The delayed opener for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series featured the return of many familiar faces, some old names in new places and definitely some familiarity at the top of the truck classes. That included what has turned out to be the world’s least successful retirement as Carl Renezeder, filling in for the injured Bryce Menzies, battled with Kyle LeDuc in a stunning Pro 4 fight. It also included a first-time winner in Pro Buggy and the introduction of a new class.
The single-night event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park became the start to the 2018 season when the originally scheduled opener at Glen Helen Raceway was scrubbed for weather; it will be added to the fall event at the San Bernardino track. The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing series is doing more single-day events in 2018, as well as adding back more nighttime races. The series has also tweaked its schedule, leading off with Pro 2 and ending with Pro 4 instead of the other way around as it has done the last several years.
Rob MacCachren and RJ Anderson started the Pro 2 race up front, and ran one-two after lap 1, with reigning champion Jeremy McGrath, Jerett Brooks, and Rodrigo Ampudia close behind. After a full-course caution for an incident involving Renezeder on the first lap, MacCachren and Anderson pulled away from the field. It looked like they might maintain that fight all the way to the checker until a mechanical issue took Anderson out of the battle on the final lap. MacCachren (pictured below) crossed the line for the first victory of the season in his No. 21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Tools Ford, followed by defending champion McGrath and Brooks.
Christopher Polvoorde is in his second season of competing in Pro Lite after winning the Mod Kart championship in 2015. He had several podiums last season and looked ready to step onto the top of the box as he leapt from the second row to the lead at the start of Saturday night’s race. But after a full-course caution at the end of the fifth lap, Ryan Beat (pictured below) forced Polvoorde wide at Turn 2, getting himself to the front and bringing Brandon Arthur with him. Polvoorde would eventually slide back to fifth while Beat and Arthur battled for the lead. Arthur held on in his No. 51 Bilstein Shcok Absorbners/KMC Wheel Chevrolet for the win, followed by Arthur and Mickey Thomas.
Pro Buggy rookie Trey Gibbs, moving up from Mod Kart, jumped to the front and began to pull away – but before the competition yellow, 2017’s top rookie, Trevor Briska, began to close the gap before the yellow erased it completely. Briska got by on the restart, then contact from behind spun Gibbs, ending his run at the podium in his first race. Briska was leading Bud Ward and Sterling Cling, but Ward couldn’t hold onto second and slid backward, first giving up a spot to Cling and then Matt Brister. Briska was running away in the No. 59 Junior Diabetes Research Foundation Arizona Chapter/The Fab School Funco, and he took his first victory in the class, with Cling and Brister joining him on the podium.
The night culminated in what turned out to be a fantastic Pro 4 race. MacCachren, adding Pro 4 back to his program just before the opener, missed the first race when the team found a problem after qualifying. So Kyle LeDuc started up front all alone in the No. 99 Monster Energy/Toya Tires Ford, with Renezeder in Bryce Menzies’ No. 7 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford and RJ Anderson behind.
LeDuc looked to be in command in the early going, and was running by himself out front. After a second full-course caution, LeDuc still looked to be strong, but Renezeder was right there with him, and pounced into the lead when LeDuc’s truck rolled around Turn 2 up on two wheels. Renezeder himself made an error in Turn 3 on the final lap, over-rotating and giving LeDuc a peak at the lead, but LeDuc wasn’t able to bring his new truck to the front. Renezeder won his first race after retiring at the end of last season. LeDuc followed him to the finish, and Dog Mittag finished third.
Earlier in the evening before opening ceremonies, the Turbo Production UTV class was introduced to LOORRS fans, with Ronnie Anderson leading until his Polaris popped out of gear, handing the lead to Trevor Leighton’s No. 703 Kryptek/Sedona Tire and Wheels Polaris. Anderson eventually made his way back up to second, with Paul O’Brien in third. Myles Cheek won Production 1000 UTV, with O’Brien second and defending champ Brock Heger third.
The series moves to one of its most popular venues for Rounds 3 and 4, the Baja International Short Course at Estero Beach Resort in Ensenada, Mexico on May 19-20 for a double daytime event.
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, Ariz.
April 14, 2018
Round 1 Results
Pro 4: Carl Renezeder
Pro 2: Rob MacCachren
Pro Lite: Ryan Beat
Pro Buggy: Trevor Briska
Turbo Production UTV: Trevor Leighton
Production 1000 UTV: Myles Cheek
Modified Kart: Mason Prater
Junior 2 Kart: Connor Barry
Junior 1 Kart: Jake Bollman