Corona, CA (April 11, 2018) – With Round 1 now just days away, let's take a quick look at some of the new drivers joining the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, for the 2018 season. Most classes will see at least one new, well-known name joining the fray this season, and there are also several series regulars who are either moving to a new class or adding a second class to their schedule. Finally, there are also some exciting new sponsors making their brands known to our fan base by supporting the efforts of our drivers this season.
As talked about in more detail earlier this year, short course off-road legend Scott Douglas will be joining the series in his signature AMSOIL Pro 4 this year. However, Douglas won't be the only new face in the class in 2018: former Pro Buggy driver Randy Minnier has made a serious step up for 2018, purchasing Kyle LeDuc's 2017 Pro 4 Championship-winning "Evvo" truck, which Minnier will campaign with major backing from industrial tool giant Milwaukee. Meanwhile, in the other full-size truck class, Pro 2, regular Pro Lite frontrunner Brandon Arthur will expand his program to include both Pro Lite and Pro 2 for 2018, again with the backing of Toyo Tires and MAVTV. Joining Arthur on the Toyo squad this year will be 2-time reigning Pro Lite champ Jerett Brooks, who will, by contrast, shift the focus of his program to just his Pro 2 for this season.
In Pro Lite, Ryan Beat will make the move back to General Tire this year, while three other young notables will be making their National Series debuts out in Chandler this weekend. Bridget Burgess will join her mom Sarah to make a two truck, mother-daughter team under the Gear Alloy Wheels banner in 2018, Mason Cullen will be there in his F&L Racing Fuels truck, and Jimmy Weitzel (who's already raced the National Series in Modified Kart) will bring the ex-Twitch truck out under its new Kanati Tires livery. Pro Buggy Unlimited will also see two new (yet familiar) faces: Trey Gibbs and Chris Nunes, both of Modified Kart success. Gibbs will get help first and foremost from K&B Engineering, while Nunes will see Kicker Audio as his top sponsor.
The all-new Turbo Production UTV class will, as predicted, see 12 entries at this, the first race for the class in the National Series, and several familiar names will be taking to the track to see how they shake out in the first go around. UTV queen Corry Weller will have Can-Am backing in this class, while Polaris veteran Ronnie Anderson will again go for the same brand here. Regular Production 1000 UTV frontrunner Paul O'Brien will add this class to his schedule for this year, though what UTV brand he's chosen is yet to be specified. Also in the mix will be Pro Buggy superstar Eliott Watson, driving a Can-Am (Watson will also continue in Pro Buggy), and popular Regional Series driver Katie Vernola, who will be at the wheel of a Polaris.
Finally, the kart ranks will see a few surprises in 2018. Bergen McGrath, younger daughter of reigning Pro 2 champion Jeremy McGrath, will join the National Series in Junior 1 Kart this year, sharing Traxxas backing with both her dad and her sister Rhowan (Junior 2 Kart), both series regulars. Further up the kart development ladder, Modified Kart frontrunner Mia Chapman has managed to score backing from Red Bull this year, while both Braden and Bronsen Chiaramonte, cousins to short course prodigy Sheldon Creed, will move up to Modified Kart from the Junior kart ranks, as will Bryanna Fischer, who was herself a regular contender in Junior 2 Kart last year.
Be sure to keep an eye out for all of these new drivers and team looks this year, as well as some possible others, when the series rolls into Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park this weekend. Round 1 will be this Saturday, and you certainly won't want to miss it!
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