideways coming out of turn five, and with more momentum in his favor, Fitzgerald went by and into the lead. Three laps later, Ayers had a strange spin after the exit of turn five, and despite running Swane wide to try and keep him at bay, Swane was able to get by and into fourth place. Ayers got the position back on the next lap, though, and at the Competition Yellow, it was Fitzgerald in the #314 BFGoodrich Tires/Weddle Racing Gears buggy, Geer, McCullough in the #389 LAT Racing Oils/CGM Geiser, Ayers in the #398 Gear One/Fat Performance Lothringer, and Swane in the top five. On the restart, Geer gave Fitzgerald a nice little "tap" on the back bumper as the flew off the first jump, and the field steamed into the second half of the race. On the restart lap, McCullough got a surprising run on Geer down in to turn five, and after running Geer wide after that corner, McCullough was up to second. Two laps later, Ayers went way wide in turn three, and hit his right rear hard on the outside k-rail, causing obvious damage, and sending him to the pits for repairs. On lap thirteen, Geer got back by McCullough with a nice run through turns one and two, and re-took second place in the process, with his sights now set on the leader Fitzgerald. Geer was able to close right down on Fitzgerald as the flagman unfurled the white flag, but Fitzgerald drove a flawless final lap, and kept Geer at bay to pick up the win. Geer finished second, McCullough third, Jim Price fourth in the #383 General Tire/Tucker Tire Lothringer, and Lindsay Geiser fifth in the #395 Canidae/Mickey Thompson Geiser.
Pro 4 Unlimited
Following Opening Ceremonies, it was time for Pro 4 Unlimited, and after Curt LeDuc had blown an engine at the end of this morning's qualifying, he was forced to the sidelines, which must've been extra disappointing considering that he would've started on the front row after the inversion. Unfortunately, LeDuc couldn't make the necessary repairs in time, which left Travis Coyne all alone on the front row at the start. Coyne and his #5 ProComp/Team Associated Ford led the field past the stripe after the first lap, with Eric Barron, Kyle LeDuc, Todd LeDuc, and Josh Merrell in-tow. The top three drivers quickly opened up a gap over those behind within the first three laps, and on lap five, Barron made a wild dive down the inside of Coyne into turn five. Barron swung wide through the exit of the corner, keeping Coyne at bay, and with that, Barron was up into the lead. Kyle LeDuc quickly followed suit on the next lap, as he got alongside Coyne in the whoops, then got by on the inside at turn five. The race for the lead was now on between Barron and Kyle LeDuc, with LeDuc making repeated deep dives, very late on the brakes into turns three, four, and five, but each time, Barron was able keep his truck firmly out in front. Further back, Todd LeDuc had moved his #7 Rockstar/Makita Ford up to Coyne's back bumper, and made the pass just shy of the Competition Yellow. At this point, the running order was Barron in the #32 LAT Racing Oils/Maxxis Toyota, Kyle LeDuc in the #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford, Todd LeDuc, Coyne, and Merrell in the #22 MavTV/Hart and Huntington Ford. After the restart, Carl Renezeder moved up to fifth in his #1 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, as he continued to march forward after suffering a spin on lap one, as well as a flat tire a few laps later. Up front, the battle was again on between Barron and Kyle LeDuc, but right front suspension issues on the LeDuc machine forced him to back off just a bit, leaving Barron free to fly up front. Todd LeDuc could've capitalized on his brother's misfortune, but overheating issues forced him to slow slightly as well. Barron continued to hit his marks perfectly out front, and clicked the laps off quickly as he sped towards the checkers, where he crossed the stripe first for a stunning upset win, his first-ever in Lucas Oil Off Road- congratulations Eric! Second went to Kyle LeDuc, third to Todd LeDuc, fourth to Renezeder, and fifth to Merrell.
