As the second full season of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series opens, it does so in a new venue and everyone heads into Rounds 1 and 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend with a fresh deck of cards and an equal number of chips.
The points are reset from last year – Carl Renezeder (Unlimited 2 and U4), Brian Deegan (Unlimited Lite), John Harrah (Super Lite), Chuck Cheek (Unlimited Buggy) and Bruce Fraley (Limited Buggy) are defending champs, but now have zero markers like everyone else. Plus new competitors arrive for full-time competition, some have switched classes, and the series begins its season at an all-new venue – a track that none of the competitors have driven before. No one has an edge due to familiarity.
“There's three new tracks that we're going to be racing on and no one's been on 'em,” notes Renezeder (shown below with his U4 truck). “Nobody knows what they are. That will give anybody new coming into the series a really good shot at leveling the playing field.”
As far as newcomers to the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, there are a few pieces to the puzzle already in place; but there are still many discoveries to be made about the upcoming season and who will run the series full time. Some key, and confirmed, new players include the LeDucs, who ran a few races in 2009. Patriarch Curt LeDuc and his son Kyle ran U4 last season; Kyle's brother Todd ran U2. Two other new faces in U2 also gave a preview last year at a couple of races. Legendary desert and short course, off-road racer Rob MacCachren has committed to the series full time, and 2007 CORR Pro Lite champion Rob Naughton is moving to the bigger trucks for 2010.
Other newcomers may not be revealed until the haulers roll into Sin City. But rumors are flying that this may be one of the most star-studded short course races in a long time, with many who did not race in LOORRS in 2009 making an appearance.
Part of the reason so many are taking a gamble on this race may be the track itself. A brand-new, state-of-the-art short course track at one of motorsports' finest facilities. The new, purpose-built track came to life between LVMS's 1.5-mile oval and road course and the short oval known as The Bullring.
“This unique, purpose-built track, a 1.1-mile long technical course, is enormous,” says LOORRS Competition Director Tony Vanillo, who oversaw the building of the course. “It features eight turns. Turn 7, in particular, a long, sweeping, off-camber right-hander, is one of the most challenging turns on the short course circuit. Rhythm sections and a giant table top guarantee plenty of air time and close, tight racing.”
Vanillo and his team had to speed things up a bit when the season opener was moved to Las Vegas only a few weeks prior. Fortunately, he has a bit of experience – he's been involved in off-road racing for three decades and has been responsible for building some of short course's best tracks.
For spectators, it should provide a great experience. Not only is it located outside one of the world's most entertainment-oriented cities, but also the amenities of a dedicated motorsports facility and the design of the track should make it a great weekend for fans.
“The grandstands are right on top of the action and fans are going to feel the strength and power of the machines,” Vanillo says. “The track is recessed 15 feet for better viewing. And, if you miss anything, there's a 35ft Jumbotron. The facility, with open pits and the uniqueness of the track will bring off-road racing like it's never been seen to Las Vegas.”
It's not the first time that Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hosted off-road racing, but the new, dedicated track brings it to a whole new level.
“I've raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the old track several times,” says Unlimited Lite competitor Chris Brandt. “So I'm excited about the new track there – an actual off-road facility vs. trying to put something in an oval track.”
If you can't make it to Las Vegas, you can catch the event on SPEED, Versus or MavTV.
- Click here to learn more about the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
- Click here for ticket information on LOORRS events.
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