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Sparks Nevada Round 5 Race Recap

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
The grandstands at Wild West Motorsports Park were packed for both nights of the Silver State Showdown.

SPARKS, Nevada (August 6, 2019) – It had been more than two months since the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, was last seen in action, and the extended downtime lit a fire under every competitor across the championship’s nine classes. The culmination of this eagerness resulted in some of the best battles of the 2019 season at the OPTIMA Batteries Silver State Showdown, presented by GEICO, and with back-to-back nights of racing on the fastest track in the series at Wild West Motorsports Park, it also led to significant momentum shifts in each respective title fight.

Friday Pro 2

Pro 2 was already one of the most competitive classes in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series heading into Nevada, and on Friday night it took another step in that direction with a historic moment for the sport. Veteran Rodrigo Ampudia made the switch to the Pro 2M engine at the previous round of the championship, and immediately reaped the benefits of it by nearly capturing victory at his home race in Ensenada, Mexico. With more time to dial in the nuances of his new engine, Ampudia entered Friday night’s race with a chance to not only make history as the first driver to win with the Pro 2M engine, but also inch even closer to the class point lead.

Ampudia was one of three Pro 2M trucks in the field, and he easily took control of the lead off the standing start ahead of Adam Daffner and Jeff Shelton. Once the rest of the field took off, Brian Deegan and Rob MacCachren both put themselves in front of championship leader Jerett Brooks. A caution halted the field briefly, but Ampudia resumed his role up front on the restart. Behind him, Brooks lost valuable ground and soon found himself battling for eighth. Ampudia continued to build on his lead through to the halfway caution.

When the second half of the race got underway, Ampudia stormed out to a big lead, while Deegan began to close in on Daffner and Shelton to challenge for the podium. Once Deegan and the rest of the field got to Daffner and Shelton they made quick work of their Pro 2M counterparts, with Deegan moving into second and MacCachren third. Deegan’s pace allowed him to chip away at the gap to Ampudia, but a bobble slowed his momentum and allowed MacCachren to make a run for second. They briefly battled side-by-side until the class champion took over the position. Deegan started to lose even more ground and lost his hold of third to Bradley Morris.

Ampudia drove a perfect race out front and was never challenged. He easily ended an extended win drought that dates back all the way to 2010, and made history as the first driver to grab victory equipped with the Pro 2M engine. MacCachren followed in second, while Morris completed the podium. The victory also moved Ampudia to the top of the point standings entering the second night of action.

Friday Pro 2 Results

  1. #36 Rodrigo Ampudia
  2. #21 Rob MacCachren
  3. #24 Bradley Morris
  4. #38 Brian Deegan
  5. #77 Jerett Brooks
An ecstatic Ampudia saw his extended win drought come to a long-awaited end on Friday night. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday Pro 4

Three different drivers had grabbed a Pro 4 win entering Sparks, and it was anyone’s guess as to who might step up on Friday night. While the veteran experience of defending champion RJ Anderson and Kyle LeDuc made them formidable foes, up-and-comer Doug Mittag was making things interesting by earning a win of his own. The first race of the weekend presented an opportunity for LeDuc and Anderson to wrestle momentum back from Mittag, and LeDuc seized the opportunity in a big way.

LeDuc stormed into the lead off the start, which forced Anderson to slot into second and give chase. Mittag assumed third, but his truck came to a brief stop at the top of one of the track’s uphill climbs, which allowed Adrian Cenni and Greg Adler to get by and take over third and fourth. Out front, LeDuc was starting to pull away from Anderson and check out on the field.

As he continued to chase LeDuc from second, Anderson started to lose ground to Cenni and soon a battle was brewing for second as they reached the caution at the midway point of the race. With the deficit to LeDuc erased, Anderson went on the attack on the restart. However, LeDuc nailed his lines, hit his marks, and started to inch away. The champ didn’t relent, and he kept LeDuc honest, which allowed both drivers to open a gap on Cenni.

Unfortunately for Anderson, his hopes of fighting LeDuc to the finish came to an abrupt end when his truck lost power and came to a stop on the track, which brought out the caution. When the race returned to green one last time LeDuc had his hands full with Cenni, who was pushing his truck to the limit in hopes of getting around LeDuc. Cenni kept within a couple truck lengths of LeDuc all the way to the finish, but the point leader carried on to take his third win of the season. Adler completed the podium in third.

