Crowds packed the stands with standing room only for Round 12 of the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series. Saturday night racing always seems to pack the house and the full grand stands had plenty of racing action to watch unfold in front of them. New faces emerged as veterans are having to be on the top of their game and with the season coming close to the end every finishing position counts as championships are on the line.
After a notable finish last night, Doug Fortin came out pinned in his #96 Pro 4. It was all Fortin from the get go and no driver would contest Fortin on his way to his first Pro 4 win. The sixth lap brought a competition yellow that bunched the trucks back together for the only contention with Fortin the entire race. #99 Kyle Leduc set himself up perfectly coming out of turn two to make the inside pass heading in to the back straight away. Fortin pinned it from the outside and took back his first place spot just before the final turn and would add to his lead lap by lap till he reached the checkered flag.
Meanwhile, Carl Renezeder was lurking in the back and took over the second place when both Leduc and #48 Ricky Johnson dropped to the back. Leduc retired two laps later and the new top four were Fortin, Renezeder, MacCachren and Todd Leduc. The only story in this race was the battle for third, as Ricky Johnson moved up to challenge Leduc and MacCachren. On the second to last lap, Johnson caught Leduc and stole the third spot on the podium.
Pro 4 Top Three
1. Doug Fortin
2. Rob MacCachren
3. Ricky Johnson
Myles Cheek, Kyle Hart, Rob Naughton and Sheldon Creed led early in the fourteen lap, nineteen Pro-Lite brawl. An early yellow flag allowed Casey Currie to sneak past Naughton upon the restart and the top five began to separate themselves from the rest of the field.
Currie put the hammer down and made quick work of Hart. The hunt for Cheek was on and #38 Brian Deegan joined the party by lap six. It was a twenty plus car length lead between the three before a disappointing yellow flag came out to bunch everyone back together.
As the Tonka pace truck paraded the field, now sixteen strong, around the course, tension was rising. The in and out swerving of Deegan let both Currie and Cheek know he was there to defend his top place on the podium from last night. When the green flag dropped to resume the race, the field went barreling towards turn one. Currie came out the new race leader with Cheek and Deegan heavy on his bumper.
Deegan muscled his way past Cheek in turn two on the third to last lap and took the inside line of the final turn to challenge Currie for the lead. Currie went wide and blew out his right rear tire in the process and went first to last in a matter of seconds.
With the battles up front shaping the top spot on the podium, Justin “Bean” Smith and Jimmy Fishback quietly made their way to the front and eventually finished the race in second and third place.
Pro-Light Top Three
1. Brian Deegan
2. Justin “Bean Smith”
3. Jimmy Fishback
In the last race of the night Bryce Menzies was out to redeem himself for some recent bad luck. Last night he finished on the podium but for tonight his goal was set much higher. Off the start Patrick Clark and Menzies would keep their front row positions with Clark getting the edge for the holeshot. Clark would lead the race but only for a few laps when in turn one it looked as though Clarks truck stalled out, putting him in the last spot. That hiccup gave Menzies the lead, and when Bryce has a trouble free race it usually turns into a race for second.
Deegan and Rob MacCachren raced each other clean for most of the second half of the race giving the fans some excitement. The mutual respect the Rockstar teammates have for each other showed on the track as while there was some contact between the two, they both kept it clean and never put the other in any danger of being taken out.
Pro 2 Top Three
1. Bryce Menzies
2. Rob MacCachren
3. Brian Deegan
Next for the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series are Rounds 13 & 14 out at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and RDC will be there once again giving you live updates during the race and full photo galleries of all the action.
Words by Killian Hamlin
Photos by Jason Zindroski of HighRev Photography