When it comes down to a winner-take-all fight, there is no choice but to go. There is no holding back, only fighting for the victory and hope it's enough. For Pro 2 Unlimited competitors Brian Deegan, Marty Hart and Rob MacCachren, that's the situation they face as they head to Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. For the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series season finale. Deegan has the inside line with a 13-point lead over Hart and 21 points over MacCachren, but any of the three could leave Arizona with the title.
The other classes are largely settled. RJ Anderson has secured the Pro Lite title, and John Fitzgerald has another Limited Buggy championship in the bag. If Kyle LeDuc can finish seventh or better, it doesn't matter what his brother Todd does, he's got Pro 4. Even Pro Buggy, which was tight all season, is all but done thanks to Doug Fortin's rough weekend in Las Vegas that essentially left Steven Greinke with the points title.
So, aside from the karts, Pro 2 holds all the drama in Round 15 of the Lucas Series. Deegan is looking to back up the first Pro 2 title he won in 2011. MacCachren, who recently celebrated his 200th off-road racing win, won the Pro 2 title last in 2010. Hart is looking, as a rookie, to add the Pro 2 title to the 2010 LOORRS Pro Lite championship. But it's Deegan that's in control.
“I was hoping that I'd have a way bigger points gap,” says Deegan (BELOW RIGHT). “But we fought and that's what we ended up with. I'm sure either of those guys would trade with me right now.”
Actually, they've traded a lot this season, with the points lead going back and forth all year.
“I was joking with Deegan that it's the championship nobody wants to win,” says MacCachren. “Whenever it's there for the taking, we're giving it up back and forth to each other. Marty had pretty good control in the middle and, toward the end, we had many opportunities to seize the championship; but every time, something has happened to each of us, really.”
Deegan got most of his bad luck out of the way early on. MacCachren had rough spots throughout the season, including smashing a truck badly at Reno and an ill-placed rock creating a short in his electrical system in Las Vegas. Hart (LEFT) might have been in much better shape had he not lost a motor in practice at Las Vegas and missed qualifying, meaning he started last both days in Sin City – but still finished third on the second day.
However it happened, it leaves a single race with three potential champions. In that situation, there is no holding back.
“You know what you have to do; it's a free for all,” says Hart. Whoever beats who is what it comes down to.”
“You go all out. You've got to go for the win,” echoes MacCachren.
“Toward the end of the year, everybody is hungry. It doesn't matter if you're in the championship or not, everyone wants to finish on a high note” MacCachren adds, noting that it isn't just each other that the contenders have to worry about. “Some are driving harder than they normally would. It becomes kind of difficult with an all-out situation. Plus, we might have some outside competitors, people that want to get in and get a win. But we're giving it everything. We have no choice.”
It all wraps up at Firebird on Saturday, Oct. 27. The day after is the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup, which features money races for each class, culminating in the big Pro Buggy vs. Pro Lite and Pro 4 vs. Pro 2 battles. Last year's Pro 2 vs. Pro 4 fight was nothing short of outrageous, with fiberglass flying, along with accusations and disqualifications.
Gates open at 9 a.m. for two full days of racing on Saturday and Sunday.