With the points gap widening and the season running out of races, Pro 4 Unlimited driver Kyle LeDuc came into Saturday’s Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series action at Utah Motorsports Campus looking for something to jump-start his championship hopes.
He got it by somehow keeping himself out of trouble in a wild, wreck-filled race, finishing nearly five seconds ahead of Greg Adler for his second win of the season — and, most importantly, closing to within 10 points of the top spot in the standings with just three races left.
“The points are insane — I’ve been down 53 to become a champion,” LeDuc said. “It’s literally never over. Everyone, including last place, has a chance up until the last race. It’s going to be a nail-biter up until the end of the year.
“I’ve been letting myself, my team and some of my sponsors down lately,” he added. “It’s tough when you start losing races and making mistakes and having $10 parts fail — that’s a definite downer. To be back up here on top … we were hooked up and we were fast. We’ve got to be on our ‘A’ game. This Pro 4 class is gnarly and all these dudes are getting fast — when you keep selling fast trucks to fast drivers, it keeps getting better.”
The fireworks began before the race was even a lap old in front of packed grandstands at the UMC Off Road Short Course, when points leader Doug Mittag made contact with the wall and sent his truck tumbling down the backstretch, eventually coming to rest on its side. Somehow, Mittag was able to continue after course workers got him back on all four wheels, and he eventually finished fifth. The points race took another twist when RJ Anderson was forced to pull into the pits just eight laps into the 16-lap race, keeping him from taking advantage of Mittag’s mishap.
Mittag kept racing hard despite his truck shedding bodywork throughout the event, and was battling Adrian Cenni for position in the waning laps. Mittag bumped Cenni and nearly flipped him at one point, leading Cenni to retaliate. Both drivers were shown the black flag on the final lap, but Cenni still managed to finish third.
“What a wild race,” Cenni said. “Turn 5 does not seem to like me. I was slowing after the roll, and Doug Mittag came up and he hit me in the same place he hit me (Friday). He got a black flag, but before he got the black flag, I was butt-hurt so I punted him in the butt and I got a black flag.”
The Pro 4 race marked the conclusion of two nights of exciting action in LOORS’ ninth visit to Tooele County — and the first time the series had competed at night at UMC. Mittag won Friday’s Pro 4 race over by 6.255 seconds over Adler, with Anderson third and LeDuc fourth.
Pro 2 Unlimited saw some of the sport’s biggest names finish on the podium. Rob MacCachren edged Anderson by 1.094 seconds in Friday’s race, with Rodrigo Ampudia third. On Saturday, Brian Deegan beat MacCachren by 2.579 seconds and Ampudia was third.
In Pro Lite, Brandon Arthur held off Ryan Beat by 0.762 seconds to win Friday’s race, with Ronnie Anderson finishing third. Brock Heger won Saturday’s race, with Beat 2.020 seconds back and Arthur third.
Pro Buggy action saw Bud Ward win on Friday and Eliott Watson on Saturday. Darren Hardesty was second on both nights, with Trey D. Gibbs third on Friday and Broc Dickerson claiming the final podium spot on Saturday.
Myles Cheek swept the weekend in the Production 1000 UTV class, beating Heger on Friday and Nathan Barry on Saturday. Heger wound up with a pair of podium finishes, crossing the line third on Saturday, while Mickey Thomas was third on Friday night.
Paul O’Brien won Friday’s Turbo UTV race over Trevor Leighton and Corry Weller. Weller went on to win Saturday’s race, holding off O’Brien by 0.912 seconds, with Watson third and Leighton fourth in an exciting finish that saw the top four competitors cross the line less than two seconds apart.
Mason Prater held off Brody Eggleston and Mia Chapman for the win in Friday’s Mod Kart race, with the three top finishers separated by less than a second. Eggleston won Saturday’s race over Bronsen Chiaramonte and John Holtger after Prater and Chapman ran into problems and finished two laps down.
Connor Barry won the JR2 Kart race on Saturday, finishing 3.703 seconds ahead of second-place Ethan Elbert. Brodey Graham was third.
The series heads to Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California, for the Golden State Off Road Nationals the weekend of Sept. 21-22.