With three events and five race to go in the 2011 season, points gained – or lost – in Rounds 11 and 12 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Speedworld Motorsports Park in Surprise, Ariz., will be critical. Points races in several classes tightened up at the last two rounds at Glen Helen, with the lead changing in Pro 2.
Brian Deegan's first win in Pro 2 at Glen Helen, combined with Carl Renezeder's struggles, saw him take the points lead in his rookie season in the class. The 2009 Pro Lite champ has been making steady progress as he adjusts to the big truck, and if he keeps up that form, it could spell trouble for the other Pro 2 contenders. Last time at Surprise in April, it was all Rob MacCachren. Sitting fourth in the points behind Greg Adler and 48 points behind Deegan (ABOVE), MacCachren could well use the points boost another double win would give him.
Renezeder still maintains the points lead in Pro 4, but a weekend sweep in Glen Helen by Rick Huseman put a serious dent in his margin. Huseman now trails Renezeder by only nine points, and Surprise was Huseman country last time out. If the defending champion can repeat his feats of the previous visit to Speedworld and the last two rounds at Glen Helen, he could come out of Arizona with the points lead. At this point, it looks like a two-horse race in Pro 4, because third-place Kyle LeDuc is 66 points behind Huseman.
In Pro Lite, it continues to be a battle between Chris Brandt and Deegan, with Brandt heading the points 468 to 452. The pair split wins at Speedworld last time out and have been consistently at each other's heels all season, so it's unlikely either will make significant ground on the other. Cameron Steele would like to make up some ground on both, and if his first Pro Lite win at Glen Helen is any indication, the third-place driver may be able to make some progress. He's got a pretty big gap to close, however, being 40 points behind Deegan and 56 behind Brandt.
Mike Porter still has a healthy lead in Pro Buggy, but Justin Smith has the momentum. Only 13 points behind Porter's 447, Smith has been on a tear, with firsts or seconds in four of the last five races. It looks like he's really adjusted to the class after moving up from the Limited Buggies last year. Jerry Whelchel is 20 points behind Smith in third. He split wins with Porter in April at Surprise.
Super Lite is primarily a three-way race between Patrick Clark, Chad George and RJ Anderson, although with more than 250 points still on the table, it's possible that Dawson Kirchner, Austin Kimbrell, Wyatt Kirchner or Jacob Person could yet make a run. It was Person who swept the top step of the podium last time at Speedworld; if he does it again, it could go a long way toward erasing the 81-point gap between him and points leader Clark.
Curt Geer has taken a healthy lead over Quentin Tucker and Dave Mason – second and third separated by only two points in Limited Buggy. John Fitzgerald is another 20 points back of Mason. Mason and Fitzgerald shared victories in April, and Fitzgerald has the most wins this season, so things could look quite different when the Limited Buggies are finished in Arizona.
Kyle LeDuc will be adding a third class to his schedule this weekend, driving the No. 899 Black Rhino SR1 UTV alongside Bryan Osborn in the 854. LeDuc has been running the full season in Pro 4 and Pro Lite. Last year he made some guest runs in Super Lite, scoring a first and a second in three races, and helping produce some exciting racing in the process.
The race schedule for Friday and Saturday begins early, with Modified Kart races first on track at 8:30 a.m. The final race of each day, Pro 2, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., with the idea of beating some of the worst Arizona heat. Practice and qualifying will take place on Friday.
If you can't make it to Speedworld, look for the broadcast of the races on the CBS, SPEED and Versus networks. See http://www.lucasoiloffroad.com/cal.htm for dates and times.