Drivers Test Their Limits On New Wheatland Track In Round 7

New Wheatland Track Round 7

Wheatland, Missouri (July 22, 2017) – After so much speculation about and anticipation for this all-new Lucas Oil Speedway track here in Wheatland, MO, it was time for the drivers of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, to finally take a crack at it under full race conditions. As was expected, it was a hot and muggy one here today, but a stiff breezed helped things out, and the great racing action made things even more enjoyable. With a length longer than any other track on the calendar, more corners (nine on the full-length track, eleven on the kart track), a great mix of fast and slow sections, big jumps, and even a rhythm section, this track really has it all, and provides a great new challenge to short course off-road’s top drivers. These drivers gave it their all here this afternoon, and put together some spectacular racing action for this track’s inaugural event.

Pro 4 Unlimited

Pro 4 Unlimited

In Pro 4 Unlimited, front row starters Kyle LeDuc and Rob MacCachren ran one-two after the opening lap, ahead of Doug Mittag, Eric Barron, and Carl Renezeder. Renezeder got past Barron with a little bump at turn three to move his #17 Lucas Oil/BFGoodrich Tires Ford up to fourth on lap two. After that, the top five held their positions for a few laps, with LeDuc only slightly opening up his lead. The Competition Yellow fell at the end of lap five, and on the restart lap, Renezeder got by Mittag on the inside at turn two to move up to third, with Barron then passing Mittag in the next corner to take over fourth. In turn four, Mittag then forced Barron wide and into the outside wall, which Barron hit hard. Greg Adler then hit Barron’s truck hard as well, and the combination of hits caused race-ending damage to Barron’s truck. Mittag was given a black flag for his part in the incident, and with the order shuffled behind the top three, it was now LeDuc, MacCachren, Renezeder, Mittag (yet to serve his black flag), Chad Hord, and Doug Fortin in the top five for the return to green flag racing. Fortin got by Hord into turn one on the restart lap, with RJ Anderson then passing both Hord and Fortin shortly afterwards. Later on the same lap, MacCachren briefly got by LeDuc at turn seven, before LeDuc quickly forced MacCachren wide in the next corner to try and get back by. Renezeder took advantage of the in-fighting to get by both of the men ahead of him and into the lead by turn nine, with LeDuc trying to battle back while fighting a hood that was now flapping up into his sight line. On the next lap, LeDuc drifted oddly wide out of turn four, perhaps due to impaired vision, and hit hard into an abutment on the right side. LeDuc suffered significant damage and was out, and another full course yellow fell, with Renezeder, MacCachren, Bradley Morris, Fortin, and Hord lining up in the top five for the restart. On lap eight, MacCachren ran wide in turn four and lost ground, but quickly charged back to Renezeder’s back bumper to sit nose-to-tail as the two began the final of the ten laps. However, Renezeder held off MacCachren’s charge to grab the win, with MacCachren finishing second in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools Ford, Morris third in the #24 K&N Filters/Kicker Audio Ford, Fortin fourth in the #96 General Tire/Fox Racing Shox Toyota, and Hord fifth in the #9 Lucas Oil/Maxxis Tires Ford.

