Six First-Time Titleholders Crowned at Wild Horse Pass
CHANDLER, Ariz. (November 5, 2019) – A highly competitive season of high-flying, door-banging action came to a dramatic conclusion at Chandler, Arizona’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, as the 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Presented by GEICO crowned champions across all nine classes. The GEICO Off Road Championship Presented by General Tire saw nearly every title fight come down to the final checkered flag of the season, from which six first-time Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series champions emerged.
To cap it all off, the annual Lucas Oil Challenge Cup provided the ultimate showcase of short course off road racing under the lights. A pair of combined class races – Pro 2 versus Pro 4 and Production 1000 UTV versus Turbo UTV – along with a primetime Pro Lite showcase pitted the best of the best across the series’ top divisions against one another in a battle of bragging rights and a big payout. It served as a fitting end to one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory.
The battle for the Pro 2 title came down to the two most consistent competitors of the 2019 season, Rodrigo Ampudia and Jerett Brooks. A mid-season switch to the Pro 2M engine proved to be the difference maker for Ampudia, as he emerged as the hottest driver in the division over the second half of the championship. That surge of momentum provided Ampudia with a slim four-point advantage over Brooks in the standings as they took to the track at Wild Horse Pass one last time, each chasing his first Pro 2 title.
Andrew Carlson grabbed the early lead off the standing start for the Pro 2M field, while Ampudia was forced to deal with some early heat from Keegan Kincaid. After going door-to-door through the first couple corners, Kincaid assumed control of second. Behind this group, Brooks charged off the line to lead the open engine field’s pursuit of the lead group. The field stormed through the opening laps until an early caution flew.
On the restart Ampudia got by Kincaid for second. While Carlson, Ampudia, and Kincaid settled into the top three spots in the running order, Brooks was on a mission. Needing a win, Brooks’ charge to the front brought him past Kincaid for third and alongside Ampudia for second. The championship rivals made contact, with Ampudia getting the worse end of it, dropping from second to fourth. Brooks continued his forward push and easily got by Carlson for the lead, just before the competition caution at halfway.
Once out front, Brooks never looked back. He carried on to a dominant victory to capture his fourth win of the season, followed by RJ Anderson, who grabbed a season-best finish in second. Carlson rounded out the podium in third, just ahead of Ampudia, who pushed valiantly all the way to the finish.
When the dust settled, the victory paid off for Brooks. He was able to surpass Ampudia and finish just three points ahead in the final standings. After a solid rookie season in Pro 2 one year ago, the former two-time Pro Lite Champion was the breakout driver of 2019. He earned more victories and podium finishes than anyone else, and that consistency was rewarded with his first Pro 2 title.
Pro 2 Results
Final Pro 2 Standings
With one of the healthiest point leads of any class in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, multi-time Pro 4 Champion Kyle LeDuc was in a prime position to earn a record sixth title for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, in the four-wheel-drive division. He carried a 27 point lead over defending champion RJ Anderson into Wild Horse Pass, and simply needed to start the race in order to clinch the title.
Things didn’t start off as smoothly as LeDuc would have hoped, qualifying fourth behind his primary rivals, Doug Mittag and Anderson. When the race got underway, Mittag got a great jump to open up an early lead over Anderson and Greg Adler, while LeDuc dropped back to fifth behind Adrian Cenni. LeDuc continued to bide his time behind the lead group, while Anderson mounted a challenge on Mittag for the top spot. The lead duo continued to duke it out up front, which allowed them to put some distance over the rest of the field. Despite heavy pressure throughout, Mittag fended off Anderson through to the competition caution, while LeDuc passed Cenni for fourth.
On the restart the race changed in an instant when Mittag over-rotated in a turn. He came to an abrupt halt, which caused both Anderson and Adler to slide into him. That opened the door for LeDuc to inherit the lead, with Cenni following through into second. All three trucks were able to continue, with Anderson taking off first for third, but it was LeDuc who benefitted the most.
A late caution bunched the field up one last time, but the clear track for LeDuc provided the advantage he needed to dominate the second half of the race. He was never challenged, and while Anderson was able to fight his way back up to second, the 2018 champion was no match for LeDuc.
The numbers aligned for LeDuc on this day, as he took his sixth win of the season to cap off a sixth championship with the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. The second-generation racer has enjoyed arguably the most dominant stretch of any driver in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, with championships in five of the past six seasons, and six of the past eight years. He wrapped up the 2019 title with a 29 point margin over Anderson.
