The site of three Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series events last season, Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts the short course off roaders for the first time in 2011 this weekend for Rounds 13 and 14. With the expos and pageantry associated with the week's aftermarket-equipment SEMA Show at the convention center completed, it's time to turn to the championship battles.
Last year, the penultimate round at Las Vegas – as with most LOORRS race weekends, this event will feature two races for each class prior to the one-race season finale at Firebird before the Challenge Cup races – featured two titles clinched. One of those was for Pro 2 driver Rob MacCachren; the other was Rick Huseman's Pro 4 title.
Huseman (ABOVE) will be very much in all the racers' and fans' hearts this weekend after he was killed, along with his brother Jeff and Dan Hicks, in a plane crash on Oct. 16. Huseman would have been fighting for the Pro 4 title again, although he was chasing Carl Renezeder. It's likely Renezeder will be leaving Las Vegas with the Pro 4 title, but without cause for celebration. Kyle LeDuc still has the chance to play spoiler, though, especially if he maintains the double-victory form he showed in the last round at Surprise.
Brian Deegan could depart Sin City with the Pro 2 title, but it's going to take a win or two to accomplish that feet. If MacCachren or Renezeder have a good weekend, it will take the title down to the final race at Firebird. Deegan currently has a 47-point lead over MacCachren, with Renezeder only another two points behind.
The chance that Pro Lite will be settled between Chris Brandt and Deegan this weekend are slim and none – the points are too close and it could all come down to a little luck. In Pro Buggy the margin is greater, but the way second-place Justin Smith has been going with his late-season charge, that 30 points to Mike Porter is likely to be much smaller at the end of the day Sunday.
Speaking of Smith, “Bean” is going to make his debut in Pro Lite this weekend, with Jeff Carpenter Racing of Riverside, Calif. After some testing at Glen Helen, the team and Smith have decided to continue the experiment in real-world conditions at Las Vegas.
“I'm extremely excited to start testing and get some seat time in this Pro Lite and the team,” says Smith. “We're using these next rounds as a test to see where the truck and all of us as a team stand. We always want to win but we're mostly looking for some top 10 finishes."
• The Las Vegas Motor Speedway gates open to the public at 9 a.m. on both days, with the Junior 2 Karts starting things up. Pro 4 hits the track at 2:30 Saturday and 2:00 on Sunday. Don't forget that Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, so turn your clocks back one hour.