Pro 2 Unlimited

Pro 2 Unlimited

In the final race of the afternoon, RJ Anderson led the field after lap one in his #37 Rockstar Energy Drink/Polaris RZR truck, ahead of Rob MacCachren, Brian Deegan, Jeremy McGrath, and Bradley Morris. Morris slowed at turn seven on lap three, before stopping just before turn eight, and that forced a full course yellow. Patrick Clark moved up to fill the freshly-vacated fifth spot in his #25 Budweiser/Roush Competition Engines Chevrolet, and moved up another spot when McGrath went into the Hot Pits under yellow for a tire change; Rodrigo Ampudia now moved up to take fifth. On the restart lap, MacCachren looked to have trouble getting his truck turned going into turn two, and drilled Anderson’s right rear, causing both to have near-spins, and also allowing Deegan to sneak by them both on the inside and into the lead. Clark and Ampudia slid into the incident as well, and while Anderson got away fairly quickly to hang onto second, Jerett Brooks and Kyle Hart now ran third and fourth, with MacCachren back in fifth. MacCachren got by Hart for fourth on lap six, before Hart then suffered a major crash over the big tabletop jump between turns three and four. This brought out another full course yellow, and thankfully, Hart was okay. On the restart lap, contact between MacCachren and Ampudia in turn four caused Ampudia to spin, forcing another full course yellow. The incident was deemed a no call, but MacCachren still ended up in the Hot Pits to get a tire changed, and Ampudia had suffered heavy superficial damage. On the restart lap, McGrath got by Ampudia at turn three to move into third, with MacCachren then passing Clark soon afterwards to take over fifth. Ampudia then biked in turn nine, which allowed MacCachren to get by for fourth, and on the next lap, Clark also got by Ampudia for fifth. No passes occurred within the top five over the final lap, and at the checkered flag, it was Deegan who got his second win of the season in the #38 Monster Energy/Mickey Thompson Ford, ahead of Anderson, McGrath in the #2 Maxxis Tires/Traxxas truck, MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools Ford, and Clark.

Pro Lite Unlimited

Pro Lite Unlimited

Next up were the Pro Lite Unlimiteds, and points leader Jerett Brooks led the way in his #77 Rigid Industries LED Lighting/Bilstein Shock Absorbers Nissan, with Brock Heger second in the #12 Icon Vehicle Dynamics/Maxxis Tires Toyota, Brandon Arthur third in the #6 MavTV/Toyo Tires Chevrolet, Ronnie Anderson fourth, and Ryan Beat fifth. Beat got by Anderson for fourth early on lap five, with the Competition Yellow then falling at the end of that same lap. On the restart lap, Beat passed Arthur for third at turn three, with Mamer then passing Arthur for fourth just afterwards. Up front, Brooks was again quickly moving clear of the pack in the lead, while further back, Beat had a stream of water flowing from his radiator overflow tank. The issue became problematic on lap nine, as Beat finally slowed and quickly dropped down the order, with Mamer, Arthur, and Anderson each moving up to fill out spots three through five. On that same penultimate lap, Heger closed back in on Arthur, and Heger made it a close race for the win over the final lap, though Brooks was still able to hang on. At the stripe, Brooks picked up the win to extend his points lead over Heger, who finished second, with Mamer rounding out the podium in third in the #35 Atturo Tires/Bilstein Shock Absorbers Nissan; fourth went to Arthur, and Anderson finished fifth in the #52 Walker Evans Racing/Polaris RZR Chevrolet.

Pro Buggy Unlimited

Pro Buggy Unlimited

The open wheel Pro Buggy Unlimiteds saw Eliott Watson grab the lead straight away and hold it in his #3 Fox Racing Shox/BFGoodrich Tires Alumi Craft, with Sterling Cling, Darren Hardesty Jr., Bud Ward, and Matthew Brister rounding out the early top five. Up front, Watson quickly began to check out from the rest of the field, while back in the pack, Hardesty Jr. got his #99 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/Off Road Warehouse Alumi Craft past Cling for second in the middle of lap three. However, Hardesty Jr. then spun at turn four two laps later and dropped to fourth, before then passing Ward back on lap six (after the Competition Yellow) to move back up to third. A full course yellow fell at the end of lap six after an issue left Brady Whitlock stopped on track (Trevor Briska had also rolled, and was just getting moving again), and on the restart lap, Hardesty Jr. passed Cling back to re-take second spot. Hardesty Jr. put serious pressure on the leader Watson over the final lap, but was unable to get by, and so it was Watson who got the win, ahead of Hardesty Jr., Cling in the #77 Cling’s Aerospace/KyleGreenFabrication.com Alumi Craft, Ward in the #17 Ramona Tire/Horsepower Ranch Funco, and Broc Dickerson in the #23 BFGoodrich Tires Alumi Craft.