Pro 4 Results
Final Pro 4 Standings
While he endured a serious challenge late in the season from the duo of Brock Heger and Mickey Thomas, reigning Pro Lite Champion Ryan Beat still came into Chandler with a chance to successfully defend his title. Consistency had been Beat’s biggest asset coming into the final round, and it provided an eight point lead at Wild Horse Pass, even though Beat had earned less wins than both of his primary challengers.
Thomas started on the pole alongside Christopher Polvoorde, while Beat lined up right behind Polvoorde in fourth, with Heger behind Beat in sixth. When the green flag waved to start the final race of the season, Thomas roared out to the early lead ahead of Polvoorde, but Polvoorde’s day came to an end almost immediately when he drifted into the outside wall and flipped, collecting other trucks in the process.
Thomas easily retained his position up front on the restart, but the battle behind him was fierce with four different drivers fighting for second, including both Beat and Heger. Cole Mamer held the position briefly, but spun to open the door for Beat, Heger and Ronnie Anderson to continue their fight. While Thomas continued to enjoy the clear track out front, Anderson and Heger assumed second and third, with Beat right behind in fourth.
As they neared the halfway point, Thomas came under fire from Anderson, but a mistake allowed Heger to move up into second. Just a short time later, Thomas made a similar mistake and handed the lead over to Heger. Thomas fought back to reclaim the top spot by the competition caution.
On the restart, the lead duo continued their battle, with Heger showing extra aggression to fight his way back up front. The lead trio of Heger, Thomas, and Anderson slowly inched away from Beat, who came under fire from Mamer. The caution flew once again with a handful of laps to go.
The leaders ran side-by-side on the restart, with Thomas on Heger’s outside. The two trucks made slight contact, which was enough to send Heger sideways and allowed Beat to move up to second, but he soon dropped to third.
Our front, Thomas ran unchallenged en route to his class-leading fourth win of the season. Anderson barely held off a hard-charging Mamer for second, while Beat finished just off the podium.
Despite missing out on a top-three finish, Beat’s result was enough to clinch his second consecutive Pro Lite crown. He follows Jerett Brooks (2016-2017) as the second straight driver to capture back-to-back titles in the division, finishing the year with a seven-point edge over Thomas in the final standings.
Pro Lite Results
Final Pro Lite Standings
A tight championship battle in Pro Buggy epitomized the parity of short course off road, and it’s why Chris Nunes and Eliott Watson entered the finale knotted up atop the point standings. The battle to capture a first career title for either one of these drivers was going to come down to who finished ahead of the other, which meant the tension was palpable when they took to the track.
Nunes out qualified his rival, but the pair lined up alongside one another on the second row of the starting grid, behind polesitter Trevor Briska and Matthew Brister. When the green flag waved, the field quickly slotted into place, with Briska in the lead, followed by Brister in second, Nunes in third, and Watson in fourth.
Out front, Briska and Brister ran away from the field through to the competition caution, while Nunes followed in third. The intensity picked up dramatically on the restart, as Briska and Brister maintained their hold on the top two spots, while Watson started to look for a way around Nunes. While they were patient in racing one another, it was only a matter of time before the fireworks started as the laps wound down. Watson brought the heat to Nunes,,with many instances of incidental contact, but with three laps to go heavy contact between the championship rivals pushed Watson into the wall and onto his roof. Fortunately, he was able to get back on four wheels and continue on at the rear of the field.
The next restart saw the top three maintain their spots, with Briska continuing to hold strong up front. It appeared as though the race might finish in that order, but the field was bunched up once more with a late caution, setting up a one-lap shootout. While Briska, Brister, and Nunes ran 1-2-3, Watson had fought his way back up to fifth. The championship wasn’t over yet.
On the final restart, Watson made a great move to take over fourth, which put him on the rear fender of Nunes. Watson got alongside Nunes and dove to the inside as they entered one of the final corners. Their wheels touched, which sent Watson on top of Nunes’ buggy. Eventually Watson returned to the ground and continued on, only to watch Nunes spin in the final turn. That opened the door for Watson to take third and storm to the checkered flag for the championship.
After a thrilling finale, the championship standings saw Watson finish with a 10 point advantage over Brister, while Nunes dropped from first to third. After three straight seasons of runner-up finishes in Pro Buggy, Watson can finally call himself a champion.
