With the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series just past the midpoint of the season, there are some changes in the drivers' seats for the second half.
Jeremy McGrath has departed Stronghold Motorsports with the aim of launching his own team in 2014. That left a vacancy in the team's Pro 2 truck, which has been filled by former series regular Bryce Menzies (ABOVE).
“I got the phone call about a week-and-a-half [before the Miller Motorsports Park race] from [Stronghold team owner] Scott Bailey to see if I wanted to come and drive the last rounds of the Lucas Oil Series in Pro 2,” says Menzies. “I get some opportunities like that, but it's one of those deals if Stronghold calls you, they're such an amazing team, such a great group of guys, that I jumped on the opportunity. It gives me more seat time and I get to try to help them out and get this thing on the podium.
“We've been making a lot of changes trying to get the truck better. We're still fighting the truck a little bit; I can't get the truck to turn in. But the guys are willing to do anything.”
In another move, Rob Naughton left Premiere Motorsport Group/Hart & Huntington, giving Ryan Beat the challenge of driving three trucks in Utah.
Ampudias win Kart Challenge
Miller Motorsports Park has a wide range of facilities at its sprawling acreage in Tooele, Utah, including a kart track with karts available for anyone to arrive and drive. While it's always been a popular sideshow and even spawned some challenges between the off-road drivers, this year it took on a new character with the Rockstar Energy/Lucas Oil Kart Challenge.
Drivers and crews formed teams, and the fastest combo won money for their charity of choice. In this case, it was Papas&Beer/Lucas Oil Pro 2 driver Rodrigo Ampudia and his brother, Al.
“My brother Al and I raced, and it was just a cool little event they put on Friday night. After we were all done with our practice, we got to go out there and just have fun with the boys in the karts,” said Rodrigo of the kart challenge.
The Ampudias earned more than $2000 for a charity in Baja California that aids children in orphanages.
Pro Lite qualifying changes for Glen Helen
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series has changed the qualifying procedures for the Pro Lite class beginning at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino for the night races on July 27-28. While the size of the class in the past couple of years has dictated two qualifying groups, a new feature has been added: a Last-Chance Qualifier race.
Two groups will still go out for individual sessions, with the top eight in each making the grid. Group 1 qualifiers will fill the inside row at race start, while Group 2 qualifiers will fill the outside row. Those outside of the top 16 will face a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).
An eight-lap race with a 10-minute time limit, the LCQ will determine the 17th and 18th starters for the race. Two more positions on the grid will be reserved for the two highest drivers in the point standings that did not earn a starting position from regular qualifying or the LCQ. The provisional start can only be used by any one driver in three consecutive races.
That means that, for the first time, some drivers will not make the race. While they will still earn championship points as if they finished 21st or below, they will not have the opportunity to start the main event.
Point Standings After Round 8 at Miller Motorsports Park
Carl Renezeder 403
Eric Barron 342
Rob MacCachren 338
Rob MacCachren 377
Carl Renezeder 369
Brian Deegan 345
Brian Deegan 351
Sheldon Creed 315
RJ Anderson 307
Dave Mason 380
Steven Greinke 376
John Fitzgerald 348
Travis Pecoy 353
Jeff Hoffman 344
Myles Cheek 340
Junior 2 Kart
Hailie Deegab 353
Ryan Carey 344
Parker Steele 340
Junior 1 Kart
Blaze Nunley 372
Daely Pentico 339
Madix Bailey 336