Racers and Others Gather Awards
After the racing was over and the dust and fiberglass had settled, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series had a few people to honor for their performances during the season. While the class champions – Kyle LeDuc (Pro 4), Rob MacCachren (Pro 2), Jerett Brooks (Pro Lite), Darren Hardesty Jr. (Pro Buggy) and Hailie Deegan (Mod Kart) were recognized, there were many others deemed worthy of recognition for their accomplishments (or otherwise).
The rookies of the year were duly noted. Ricky Gutierrez was the Mod Kart Rookie of the Year, ending the season sixth in the standings. In Pro Buggy, it was Bud Ward, who not only took a victory in his rookie year, but also finished fifth in an incredibly tight and deep field of racers. Ronnie Anderson, who took over his brother RJ Anderson’s Pro Lite ride, had two podium finishes on his way to sixth in the class points and the Rookie of the Year award. Finally, Doug Mittag won both Pro 4 and Pro 2 Rookie of the year after returning to the series. He was sixth in the standings in both classes.
A few non-racers were honored as well. Gary Lane was named the series employee of the year. Kroyer Racing Engines was the engine builder of the year, and BFGoodrich was the tire manufacturer of the year. One of Rob MacCachren’s crewmen, Jim Blackmore, was chosen as mechanic of the year.
Ryan Beat took home the crash award for his wild tumble over the whoops in Ensenada. At the other end of the scale, LeDuc had the most fast laps of the season. Jeremy McGrath’s JM2 Motorsports that runs McGrath in Pro 2 and Brock Heger in Pro Lite was named team of the year. The Rick Huseman Award, presented to the person who brought the most technology to the series, was presented to Brandon Arthur. Finally, the driver of the year, voted on by the racers, was a tie between veteran competitor MacCachren and rising star Hailie Deegan.
2017 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Schedule
The series has released a tentative schedule that looks much like last year’s, with the exception of there being only a single visit to Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park to open the season and the addition of Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., in July.
The 2017 season will conclude at the same track as 2016 – Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the only track the series will visit twice in 2017.
March 24-25, Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, Lake Elsinore, Calif.
April 22-23, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, Ariz.
May 20-21, Estero Beach Resort, Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
June 24-25, Utah Motorsports Campus, Grantsville, Utah
July 22-23, Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Mo.
Aug. 26-27, Wild West Motorsports Park, Sparks, Nev.
Sept. 15-16, Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino, Calif.
Oct. 21-22, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, Ariz.
New for 2017
Before the racers took to the track for the final time in 2016, Lucas Oil Vice President Bob Patison made several announcements regarding the following season. Among the highlights designed to make racing more affordable and bolster entries were that the series is reducing entry fees by 30 percent and eliminating some fees. In addition, purse payout is going to increase by 15 percent for the top 10 positions and all starters will receive start money. The final piece of the financial puzzle was that the series would offer tow money for those racers making he trip to Lucas Oil Speedway in Missouri.
Patison also mentioned that Junior 1 and 2 Karts would be once again joining the series at select events, and the Stock 1000 UTVs that ran at the Challenge Cup would also be a part of the show in 2017. Finally, Patison promised more consistency with competition calls from the officials and in tech enforcement, possible changes to pit placement, and noted that single-day events were under consideration. The series had previously announced that fuel injection would be an option for Pro 4 and Pro 2 competitors in 2017.
Short Coursers in Baja
Short Course off road racers often race in desert off road as well. MacCachren is the defending champion of the Baja 1000, and Pro Lite racer Casey Currie will be competing in Trophy Truck. But Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Competition Director Greg Foutz is a desert competitor as well.
For the 2016 edition of the Baja 1000, Ford Performance and Greg Foutz Motorsports will be fielding a pre-production 2017 F-150 Raptor in the Stock Full class. Foutz has already run the Raptor in a few Best in the Desert events, including Vegas to Reno.