Friday Pro 4 Results

  1. #99 Kyle LeDuc
  2. #11 Adrian Cenni
  3. #10 Greg Adler
  4. #81 Doug Mittag
  5. #37 RJ Anderson
LeDuc (#99) outlasted a slew of challenges to take Friday’s Pro 4 win. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday Pro Lite

After an exceptionally competitive start to the 2019 season, the Pro Lite class was destined for another showcase on Friday night in Sparks. Four different drivers had claimed victory through the first four races, and the chance to be the first driver to become a repeat winner has the potential to pay big dividends in the championship battle. The first night at Wild West Motorsports Park lived up to expectations, and Mickey Thomas earned that distinction of being the first multi-race winner of the season.

Thomas and defending champion Ryan Beat went door-to-door off the start and through the first quarter lap until Thomas cleared Beat to assume the lead. From there, Thomas proceeded to surge out to a lead of several truck lengths, while Beat battled with Christopher Polvoorde for third.

A crash brought out the caution and bunched the field back together. On the restart, things behind Thomas started to mix up as Polvoorde dove to the inside of Beat, while Brock Heger attacked on the outside. Heger emerged from the fray in second, with Polvoorde third, while Beat lost several positions. Thomas reasserted his hold on the top spot, and soon he, Heger and Polvoorde started to break away leading up to the caution at the halfway point.

Heger made things interesting when they returned to green and went on the attack. He was able to get alongside Thomas, but Thomas withstood the threat. As the laps counted down, the top three became separated from one another, which each solidly holding on to their positions. With just a few laps to go, another crash brought out the caution one last time and set the stage for a thrilling fight to the finish.

Polvoorde dropped to the rear of the field on the restart, which moved Beat back up to third. When the green flag flew, Heger once again went on the attack to try and pass Thomas and they stayed about a truck length apart over the closing laps. Heger threw everything he had at Thomas, and it almost cost him the entire race when he overcooked a corner and climbed a wall, but saved it from tipping over. That miscue allowed Beat to take over second.

Thomas stormed to the win, while Heger made an impressive pass on Beat on the last lap to claim second, with the champ third. The win allowed Thomas to surpass Beat in the standings and take control of the point lead.

Friday Pro Lite Results

  1. #44 Mickey Thomas
  2. #12 Brock Heger
  3. #1 Ryan Beat
  4. #52 Ronnie Anderson
  5. #21 Keaton Swane
Thomas (#44) had his truck dialed in throughout Friday’s Pro Lite race. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday Pro Buggy

Parity has defined the Pro Buggy up to this point in 2019, with four different winners through four rounds. Much like the equally competitive Pro Lite class, opportunity awaits the first driver that’s able to win for a second time, and it was almost fitting that the most consistent rider in the division is the one who did just that. Thanks to podium finishes in all four rounds, Eliott Watson entered Nevada with the points lead, and he parlayed a start at the front of the field into his second win of the season, adding to his advantage in the standings.

Watson led the field into the first turn off the start, while the rest of the field pushed wide. That allowed the point leader to slip away while the rest of his competitors jockeyed for position. Chris Nunes and Bud Ward battled for second, and event touched wheels on the opening lap. Eventually, Nunes took hold of the spot and left Ward to deal with Matthew Brister. Watson continued to build on his lead, while Ward fought back on Nunes to reclaim second. When the caution flew at the midway point of the race, Watson and Ward had strong holds on first and second, while Nunes was doing all he could to hang on to third.

When racing resumed, Watson picked up where he left off. Unfortunately for Ward, he was caught off guard as Nunes slid under to make the pass for second. In pushing Ward wide, it also allowed Trevor Briska to jump into third. Briska then got around Nunes for second. Things got worse for Ward when he spun while trying to fight his way back onto the podium. He was unable to get his buggy going again, which brought out the caution.

On the restart, Nunes looked to defend third from Brister while also pursuing Briska for second. He showed a wheel to Briska, which led to contact and spun Nunes out of third. That moved Brister up to the final spot on the podium.

Watson enjoyed a drama-free race to become the first repeat winner of the season, with Briska second and Brister third.

Friday Pro Buggy Results

  1. #3 Eliott Watson
  2. #59 Trevor Briska
  3. #5 Matthew Brister
  4. #15 Trey Gibbs
  5. #2 Chris Nunes
Watson (#3) was in a class of his own in Friday en route to the Pro Buggy victory. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday Turbo UTV

Defending Turbo UTV champion Corry Weller had set the standard in the division entering the race weekend at Wild West Motorsports Park, and she was in search of more success on Friday night. Weller had her unbeaten record in 2019 come to an end at the previous round in Ensenada, Mexico, and she was in search of redemption on night one, earning it with relative ease.

