Wheatland, MO (June 23, 2018) – Forrest Lucas' master vision for the Lucas Oil Speedway was realized in grand fashion here in Wheatland, MO last year, as the off-road track was added to what is already a fantastic facility here in the heart of the midwest. This year's race date was moved up several weeks in hopes of avoiding the heat that struck the event last year, and the move seems to have worked well, as conditions instead threatened rain for the weekend. However, the rain stayed away today as the drivers of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, took on Round 4 of the 2018 championship, and our world class drivers put on a first rate show for the fans, who packed the stands here in this tiny town this afternoon. Track conditions were nearly ideal, and that showed in the intensity and commitment demonstrated by our drivers, as they pushed themselves and their incredible machines to the limits in pursuit of victory on this unique and highly-varied track, a favorite for many of the competitors.
Mason Prater led the Modified Kart field after starting from pole here this afternoon, and at the end of lap one, Mia Chapman, Luke Knupp, Brody Eggleston, and Trey Eggleston filled out the rest of the early top five. Knupp dropped two spots to fifth on lap two after running too tight in a corner and losing some momentum, but was able to get back by Trey Eggleston on the next lap to take over fourth place. Ahead, Brody Eggleston moved right up to second early on lap three, and while Prater had sailed somewhat clear of the field in the opening three laps while the next four drivers battled hard with one other, Brody Eggleston then ran the leader right down on lap four. Turning a lap nearly a full second quicker than the leader, Brody moved right up to Prater's back bumper by the start of lap five, and was all over Prater in a heated race for the lead when a spinout by Carson Etter forced a pause in the action midway through the lap. Under yellow, Chapman hit the Hot Pits, which moved Trey Eggleston to fourth and John Holtger to fifth for the restart, behind Prater, Brody Eggleston, and Knupp, who occupied the first three spots at this point. On the restart, unfortunately timed contact between Trey Eggleston and Brook Jensen caused the two to be sent into a violent rollover into turn one, forcing a second full course yellow, and then a subsequent red flag of the action.
Both drivers were okay, but Jensen needed medical attention, which forced a somewhat lengthy, but necessary, halt to the proceedings; once both drivers had been cleared from the track, racing resumed. Unfortunately, the action was put right back on pause, as third-placed Knupp caught a rut in turn one on the restart, sending him into a violent rollover. Fortunately, safety crews were able to get Knupp righted, and the young hotshoe was able to continue, though he had to restart at the back of the pack. Up front, it would be Prater, Brody Eggleston, John Holtger, Bronsen Chiaramonte, and Anthony Santos in the top five for the restart, and on the restart lap, Eggleston got past Prater midway through the lap to take the lead. However, Prater got right back by in the next corner, only to then see Eggleston get by once again two turns later. At the end of the lap, officials were now saying that the field would only run two of the theoretical five laps left on the docket, as time constrictions were rapidly approaching due to the lengthy red flag period earlier in the race. The top five held station on the next lap, but on the final lap, Prater then lost some ground to the leader midway through the lap, allowing Holtger to close right in from third spot. Prater then got himself some breathing room again, and now Holtger had to deal with a charging Chiaramonte. However, no passes were made before the checkered flag, at least not within the top five, and at the stripe, it was Eggleston who picked up the win in the #514 Above All Construction/Walker Evans Racing machine. Second place was Prater in the #505 Prater Racing/FK Rod Ends kart, Holtger was third in the #544 HBI entry, fourth was Chiaramonte in the #574 RTL, Inc. Traffic Control & Equipment Rental truck, and Santos was fifth in the #565 machine.
