One team chasing three titles as the series returns to Glen Helen

One team chasing three titles as the series returns to Glen Helen

Corona, California (September 12, 2017) – The little engine that could could be about to roll over some bigger rivals and the engineer is trying to control his excitement.

Three championship points races remain in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series presented by GEICO and McGrath Motorsports drivers Jeremy McGrath and Brock Heger have a chance to win three class championships.

"That would be pretty darn amazing for our little team," McGrath said. "It means we've been doing a good job and we're being efficient. It's exciting for me as a team owner. To even be able to say something like that is pretty unbelievable. It would be kind of the icing on the cake if we did that."

McGrath said "if" because his attention is focused on the Rockstar Energy Drink Golden State Nationals presented by Lucas Oil this Friday (September 15) and Saturday (September 16) nights at Glen Helen Raceway in Devore, California, just north of San Bernardino.

Both nights of racing will be shown live on LucasOilRacing.TV, the nation's only streaming subscription network devoted entirely to motorsports.

McGrath will go into the only night races on the series schedule with a 26-point lead over three-time champion Brian Deegan while teammate Brock Heger has a commanding 53-point lead in the new Production 1000 UTV class and is just 3 points behind reigning champion Jerett Brooks in their two-man battle for the Pro Lite title.

There are a maximum of 52 points available in each race – 50 for a win and 1 each for being the fast qualifier and having the fast lap of the race. Second place is worth 48 points, third 46 and so on through the field.

McGrath has 3 wins and hasn't finished out of the top 5 in 10 starts in Pro 2. He said "if we can get through this weekend with some podiums and maybe even another win, maybe we can go into Arizona (for the final round October 21) looking pretty good."

That means first thwarting the Glen Helen gremlins.

"I really like Glen Helen, I just haven't had the best of luck there," the 45-year-old Encinitas, California, resident said. "Last year (for round 9 at Glen Helen) I qualified fastest (in a tie with Carl Renezeder) and was on the pole and started having mechanical problems on the parade lap.

"We've had some gremlins at Glen Helen and never really had an opportunity to shine there. This week would be a good time to change that all around."

If the gremlins are kicked to the curb McGrath can lean on the consistency that he, crew chief Tanner Stephens and the crew of his Maxxis/Icon/Safecraft/Rigid truck have found after struggling for it in recent seasons.

"I think the big thing is we've tried not to over-think it," said McGrath, who got into short course off-road racing after winding up his legendary motocross Hall of Fame career. "We were really close on the set-up last year and we got caught a couple of times trying to reach for more. This year we've tried to simplify everything, don't over-think things, just give me a truck that will finish races and let me worry about the rest, and so far the strategy seems to be working.

"It's the same truck. We're just making sure all the bolts are tight and everything is right and we stress the level of importance in finishing races. I can beat Rob (MacCachren, the reigning champion) once in a while. A lot of guys can. But he wins (championships) because he finishes every race and every race he's up front. This year we've been fairly consistent.

"I haven't been to any driving schools or anything. When you get to drive the same thing all the time you can really adapt to it well. The truck is in a really good place right now. It's really fast and I love the combination. I can go out with a lot of confidence and know it can finish strong and fast."

If McGrath can do his job and stay ahead of Deegan, RJ Anderson (35 points behind), Brooks (-48) and MacCachren (-56), he isn't worried about the team's other driver.

"Brock is amazing, he's the future of off road," McGrath said of the 18-year-old from El Centro, California. "He's a great driver."

Heger has 4 wins among 8 podium finishes but trails Brooks by 3 points in the Pro Lite standings because of a 14th-place finish (worth 24 points) in round 5 in Utah. Brooks also has been consistent, with 3 wins among 8 podiums, and his poorest finish has been a 10th (worth 32 points) in round 8 in Missouri.

Third-place Brandon Arthur trails the leader by 56 points so whoever wins the Brooks-Heger battle will be the champion. A similar situation exists in Pro Buggy, where reigning champion Darren Hardesty Jr. leads Heger's best friend, Eliott Watson, by 5 points, although third-place Sterling Cling is close enough (19 behind) to change that should either of the top two have problems.

In Pro 4, Kyle LeDuc is in front in his quest for a fourth straight championship and fifth overall. He's 9 points ahead of MacCachren, who wants his first Pro 4 title to go with the four he's won in Pro 2, and 19 ahead of Renezeder, who would like to bring the curtain down on his incredible career with a fourth championship.

Spectator gates will open at 1 p.m. PDT both Friday and Saturday. Track activity will begin with practice and qualifying sessions at 1:30, kart and UTV races at 5 p.m. and the four Pro class main events beginning at 7 p.m.

Glen Helen Raceway is accessible by taking the Devore exit from Interstate 215 North and following the signs.

Television Schedule

All times are Eastern. Subject to change.
Sunday, January 21
2:00 PM
- Chandler, AZ
Sunday, January 28
2:00 PM
- Chandler, AZ
Sunday, February 4
2:00 PM
- Chandler, AZ
Click here for full TV schedule.

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