Historic sweeps as the championship pictures emerge in Lucas Oil Off Road

Richard S James

Historic sweeps as the championship pictures emerge in Lucas Oil Off Road

Off Road

Historic sweeps as the championship pictures emerge in Lucas Oil Off Road

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The Friday Pro Lite pace lap started with a hole where polesitter Christopher Polvoorde should have been, but he joined just in time to take the start and pulled out a lead. But a few laps in, he slowed suddenly coming out of Turn 1. It turns out the same problem that made him late to grid – a malfunctioning electronic throttle – reared its head again. That handed the lead to Heger, who was never challenged. His Maxxis Tires/Method Race Wheels Ford was followed to the finish by Ronnie Anderson and Madix Bailey.

Heger never viewed the back of another truck on Saturday, starting on pole and leading from the green. He was pursued by Polvoorde and Cole Mamer until Polvoorde slid back, and Mamer got by him. Polvoorde would later have another problem and fall back into the field, handing third to Ronnie Anderson.

Heger was denied the sweep on Sunday, though. He took the lead briefly, but bobbled in Turn 2 and Bailey, up from third, was now in front. Bailey looked in control until a late-race caution with two laps to go cost him the win and ruined Heger’s day. Heger, who had fallen to third after attacking Bailey and making light contact, had contact with Jimmy Weitzel after the restart that left him sidelined. Mamer, who likely would not have had a shot if not for the caution, went outside of Bailey in Turn 2, which put him on the inside for Turn 3, and he took the lead and the victory in his Falken Tire Pro Lite. Bailey was second with Weitzel third. Despite his misfortune, Heger still takes a decent lead into the final two rounds at Glen Helen next month.

Watson took time off from college midterms to score another historic sweep of a tripleheader, bringing his streak to a record six. Since two first-timers, Matt Brister and Trey D, Gibbs, took victories at Glen Helen, no driver other than Watson has won a Pro Buggy race and the defending champ has a stranglehold on the championship.

Brister led the Pro Buggy field to the green on Friday, and pulled out a big lead. Watson, followed, likewise putting a lot of space to the third place battle between Gibbs and Darren Hardesty Jr. After the competition yellow, the top four stayed right together, with Watson looking for a way around Brister. A deflating tire on Brister’s Funco helped Watson find a hole, and Hardesty claimed what was now second shortly thereafter. Watson took his fourth-straight win in the Tom Watson Inc. Alumi Craft, followed by Hardesty and Gibbs.

Watson was going to have a harder time keeping his streak alive on Saturday, as he had to start fourth. Brister started on pole again and jumped out to the lead, with Gibbs on his tail. Gibbs was close enough that when Brister got a little squirelly in Turn 2 on the second lap, Gibbs made contact, necessitating a trip to the pits. That left Watson, who had already made it by Dale Eberts, to pursue Brister. Watson made a few attacks, but Brister survived until the final lap, even able to put a gap on Watson at times. But as the white flag waved to start the last lap, Watson got a monster run out of Turn 5 to get alongside Brister entering Turn 1, but it wasn’t until Turn 3 that he finally completed the pass, two corners before the checker fell.

Watson started on pole for Sunday’s race, so it was essentially over at the green. Gibbs made it interesting, though, coming back from contact with Bradley Morris to get back to second before a caution was called with two laps to go. Gibbs poured the pressure on, but ultimately had nothing for Watson who cruised to his sixth straight and second tripleheader sweep.

Watson achieved a clean sweep in Pro Buggy, and extended his win streak to six. Richard S James

“I’m stoked the last six races our car has been so good,” said Watson after Sunday’s win. “We’ve been putting the time in at home to make sure it’s good to come out here in Chandler and Wheatland and do well.

“I kind of had it set on cruise control for the first half of the race and with two to go to have a caution, I had to get back in the groove of racing again. Trey is one of the fastest guys out here, he knows how to pass cleanly, He was behind me and I was, “We’ve got to go now!” I made a little mistake and he got really close.”

Both Friday and Saturday’s Production 1000 UTV races had a four-place inversion from qualifying/the previous race’s fast lap. It was never a question of if, but when Brock Heger and Myles Cheek would get to the front and start battling. At Wild Horse Pass, though, Cheek seemed to have the measure of Heger. On Friday, the pair quickly dispatched Dallas Nord and Robby Hornsby to get to the front. Heger got there first each day, but Cheek never let him keep the lead. On Friday, it was a good run out of Turn 4, side-by-side in Turn 5 and taking the lead on the front straight.

Saturday’s contest had the pair starting behind AJ Santos and Nord. Santos was shuffled back by the end of lap 1. Heger took the lead in Turn 2 on the second lap, and Cheek joined the battle by the end of that lap. Heger’s time up front was short-lived, though, as Cheek got alongside in Turn 2 on the fourth lap, completing the pass in Turn 3. From there, he cruised to his second win of the weekend. On Sunday, they started up front. with Heger claiming the lead early until a restart after Nord rolled into Turn 3. Cheek went inside Heger at Turn 2 to take the lead. Heger hung with him for a while, but Cheek was able to put distance between himself and Heger on every restart.

Ronnie Anderson checked out on the Turbo UTV field on Friday and Saturday, but had to work a little harder on Sunday. Two-time defending champ Corry Weller seized the lead at the start, and Anderson slipped from his outside front-row starting position to third. But before four laps were completed, Anderson was out front and pulling away. He swept the weekend to take over the points lead.

The final two points paying rounds for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series will take place at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif., on Oct. 16-17, followed by the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup races on Sunday, Oct. 18.

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
Rounds 6, 7, 8
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, AZ
Sept. 18-20, 2020

Friday, Sept. 18 Winners
Pro 2: Jerett Brooks
Pro Lite: Brock Heger
Pro Buggy: Eliott Watson
Production 1000 UTV: Myles Cheek
Turbo UTV: Ronnie Anderson
Mod Kart: Connor Barry
Junior 2 Kart: Talan Martin
RZR 170: George Llamosas

Saturday, Sept. 19 Winners
Pro 2: Ryan Beat
Pro Lite: Brock Heger
Pro Buggy: Eliott Watson
Production 1000 UTV: Myles Cheek
Turbo UTV: Ronnie Anderson
Mod Kart: Connor Barry
Junior 2 Kart: Lake Adler
RZR 170: George Llamosas

Sunday, Sept. 20 Winners
Pro 2: Jerett Brooks
Pro Lite: Cole Mamer
Pro Buggy: Eliott Watson
Production 1000 UTV: Myles Cheek
Turbo UTV: Ronnie Anderson
Mod Kart: David Gasper
Junior 2 Kart: Brodie Martin
RZR 170: George Llamosas

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