Next up were the Turbo Production UTVs, and a stacked field of series regulars and midwest additions took to the track in this one. Tim Farr led the way after lap one, ahead of Kyle Hart in the #741 CanAm, Kyle Chaney in the #91 XPS Oils/Fox Racing Shox CanAm, Corry Weller in the #748 DragonFire Racing/Maxxis Tires CanAm, and Ronnie Anderson. Chaney got past Hart at turn nine to move up to second on lap two, and Weller soon followed suit, as she passed Hart for third on the next lap. Chaney then made easy work of Farr to take the lead at turn two on lap four, and again, Weller quickly followed suit, passing Farr for second midway through the same lap. Further adrift, Trevor Leighton now ran in fifth, but the action was really starting to heat up in the race for the lead, as Weller now closed in on Chaney. Weller managed to get alongside Chaney from turns six to seven on lap five, and even get by briefly at turn eight, only to then see Chaney pass her back in the sweeping turn nine to re-take the lead, just ahead of the Competition Yellow, which held that all important bonus point for leading at the halfway mark, a point Weller would've liked desperately to have as she tries to close the gap on championship leader Paul O'Brien. Chaney held the lead at this point, though, with Weller second, Farr third, Hart fourth, and Leighton fifth as the field waited for the restart. Once back under green flag conditions, Weller was again looking quicker than the leader Chaney, but was allowing Chaney to dictate her race, as he drove defensively and repeatedly forced her to take less than ideal lines. Lap six, the restart lap, saw O'Brien enter the top five after getting by Leighton on the inside at turn two, and on the next lap, O'Brien leapt up two more spots to third, with Hart now fourth and Farr fifth. Lap eight then saw Thomas Reihner take over fifth from Farr, and on what would've been the final lap, a full course yellow was thrown after Chance Haugen had come to a stop on the front straight. Once the field passed by safely, Haugen limped his way down to the infield to safety, before the field then roared back to life for the final lap. Weller over-rotated in turn one and dropped two spots to fourth, but got back by Hart at turn six before sealing the pass between turns seven and eight. Up front, Chaney drove a brilliant race to grab the win, ahead of O'Brien in the #711 Weller Racing/Specialty Coatings CanAm, Weller, Hart, and Reihner.
First out on track after Opening Ceremonies were the Pro 2 Unlimiteds, and at the end of lap one, defending champion Jeremy McGrath led the way in the #1 Maxxis Tires/Traxxas Ram, with RJ Anderson second in the #37 Rockstar Energy Drink/Polaris RZR truck, Jerett Brooks third, Brian Deegan fourth, and Rodrigo Ampudia fifth. Over the first three laps, McGrath and Anderson battled closely for the lead, and on lap four, Anderson nearly got past McGrath between turns six and seven, but somehow, McGrath managed to hold Anderson off and maintain the lead. Now knowing that Anderson was strong in that tighter, more technical area of the track, McGrath then drove very defensively down low into turn six on the next lap, and did the same into turn seven, the right hander. Unfortunately, Anderson drove straight into the apex from the right side of the track, which put him straight into McGrath, causing McGrath to spin and the two to wind up nose to nose briefly. Brooks, Deegan, Ampudia, and Rob MacCachren, who'd started last after a last-minute trip back to the pits for a fix before the start of the race, swept by Anderson and McGrath, with Deegan then sliding down the inside of Brooks at turn nine and into the lead, just ahead of the Competition Yellow. As the field re-stacked under yellow, Anderson was given the black flag for the incident with McGrath, and on the restart lap, Brooks dove boldly down to the inside at turn six from way back in the whoops to make a pass for the lead on Deegan. However, Brooks then started into turn one on the next lap from too wide right on the front straight, causing him to lose momentum and, gradually, give up the lead to Deegan, who got alongside through turn two and into turn three before moving ahead out of the corner. Deegan's move back to the front was short-lived, though, as a belt failure forced him to shut his motor off going into turn one on the next lap, which put him nose-first just against the outside wall, forcing a full course caution at the end of the lap. On the restart lap, new leader Brooks over-rotated in turn seven, which allowed both Ampudia and MacCachren to lurch past around the outside, with MacCachren then sweeping by Ampudia on the inside at turn nine to grab the lead. Brooks, now running third, then slowed with a right rear flat tire, allowing McGrath to get by, before McGrath himself was then passed by a resurgent Anderson in turn five. Up front, MacCachren had gone from worst to first, working his way through the entire field to take his third win in four races so far this season in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools Ford, ahead of Ampudia in the #36 Lucas Oil/Monster Energy Ford, Anderson, McGrath, and Danny Ebberts in the #41 Honeydew Racing/Ebbco Ford.
