It was a three-way battle coming into the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series' last race of the season at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz. Three different drivers had a chance to win the Pro 2 championship – Defending titlist Brian Deegan; 2010 champ Rob MacCachren; and, technically a Pro 2 rookie with his new team, 2010 LOORRS Pro Lite winner Marty Hart.
Deegan was the one in command, having the points lead with four wins and three other podium finishes. But if everything went in their favor, either Hart, also with four victories, or MacCachren, with three, could take the title. But they would need aid from a Deegan error or mechanical bad luck.
MacCachren and Hart did about all they could do. It looked like MacCachren was going to be of the running early, as he got together with another truck coming off the big jump between Turns 2 and 3 on the first lap, getting sideways and smacking the wall. But officials called for a full restart and, with no major damage, MacCachren moved back to his original sixth starting spot.
Robby Woods took the lead at the start, followed by Hart. But the race was going to be interrupted by a lot of cautions. During the second, Woods departed the track with what sounded like an engine problem, leaving Hart in the lead. By the competition yellow, the top three in points were lined up nose to tail. On the restart, MacCachren took the low line in the split section and rocketed into the lead. Hart later revealed he had a rear brake problem.
In the end, the top three in points finished in reverse order. But it was only enough to tighten up the points, not change any positions, and Deegan had his second consecutive Pro 2 title.
"It was a battle. So many restarts and so much carnage,” said Deegan. “It's such a bummer because when you're fighting for a title, you just want to get through it. But, with all the money spent and the sponsors and commitments, you want to have fun and you want to represent too. It's not my style to just lay back. I thought, ‘If he gives it to me, I'm going to take it.' And Marty made some mistakes and had a problem with his brakes. I tried to slide under him but he kept coming down on me. I thought I was going to take myself out, so I threw the ego aside.
“To win championships you have to be smart. It's not about being the ballsy guy and doing something crazy. There were days I had to be crazy, but there were days I had to be smart. That's how we back-to-back championshipped this.”
Deegan warmed up by winning the Pro Lite race earlier in the day, but that championship had already been clinched by RJ Anderson at the penultimate race at Las Vegas last month. The other big title still on the line was Pro 4. Kyle LeDuc (RIGHT) basically needed to survive that race and, no matter what his brother Todd did, Kyle would have the title. It looked bad at first, as Kyle fell to the back of the field at the start; but he was just making an effort to avoid any possible carnage so he could be there at the end.
When it came, after Eric Barron dominated the early going only to pull off with a mechanical, Todd finished second to Carl Renezeder, and Kyle had worked his way back to third to secure the Pro 4 title.
Doug Fortin won Pro Buggy, but it wasn't enough to overcome Steven Greinke's points lead, and Greinke won the championship. Sheldon Creed also clinched a title, finishing fifth in Super Lite while Code Rahders won. John Fitzgerald won Limited Buggy to back up the title he clinched at Las Vegas.
The tightest points battles were in the karts, and the closest finish came down to a single point. Conner McMullen finished fourth in Junior 1, but it wouldn't have been enough if he hadn't gotten the bonus point for leading at the halfway mark. As it was, he narrowly edged defending champ Broc Dickerson, who graciously handed over the No. 1 plate to McMullen. Travis PeCoy won the Junior 2 race, but it wasn't enough to overtake second-finishing Dylan Winbury in the points. Myles Cheek won the Modified Kart race and championship.
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Round 15 winners Firebird Raceway
Pro 4 Unlimited: Carl Renezeder Pro 2 Unlimited: Rob MacCachren Pro Lite Unlimited: Brian Deegan Pro Buggy Unlimited: Doug Fortin Super Lite: Code Rahders Limited Buggy: John Fitzgerald Modified Kart: Myles Cheek Kart Jr. 2: Travis PeCoy Kart Jr. 1: Broc Dickerson
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Champions Pro 4 Unlimited:
Kyle LeDuc Pro 2 Unlimited: Brian Deegan Pro Lite Unlimited: RJ Anderson Pro Buggy Unlimited: Steven Greinke Super Lite: Sheldon Creed Limited Buggy: John Fitzgerald Modified Kart: Myles Cheek Kart Jr. 2: Dylan Winbury Kart Jr. 1: Conner McMullen