Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series Round 2 Coverage
Round 2 is in the books and we have the story.
Following a competitive start to the 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, last month, the world’s best short-course racers were back at it the second weekend in April with the championship’s annual spring time visit to the Arizona desert and Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The Super Clean Duel in the Desert, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, provided another nighttime spectacle and thousands of fans filled the grandstands to watch all the drama unfold.
At this early stage of the championship momentum is critical, and while the winners of the opening round looked to build on their advantage, a long list of rivals were just as eager to make an impact as the title fight across all nine classes takes shape. As expected, the racing was incredible, and an array of new winners emerged under the lights in Chandler.
Opening round winner Jerett Brooks led the Pro 2 field into action at Wild Horse Pass, and he continued to build momentum as the fastest qualifier of the afternoon. When the race got underway later that evening it was Troy Cox and Daely Pentico who sprinted off the line first in their Pro 2M trucks. Brooks and the rest of the 13-truck field patiently waited for the green flag to drop, and when it did the field quickly settled into line with Brooks leading RJ Anderson, Brian Deegan and Rodrigo Ampudia. Out front, Pentico took advantage of Cox off the start to assert himself as the leader.
With one race under their belt with the inclusion of the new Pro 2M engine, it appeared as though the standard Pro 2 drivers recognized the more strategic play of closing the deficit to the lead trucks. By focusing on running a consistent pace instead of racing one another and losing time, they were able to erase the advantage of the Pro 2M trucks much more efficiently than the opening round. Brooks, Anderson and Deegan patiently ran in tow of one another for several laps, until a bobble by Anderson gave Deegan an opening to take over fourth place. Rather than put up too much of a fight, Anderson slotted into fifth. This trio had easily distanced themselves from everyone else and started to close in on Cox for second.
The yellow flag bunched the field back together halfway through the 16-lap showcase, and it would prove to be crucial in the outcome of the race. Recognizing the importance of the moment, Deegan seized the opportunity to pressure Brooks and successfully made the pass for third. Shortly thereafter, Anderson nearly tipped over in fifth, which allowed Ampudia to take the position. Both Deegan and Brooks stormed past Cox to move into second and third, respectively, on Lap 10, which gave them six laps to catch Pentico, who had comfortably led every lap up to that point.
As Deegan and Brooks continued to inch closer to the lead, Brooks made a costly error in judgment on Lap 12 when he elected to dive to the inside to lap Bradley Morris. While Deegan slid around the outside unscathed, Brooks and Morris made contact, which left Brooks with a flat right rear. The point leader’s pace dropped considerably, and he quickly fell down the running order. That put Ampudia and Anderson into a hotly contested battle for third, where Ampudia held the advantage.
In the waning laps, Deegan had Pentico in his sights and with his quicker pace it was only a matter of time before he got the opportunity to make a pass. Pentico had run a flawless race leading into the final lap, but Deegan was aggressive in his first chance to take the lead. The two trucks made heavy door-to-door contact, which sent them sideways off the next jump. Pentico spun out while Deegan regained control and sped off to his first win of the season. Pentico recovered to cross the line in second, but a black flag was issued and dropped him to the end of the lead lap in ninth. That gave the runner-up spot to Ampudia, who withstood the constant pressure from Anderson, who finished third. Brooks soldiered home in his wounded truck to finish 10th.
Deegan’s second and first-place finishes to start the season moved him to the top of the championship standings. Ampudia jumped into a tie with Anderson for second, four points behind Deegan. Brooks fell from first to fourth, 11 points out of the lead.
Pro 2 Results
1.#38 Brian Deegan
2.#36 Rodrigo Ampudia
3.#37 RJ Anderson
4.#21 Rob MacCachren
5.#6 Brandon Arthur
Pro 2 Points
1.#38 Brian Deegan – 98
2.#36 Rodrigo Ampudia – 94
3.#37 RJ Anderson – 94
4.#77 Jerett Brooks – 87
5.#3 Daely Pentico – 80
After a wild path to victory at the opening round, Kyle LeDuc was hoping for a considerably less stressful outing in Chandler, and that’s exactly what he got.
For the second straight race Doug Mittag started on the pole in Pro 4’s 16-lap main. Mittag was definitively the fastest truck at Glen Helen, but a fumble cost him what appeared to be a sure win. He edged out LeDuc on the start at Wild Horse Pass and looked to put some distance between he and the field. Unfortunately for Mittag, a slight miscue off a jump caused him to lose a little momentum, which allowed LeDuc to get alongside and take over the position in the next corner.
From that point on, LeDuc was on rails. He never put a wheel wrong, and the stability of the truck was evident as started to inch away from the field. Mittag and Greg Adler did all they could to keep up with LeDuc’s pace, but the slipping and sliding they endured continued to cause them to lose ground. They instead focused on their tight battle for second as defending champion RJ Anderson lurked in fourth.
Over the middle portion of the race Mittag was able to free himself of the pressure from Adler and even got within a few truck lengths of LeDuc. Adler continued to drop back and soon he had Anderson all over him. Anderson looked to make a pass in several different spots of the track before taking advantage of an inside line on Lap 8 to move into podium position just prior to the caution.
LeDuc nailed the restart to maintain the lead, and soon he, Mittag and Anderson were on a three-truck breakaway. You could throw a blanket over the top three in the closing laps, with a mere truck length separating them from one another. All three drivers hit their marks each and every lap, which ultimately prevented any serious pass attempts to be made. White smoke started to come out of LeDuc’s truck on the final lap, and Mittag was all over him on every inch of the track, but the truck ran at full tilt to the checkered flag to give LeDuc back-to-back wins to open the season. Mittag was a close second, with Anderson third.
LeDuc’s championship lead extended to 12 points over Mittag, who moved into second. Anderson sits third, 13 points out of the lead.
