Yesterday we brought you a slice of what it’s like to be at one of the most exciting motorsports events happening in this country, and showed you some of the mind-blowing action that occurs on the track of a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) event. We also took you behind the grandstands to check out all the fun, food, and frolic that is available while at a LOORRS race. Saturday night we went back for Round 2 at the same location.
So how was the racing both nights? You can read all the details on Friday night’s Round 1 at the bottom if you missed it, after we update you on Saturday’s action, but in a nutshell, the stars of Rounds 1 and 2 were the rookies and new trucks. There were quite a few at the Elsinore LOORRS season opener. Among them were Taylor Atchison who moved into Pro Lite, Tanner Foust was back in a truck he bought from Rob MacCachren, occasional LOORRS visitor Adrian “Wildman” Cenni joined in on the fun, and Eric Barron and Kyle LeDuc debuted new trucks. However, it was Brad DeBerti, who came out of the regional LOORRS events to drive a Pro 2 truck he bought from Brian Deegan, that blew them all away.
That’s how the LOORRS events are arranged, the weekend’s first round of racing is held on Friday night, then they do it all over again on Saturday night. Although the main events don’t start until the early evening, spectators can enter the gates in the morning and spend the entire day wandering around the pits, scouting out their favorite racers, and watching cars being worked on. Best of all, spectators are just yards away from the race trucks, crews, and drivers as they work to get ready for that round’s practice, qualifying, and main event.
FUN OFF THE TRACK
That’s not all that goes on at a LOORRS event, though. As a spectator you can get a great seat to see world-class off-road racing, meet your favorite drivers, and get so close to the pits that you can almost reach out and touch the trucks. However, there are also all sorts of bonuses to attending a LOORRS race.
Tonka, a major sponsor of a couple of LOORRS teams, brings out a huge display of its customized show trucks for the adults. The toy truck brand also sets up a playground for the kids so they can play with dozens of the newest Tonka toy trucks.
In addition to the vendor row where you can learn about and buy all sorts of off-road equipment and accessories for your truck or SUV, there are numerous T-shirt and other apparel booths. There is also a hardy selection of food, as well as beverages (including those of the adult variety).
This year LOORRS has added a new twist to the midway, and it’s fun for adults and kids. There is a scavenger hunt going on. When you enter the gate, you’ll receive a card that gets punched at each vendor you visit that participates in the scavenger hunt. All of the participating vendors have donated product to a prize package. Completed cards are entered into a drawing, and the lucky winner gets the prize package.
ROUND 2 SATURDAY NIGHT
Saturday, March 21, began Round 2 of the 2015 LOORRS racing season. The first thing we did was talk to veteran Kyle LeDuc about his new truck. LeDuc told us that he had been working on this new ride all last year while racing a truck that was built in 2007. Although the old truck was a series-winner, and helped him become the 2014 Pro 4 champ, LeDuc knew its time was up, and he wanted to try some new things.
The new truck ran strong, and LeDuc was able to score a fifth-place finish in Friday’s Pro 4 race, but he and his crew knew they could get more out of it. Bryce Menzies, one of the hot shoes in Pro 2, nabbed a third place in his first Pro 4 race on Friday night, but also felt he could do better in Round 2.
The Pro 4 field was deep with good competitors. The likes of Eric Barron, Doug Fortin, Rob MacCachren, Carl Renezeder, and “Wildman” Adrien Cenni were all in the hunt. When the green flag dropped, it was Menzies in the lead (he started right behind pole sitter Fortin). Fortin flew too far off the jump before turn one during lap 2, and rolled into the fence. Fortin was out, and after a long caution, the race was hot again.
On the restart MacCachren hit the wall and dropped to eighth, so it was Menzies, Barron, and Cenni running in a line. Barron soon took the lead after a hard fight with Menzies, and Renezeder moved up to fourth during the fourth lap. Soon Barron spun, giving the leaders time to pass him.
LeDuc had started at the back of the pack, but steadily moved his way up through traffic, and was soon running fifth. Cenni was passed by Renezeder, and for most of the remainder of the race, it was Menzies, MacCachren, Renezeder, and Cenni, with LeDuc right behind.
LeDuc kept the heat on, picking off Cenni, Renezeder, and then MacCachren, one by one. Renezeder slipped by MacCachren on the last lap. LeDuc and Menzies traded positions twice during the last two laps, and were door to door for a long time, but LeDuc finally passed him for the win. Pro 4 was a hard fought race, but when it was all over, LeDuc, Menzies, and Renezder went to the podium, in that order.
PRO LITE ACTION
The Pro Lite race was no less dramatic with drivers Casey Currie, Jimmy Fishback, Jerrett Brooks, Brandon Arthur, and semi-rookie Brad DeBerti (Friday night’s winner) leading the pack. After two cautions and restarts, DeBerti was leading.
DeBerti kept opening up his lead, and at the half-way mark of the 14-lap race, he was ahead of the pack by eight car lengths. After another caution and restart, DeBerti jumped into the lead again, with an incredible five-car battle going on for second place that included Sheldon Creed, RJ Anderson, Brooks, Fishback, and Currie.
That fight for second place was some of the best racing of the night, but while those guys were mixing it up, DeBerti had again stretched his lead out. By the 12th lap of the 14-lap race, DeBerti had put a 15-car spread between him and any one else.
In the last lap, Brooks passed Creed, but in the next corner Creed smacked Brooks out of the way and took back second place. Taking the checkered flag were, in this order, Deberti (by, as they a say, “a mile”), Creed, then Brooks, with Fishback in fourth.
PRO 2 DELIVERS
Pro 2 is Menzies’ home ground. However, this class had a large field of very good competitors. Some of the best were gunning for a win, and among those were Renezeder, MacCachren, Patrick Clark, Jeremy McGrath, RJ Anderson, and Robby Woods.
