Round 5 of Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Honors Memory of Jeff Kargola
Round 5 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series presented by Geico and co-sponsored by E3 Spark Plugs got underway Saturday at the Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. Fans were loving the sunny springtime weather and the excitement got kicked up a notch with the presence of off-road legend and NASCAR star Robby Gordon competing in the weekend’s Pro 2 Unlimited field.
Before the engines revved, racers, staff and fans paid tribute to the late Jeff “Ox” Kargola, who passed away April 29 after sustaining a head injury on the second day of the Desert Assassins’ Rip to the Tip motocross event in Baja, CA. Kargola was among the rising stars of the series and is deeply missed.
In Saturday’s Pro 4, Rick Huseman was a marked man, having won the first four races. Sure enough, he bolted out front, followed closely by Adrian Cenni and all three LeDucs – Kyle, Todd and Curt. But, that didn’t last. Cenni ended up in the hot pits on lap six with an unknown issue. Todd LeDuc suffered a shredded left rear tire compliments of a determined Carl Renezeder.
When the green flag dropped after a competition yellow, Renezeder charged past Huseman. The on-track upset didn’t set well with Huseman, who over-jumped the tabletop into turn two of lap 14, planting his front bumper and nearly sidelining himself. The result was a broken shock that kept him from catching up with Renezeder, who gradually increased his lead all the way to the checkered flag. Huseman managed second place followed by Kent Brascho, Josh Merrell and Todd LeDuc.
The Pro 2 Unlimited provided some serious fireworks – literally. The race began with Renezeder and Robby Gordon starting side by side. Renezeder quickly took the lead with Gordon charging hard behind in the first lap, but pulled off the track and out of the race before completing the second lap. The race continued with two red flags for fires onboard Robby Woods’ and John Gaston’s machines. Robbie Pierce’s rollover in turn three brought full course caution. Flat tires for Brian Deegan and Rob Naughton, plus a scary-looking crash that involved Rodrigo Ampudia over-jumping into turn five and landing on Naughton’s side added to the suspense. When the dust and smoke cleared, it was Renezeder who held on for a clean sweep of the two big truck classes. Rob McCachren took second followed by Deegan, Ampudia and Naughton.
E3 Spark Plugs racing fans, be sure to check our next blog for Pro 4 and Pro 2 highlights from Round 6 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.