Production 1000 UTV

Production 1000 UTV

A huge field of Production 1000 UTVs showed up here in Missouri, and after an error with timing during qualifying, the field was started in championship points order. Points leader Brock Heger shot into the lead in his #921 Icon Vehicle Dynamics/Airaid Yamaha, ahead of Jason Weller in the #948 DragonFire/Weller Racing Yamaha, Dustin Nelson in the #994 Yamalube/DWT Yamaha, Paul O’Brien, and Brandon Arthur. Ronnie Anderson got by Arthur at turn six on lap two to move into fifth, but then rolled in the whoops on the next lap, forcing a full course caution. After a lengthy yellow flag period, Nelson got by Weller for second at turn one on the restart lap, with Mickey Thomas also moving up and past Arthur for fifth early on the same lap. A crash at the end of the whoop section by Nathan Barry forced another full course yellow on that same lap, and on the restart lap, Thomas got by O’Brien and up to fourth. Further back, Corry Weller, who’d started clear back in sixteenth, now got by O’Brien at turn six for fifth in her #984 DragonFire/Weller Racing Yamaha, and four laps later, Thomas passed Corry’s husband Jason for third in the same corner. From there, the top five drivers held their positions (though Corry nearly caught Jason at the line), and up front, it was a comfortable win for Heger. Nelson finished second, with Thomas third in the #944 Mystik Lubricants/Trinity Racing Yamaha, Jason Weller fourth, and Corry Weller fifth.

Modified Kart

Modified Kart

In the first race of the afternoon, Luke Knupp shot up from row three to take the early lead in his #554 Ultra Xtreme Race Wheels/Factory Canopies kart, ahead of Cole Keatts, Ricky Gutierrez, Mason Prater, and Trey Gibbs. On lap two, Keatts clipped one of the tractor tires that marked the inside edge of the track, instantly breaking his steering, and forcing a full course yellow. Knupp still led, with Gutierrez now second, Chris Nunes third, Brody Eggleston fourth, and Gibbs fifth for the restart. After one botched restart, the young guns got it right on the second try, and at turn two, Nunes got run wide by those around him, sending him over the outside burm and across the grass, before he was able to re-join the track after turn three, now down in sixth. Up front, Gutierrez got by Knupp at turn five, but Knupp got back by in the subsequent rhythm section, with Eggleston then passing Gutierrez for second at turn six. Eggleston then biked at turn seven and Gutierrez t-boned him, causing both drivers to stop on track, and that forced another full course yellow. Once again, Knupp led the restart, ahead of Gibbs, Mia Chapman, Prater, and Nunes, with Gibbs getting past Knupp and into the lead as they exited turn five on the restart lap. Two laps later, Chapman ran wide at turn three and dropped back to fourth as Prater went past, and shortly afterwards, Gutierrez got by Nunes just at the end of the whoop section, before getting word that he’d been black flagged for course cutting shortly beforehand. Chapman got back by Prater by lap eight, with Nunes then passing Prater at turn 10 for fourth on the same lap. Nunes then hit Chapman hard on the inside at turn eight on the next lap, and that allowed him to get by and up to third. On the final lap, Trey Eggleston got by Prater for fifth, while up front, it was Gibbs who took the win after charging up from ninth on the starting grid in his #515 Temecula Motorsports/Adidas kart. Knupp, the youngest driver in the field, finished second, with Nunes taking third in the #502 MTRV8/Kicker truck, Chapman fourth in the #537 MTRV8/K1 Race Gear machine, and Eggleston fifth in the #590 Solaris Energy/CSD Racing Products entry.

That closes out our first day of racing here at the all-new Lucas Oil Speedway. Tomorrow, we’ll be back to do it again, with gates opening to the public at 9:00 AM. Qualifying will start at 9:30 AM, with racing then starting at 1:00 PM, and Opening Ceremonies kicking off the Pro class races at 2:30 PM. Get yourself out here to enjoy the action tomorrow, it’s sure to be another great day.

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. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course.

Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

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