By lap four, Menzies was holding the lead, with MacCachren, Clark, Renezeder, and McGrath all in tow. Soon the top three were gapping the field, but the 11th lap brought a caution and restart. The order didn’t change upon restart, but soon afterwards, Renezeder and Clark made contact. McGrath got ahead of them both, and RJ Anderson had worked his way up to fourth.
The 14th lap saw another caution when Barron spun out on the track. After the restart, Anderson was all over McGrath, but couldn’t dislodge him. During the last lap, McGrath really put the pressure on MacCachren, but MacCachren kept him off, and the finishing order of the final race of the night was Menzies, MacCachren, and McGrath.
For a second night in a row, DeBerti, a winning driver in the regional series, but new to the national LOORRS scene and its intense level of competition, hit the bulls-eye and won a race. Pro 2 veteran Menzies scored a third place in his Pro 4 debut the first night of the weekend of racing, a second place in Saturday’s Pro 4 bout, and first place finishes both nights in Pro 2. Kyle LeDuc, the 2014 Pro 4 champ, brought out a new truck, and scored the top of the podium in Saturday night’s Pro 4 battle.
The LOORRS opening weekend event at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park was filled with door-to-door racing that kept the audience on their feet, and many spectators left feeling almost exhausted from the adrenaline rush experienced while witnessing the furious battles on the race course.
It looks like the 2015 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series season is going to be an extremely competitive year, with new blood being injected into the driver roster, and veterans still coming on as strong as ever. Stay tuned to Off Road Xtreme for all the action.
ROUND 1 FRIDAY NIGHT
Friday night was the first round of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series (LOORRS), and it was held at one of the most exciting tracks of all those that the premier short-course off-road racing series in America travels to, Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park in Lake Elsinore, California.
The Elsinore track is filled with huge-air jumps that send the race trucks flying 30 feet high and 100 to 150 feet far, a mogul-filled rhythm section that sorts out the suspensions, and broad sweeping turns that offer room to pass as the trucks swing through them sideways under full throttle.
BEST FORM OF RACING
However, the fast and demanding course isn’t the only highlight that Round 1 had to offer spectators. For the price of admission, they found something that almost no other form of racing has to offer. At LOORRS events, a spectator has access to the race drivers and their fabulous machines that can’t be experienced in any other type of racing.
If you’ve been to a NASCAR, Indy Car event, or for that matter just about any other form of auto race, you know that the pits are off limits to the average spectator, and the drivers seem like distant objects only viewed through binoculars. Not so with LOORRS events. Every person through the gate can stand just a matter of a few feet away from any pit, watch race trucks being prep’d, tuned, cleaned up, and repaired before and after every round of racing from practice to qualifying to the main event.
LOORRS short-course off road races offer the spectator a very visceral experience during which they are a true participant in the action, not just a spectator. The drivers are right in front of you to photograph (without the need for a $1,000 telephoto lens), and oftentimes you can speak to them, and get autographs.
HOT NIGHT ACTION
Speaking of action, this opening round of the 2015 LOORRS season was as dramatic as they come, and probably the biggest stories to come out of the night were the incredible performances by the rookies this year. Bryce Menzies is no novice to off-road racing or the LOORRS events, having blown away competitors for years now in the desert and short-course. However, Menzies was a rookie in the unlimited Pro 4 (four-wheel-drive) truck class at this first round of the 2015 season.
None-the-less, he ended up on the pole for the main event due to his lightning fast qualifying round, followed by 2014 Pro Champion Kyle LeDuc, and the legendary Rob MacCachren. The action was furious, with Carl Renezeder taking the lead eventually, MacCachren and LeDuc spinning out, but regaining ground, while Doug Fortin slowly crept up on the front runners. When the checkered flag fell, it was Renezeder, Fortin, Menzies, MacCachren, and LeDuc in that order.
The ProLite race saw another rookie to the series. Although Brad Deberti has been successful in the Lucas Oil Regional series, his first shot at the big league was piloting the Pro Lite truck he bought from Brian Deegan, and he proved himself by nailing the second spot during Pro Lite qualifying. The Pro 2 main event began with Jarret Brooks on the pole, and RJ Anderson right behind DeBerti. The three battled it out, and during the fray Justin Creed and Ryan Beat quickly move up through the pack. In the end, DeBerti took the Pro Lite win, followed by Brooks, Anderson, Creed, and Beat.
Pro 2 saw Menzies on the pole, with MacCachren, Renezeder, and DeBerti right behind him. Through many yellow flag cautions due to spin outs, rolls, collisions (Eric Barron’s new truck was trashed in one), and MacCachren in the lead for a while, the Pro 2 race was a thrilling battle.
MacCachren was eventually passed by Menzies and then Renezeder after tough fights between them all. The final results were Menzies for the win, Renezeder was second, MacCachren in third, and Deberti was on it like a bloodhound for fourth in Pro 2. Jeremy McGrath did a remarkable job of keeping out of trouble while passing many in the pack and finished fifth.
GET READY FOR SATURDAY
Round 1 of the LOORRS races is now in the history books, and it really made its mark. It was a great night for the rookies, whether they were new to a class, or new to the series. Menzies’ performance in Pro 4 for the first time was a pleasure to watch, and we are confident that the skills he has mastered in the Pro 2 short-course competitions for years will serve him well as he continues to challenge the Pro 4 regulars.
The big surprise to everyone, though, was DeBerti. His aggressive, yet confidently smooth style of driving brought him a huge win right out of the gate in Pro Lite. He did give credit to Deegan for some coaching, but DeBerti was the one behind the wheel Friday night, and he drove it like a pro. Our hats are off to the newcomer, and we sure hope we see more of him during the 2015 LOORRS season.