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Next up was Pro Buggy Unlimited, and it was perennial hot shoe Jerry Whelchel who grabbed the lead early in his #5 ProAm/General Tire Foddrill. In second, it was Doug Fortin in his #96 Fortin Racing, Inc./BFGoodrich Tires Racer, with Cameron Steele third in the #16 Monster Energy/Yokohama Alumi Craft, Eric Fitch fourth in the #97 General Tire/Action Auto Racing Foddrill, and this morning's fast qualifier, Garrett George, fifth in the #71 Anenberg/Yokohama Funco. The battle for the lead was heated early on, with Fortin getting his nose ahead on the inside of turn four on lap two, and Whelchel taking the spot right back in the next corner. Two laps later, Fortin got a good run through the whoops, but Whelchel chopped him off coming into turn five, while further back, Dave Mason Jr. and Steven Greinke moved up to fourth and fifth after Fitch had spun in turn four, stopping him and dropping Porter back to seventh. Mason Jr. then suffered a right rear flat, sending him into the pits, and moving Porter back up to fifth. Further forward, Fortin looked like he might be having an issue, and Steele seized a possible chance and closed right in behind, as Whelchel opened up his lead approaching the Competition Yellow. At the halfway point, the running order was Whelchel, Fortin, Steele, Greinke in the #23 SC Fuels/Concourse Racer, and Porter in the #8 Mickey Thompson/Redline Performance Alumi Craft in the top five.
The top four drivers held their positions on the restart lap, but Porter was now suffering some kind of issue on the left front corner (the tire was flat, but the damage may have been more extensive than that), which dropped him down the order, and allowed Larry Job up into fifth place. On lap twelve, Fortin had another strong run through the whoops, and rather than allow Whelchel to shut the door on him again, he braked deep and kicked the door open, moving by on the inside and up to first place. Once one driver had found a chink in Whelchel's seemingly impervious armor, others pushed to exploit it, as Steele got by in the same corner on the next lap, with Greinke following suit in turn four on the lap after that. Up front, Fortin had opened up a decent cushion, and despite a near-spin in turn three on the final lap, he held it together to come home the winner once again, extending his streak to four straight wins. Steele finished the race in second, with Greinke taking third, Whelchel fourth, and Job fifth in the #7 Supercross.com/Toyo Tires Alumi Craft.
Pro Lite Unlimited
In Pro Lite Unlimited, Justin "Bean" Smith and Ryan Beat, who both scored their first podiums in this class just yesterday, were running strong early on today, as the led the field one-two after lap one. Brian Deegan, yesterday's winner, ran third, with RJ Anderson fourth and Noah Fouch fifth. Deegan moved his #38 Rockstar/Makita Ford up to second on lap two, with Anderson also getting by Beat just afterwards, as he moved up to third through turn one in his #37 Monster Energy/Polaris Dodge on lap three. On the same lap, Chris Brandt moved up to fifth in his #82 BFGoodrich Tires/Simpson Toyota. Two laps later, Sheldon Creed took that spot away from Brandt, as he moved his #74 A.M. Ortega/Maxxis Ford up to fifth, before getting inside of Beat and forcing him wide at turn four to take over fourth on lap six. Brandt then got by Beat as well, moving back into the top five on lap seven, before a full course caution was thrown after a rollover by Chad George in turn four. This doubled as the Competition Yellow, and as the field circled behind the ReadyLift Toyota Tundra Pace Truck, Creed pulled into the hot pits with a flat right rear tire.
On the restart lap, Casey Currie got into Brandt and spun him around as they exited turn three, which drew the wrath of race officials, who black flagged Currie. Up ahead, Anderson and Deegan traded places twice on lap ten, before a full course caution was thrown following a rollover in the whoop section by Shannon Campbell. Racing returned to green once Campbell had been righted, and on the restart lap, Deegan got inside of Smith and forced him wide at turn four, moving by and into the lead. Currie then came in to the hot pits to serve his penalty, leaving a new running order of Deegan, Smith, Anderson, Beat in the #51 Premiere Motorsports Group/General Tire Ford, and Fouch in the #52 BFGoodrich Tires/K&N Ford in the top five. In the closing laps, Fouch went wide and hit the outside wall at turn five, which dropped him out of the race, and promoted Bradley Morris to fifth in the #24 GoldStar Asphalt!/Lucas Oil Ford. The running order went unchanged on the final lap, and it was Deegan who swept the weekend in Pro Lite Unlimited, with Smith taking second, Anderson third, Beat fourth, and Morris fifth today.
