A streak made history, and a streak ended.
While everyone wondered when would – and the Pro 4 field wished for it to – Carl Renezeder's Pro 4 winning streak come to an end, the answer was not in Round 7 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday. On that day, despite Rob MacCachren's best efforts, Renezeder extended his streak that goes back to last season to nine, a new record for consecutive victories. It was also a record for the most consecutive victories to start a season. However, until the checkered flag fell, there was no certainty that the streak would survive, and the suspense was most entertaining.
Renezeder started Saturday's Pro 4 race up front, with MacCachren alongside. While they launched into a nice lead, Kyle LeDuc – still feeling the effects of food poisoning that sent him to the hospital twice – was attacking Eric Barron. Once he got by Barron's Toyota, he set the fastest lap trying to chase down Renezeder and MacCachren. Meanwhile, MacCachren was trying to find a way around Renezeder. When a yellow for debris brought everyone closer together, MacCachren made his move, ducking inside Renezeder in Turn 2, launching hard off the backstretch and past the Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan and into the lead.
He then promptly got into the ruts on the outside of Turn 4 – possibly with a tap from Renezeder – and put his Rockstar/Makita Ford on its head. Renezeder cruised to his ninth consecutive Pro 4 victory on the same track where he scored his 100th short course win a year ago. LeDuc and Barron followed him to the checkers.
“It's never easy. I guarantee you with these guys, because everybody is so good,” said Renezeder after his victory. “I'll be honest, this is a very surreal moment. It's hard to do. Kyle had won a bunch in a row; a lot of guys have. I'm sure when you think about that… You don't want to think about it, you just want to keep going and think race to race.”
If he wanted to extend the streak to 10 on Sunday, Renezeder was going to have his work cut out for him. After qualifying second – MacCachren was first – the six-position inversion left him on row 3. Greg Adler started up front and made his intent to stay there quite clear. Renezeder got past Kyle LeDuc, who had smoke pouring from the rear of his truck that soon dissipated, and behind Barron. Todd LeDuc moved into fourth, and when Renezeder went backward in the field – he later revealed a struck throttle as the cause – Todd scooted into second.
After a yellow for Kyle LeDuc's departed wheel, Adler launched hard off the backstretch jump, took a bad bounce and ended up in the Turn 3 wall hard enough to require a lengthy yellow to reset the K-rail. That left Todd LeDuc in the lead, followed by Barron and Renezeder. Todd's lead was short-lived, though, as he biked in Turn 3 on the restart and Barron was through into the lead. Another yellow, another restart, and Renezeder was into second and chasing Barron. After the final yellow that set up a single-lap finish, Renezeder threw everything he had at Barron, but nothing stuck and Barron took his first win of the season in his LAT Oils Toyota, interestingly enough at the same track where he won his first race and began a three-race streak of his own in 2012.
After throwing away the Pro 4 win, MacCachren wanted redemption, and he got it in Saturday's Pro 2 race. After a delay for some extra grooming and allowing the trucks to circulate to dry an over-watered track, MacCachren got to work from fifth place. Bryce Menzies, taking over Stronghold's Pro 2 in place of Jeremy McGrath, started up front, but spun in Turn 1, letting Renezeder lead. Renezeder then got too sideways after some contact with Brian Deegan, and MacCachren was out front.
Once in the lead, MacCachren's Rockstar Energy/Makita Ford was untouchable. As Renezeder put it, he took his truck and didn't want to play. Renezeder and Adler followed him to victory lane.
Renezeder was looking for his own redemption on Sunday after watching his Pro 4 streak fall to Barron. He and MacCachren started up front thanks to no inversion, but MacCachren fell back while Renezeder vaulted into the lead. MacCachren found himself in the middle of a three-way battle between himself, Marty Hart and Deegan. MacCachren came out on top of that fight and set his sights on first as Robby Woods got past Deegan.
After a yellow for Joey Provenza, MacCachren was stalking Renezeder and tried a couple of moves before he found one that stuck. Hart rode the wall on the front straight, but maintained his position for a while until he fell into Deegan's clutches. The packed house at Miller Motorsports Park went wild when Deegan moved past Hart and into podium territory.
MacCachren didn't run away, but neither was he seriously challenged as he cruised to his second Pro 2 win of the weekend, followed by Renezeder and Deegan.
Bradley Morris started up front for Saturday's Pro Lite event, and seemed in control from the start while fellow front-row starter RJ Anderson got shuffled back. After the first caution, however, Morris spun in Turn 3 and handed the lead to Sheldon Creed. Morris got a reprieve, though, as that happened just as another caution flew and the running order was reverted. One the race restarted, Creed and Deegan were battling hard for second – hard enough that RJ Anderson took advantage and vaulted into second. Deegan eventually won the position, now third.
A late-race yellow set up a green-white checker finish, with Morris still in the lead followed by Anderson, Deegan, Creed and Kyle Hart. After the restart, Deegan and Creed continuing their battle, which Creed eventually won as Deegan had a flat. Just as he had done earlier, Morris spun in Turn 3, handing the lead to Anderson. Creed gave his best shots to Anderson's LoanMart/Loctite Dodge, but couldn't make the pass. Justin Smith had survived from the eighth row to finish third.
“I got a little lucky there at the end, but I'll take it,” said Anderson who, like Kyle LeDuc, had been hit with a bout of food poisoning. “For a moment, I was sitting back in fifth and I thought, ‘We're good here.' There was some carnage in the right-hander and someone got in the back of me and I couldn't steer my truck. One by one, people got up on the bike and got into each other.”
Creed, not quite satisfied with second, apparently thought MacCachren's runaway in Saturday's Pro 2 race was a good idea, and did his best to emulate it in Pro Lite on Sunday. He was simply untouchable in the A.M. Ortega/BFGoodrich Dodge. Behind him, though, there was plenty of action, especially in the final laps.
At the final restart, Casey Currie made a move on Anderson for second, but the move backfired on him and Morris had an opening, of which Deegan also took advantage. Then Anderson ran wide, allowing Morris through, but he once again had a problem in Turn 3 and Anderson reclaimed the position, with Deegan taking third.
Geoffrey Cooley took control early in Saturday's Pro Buggy race, but a bobble out of the final turn allowed Steven Greinke through for the lead, which he held to the end in his SC Fuels/BFGoodrich Tires Racer. Cooley wasn't going to watch the win slip away on Sunday, and asserted his Competitive Metals Alumi Craft out front and stayed there, despite several strong challenges from Dave Mason Jr.
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series heads back to Southern California on July 26-28 for a pair of evening events at Glen Helen Raceway.
Round 7 Winners
Pro 4 Carl Renezeder
Pro 2 Rob MacCachren
Pro Lite RJ Anderson
Pro Buggy Steven Greinke
Mod Kart Brock Heger
Junior 2 Karts Broc Dickerson
Junior 1 Karts Mason Prater
Round 8 Winners
Pro 4 Eric Barron
Pro 2 Rob MacCachren
Pro Lite Sheldon Creed
Pro Buggy Geoffrey Cooley
Mod Kart Gavin Harlien
Junior 2 Karts Dylan Plemons
Junior 1 Karts Blaze Nunley