SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (March 20, 2019) – After months of anticipation, the 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, is officially underway following a stellar night of action under the bright lights of Glen Helen Raceway. The grandstands were buzzing thanks to a big, enthusiastic crowd at Southern California’s premier off-road venue, including a slew of special guests like seven-time AMA Supercross Champion and 2017 Pro 2 Champion Jeremy McGrath as well as four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon. This legendary duo was joined by thousands of fellow short course fans for a memorable night of racing that was ripe with passing and drama.
A record number of entries filled the nine classes of competition for the General Tire SoCal Shootout, presented by K&N Filters, where an incredible 147 drivers pushed the limits on the one-mile layout in an all out battle for victory. The opportunity to make the first statement of the season resulted in some unpredictable and captivating racing out on the track, setting the tone for what promises to be the most tightly contested championship to date.
One of the biggest announcements leading into the 2019 season was the introduction of the Pro 2 M engine, which establishes the long-term goal of providing a more competitive and sustainable model for the future of the class.
The new Pro 2M engine was equipped in a pair of trucks, Daely Pentico and Cory Winner, in the 14-driver field, which meant a new staggered start procedure would be in effect. For the first time, a standing start was utilized in Pro 2, where the performance difference between the two engines could be tactfully recognized. Pentico and Winner started just before the flag stand, while the remaining 12 trucks lined up a little less than halfway around the track. Any restarts during the race would also be staggered, with one line formed for each engine type.
Winner made quick work of Pentico to take the early lead off the start, and thanks to the gap over the rest of the field he was able to maintain the position for the majority of the 17-lap race. Behind him, RJ Anderson, defending class champion Rob MacCachren, and Jerett Brooks all took their shot at pacing the second group. Eventually Brooks was able to assert himself in third, and he continued to charge his way around Pentico for second just before a caution right around halfway. On the restart, Winner was given the cushion ahead of the rest of the field, where Brooks continued to lead the charge with MacCachren, Brian Deegan, and Anderson in tow for a four-truck freight train that charged toward Winner.
The caution flew one last time with five laps to go, and on the restart the battle between MacCachren, Deegan and Anderson intensified. Deegan got around the MacCachren, but the crafty veteran fought back, only to have his tire pop off the rim. At this point, Brooks had closed to within a few truck lengths of Winner, while Deegan and Anderson, whose truck was spewing smoke and had a small fire burning, went door-to-door for third.
Winner led the field to the white flag, but Brooks was all over him. As Winner fended off Brooks’ pressure his truck lost power, which allowed Deegan and Anderson to drive by for the final two spots on the podium. Brooks cruised to take the checkered flag, capping off an impressive drive. Deegan held on for second, with Anderson third.
Pro 2 Results
The energy of the crowd was at a full tilt for the Pro 4 race, where many expected a showdown between defending champion RJ Anderson, runner-up Doug Mittag, Kyle LeDuc, and Adrian Cenni, who effectively dominated the division last season. Not only did the race live up to expectation, it was highlighted by one of the best drives we’ve ever seen from LeDuc.
Mittag seized the moment on the start to take the early lead, leaving LeDuc to fend off his rival Anderson. LeDuc was able to keep Anderson at bay and closed back in on Mittag, but as LeDuc attempted to make a pass on the inside of Mittag he spun and dropped to the tail end of the seven-truck field. Mittag then received consistent pressure from Anderson, but he maintained a lead of a couple truck lengths as Cenni gave chase to the leaders from third.
Throughout this opening stretch, LeDuc remained mired back in seventh, but his first window of opportunity came when the caution flew for Greg Adler on Lap 6. On the restart, Mittag was able to withstand some early heat from Anderson to open up his biggest lead of the race, while LeDuc looked to make up ground with the field bunched together. He improved another spot until another brief caution brought the field together again. When racing resumed, Andrew Carlson and LeDuc both moved around Cenni into third and fourth, respectively. Not long after, LeDuc spun for the second time and dropped a position. Luck was on his side, however, as the caution flew again with five laps to go.
On the restart, Mittag continued to run a perfect race out front and once again established a comfortable gap over the field. Meanwhile, Anderson continued to lose ground and even put the truck up on two wheels, which dropped him from second to sixth, moving Carlson up into second and a hard-charging LeDuc into third. With two laps to go, Adler brought out the caution one more time.
Tensions were high as the field came to take the green, and fireworks were all but guaranteed with just two laps remaining. Mittag, who had been flawless all race long, made a costly error as he went to close out the victory and ended up in the wall. That allowed Carlson to grab the lead briefly, but LeDuc amped up the aggression to seize the opportunity. They made heavy contact, but LeDuc had the preferred line and stole the top spot coming to the white flag with Cenni on his rear fender. Mittag’s truck never moved off the wall, and it forced the yellow flag to fly for one final time, setting up a one-lap shootout for the win.
LeDuc nailed the final restart and set sail on the field to take a truly hard-fought win. Cenni’s truck lost power coming to the line, which allowed Anderson to follow in second, while Adler, despite two tip overs, finished third.
Pro 4 Results
Following a stellar season in which he broke through for the first title of his career, Ryan Beat entered the opening round at Glen Helen looking to make a statement in Pro Lite. That’s exactly what the SoCal native did. Beat surged to the lead off the start, while Christopher Polvoorde and Brock Heger went at it for second, with Heger getting the edge. Behind them, Ronnie Anderson gave chase in fourth, which established a four-truck runaway through the first half of the 14-lap race.
Beat withstood some consistent pressure from Heger up until the halfway caution, and when the racing resumed he nailed the restart to keep the No. 1 out front. Heger was forced to deal with some heavy pressure from Polvoorde, who retook second and brought Anderson along with him into third. Heger continued to lose more ground, while Hailie Deegan was on a tear through the field after starting 13th, eventually storming into fourth.