Weller started up front and quickly asserted her control of the lead as the field exited the first turn. Ronnie Anderson slotted into second, while Eliott Watson started third. A slight bobble from Anderson opened the door for Watson to challenge for the position, and he successfully made the pass to take control of second. This also allowed Keith Brooks to get under Anderson for third. Brooks wasn’t done there. He kept the forward charge going with a pass on Watson for second, which allowed him to try and set his sights on Weller up front.

As they neared the halfway point, Weller enjoyed a commanding lead over the field, but that advantage was erased when the caution came out to mark the midway point of the race. When they returned to racing, Weller continued on out front ahead of Beau Judge, who was impressive in his 2019 debut. A crash bunched the field up again, and while Weller had no problem holding off the field on the restart, Judge lost a pair of positions to Brooks and Dan Kelly. For Kelly, his time in a podium spot was short lived as his UTV lost power and came to a stop on the track, handing third back to Judge.

Just a few laps remained when the green flag waved for the last time, and while Brooks attempted to apply pressure on Weller, the champ was able to pull away and cruise to her fourth win of the season. Brooks finished second, while Judge was third.

Friday Turbo UTV Results

  1. #1 Corry Weller
  2. #742 Keith Brooks
  3. #756 Beau Judge
  4. #714 Andy Ives
  5. #718 Chance Haugen
Weller’s impressive Turbo UTV title defense continued with her fourth win on Friday. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday Production 1000 UTV

Entering Sparks, defending Production 1000 UTV champion Brock Heger had been the class of the field, taking three wins in the first four races. He was in search of more dominance on Friday night at Wild West Motorsports Park and was at the head of the class until an issue with his left front wheel took him out of contention and handed the win over to Mickey Thomas, who was serving as a substitute driver for Robert Stout.

Heger and Thomas led the field to the green flag to start the action on night one, and it was Heger who pushed his way into the early lead over Thomas and Myles Cheek. Cheek was aggressive on the opening lap, and it allowed him to get by Thomas for second. The lead trio were all over each other in the early going, even going three wide at one point. No matter how hard he tried, Heger was never able to shake either of his rivals, and faced consistent, heavy pressure throughout the first half of the race. Thomas made several challenges for the lead, but Heger successfully fended off every one leading up to a caution for a stopped vehicle.

When racing resumed, Heger and Thomas asserted themselves up front, but Cheek saw his hopes of victory take a major blow. Heavy contact resulted in another UTV sitting on top of Cheek’s rear wheel, flattening his tire. The incident resulted in added attrition and forced a second caution. When racing resumed, Heger continued to lead Thomas, while Cole Keatts moved into third. Unfortunately for Heger, his race came to an end when his left front wheel appeared to break. Unable to control his UTV, Heger gave up the lead and dropped off the pace. Thomas assumed control of the race, with Keatts second and Doug Mittag third. Mittag went on the offensive and made an aggressive pass on Keatts to take over second. A short time later, Keatts battled back and reclaimed the position from Mittag.

As Thomas checked out and Keatts asserted his control of second, the attention shifted to the battle for third. Mittag dropped off the pace a bit, which allowed Ian Murray and Cheek to make the pass. They continued to fight for the final spot on the podium, with Cheek eventually getting the upper hand.

Thomas stormed to his second win of the season, followed by Keatts and Cheek, who salvaged a podium finish following his early race issues. Stout’s win, combined with Heger’s misfortune, moved Stout atop the championship standings.

Friday Production 1000 UTV Results

  1. #915 Mickey Thomas
  2. #953 Cole Keatts
  3. #957 Myles Cheek
  4. #977 Ian Murray
  5. #916 Robby Hornsby
Thomas doubled up on Friday victories, taking the Production 1000 win subbing for Robert Stout. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday Mod Kart

The Mod Kart division returned from a long hiatus in action in Sparks, racing for just the third time in 2019 on Friday night. Mason Prater sat in control of the junior class entering Wild West Motorsports Park and he picked up right where he left off with a second straight win.

Prater led the field to the green flag, with John Holtger following in second ahead of Braden Chiaramonte. Racing came to a halt when Bronsen Chiaramonte flipped and brought out the caution. When the action resumed, the top three maintained their hold up front until Braden was spun out by another driver, initiating a pileup of four karts, which brought out another caution and handed third place to Ethan Ebert.

The top three remained unchanged until another crash forced a caution right at the halfway point. Prater built an insurmountable lead over the rest of the field and cruised to victory, followed by Holtger in second and Ebert in third.

