Carl Renezeder had quite the battle winning the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Unlimited 2 title – in addition to the Unlimited 4 championship – in 2009. He beat Jeff Ward by a measly single point. Bad news, Carl…it's not going to get any easier.
Renezeder knows that, of course. “To repeat is going to be very difficult, especially considering the level of competition. I just have to really focus on being smart out there,” he says. To drive the point home, he rattles off the list of contenders gunning for his Unlimited 2 title in 2010.
“Jeff Ward was very close. He was very consistent last year. He's smart and adaptable to the situation, so I think he's going to be a big threat,” says Renezeder. “I think some of the younger guns coming up, like Rodrigo Ampudia, Bryce Menzies, Rob Naughton just starting in Unlimited 2, are going to be tough. I'm sure Jerry Whelchel is going to be back, and Greg Adler. There's a whole arsenal of people. I also understand the LeDucs are running this year. Todd LeDuc is going to be tough to beat and also Rob MacCachren, considered by some to be one of the best, if not the best.”
MacCachren has won more than his share of off-road racing titles, from desert racing to short course. He, Renezeder and Mark Post teamed up to win the 2007 Baja 1000. But their history won't dilute the coming battle.
“We're going to try to knock Carl Renezeder out of the championship. We want the number one plate this year,” says MacCachren.
Adler finished third in the U2 points in 2009, ahead of Ampudia, Menzies, Carey Hart and Kevin Probst. With the class retaining its deep field from last year, and adding more first-stringers like MacCachren and Naughton, it's not going to get any easier.
“We've got great competition in this series,” Adler says. “We've got 15 to 20 trucks in the Unlimited 2 category every weekend. In that group, there's typically at least 10 guys who could win that day. It's just really intense and competitive racing.”
The competition in the heavily populated Unlimited Lite class shouldn't be any less. Chris Brandt – and many others – will be trying to take Brian Deegan's crown in the class for the smaller, two-wheel-drive trucks. Although Naughton, who finished second in the UL points last year, is going to be racing in U2 for 2010, there are others coming in who may prove to be as tough. And Naughton may make an appearance in UL now and then as well.
“There are so many competitors in the class…it's such a full field, that in itself does a lot. I look forward to getting back to racing,” says Brandt.
As tough as the rivalries are on track, in the paddock it's a different story. “The competition is really intense on the track, but in the pits everybody's typically pretty friendly and gets along,” says Adler. “There's good camaraderie between the teams and drivers. The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series has done a tremendous job in a short period of time in providing a really solid foundation that's organized. From the time we get there to the time we leave, the officials have done a nice job of keeping things consistent and providing a great atmosphere for the whole weekend.”For more on Lucas Oil Motorsports and its race-proven lubricants, go to LucasOil.com/motorsports.