Brandon Arthur (filling in for Robert Stout today) and points leader Myles Cheek would start on the front row in Production 1000 UTV here this afternoon, but at the end of the first lap, it was defending champion Brock Heger leading the field in the #1 Maxxis Tires/Method Race Wheels Yamaha, ahead of Arthur, Ronnie Anderson, Paul O'Brien, and Jason Weller in the #948 DragonFire Racing/Lucas Oil Racing TV Yamaha. The top two quickly opened up a solid gap over the chasing pack, but a full course caution at the end of lap two (brought on thanks to a rollover by Eli Bieschke) tightened the gap right back down. Weller and Trevor Leighton had moved up to fourth and fifth for the restart, and on that restart lap, Arthur got by Heger with a nice inside run at turn three, only to then see Heger get back by on the inside at turn five. Jim Price's rollover in turn two then forced another full course yellow on that lap, and on the restart lap, Jeremy Houle passed Leighton for fifth at turn two. At the head of the field, Arthur got alongside Heger over the Lucas Oil Leap tabletop, before getting by around the outside at turn four to move into the lead. Unfortunately, Arthur then rolled in turn seven after cutting too tight down the inside, which forced another full course yellow, this time at the end of the lap. Heger, Weller, Houle, Leighton, and Mickey Thomas made up the top five for the restart, with Houle getting by Weller and right onto Heger early on the restart lap. Weller then got back by Houle out of turn three, and Houle was also passed by Thomas (who'd gotten by Leighton) before the lap's end, which put Thomas up to third in the #944 HANS ADA/Crash Addict Yamaha. Leighton also got by Houle on lap four, moving up to fourth in the #983 Kryptek/Fly Racing Polaris, but both he and Houle (not in that order) were then passed by Cheek early on the next lap. Houle briefly got by Leighton again as well, but Leighton got back past once again in the middle of the lap, this time for good, though he was then passed by Anderson, and after much shuffling in the most recent two laps, it was now Heger, Thomas, Weller, Cheek, and Anderson in the top five. Cheek then broke early on lap six, and Anderson's pace became less than consistent, which allowed Leighton to move back up to fourth, with Jacob Rosales now fifth in Thomas' sister car, the #931 HANS ADA/Crash Addict Yamaha. Up front, Heger was now all alone by a sizeable margin, nearly six seconds in fact, at the start of the ninth and final lap, and he continued to hold that gap all the way to the checkered flag for the win. Second went to Thomas, third to Weller, and with a last lap pass on Leighton, Rosales moved up to fourth, with Leighton rounding out the top five.
Next up were the open wheeled Pro Buggy Unlimiteds, and Bud Ward was sitting pretty in the lead after lap one, ahead of defending champion Darren Hardesty Jr., Michael Meister, Trey Gibbs, and Chris Nunes after the first lap. Gibbs then spun all on his own at turn two on the next lap, which moved Nunes to fourth in the #2 Kicker Performance Audio/Tekno RC Racer, and Matthew Brister to fifth in the #5 King Off-Road Racing Shocks/ProAm Funco. Brister and Trevor Briska then got up to fourth and fifth on the next lap after Nunes dropped to ninth spot, and up front, Hardesty Jr. then closed in on Ward in the race for the lead on lap four. Hardesty Jr. got very close to Ward at turn eight on the next lap, but not quite close enough to make a move yet, and so Ward still held the top spot as the Competition Yellow waved at the end of the lap. Behind Ward, Hardesty Jr., Meister, Brister, and Briska made up the rest of the top five as the field returned to green flag racing, but a grenaded engine onboard Gibbs' car caused a sizeable smoke bomb, and forced a full course yellow on the restart lap. Once Gibbs' car had been cleared, racing picked up again, with Briska passing Brister for fourth at turn three. Up front, Hardesty Jr. then charged alongside of Ward through the whoops towards turn six, and lost control a bit as the two just started left into the corner. Hardesty Jr. hit Ward and half spun the leader, with Meister then piling into Ward from behind and breaking his own left front tie rod, which would end his (Meister's) race. The race again went full course yellow, and after lengthy review, officials determined that, technically, because Ward had been the source of the full course caution (his half spin), he could not take to the restart from his original position, first place, but would instead have to start from the back of the pack. This set the top five as Hardesty Jr., Briska, Brister, Eliott Watson, and Brady Whitlock, with Briska picking up a left rear flat on the restart lap and quickly dropping down the order and out of the top five. Brister, Watson, Whitlock, and Nunes moved up to second through fifth places as a result, and on the final lap, Nunes got alongside Whitlock over the Lucas Oil Leap, before sliding by inside into turn four to move up to fourth place. Up front, Hardesty Jr. picked up the win in the #99 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/Off Road Warehouse Alumi Craft, his third straight win of this season, with Brister scoring a career best national series finish in second. Third place was Watson in the #3 Tom Watson Inc./BFGoodrich Tires Alumi Craft, fourth was Nunes, and fifth was Whitlock in the #74 Integrity Motorsports Foddrill.