Friday Mod Kart Results

  1. #505 Mason Prater
  2. #544 John Holtger
  3. #577 Ethan Ebert
  4. #554 Luke Knupp
  5. #590 Trey Eggleston
Prater kept the momentum rolling with a dominant Mod Kart win on Friday. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday Junior 2 Kart

Like their kart counterparts, the Junior 2 division also hadn’t been seen in action for quite some time. Two different drivers had claimed victory in the first two rounds, leaving a prime opportunity for one young driver to make a statement on Friday night in Nevada. Braydon Beatty was one of a handful of drivers in the thick of the early season title fight, and he was able to seize the momentum with his first win of the year.

Point leader Cade Martin led the field to green alongside Broedy Graham, followed closely by Beatty and Jessie Owens. Martin was able to grab the early lead, but Beatty slipped by Graham to take second. A multi-kart incident early on brought out the caution, and on the ensuing restart things took an unfortunate turn for Martin. The race leader carried too much speed into a corner and put his kart up on two wheels, ultimately careening into a barrier and ending up on his side. This brought out the race’s second caution and moved Beatty into the lead, with Graham second and Rhyan Denney in third.

On the restart, Beatty had no issues in holding onto the lead, even though Graham kept him honest by keeping within a few kart lengths. At the halfway point of the race, Graham appeared to experience issues with his kart and pulled off the track. That handed second over to a hard-charging Owens, while Denney continued to sit third as they reached the midway caution.

When they returned to green, Beatty picked up where he left off and controlled the lead. Owens kept on his rear fender, but was unable to attempt a pass. Behind them, a spirited battle for third unfolded between Denney, Talan Martin and Chaden Zane Minder. The three karts bumped and rubbed one another, with Minder emerging with the position. The caution came out one last time and bunched the field up for one final run to the finish.

Beatty once again controlled the restart, while Owens tucked into second. Martin made an impressive pass on Minder to take over third. They crossed the line in that order, with the victory moving Beatty into a tie with Graham, who finished sixth, atop the points.

Friday Junior 2 Kart Results

  1. #405 Braydon Beatty
  2. #497 Jessie Owens
  3. #411 Talan Martin
  4. #415 Chaden Zane Minder
  5. #499 Lake Adler
Beatty (front) kept his rivals at bay to take the Junior 2 Kart win on Friday. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Friday RZR 170

As the entry-level division of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, it was no surprise to see an impressive depth of talent in RZR 170 through its first two rounds. The debut season for the class was bound to be unpredictable, and TJ Siewers carried a slim point lead into the opening night in Sparks. While Siewers was in the mix on Friday, it was George Llamosas who grabbed the momentum with his first win of the season.

Siewers and Llamosas ran side-by-side leading the field to green, with Siewers grabbing the upper hand. Llamosas slipped back to third, while Ryder Chapman jumped up to second. Chapman continued his forward march into the lead, but it was short lived as Llamosas parlayed an outside line into a surge from third to first around both Siewers and Chapman. Llamosas was able to put a firm grasp on the lead, while Chapman held on solidly to second. Siewers came under fire from Travis Sallee and lost his hold of third just before they received the caution at the halfway point.

On the restart, Llamosas sped away with the lead while Sallee pounced on Chapman and made the pass for second. Sallee was able to reel in Llamosas and challenge him for the lead, but couldn’t mount a serious bid for the lead. As he gave chase from third, Chapman made a miscue and ended up stuck in the mud, which handed third to Carson Greco. Llamosas took the victory with Sallee right behind, while Greco followed in third. The win moved Llamosas to the top of the RZR 170 standings.

Friday RZR 170 Results

  1. #188 George Llamosas
  2. #171 Travis Sallee
  3. #155 Carson Greco
  4. #101 TJ Siewers
  5. #125 Jennifer Owens
An impressive drive from Llamosas (#188, right) saw him emerge with Friday’s RZR 170 victory. Photo: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

The 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series will return to action with a doubleheader weekend from Southern California’s Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino. The Rockstar Energy Golden State Off Road Nationals, presented by General Tire, will be a two-day affair on Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6. Both days of the showcase in SoCal will be streamed LIVE on Lucas Oil Racing TV.

Post-race technical inspection of the Turbo UTV results from Sparks are ongoing and, as a result, are currently considered “Unofficial” until this inspection process is completed. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Officials will update the drivers of that class with a notification of the official points.

For information about the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series please visit LucasOilOffRoad.com and be sure to follow all of the LOORRS social media channels for exclusive content and additional information on the latest news: