Team Associated's Kyle LeDuc Takes the Pro-4 Win!August 5, 2013
Event Name: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
Event Location: Glen Helen Raceway
Event Date(s): July 27, 2013 to July 28, 2013
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series made its way back to Southern California for the Four Wheel Parts Off Road Nationals at the famous Glen Helen off road park. This would be the first of two weekends of night racing that LOORRS will be hosting (the other will be September 21st & 22nd In Las Vegas) throughout the 15 round racing season. Southern California plays home for many race teams and sponsors, so the stands were pack as soon as the gates opened which was several hours prior to the first race of the evening. Glen Helen is a very unique track in that it is tight and the dirt is very sandy unlike any of the other tracks that are run on, which makes drivers lean on each other a little harder to try and make passes. During the day all the teams finished their last minute preparations and geared up to go to battle under the lights.
Pro 4 starts off the evening of Pro class racing, and they took to the track just as the sun started to settle below the mountains. Defending class champion Kyle LeDuc has had a rough start to the year, after dominating the 2012 season, and he was looking to get back to his winning ways and climb back up the leader board. Qualifying took place on Friday afternoon to set the grid, and Kyle LeDuc started on the front row with fellow Team Associated driver Eric Barron. Last year these two drivers leaned on each other the entire race and Barron ended up coming out on top with a weekend sweep. When the green flag dropped Kyle jumped out to an early lead and had Barron hot on his heels. Before the first lap was completed, the caution was brought out for Carl Renezeder, the current points leader, for making contact with Rob MacCachren and the guard rail and causing damage to the truck that would not allow him to finish. On the restart, Kyle jumped out to his lead again and began to pull away from Barron. Coming out onto the straight, Barron over cooked the corner a little too much and spun, letting the field go by, and moving him to the back of the pack. Back up front, Kyle had a good amount of breathing room, until the caution came out again for Barron's truck losing a front wheel leaving the truck dead on the track. When the field got stacked back up the front runners were the LeDuc brothers with Todd behind Kyle, and Ryan Beat making it up into the third position. Ryan Beat has been running all three truck pro classes since some midseason changes to the Premier Motorsports Group, and he was looking to take advantage to all the extra seat time. Kyle stood his ground and wouldn't allow MacCachren to use some of the tricks to make the pass. On the last lap, MacCachren was spun by Brandon Bailey who also collected Ryan Beat, but the group was able to get going again and finished with MacCachren taking second and Bailey in third. Officials black flagged bailey, which moved Beat up into third and finishing off the podium.
Later in the night, with the sun completely gone, the Pro-2s took to the track and wanted to put on a show for the southern California fans. Marty "The Cowboy" Hart started up from and wanted to hold of the talent that lined up behind him. He was lined up next to 2012 champion, Brian Deegan, and was followed by Renezeder and MacCachren. The race kicked off with a few smooth uneventful laps lead by Hart and Deegan who had stretched a little gap on the field and looked to save the trucks for the long race ahead. Back in the fourth spot, Team Associated driver Robby Woods was looking good and was holding ground with the veterans and even showed a nose or two on Carl for the third position, but kept it clean and looked for another way around. The door opened for Woods, and he didn't hesitate to make the move. Carl pushed up high in turn 2 and Woods snuck under as Carl spun trying to get back to protect the bottom line. The spin also collected MacCachren and shuffled the drivers back toward the back of the pack, but they were able to continue and finish the race. Back up front, Hart check out, he kept it on all four wheels, and drove to the win. Deegan brought his truck to second, and Robby Woods picked up a hard fought third place podium finish.
This weekend shows why winning the championship in the Lucas Oil Off Road Series is so difficult to achieve. At any time the track or fellow driver can take a win or even a good finish out from beneath your feet and stand where you once were. The sport is so rough and demanding on drivers, crews, and equipment that no race track or competitor can be taken lightly. Strategies come into play as points chases tighten and every point counts when it comes down to the end. With only five remaining rounds in the season, the point's race has been turned upside. The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series will be heading the Sparks, NV which is just outside Reno, to do battle at the Wild West Motorsports Park. Last year the track was new to everyone, but this year is a different story. All of us at Team Associated would like to thank all of those that made it to Glen Helen, and we hope to see many of you out in Reno for rounds 11 and 12 which will take place August 24th and 25th.