A unique season of Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series action comes to a head on Saturday as the series crowns its champions at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz. There have been some downs, such as the cancellation of the Lucas Oil Speedway rounds due to storm damage at the track in Wheatland, Missouri, and the dissolution of the Midwest Short Course League. But changes to Pro 2, including incorporating trucks with the Midwest-spec 410ci engines into the class and moving to D.O.T. tires, have produced exciting competition and a championship battle that is coming down to the wire.
Still in that championship are Jerett Brooks and Rodrigo Ampudia (pictured above), although Brian Deegan has a far-outside chance. Either Brooks or Ampudia will be a first-time Pro 2 champion, and they have come to this point from two different directions. Ampudia has been using the Midwest-spec engine to great effect, taking advantage of the head start and clear track in each race. He hasn’t finished outside the top five all season and has a win at Reno. Brooks, on the other hand, is using the Unlimited engine package and has three wins in 2019. Some rough races, though, have left him five points behind Ampudia coming into the finale. Crews will be running the math with every position change on Saturday afternoon to figure out if their driver’s position is good enough.
But the closeness of Pro 2 has nothing on Pro Buggy, Where Eliott Watson and Chris Nunes are tied at 388 points apiece. Matt Brister is in with a chance, sitting 15 points behind. Nunes has the edge in wins over Watson, but that could change on Saturday. It’s likely whoever wins on Saturday takes the title, and it will be the first for any of the players involved.
Production 1000 UTV is the next closest battle, with seven points separating points leader Robert Stout and two-time defending champion Brock Heger. Stout has had a fantastic season, but if the points come down to a tie, Heger will take it on wins.
Ryan Beat (pictured above) has a 10-point advantage as he tries to win his second consecutive Pro Lite championship. Last season he came into the finale in a much better position, possessing an almost unassailable lead. This year he’ll need to be within spitting distance of Heger and Mickey Thomas to make sure he takes the title again. Beat is 10 points ahead of Heger, but Thomas is only one more point behind. If Beat takes the title, the fight for second could still be intense.
Kyle LeDuc pretty well has the Pro 4 title in the bag, after losing it last year to RJ Anderson. If the truck count remains similar to what it has been all year, LeDuc only has to take the start to assure himself another championship.
This year’s finale features a unique format. While in past years the final points races have been held on Saturday and were followed by the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup races on Sunday, the turnaround for the teams will be much shorter. The championships will be decided on Saturday afternoon, and three Lucas Oil Challenge Cup races will run on Saturday night. There will be a Turbo UTV vs. Production 1000 contest, a big-money Pro Lite race, and the infamous Pro 4 vs. Pro 2 battle that always produces intense competition and more than its share of carnage.
Gates open at noon Saturday at Wild Horse Pass. The races will be broadcast on LucasOilRacing.tv, with delayed coverage following on CBS Sports Network and MAVTV.