Carl Renezeder and Rob MacCachren will resolve their year-long Pro 2 duel this weekend. (Richard S. James photo)
There may be few mysteries left in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series for 2013, but that doesn't make the finale this weekend in Lake Elsinore, Calif., any less interesting.
Carl Renezeder wrapped up the Pro 4 title – his ninth in short course – in Las Vegas. Brian Deegan has to take the green flag to win his third Pro Lite championship; likewise with Steven Greinke in Pro Buggy – once the race starts with him in it, he'll have his second consecutive championship in hand.
Among the pro classes, only Pro 2 is truly up in the air. Eighteen points separate Rob MacCachren in the lead and Renezeder in second. Deegan is another 20 points behind Renezeder – not close enough to contend for the title, but close enough to Renezeder to take over second should the No. 17 have serious trouble. If Renezeder is able to capture 50 points for the win plus the fast qualifier and halfway leader single points, MacCachren will have to finish ninth or better. Pro 2 comes down to two cagey veterans who have both dealt with plenty of championship pressure, always race each other clean and who seem to have a darn good time doing it. This could be a championship fight for the ages.
But its not the only one that fans will have the chance to see on Saturday. Myles Cheek has a 28-point lead over Cole Mamer in Modified Kart. Given the size of the field, its no sure thing Cheek will leave Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park with his second consecutive championship in the class, but it's pretty likely.
Hailie Deegan has a pretty good shot at joining her father with a championship as she heads into Lake Elsinore with a 30-point lead in Junior 2 Karts. The Junior 2s have had smaller fields than the Modifieds, so it's unlikely Broc Dickerson will be able to do anything to erase that lead with the points available.
Junior 1 Karts is where things could get wild. Five young drivers have a chance to claim the title, led by Ricky Gutierrez with 435 points. Blaze Nunley trails by nine, but then things get really tight. Daley Pentico is one more point behind Nunley, and Madix Bailey is only one more point back. Kali Kinsman is the fifth driver with a shot, at only 17 points behind Gutierrez. The Junior 1 Kart race is the second of the day on Saturday, scheduled for 1:05. These kids will be holding nothing back.
As important as championships are, when everything is settled, it's time to have a little fun. That's what the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup is all about, along with some big prize money on the line. The 2013 version will feature some changes, though. First is the return of Limited Buggy, which will have its own race at the Challenge Cup. Once a regular part of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, the Limited Buggy class has not been a part of the show this season. That changes for Sunday.
The other change is that Pro Lite and Pro Buggy will have their own separate races instead of a combined race like Pro 4 and Pro 2. While the Pro Buggy vs. Pro Lite contest has been popular and hard-fought, each class will now have their own shot at the big prize money.
The third change is live television. The race will be carried live on MAVTV at 5 p.m. Eastern/2 p.m. Pacific. This will be the first time a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event has been broadcast live.
There is plenty of intrigue to be had, especially in the Pro 4 vs. Pro 2 race. For one thing, three different drivers – MacCachren, Renezeder and Kyle LeDuc – have both trucks to choose from, and may not make that decision until Sunday morning after the championship races. Renezeder, who will be running a special pink paint scheme at Lake Elsinore in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is the only driver to have won the Challenge Cup twice. Kyle LeDuc has also won it.
There will be several drivers who are not usually part of the show. RJ Anderson will be driving Scott Douglas's Pro 4, sponsored by LoanMart. Young hotshoe Bradley Morris will also be in the big show, racing a Pro 4 out of Curt LeDuc's stable.
Morris, in fact, will be racing four classes that day – his usual Pro Lite and Pro Buggy contests, plus Limited Buggy, where he finished second in the championship in 2012, and the Pro 4 in the Challenge Cup. It would be impressive if he could do all that and pull off a win, let alone two or more.
Gates at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park open to the public at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. And, of course, if you can't be there live, the Challenge Cup races will be live on MAVTV.