The penultimate race of the afternoon was Pro Lite Unlimited, and at the end of lap one, Ryan Beat led the way in the #51 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/General Tire Chevrolet, ahead of Brock Heger in the #12 Maxxis Tires/Icon Vehicle Dynamics Ford, Brandon Arthur in the #6 MAVTV/Toyo Tires Chevrolet, Christopher Polvoorde in the #94 Steel-It/TIS Wheels Nissan, and Ronnie Anderson in the #52 Rockstar Energy Drink/South Point Chevrolet. An over-rotation by Heger in turn nine sent him into the infield on lap two, but some heads up driving kept him from hitting any tractor tires or advertising banners, and Heger was able to re-join the pack at the start of the home straight, just as Arthur swept by and up to second. Heger's error helped give Beat a good little cushion up front, though, and Beat continued to lead the way all the way to the Competition Yellow, which fell at the end of lap five. Arthur, Heger, Polvoorde, and Anderson still filled out the top five at this point, but on the restart lap, Mickey Thomas got by Anderson for fifth in turn one. Anderson got back by as the two landed off of the Lucas Oil Leap, though, and on the next lap, Arthur tried a move down the inside of Beat as he made his bid for the lead into turn six. Beat kept his head and the lead, though, but then ran a bit wide in turn three on lap seven, which allowed Arthur to get alongside the leader once again, with Heger now knocking loudly on the back door of these two as well. In fact, Heger got alongside Arthur into turn six, and the whole front pack of at least seven trucks was starting to stack up behind the leader Beat, at least a bit, in the tight section from turns six to eight, but when Heger then over-rotated off of turn eight, Polvoorde, Thomas, and Cole Mamer all got by to take over spots three through five. In the race for the lead, Arthur again closed right in on Beat into turn six on lap eight, but still couldn't get by, and further back, Mamer and Anderson got up to fourth and fifth places on this, the penultimate lap. On the final lap, Heger then got past Anderson down the inside at turn two to move back into the top five, and as Mamer then dropped back, both Heger and Anderson were able to move up one more spot apiece to fourth and fifth. Up front, though, a smooth and methodical drive by Beat put him in the winner's circle this afternoon, ahead of Arthur, Polvoorde, Heger, and Anderson.
The final race of the day would be Pro 4 Unlimited, and in this one, Kyle LeDuc was looking to get both his first official win of the season (he won down Ensenada but was then given the black flag post-race), as well as his first Lucas Oil Speedway win, and started that quest off nicely with pole position in this morning's qualifying. A four-truck inversion put LeDuc back to fourth on the starting grid, but LeDuc managed to get past Doug Mittag, RJ Anderson, and Adrian Cenni (not in that order) to take over the lead well before the end of lap one, and LeDuc continued to lead as the second lap commenced, ahead of points leader Anderson, Cenni, Mittag, and Greg Adler in the early top five. Anderson stuck like glue to LeDuc over the first three laps, but LeDuc then began to gain a slight visible advantage over the next two laps, though Anderson was still very close behind as the field hit the Competition Yellow at the end of lap five. Cenni wouldn't make it around to finish that lap, so it was now Mittag in third, Adler in fourth, and Scott Douglas in fifth as the field took to green flag racing once again, with Adler briefly getting past Mittag for third on the restart lap. Mittag got back ahead into turn four, though, and as the laps wound down, Anderson's driving got a little ragged on laps seven and eight, while LeDuc's driving continued to get more and more smooth and precise. LeDuc opened up a small but important gap back to Anderson, and held that gap all the way to the finish to take the win in the #99 Monster Energy/WD-40 Ford. Anderson took second in the #37 Rockstar Energy Drink/Polaris RZR truck, with Mittag third in the #81 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/Jhonlin Racing Team Ford, Adler fourth in the #10 4 Wheel Parts/AMP Research Ford, and Douglas fifth in the #27 AMSOIL/Rusty's Off Road Products Ford.
That concludes the events from today's races here in Wheatland, but be sure to join us again tomorrow for Round 5 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO. Gates will open to the public at 8:00 am, with qualifying starting at 8:30 am, racing beginning at 11:30 am, Opening Ceremonies at 2:00 pm, and the first Pro class of the day, Pro 2 Unlimited, starting at 2:30 pm. The racing should again be a grand spectacle here on this jewel of a track, so be sure to get your tickets and enjoy the action; you'll be sure to make some great memories here at the race track!
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a west coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Our events can be seen on CBS, CBS Sports Network, MAVTV, and Live all season long on LucasOilRacing.TV. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course! For more information, please visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter in our Newsletter Signup section of the home page.
Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series