Pro Buggy Results
Final Pro Buggy Standings
After a dominant start to her title defense, Corry Weller returned to her home track in need of another solid performance in hopes of capturing back-to-back Turbo UTV crowns. Just 11 points separated Weller from Ronnie Anderson as they took to Wild Horse Pass for the final race, where Anderson had the momentum of three consecutive podium finishes and a win at the previous round.
Anderson grabbed pole position for the finale, where he lined up alongside Eliott Watson. Weller lined up right behind Anderson in third. When the green flag waved to kick off the race, Anderson charged into the lead, with Watson slotting into second and Weller into third, then the caution flew.
When racing resumed, Anderson was able to take advantage of a strong restart to inch away from his rivals, which led Weller to apply pressure on Watson for second. With the championship on the line, Weller showed patience and didn’t force the issue. Despite being slightly quicker than Watson, she bided her time and waited for her opportunity. Soon enough, Watson made a slight miscue that forced him to run high, which opened up the bottom lane for Weller to drive under and make the pass. When the competition caution flew at halfway, the primarily championship contenders were running 1-2.
While a win wasn’t a necessity for Weller, it was for Anderson, so the series champion was content to allow him to continue leading and avoid any conflict. They easily pulled away from Trevor Leighton in third, which allowed Weller to back off even more and let Anderson carry on to a wire-to-wire victory.
For the second year in a row, the Weller celebrated the thrill of a championship in front of the hometown crowd, and remains the only driver to hoist the number one plate in the Turbo UTV division. Weller and Anderson finished the year separated by just six points in the final standings.
Turbo UTV Results
Final Turbo UTV Standings
Production 1000 UTV
Reigning two-time Production 1000 UTV Champion Brock Heger was in search of maintaining his own undefeated streak in the division, where he’s been the class of the field since its introduction in 2017. In 2019, he’s been equally as good with a class-leading five wins entering the final round at Wild Horse Pass. However, Heger has received a consistent challenge from Robert Stout, as last season’s Rookie of the Year made the transition into championship contender with a pair of victories and six podium finishes. As a result, Stout entered Chandler with a seven-point lead over Heger.
Myles Cheek put his UTV on the pole to start the race, while Stout and Heger put themselves right at the front of the field in second and third, respectively. Heger needed a win if he hoped to clinch a third straight title, and he was aggressive from the drop of the green. Heger pushed Cheek into the lead and was able to get alongside Stout entering the first turn, but Stout withstood the pressure and grabbed control of second. Heger didn’t let up and made the pass for the position, and then gave chase to Cheek for the lead through to the competition caution at halfway.
When the second half of the race got underway, Heger stepped up his game and pulled out all the stops to try and find a way by Cheek, while also consistently fending off pressure from Stout in third. Heger’s persistence finally paid off with three laps to go when he was able to give Cheek a little nudge, get alongside, and take the position in the next corner. Stout looked to follow through into second, but Cheek shut the door. At that point, Stout wisely avoided putting his title hopes in jeopardy by forcing the issue.
Heger did what he had to do and stormed to his sixth win of the season, with Cheek and Stout not far behind at the finish. Stout’s continued consistency proved to be the difference maker in the final standings as the multi-talented driver ended Heger’s reign in the division by a mere five points, capturing his first Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series title in just his second season of off road competition.
Production 1000 UTV Results
Final Production 1000 UTV Standings
Chandler native Mason Prater was within reach of his first championship in the Mod Kart finale. The up-and-coming racer finished runner-up in the title fight a year ago, and continued his progression to become the driver to beat throughout this season. Prater carried a healthy 20 point lead into the last race.
Prater began his championship quest on the pole alongside Bronsen Chiaramonte. When the green flag waved, Chiaramonte moved into the lead over Prater, with Brody Eggleston in third. They ran solidly in the top three until the caution flew early.
Prater looked to make a move for the lead on the restart, but it backfired as Eggleston was able to get under him for second. A slight bobble from Chiaramonte opened the door for Eggleston to take control of the race, and also allowed Prater to apply pressure for second.
As the laps wound down, Eggleston enjoyed a comfortable lead over Chiaramonte, who nearly flipped when he put his kart up on two wheels, which allowed Prater to move into second. In his attempt to get the position back, Chiaramonte slid out as he tried to make a move on Prater, which dropped him multiple positions and allowed Luke Knupp to move into third.
