Drivers light up the night in Round 11

Courtesy of Lucas Oil Products/Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Drivers light up the night inRound 11
Drivers light up the night in Round 11
After an extended absence, night racing made its triumphant return in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, here this weekend at Glen Helen Raceway. A mecca of off-road racing on any day of the week, southern California’s Glen Helen seems to take on a whole different character once the sun goes down, and the atmosphere at any of our night races is definitely a unique and exciting one. Despite the unusually chilly temperatures, the drivers put on some fantastic performances here tonight, with driving that almost seems to defy imagination. The 2017 championship is winding down now, and with just three rounds of racing remaining, this weekend’s Rounds 11 and 12 are two of the most important of the entire season, and you can be sure that these drivers left it all out there on the track tonight.
Pro 4 Unlimited
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In Pro 4 Unlimited, there was a great early battle between Bryce Menzies and point leader Kyle LeDuc during the opening laps. However, when LeDuc started to hit mechanical trouble on lap six, Carl Renezeder managed to get by, before LeDuc then drifted wide (perhaps with a little help from Renezeder and RJ Anderson) off of the next big jump. This caused LeDuc to land into the outside k rail, where he was then hit by Rob MacCachren, who had nowhere to go. LeDuc sustained race-ending damage, but MacCachren was able to continue, and both he and Renezeder, LeDuc’s closest points rivals, looked set to make major inroads into LeDuc’s relatively narrow points lead. MacCachren steadily worked his way up the running order as other drivers hit issues, but just as he entered the top five, MacCachren over-jumped the first jump into turn one, landing on Doug Fortin, and causing damage that seemed to grow into a major issue as the laps wound down. Renezeder, meanwhile, was running a strong second place, but on lap 12, he suddenly pulled off out of turn four, race over. Anderson was now Menzies’ closest challenger for the race win, and the two kept it fairly close, but Menzies scored a very convincing win in the #7 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford over Anderson in the #37 Rockstar/Polaris RZR truck. Bradley Morris took third in the #24 K&N/NTN Ford, and after all the carnage ahead, MacCachren still picked up fourth in the #21 Rockstar/Makita Ford; Adrian Cenni rounded out the top five in the #11 Atrium/Maxxis Ford.

Pro 2 Unlimited
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Bradley Morris looked like a man on a mission in the early laps of the Pro 2 Unlimited race, as he fought valiantly to hold off the advances of reigning champion Rob MacCachren. MacCachren made several strong moves to try and sneak by Morris for the lead, but Morris kept his composure and held the veteran, and the rest of the field, at bay in his #24 K&N/Kicker Ford. Behind these two, it was points leader Jeremy McGrath in third in the #2 Maxxis/Icon Vehicle Dynamics truck, Rodrigo Ampudia, and Brian Deegan for the first seven laps. After a mid-race caution, Deegan got by Ampudia early on the restart lap, before contact between Ampudia and Jerett Brooks caused Ampudia to spin and then get drilled in the right side door by Bryce Menzies. Brooks got away relatively unscathed, and was then able to get by Deegan on lap ten, before then spinning on his own just two corners later. On lap 12, Morris slightly over-rotated out of turn two, and was just caught on the bumper by MacCachren, causing the two to collect and lose control briefly. This was all the more opportunity that McGrath needed, as he shot into the lead and never looked back. Deegan wound up splitting the former leading duo, but a possibly deflating tire may have helped MacCachren to get back by for third after Deegan, MacCachren, and Ampudia had a great scrap for that spot on lap 14. Up front, McGrath got his fourth win of the season to help extend his points lead, with Morris finishing second, MacCachren third in the #21 Rockstar/Makita Ford, Deegan fourth in the #38 Monster Energy/Mickey Thompson Ford, and Brooks fifth (albeit a lap down) in the #77 General Tire/Bilstein Ford.

Pro Lite Unlimited
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For much of tonight’s Pro Lite Unlimited race, Brock Heger looked simply unstoppable. Points leader Jerett Brooks, Ryan Beat, Ronnie Anderson, and Mickey Thomas ran in the next four spots for the opening laps, with Christopher Polvoorde moving up into fifth on lap six. After the full course caution fell at the end of lap seven, these top five continued to hold station for three more laps. Then, on lap 11, Brooks came out of what seemed like nowhere, and blasted past Heger in the whoops to take the lead. As it turned out, Heger’s right rear tire was starting to go down, and as the issue worsened, other drivers also began to move up and take advantage of Heger’s misfortune. As Brooks sped away up front in the #77 Rigid Industries/General Tire Nissan, Anderson was next to move up, and he grabbed ahold of second on lap 12. By the end of lap 13, the penultimate lap, Polvoorde and Ray Griffith had also gotten by Heger, while Beat had dropped well back after a spin late on lap 12. Several more drivers got by Heger on the last lap, and he wound up finishing a gut-wrenching eleventh place (after moving within one provisional point of points leader Brooks at the race’s halfway point). Brooks, in turn, expanded his points lead majorly with the win tonight, and young guns Anderson in the #52 Walker Evans Racing/South Point Chevrolet and Polvoorde in the #94 The Palms River Resort/Toyo Tires Nissan joined Brooks on the podium in second and third. Fourth was Griffith in the #53 General Tire/Gear 49 Motorsports Nutrition Ford, and fifth went to Cole Mamer in the #35 Atturo Tires/Simpson Nissan.

Pro Buggy Unlimited
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In the open wheel ranks, Bud Ward led this one wire to wire in the #17 Ramona Tire/Horsepower Ranch Funco after polesitter Eliott Watson’s car failed to fire when the green flag dropped. Behind Ward in the early going were Darren Hardesty Jr. and Sterling Cling, but a broken left front shock steadily slowed Cling once the issue occurred on lap six, and a possible electrical issue intermittently slowed Hardesty Jr. starting on lap nine. These issues allowed young Trevor Briska to move up to second in the #59 MTRV8/Prolong Super Lubricants Funco, and when third-placed Kyle Aarup suffered broken left front suspension on lap 10, Mike Valentine moved up to third in the #78 Foddrill Motorsports car. Sammy Ehrenberg also moved up, and he now sat fourth in the #4 Alumi Craft, with Brady Whitlock fifth. Ehrenberg, Whitlock, and Hardesty Jr., whose car seemed to pick up speed again late in the race, battled hard over the final lap, with Hardesty Jr. coming out on top of the battle. Up front, Ward got the win, ahead of Briska, Valentine, Hardesty Jr. in the #99 Bilstein/Off Road Warehouse Alumi Craft, and Ehrenberg.

That wraps up the action from the first of our two nights of racing here at Glen Helen this weekend. Join us again tomorrow when we’ll get the action underway once again for Round 12 of the 2017 championship. Gates will open to the public at 1:00 PM, ahead of the afternoon’s first qualifying session, which is slated to kick off at 1:30 PM. Racing will begin at 5:00 PM, with Opening Ceremonies at 7:30 PM, just ahead of the first Pro class race of the evening: Pro 4 Unlimited. Tell your friends and family and get your tickets now; it’s sure to be great night at the races!

About The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the Midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a West Coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course. For more information, please visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com.

 

 

 

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