Beat was on rails and never had to endure a serious threat, taking a wire-to-wire victory to start his title defense off in the best way possible. Polvoorde enjoyed a solid outing in second, while Anderson rounded out the podium.
Pro Lite Results
After a promising 2018 rookie season in which he landed on the podium a couple times, Chris Nunes put the entire Pro Buggy field on alert with his dominant performance at Glen Helen. The up-and-coming driver was the fastest qualifier and parlayed that speed into a wire-to-wire performance that brought him the first pro win of his career.
Nunes and Matthew Brister were the drivers to beat throughout the 14-lap race, where Nunes’ impeccable consistency made it hard for anyone to mount a serious challenge for the lead. Nunes had his buggy dialed in to near perfection and it gave him a small, yet insurmountable cushion over the field. Brister meanwhile was forced to deal with a flying Eliott Watson, who started all the way back in 10th but managed to fight his way to the front. Last year’s championship runner-up moved into second with three laps to go, while Brister continued to lose ground and dropped another spot on the ensuing lap to Trey Gibbs.
Nunes stormed to his first career win ahead of Watson, while Gibbs rounded out the top three.
Pro Buggy Results
Reigning champ Corry Weller wanted nothing more than to kick off her Turbo UTV title defense with a strong effort in the opening round. Arguably the most experienced UTV racer in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Weller utilized her patience and experience to mount a methodical run to the front of the field.
The early lead changed hands several times early on between Ronnie Anderson, Chance Haugen, and Keith Brooks, where Brooks became the driver to beat throughout the middle portion of the race. Behind them, Weller took advantage of her opportunities as they presented themselves, where here tactful aggression carried her up into second place on Lap 8 of the 13-lap race.
Weller applied heavy pressure on Brooks for the lead, and on Lap 10 something appeared to force Brooks off the pace, effectively handing over the lead to Weller. Once out front, she laid down some of her fastest laps of the race and took home a relatively drama-free victory. Haugen followed in second, with Anderson soldiering home to third.
Turbo UTV Results
Production 1000 UTV
Like his turbo counterpart, defending Production 1000 UTV Champion Brock Heger came to Glen Helen with one goal, to win. While things got off to a bit of a slow start for the champ, qualifying sixth, he turned things around and showed why he’s the titleholder in the 12-lap race.
Nathan Barry led the field to green and held on to the early lead, but Heger was a man on a mission and successfully got around three cars on the opening lap to move into second. One lap later, he put his No. 1 at the front of the field and proceeded to check out on the field.
Heger led the rest of the way without any serious threat to his lead, while Barry was impressive in second, doing all he could to keep Heger honest. The battle for third went back-and-forth in the late stages between Brandon Arthur and Dustin Nelson. Heger took one of the most convincing wins of the night ahead of Barry, while Arthur prevailed in the battle for third to take the final spot on the podium.
Production 1000 UTV Results
The youth divisions of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series are always home to some of the best racing on the circuit, and they didn’t let the fans down at Glen Helen. The Mod Kart division was a showdown between reigning champ Brody Eggleston, Mason Prater, and Bronson Chiaramonte throughout last season, and that rivalry resumed at the opening round.
Chiaramonte and Prater were the fastest drivers in qualifying and they maintained that speed when it came to the 10-lap race. Chiaramonte led early, but Prater took control on the second lap and assertively held the top spot. Eggelston was forced to dig deep after starting sixth, but like the champion he is, it didn’t take long for him to make his presence felt, finding his way up to third at the halfway point.
The lead trio put on a show in the closing laps, where Eggleston took advantage of an opening that carried past both Prater and Chiaramonte with two laps to go. Once out front, Eggleston was able to keep his rivals at bay to take an impressive win and start his title defense off victorious. Chiaramonte followed in a close second, while his brother, Braden, completed the podium in third.
Mod Kart Results
Junior 2 Kart
Last season, Broedy Graham showed he had the potential to be a factor in the Junior 2 division. At the opening round of the 2019 season at Glen Helen, that potential was realized. Graham rolled off the line to start the 10-lap race in seventh, but he was the most consistent and patient driver in the field. As a result, he was able to make big moves in the opening laps, eventually taking over the lead of the race on Lap 3 and never looking back.
In a class where the cars are so closely matched on performance, things can change quickly in Junior 2 and that’s exactly what happened on the second lap when polesitter Rhyan Denney went from first to fifth. That opened the door for Graham to make his move, closely followed by Braydon Beatty and Cade Martin. Graham was able to get clear of the fray, while Beatty and Martin went at it for second.
Graham stayed clean and consistent to take his first win, followed closely by Beatty in second and Martin a distant third.
Junior 2 Kart Results
The newest division of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series provides a perfect entry-level platform for young drivers to develop their short course skillset. One driver who might be destined for future success in the sport is Ryder Vanbeekum. The youngster was the class of the field all day at Glen Helen, posting the fastest lap of qualifying and going wire to wire in the 8-lap race. Behind him, the battle for the remaining spots on the podium featured a three-driver battle between Travis Sallee, George Llamosas, and TJ Siewers. Sallee held second place early, but he slowly started to lose ground to the lead, which allowed Llamosas to make the pass for second. Siewers followed along into third a short time later and then set his sights on Llamosas for second.
Vanbeekum was on cruise control throughout the race and took a relatively stress-free win, while Siewers made an impressive pass on the final lap to steal second from Llamosas, who finished third.
RZR 170 Results
The 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series will continue with its second round of the season from Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona. The Super Clean Duel in the Desert, presented by Rockstar Energy, will commence under the lights on Saturday, April 13.