Out front, Eggleston, the defending class champion, cruised to his class-leading third win of the season. Prater finished solidly in second, which easily wrapped up the championship, while Knupp rounded out the podium in third.
Prater capped off his title triumph with a fifth podium result in seven races, during which he never finished outside the top four. He ended the year with a 26 point lead in the final standings.
Mod Kart Results
Final Mod Kart Standings
Junior 2 Kart
The top four drivers sat within 13 points of one another when the Junior 2 Kart field rolled onto the track for the last time. Fresh off a dominant weekend at the previous event, cousins Cade Martin and Talan Martin entered the final round tied atop the standings, while Jessie Owens sat just four points out of the lead, with Broedy Graham 13 points back. It was anyone’s guess as to who would emerge with their first championship.
Chaden Minder led the field to the green flag as the polesitter of the final race, while Talan Martin started in second. Cade Martin rolled off the grid in fifth, with Graham alongside in sixth. Owens started in eighth.
When the green flag waved, the championship drama unfolded almost immediately. Misfortune struck both Cade Martin and Jessie Owens on the first lap and took both drivers out of the race, thus ending their title hopes. In addition to that, Talan Martin encountered trouble with Rhyan Denney while they pressured Minder for the lead, dropping Martin from second to 10th on the second lap. With hard luck striking each of the top three drivers in the championship standings, the opportunity was there for Graham to take advantage.
As everything unfolded through the opening two laps of the race, Graham was able to climb his way from sixth to second in the running order. All he needed to do was avoid trouble through the remainder of the race.
Minder was dominant and went on to claim a wire-to-wire win, while Graham kept it clean all the way to the checkered flag with a runner-up effort. Braydon Beatty completed the podium in third.
Graham’s podium finish, combined with the misfortune of his three championship rivals, resulted in his first career title. He overcame the 13 point deficit he faced coming into the race and jumped from fourth to first to end the year with a four-point margin over Cade Martin in the final standings.
Junior 2 Kart Results
Final Junior 2 Kart Standings
After an incredible run over the second half of the season in which he earned a four-race winning streak and had yet to finish off the podium, George Llamosas entered the final round of the season at Wild Horse Pass with a shot at the inaugural RZR 170 crown. He held a seven-point lead over TJ Siewers, who also earned a podium finish at every round.
Llamosas was able to capture the pole, where he lined up alongside Ryder VanBeekum on the front row. Siewers started things off on the second row, in fourth. When the green flag waved, Llamosas didn’t get the jump he needed, and a battle for the lead unfolded between he, VanBeekum and Ryder Chapman. VanBeekum ended up on the wrong end of the battle and saw his race come to an end, while Chapman seized control of the top spot over Llamosas, with Siewers moving up into third.
With the championship in reach, Llamosas was content to let Chapman lead. Siewers gave chase from third and did all he could to challenge Llamosas, but Siewers’ inability to surpass his championship rival hindered his hopes to gaining ground in the standings.
Chapman executed an impressive drive to capture his second win of the season, followed by Llamosas in second and Siewers in third. The lead trio never changed positions once they settled into their spots on the track, and when the checkered flag flew less than a second separated the podium finishers.
Llamosas’ runner-up finish allowed him to become the first RZR 170 Champion, ending the season with a seven point edge over Siewers in the final standings.
Saturday RZR 170 Results
Final RZR 170 Standings
Challenge Cup: Pro 2 vs. Pro 4
The Lucas Oil Challenge Cup provided the lone opportunity to see the Pro 2 and Pro 4 trucks duke it out in a head-to-head battle. Adding another layer of intrigue to this year’s Challenge Cup race was the addition of the Pro 2M engine, which resulted in three distinct groups of trucks on the track.
Rodrigo Ampudia led the way early for the Pro 2M trucks, while Jerett Brooks paced the open engine trucks. When the Pro 4 field stormed off the line, it was Adrian Cenni who led the way early. Out front, Keegan Kincaid was able to take advantage of a miscue by Ampudia and move into the lead. The Pro 2M trucks were already under fire from their open engine rivals, led by Rob MacCachren and Brooks.Even further back, RJ Anderson moved himself to the head of the Pro 4 pack, who were already closing in on the tail end of the Pro 2 field.
Kincaid had built a healthy lead when the caution flew just a handful of laps into the race. The field was blended with all three groups of trucks at this point, and when racing resumed, Kincaid and Andrew Carlson were the only Pro 2M trucks still ahead of Brooks in the running order. As Carlson and Kincaid battled for the lead, Kincaid saw his race all but come to an end with a flat rear tire. That allowed Brooks to move into second. Not long after, a big crash with Ronnie Anderson brought the caution out again, with the top Pro 4 trucks now closing in on top five.
When racing resumed, the prowess of the Pro 4 trucks emerged. As the track grew rougher, the four-wheel-drive power of the Pro 4’s churned through the corners with ease compared to their two-wheel-drive counterparts. While Carlson continued to lead and Brooks gave chase from second, the Pro 4 trucks of Cenni and LeDuc had broken into the top five.
Before he could catch Carlson, Brooks came under fire from the Pro 4 trucks of Cenni, LeDuc, and RJ Anderson, who all passed Brooks. Only Carlson remained amongst the Pro 2 fleet, and with four laps to go Cenni and LeDuc made the move to steal the lead from Carlson, with Anderson taking over third. The final laps turned into a showdown between Cenni, LeDuc, and Anderson, until Cenni suffered a flat rear tire. LeDuc gained the upper hand and maintained it to take the Challenge Cup win over Anderson, while Adler completed a podium sweep for Pro 4 trucks in third.
Challenge Cup Results
Challenge Cup: Pro Lite
The Pro Lite Challenge Cup featured Brock Heger as the defending race winner, but it was Mickey Thomas and Ronnie Anderson who led the field to green. Thomas seized the early lead, while newly crowned champion Ryan Beat moved into second, with Cole Mamer in third. A determined Mamer charged past Beat for second, and then set his sights on Thomas for the lead.
Mamer was all over Thomas throughout the middle portion of the race, but Thomas was able to fend off any pass attempts and held on to the lead through to the competition caution. On the restart, Mamer made a stellar inside slide job to get alongside Thomas, and the followed it up with an equally impressive slide on the outside of the next corner to capture the lead. Behind them, Heger made the pass on Beat for third.
With the clear track, Mamer proceeded to build a significant lead over the rest of the field. As Mamer continued to pull away, Thomas came under fire from Heger for second and nearly tipped over by carrying too much speed into a turn. That made for easy work for Heger to take over second, while Thomas recovered to maintain a hold of third.
Mamer was dominant over the second half of the race and carried on to the biggest win of his career by multiple seconds over Heger, with Thomas rounding out the podium in third.
Challenge Cup Results
Challenge Cup: Production 1000 UTV vs. Turbo UTV
This season marked the first time fans had the chance to see the Production 1000 UTVs and Turbo UTVs go head to head in the Challenge Cup, where a stacked lineup of competitors were all eager to make a bit of history as the first winner of this combined class race.
Nathan Barry and Doug Mittag started on the front row of the Production 1000 UTV field, where Barry moved into the top spot ahead of a hard-charging Brock Heger. When the Turbo UTV field stormed off the line a short time later, Robert VanBeekum and Tyler Pfeifer led the pursuit.
An early caution bunched up the field and forced a restart after just a few laps, and when the action resumed, Heger immediately applied pressure on Barry for the lead and successfully made the pass stick. Heger then put some distance between the battle for second between Barry and Robert Stout. Just before halfway, VanBeekum had moved his Turbo UTV into the top five, and it wasn’t long before he was challenging Stout for third. The power difference between the two classes was on full display as VanBeekum drove around the outside of Stout and then powered his way by Barry for second, leaving a handful of laps to work with to catch and pass Heger for the lead.
With VanBeekum all over his rear fender, Heger pushed as hard as he could to keep the Turbo UTV at bay, but he carried too much speed into a corner and put his UTV up on two wheels. Heger managed to keep going, but it opened the door for VanBeekum to assume the lead with ease.
A late caution provided one last opportunity for the Production 1000 UTV drivers to potentially make things interesting for VanBeekum during a one-lap shootout, but it didn’t come to fruition. VanBeekum nailed the restart and charged to a historic win over Heger, while Barry just edged out Stout for third.
Challenge Cup Results
Following Saturday’s action, the newly crowned champions of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, along with the people who made the 2019 season so memorable, were recognized for their efforts and contributions at the annual Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Banquet.
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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 LucasOilRacing.TV. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course! For more information, please visit http://www.LucasOilOffRoad.com/, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter in our Newsletter Signup section of the home page.