Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Kicks Off 2012 Season
The Lucas Oil short-course series returned to Firebird Raceway for the first two round of the 2012 season. There were many changes both on and off the track. Even the racers showed up to the season opener with new sponsors, such as Kyle Leduc, who went to work impressing new sponsors Monster and Toyo Tires by earning dominating wins both days of racing in Pro 4.
“It was easy,” he said. “But we put in a lot of time and hard work to make it easy here. We qualified fast, so we knew we could run with them, and once we got that gap then I could lay back a bit and run a safer line; whereas, they still had to run the fast line, which is obviously the sketchier line. If they started getting close, I could just step it up. It’s nice to have the confidence to be able to run like that. I really have to thank my crew for all they did in the off-season to get it here. I’ve never led the Pro 4 points before!”
Taking the Round 1 win in Pro2 was Marty Hart for Stronghold Motorsports.
“We’ve really come together in a short time to make a great team,” Hart said. “These boys at Stronghold have given me the tools to do the job, and I’m going to do my best every time I’m out here.” Marty finished fifth in the Round 2 race on Sunday.
While Greg Adler has been a regular in the Pro 2 field for many years, he is not known as a hard-charging racer, rather a man of survival. Adler entered the 2012 season, however, much as he finished off last year when he earned his first win. He attacked Firebird with aggressive driving that earned him the win in Round 2 over Brian Deegan and Rodrigo Ampudia. With a last jump pass in the air over Deegan, Adler took the top spot on the podium.
“I’m really happy for my team who has done so much for me,” said Adler after the race. “I knew Deegan had a good run going out of turn five to the finish, and I knew I just had to peg it. Luckily he gave me just enough room, and I got by him. It could’ve been ugly. I got a taste now and I’m coming back for another in Elsinore.”
The Pro Lite field was packed full of yellow rookie tape in the most cluttered field of the weekend with record numbers. Many of these young guns moved up from the Trophy Kart, UTV and Single Buggy ranks this year to find themselves in an all-out war on the track. It was a race of attrition for those who were lucky enough to finish and pure luck for those to make the podium in these first rounds. The finishing order was Austin Kimbrell in first, Doug Mittag second and Chad George third on Saturday, while on Sunday a whole new field was on the podium as RJ Anderson took first, Chris Brandt second and Casey Currie third.
Two most significant changes at LOORRS was a pit stop during the mandatory caution and the absence of track crew and flaggers from the track.
Pit crews were allowed two minutes to work on their race trucks. The mad scramble amongst the track crews to get them into the pit lane combined with no clear spectator viewing left fans wanting and disoriented as it disrupted the flow of the event. With the potential to be a great asset to the show, there still is much to be worked out with this new format.
LOORRS cited safety as the reason for removing corner workers/flaggers from the track, and rightfully so because that job is incredibly dangerous, although it may have left a safety gap for the racers.
A collision between Robby Woods and Carl Renezeder, during Sunday’s practice, parked Woods for his failure to heed to the yellow light and reckless driving. Woods denied any wrongdoing and stated it was only an accident and unfair to disqualify him from the race. Woods insisted if flaggers were present, as they previously were, he would’ve known to slow down. There just aren’t enough lights present on the track, nor can you see them at all times while fighting a truck in an off-road course and attempting to listen to every word your spotter says.
Hopefully, these issues are addressed for the next LOORRS rounds for both fan entertainment and the driver’s safety.
All in all, Lucas put on a good show despite the hiccups in the new race layout. These issues should be ironed out for their next stop in their newest venue as LOORRS returns to Lake Elsinore with a brand new facility. ORC will be there to cover the action!