Brian Deegan had about as good a weekend at Lake Elsinore as he possibly could – while being 5000 miles away.
Deegan was in Barcelona, Spain, attempting to compete in Global RallyCross at the X Games. So he had a couple of substitute drivers filling in for him – Todd LeDuc in Pro 2 and Andrew Caddell in Pro Lite.
Under the 2013 rules, that would not be allowed. But in 2012, when Deegan was making plans and trying to juggle conflicting schedules, the rules were different. Because the plans were already in place, and the rules were revised on Feb. 15 of this year, the series decided that Deegan would be allowed a one-time-only variance to the rule.
That worked out really well for him on Saturday in Round 5, as LeDuc took his first win in Pro 2 driving the No. 38 truck, leading flag to flag. Caddell finished second in Pro Lite on Saturday and fifth on Sunday to give Deegan the lead in the class. LeDuc's results on Sunday in Pro 2 were less stellar than Saturday's, when he went out of the race with a mechanical, and Deegan dropped to third in a very tight Pro 2 points chase.
To top it all off, Hailie Deegan won the Junior 2 kart race on Sunday. Unfortunately for her father, the Barcelona RallyCross event was rained out.
A Pro Lite Surprise
The Pro Lite class in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is so competitive and so deep that one would hardly expect a first-timer to podium in his debut race. Yet that's exactly what Jimmy Fishback did in his inaugural run at Lake Elsinore.
Fishback isn't new to competition, nor to short course off road – he won the SR1 UTV championship last year in the Lucas Oil Regional Racing Series in Southern California and comes from a line of speedway motorcycle racers. But Lake Elsinore was his first time racing with the pros, and only his second time racing the Jeff Kincaid-built truck he acquired from FUNCO Motorsports a few months ago.
Fishback didn't get onto the box by just surviving while everyone around him dropped, either. He qualified in the top 10, got a great start and moved up steadily to finish third – meeting a rather lofty goal he set for himself for the weekend.
“Coming in this weekend we shot high,” said Fishback. “Even a top five, that's a big accomplishment.”
Saying you want a podium is one thing, but did he really expect it when he rolled into the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex paddock?
“The competition is so stacked in the Pro Lite class. I'm not saying I'm the best one out there, but I don't have much time in this truck, probably two gas tanks full. But you always want to set a goal. I shot high. The truck is capable of doing it, so I said I want a podium. It was a tough, hard race…a lot of bumping and ramming, people spinning out and going crazy. We just kept it together and worked hard and made it up on the box. I couldn't ask for anything better.”
Fishback was sporting some new decals on the truck when he rolled onto the grid on Sunday, including Sparco and General Tire. Whether that's enough to keep him in it for the rest of the season will be seen, but says he definitely plans on being at the other Southern California races, Glen Helen and the season finale back at Lake Elsinore, and would love to make it to Reno because the track looks like so much fun.
Either way, seeing him on the podium again won't be much of a surprise.
Championship Battles Heat Up
With six rounds in the books, the battles in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series are beginning to shape up; but it's still early enough in the season that things could go any which way.
Pro 2 is the tightest battle, and the lead spot switched at Lake Elsinore, with Rob MacCachren jumping from third to first thanks to a second and a first. But he has only a slim two-point lead – a single race position – over Carl Renezeder. Deegan's position was helped by Todd LeDuc's win in the No. 38 in Round 5, but then the 14th-place finish on Sunday dropped him in the standings.
The opposite happened for Deegan in Pro Lite, where Andrew Caddell finished second and fifth for him. It wasn't so much Caddell's success as Casey Currie's frustrations that led to the change in points leadership, but either way the result is the same – Deegan now leads Currie by 39 points. Sheldon Creed, who got his first win at Lake Elsinore, is in third, eight points ahead of defending champ RJ Anderson.
Pro Buggy also featured a lead change. Bradley Morris, despite a win on Saturday, fell to third thanks to some bad luck on Sunday. Dave Mason vaulted to the top spot, with defending champ Steven Greinke in second. The top three are separated by only 12 points.
Carl Renezeder's dominance of Pro 4 so far this season has given him a healthy 46-point lead in that class's standings. Rob MacCachren is still in second in the rebirth of his Pro 4 career, but is going to have to push Renezeder off the top if he's going to make any real headway. In comparison to last season, Kyle LeDuc is struggling; but a couple of second-place finishes have kept him in the title hunt, albeit 55 points behind Renezeder and three ahead of Corry Weller.
The points chase resumes at Miller Motorsports Park on June 22.
LOORRS standings after Round 6 at Lake Elsinore:
Carl Renezeder 304
Rob MacCachren 258
Kyle LeDuc 249
Rob MacCachren 274
Carl Renezeder 272
Brian Deegan 257
Brian Deegan 271
Casey Currie 232
Sheldon Creed 215
Dave Mason 283
Steven Greinke 278
Bradley Morris 271