Noah Fouch had the early lead of the Super Lite race today, with Ryan Hagy, Jessie Johnson, Garrett Poelman, and Sheldon Creed close behind. At the end of lap two, Fouch, Hagy, Johnson, and Creed came across the stripe in one collective clump, and after some shuffling into turn one, Johnson and Hagy came out just a little ahead of the rest. Hagy got a little forceful with Johnson in turn three, and edged ahead and into the lead. Fouch had been caught out by contact out of turn two, so running behind Hagy and Johnson, it was now Creed in third, Dawson Kirchner in fourth, and Drew Britt fifth. Creed then picked up a right rear flat, which he elected to drive on, rather than coming in to the pits for a fresh one. This moved Kirchner up to third, and Cody Rahders up to fourth, with Britt still holding fifth. For the next three laps, Johnson then closed right down on Hagy, hounding him for the lead, and on lap eight, he made his move. Johnson got the inside line at turn four, getting by Hagy and into the lead just before the Competition Yellow. At the halfway mark, the running order was Johnson in the #15 SoCal Super Trucks/Speed Energy truck, Hagy in the #5 General Tire/Metal Mulisha machine, Kirchner in the #18 General Tire/Method Race Wheels entry, Rahders in the #16 Superchips/K&N machine, and Britt in the #7 Stand-Up MRI of Arizona/Geiser Bros Design & Development entry.
Rahders got by Kirchner to take over third spot on the restart lap, and at the end of the same lap, Hagy got into the side of Johnson in turn five, an incident which Johnson survived well enough to hold the lead. At the end of the next lap, a full course caution was thrown following a rollover by Poelman in turn four, and when racing resumed, the running order in the top five was still Johnson, Hagy, Rahders, Kirchner, and Britt. On the restart, Rahders got a good run down to turn one, and moved past Hagy and up to second spot. From there, the top five held their places, with Johnson taking home the win, ahead of Rahders, Hagy, Kirchner, and Britt.
Pro 2 Unlimited
In the final race of the weekend, Rodrigo Ampudia and Rob MacCachren would start on the front row in Pro 2 Unlimited after the inversion from qualifying, and it was MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar/Makita Ford and Ampudia in the #36 Tecate/Toyo Tires Ford who ran one-two after the first lap. Carl Renezeder ran third in the #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, followed by Rob Naughton in the #54 Lunar Pages Web Hosting/Hart and Huntington Ford in fourth, and Brian Deegan in the #38 Rockstar/Makita Ford in fifth. Naughton spun going into turn one on the second lap, dropping him all the way down to last place, which moved Deegan to fourth and Patrick Clark to fifth in the #52 Eibach Springs/VP Racing Fuels Chevrolet.
The running order in the top five held up for several laps, as MacCachren began to stretch his lead slightly, until lap eight, when a fire on board Robby Woods' truck forced a full course yellow. Woods had already done the smart thing and gotten well off the track and right up to the closest safety crews, who got the fire out quickly, and with the field circulating under yellow so close to the halfway point, it was decided that this would double as the Competition Yellow. The running order was MacCachren, Ampudia, Renezeder, Deegan, and Clark as the field returned to green flag racing, and stayed that way after the restart lap. On lap 12, though, Renezeder just got into Ampudia coming out of turn four, sending Ampudia sideways across the tops of the whoops, and allowing several trucks to get by. Five or so trucks then piled into the next corner, where Greg Adler got into Clark and spun him around. The pile-up helped Renezeder and Ampudia to re-gain some positions, and after the pair of incidents, it was still MacCachren out front, followed now by Deegan, Renezeder, Ampudia, and Marty Hart in the #15 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/GearUp2Go.com Ford. This order held up for several laps, but on the penultimate lap, an apparent blown engine signaled the end to Hart's valiant charge, a real heart-breaker considering he'd survived a couple of rough incidents earlier on in the race. Clark moved back into fifth, while up front, MacCachren cemented the win with a flawless drive from start to finish. Second went to Deegan, third to Renezeder, fourth to Ampudia, and fifth to Clark.
With that, our yearly visit to the magnificent facility that is Miller Motorsports Park has come to a close. Judging by the sizeable crowds on hand this weekend, a crowd which has grown substantially in each successive year that we've come here, this event will rival our most popular venues when we return next year. And there's more to look forward to, as one of those fan-favorite venues, Glen Helen Raceway, is up next. August 4th and 5th, just six weeks away, will be the dates for Rounds 9 and 10 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, kicking off the second half of what has already been one of the most exciting seasons in series history. Glen Helen is always a sellout, so get your tickets early, and join us in the dirt again soon.