Pro 4 Results
1.#99 Kyle LeDuc
2.#81 Doug Mittag
3.#37 RJ Anderson
4.#10 Greg Adler
5.#24 Bradley Morris
Pro 4 Points
1.#99 Kyle LeDuc – 110
2.#81 Doug Mittag – 98
3.#37 RJ Anderson – 97
4.#10 Greg Adler – 93
5.#11 Adrian Cenni – 85
Defending Pro Lite champion Ryan Beat couldn’t have asked for a better start to his title defense at the opening round, but he had his work cut out for him at Wild Horse Pass as several of his rivals outpaced him in qualifying.
Christopher Polvoorde led the field to the green flag, while Beat rolled off the line in fifth. Polvoorde and Mickey Thomas ran side by side for the first quarter of a lap before Polvoorde asserted himself as the leader. The top three of Polvoorde, Thomas and Brock Heger were able to break away from the rest of the field, but a caution bunched everyone back together.
On the restart, the lead trio once again established themselves up front. Polvoorde was able to pull away a bit from the two behind him, and soon Heger got around Thomas for second.
The caution flew for a second time, and on the restart Heger applied heavy pressure on Polvoorde, which forced the race leader into a mistake in which he almost tipped over. That handed the lead to Heger as Polvoorde fought back from second. Heger’s control of the race was brief, as white smoke soon poured out of the right rear of his truck, ending his night. Polvoorde reassumed the lead, with Thomas second and Ronnie Anderson third.
A third caution flag bunched the field up once more at the halfway point of the 14-lap race. When the field returned to green, Polvoorde reassumed his position at the head of the field. He established a comfortable gap over Thomas and appeared to be in control of his own destiny, but a flat tire with just three laps to go dashed any hopes Polvoorde had of capturing a win. Thomas surged into first and enjoyed a big lead over the rest of the field. As Anderson came to pass Polvoorde for second, Beat, who had patiently run just outside of the top three for the majority of the race, dove to the inside and took the runner-up spot, which appeared to catch Anderson off guard.
Out front, Thomas cruised to his first win of the season, while Beat came on strong late to grab second. Anderson rounded out the podium in third. Polvoorde limped home to finish 14th after leading the first 11 laps.
Beat maintained his hold on the championship lead, where he sits two points clear of Thomas, who moved into second. Anderson is third, eight points behind Beat.
Pro Lite Results
1.#44 Mickey Thomas
2.#1 Ryan Beat
3.#52 Ronnie Anderson
4.#38 Hailie Deegan
5.#35 Cole Mamer
Pro Lite Points 1.
#1 Ryan Beat – 100
2.#44 Mickey Thomas – 98
3.#52 Ronnie Anderson – 92
4.#38 Hailie Deegan – 88
5.#59 Jimmy Weitzel – 80
Pro Buggy was expected to be one of the most competitive classes in the championship this season, and it lived up to the hype in Chandler. Opening round winner Chris Nunes came into Arizona with all the momentum, but he was never a factor at Wild Horse Pass. Instead, Trevor Briska seized the moment to dominate the field with an impressive wire-to-wire victory.
Briska started the 14-lap race from the pole alongside Brock Dickerson, while Nunes rolled off the line in fifth. From the drop of the green Briska had his buggy dialed in and despite his best efforts Dickerson wasn’t able to mount a serious challenge. These two ran 1-2 for the first 10 laps of the race until Dickerson encountered misfortune and rapidly dropped several positions. That allowed Matthew Brister to assume the runner-up spot, capping off an incredible drive for him. Brister started the race in seventh, but he was patient and took advantage of the opportunity to move from seventh to fourth on Lap 5. From there he continued to gain ground, ultimately landing in second.
Briska took an emphatic win by 1.2 seconds over Brister, while Eliott Watson drove to a solid third-place finish after sticking inside the top four through the entirety of the race. Nunes recovered from some early trouble to finish fourth.
Nunes’ resilience kept him atop the point standings, but he now sits in a tie with Watson for the lead. Brister is third, three points out of the lead.
Pro Buggy Results
1.#59 Trevor Briska
2.#5 Matthew Brister
3.#3 Eliott Watson
4.#2 Chris Nunes
5.#15 Trey Gibbs
Pro Buggy Points
1.#2 Chris Nunes – 100
2.#3 Eliott Watson – 100
3.#5 Matthew Brister – 97
4.#59 Trevor Briska – 93
5.#15 Trey Gibbs – 90
Production 1000 UTV
Three different drivers took their shot at the front of the field in the 12-lap Production 1000 UTV race, but none of them was opening round leader and defending champion Brock Heger. While Heger was solid, he was just out of the mix for the win.
Dallas Nord parlayed an impressive qualifying effort into early control of the race, but misfortune saw him drop well back in the field after the first lap. That allowed Myles Cheek, who started second, to take over the top spot, but his time out front only lasted a couple laps as Robert Stout was on a mission. After starting fourth, Stout climbed his way up to second after just two laps and proceeded to surge into the lead on Lap 4. Once out front, he was able to maintain control, despite receiving heavy pressure from Cheek.
Stout led the final nine laps to take his first win of the season over Cheek, while Heger rounded out the podium in third.
Heger maintained his lead in the championship standings, where he sits four points ahead of Stout, who is now second. Cheek is third, 10 points out of the lead.
Production 1000 UTV Results
1.#915 Robert Stout
2.#957 Myles Cheek
3.#1 Brock Heger
4.#906 Brandon Arthur
5.#986 Ryan Lindsay
Production 1000 UTV Points
1.#1 Brock Heger – 106
2.#915 Robert Stout – 102
3.#957 Myles Cheek – 96
4.#906 Brandon Arthur – 90
5.#916 Robby Hornsby – 83