The Monster machine
With four races done, and only one man having stood on top of the box in Pro 4, the question as the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series heads into Rounds 5 and 6 at Speedworld Off Road Park in Surprise, Ariz., is: Can anyone stop Kyle LeDuc?
LeDuc has been a machine in his new Monster Energy truck, winning every race with apparent ease. Even after slamming into the berm trying to pass Adrian Cenni in the second race at Firebird, he recovered, made the pass a couple laps later and won. If he starts on pole it appears his competitors have no chance. If he doesn't, they'd better make their trucks really, really wide.
Podium absences and newcomers
While Kyle LeDuc has been the only to stand on the top box of the podium in Pro 4, there have been some noticeable absences on that same podium. Carl Renezeder, the defending champion in the class, has yet to visit it at all. Mechanical and other troubles have kept him from the top three four times this season – already one more than the whole of 2011. He's got some catching up to do.
Likewise Jeremy McGrath in Pro 2. As Stronghold's new team leader, a race winner and five-time top-three finisher in 2011, expectations were high for this season. His best finish so far is fifth. But it is still early.
At the other end of the spectrum, one of the only drivers besides Kyle LeDuc to be on the box every time is Chris Brandt in Pro Lite. There is one key difference – Brandt has yet to score a victory.
Instead, Pro Lite victories have been left to RJ Anderson with two and Austin Kimbrell (LEFT) and Brian Deegan with one each. Anderson and Kimbrell are both first-time Pro Lite winners in 2012. Others claiming an inaugural victory include Marty Hart – no stranger to winning, but taking his first LOORRS Pro 2 win in Round 1 at Firebird – and John Gable and Jessie Johnson in SuperLite.
LOORRS on CBS Sports
Lucas Oil Products, Inc., and Lucas Oil Production Studios have reached an agreement with CBS Sports Network to televise the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series with 35 hours of programming. The series will air on Sundays at 8 p.m. Eastern throughout 2012.
“We're pleased to partner with Lucas Oil to showcase their action-packed Off Road Racing series,” says Dan Weinberg, senior vp of programming for CBS Sports. “This deal further increases our event programming, and provides fans a dedicated weekly outlet to watch this exciting racing series.”
CBS Sports Network will also add a “Behind the Wheel” segment to the series that takes viewers behind-the-scenes with McGrath, Deegan, Renezeder, Carey Hart, Rob McCachren and other top racers to explore the driver's mindset, team dynamics and race strategies from the competitor's viewpoint.
Lucas Oil Regional Off Road in Utah
The Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series was launched in Utah with the new permanent short course off road track at Miller Motorsports Park last June. The sport had a limited base in the state, but is gathering momentum quickly.
With participants from as far as Colorado, the entries doubled from last year at the first race of the season on May 5. Growth has especially come in the buggy and UTV classes.
Patrick Clark showed up with his Pro 2 truck to do some demo laps and generate excitement for the LOORRS rounds at Miller on June 23-24. The next round of the Regional series is a week before that, on June 16.
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series points standings
Pro 4 Unlimited
Kyle LeDuc 206
Todd LeDuc 182
Josh Merrell 178
Pro 2 Unlimited
Marty Hart 192
Rodrigo Ampudia 176
Brian Deegan 170
Pro Lite Unlimited
RJ Anderson 196
Chris Brandt 192
Austin Kimbrell 164
Pro Buggy Unlimited
Steven Greinke 191
(tie) Jerry Whelchel 175
(tie) Doug Fortin 175
Sheldon Creed 199
Drew Britt 178
Brent Fouch 168
John Fitzgerald 193
Lindsay Geiser 166
Jordan Poole 156