Jason Baldwin and Kyle LeDuc crowned new champions in Pro-4 and Pro-Lite, Scott Taylor earns sixth consecutive Pro-2 title.
New Berlin, NY (September 19, 2004)-What better way to end the 2004 CORR Lucas Oil Pro Series season than by deciding all three Pro division championships in the final two rounds of competition. That was the scenario here this weekend as Pro-4, Pro-2, and Pro-Lite divisions went right down to the wire with the top teams locked in the closest points battles in CORR history.
And there was no better stage for the drama to unfold on than the legendary Unadilla Motorsports Complex in New Berlin, New York. Unadilla's 35-year history of hosting world-class motocross races was evident when even heavy rains from hurricane Ivan didn't faze the seasoned track crew. By race time on Saturday, the beautiful natural terrain track was in top form.
The Pro-Lite championship was the first to be decided. The Nissan Frontier of Art Schmitt jumped out to an early lead in Round 13, but it wasn't long before Kyle LeDuc, Rick Huseman and Chad Hord were putting pressure on Schmitt. The young LeDuc was a man on a mission and was able to lead it to the checkers, with Huseman second, Hord third, and Mark Krueger finishing in forth. Art Schmitt was out of the race at the halfway point after an unfortunate rollover.
Twenty points from the Round 13 win was enough to lockup the 2004 Pro-Lite championship for Kyle LeDuc and the Skyjacker Ford Ranger team.
Though the championship had been decided, Rick Huseman proved he deserved the number two place on the Pro-Lite championship race with a flag-to-flag win in Round 14. Though pressed hard by LeDuc in the closing laps, Huseman hung on to win the final Pro-Lite race of the season. Steve Federico finished behind LeDuc in third, Art Schmitt was forth, and Mark Krueger fifth.
The official Pro-Lite point standings have Kyle LeDuc as champion with 199 points, Rick Huseman in the number two spot with 174 points, Chad Hord in third with 164 points, Steve Federico forth with 149 points, and Art Schmitt just five points back in fifth with 144 points.
Perhaps the most dominant performance of the weekend came from Carl Renezeder in the Lucas Oil Chevrolet(s). Renezeder won both Pro-2 and Pro- 4 in Saturday Round 13 action, and was able to notch his third Pro-2 win of the season with another victory in Round 14 on Sunday.
Evan Evans had a shot at the Pro-2 title coming into the weekend and posted a strong second place finish in Round 13 of competition. Evans gained momentum late in the season with four consecutive first place finishes in both rounds at Topeka and Bark River.
The door was still open for Evans in the final Round of racing, but only a crack. To win the championship, Evans had to win on Sunday, and reigning champ Scott Taylor had to finish ninth. Though some thought Taylor might lay back in the final Pro-4 race of the season and coast to the championship, he showed why he has been so successful in the division powering to a strong second place finish. Evans finished Round 14 in third behind Renezeder and Taylor, followed by an impressive showing by Larry Gourlie in the U.S. Marines Chevrolet.
In 2004 Pro-2 season points standings, Scott Taylor and the Skyjacker Ford finished first with 212 points, Evan Evans was second with 196, Carl Renezder finished third with 193 points, Dan Vanden Heuvel finished forth with 169 points, followed by Kevin Probst in fifth with 157 points.
The Pro-4 points battle was the tightest of all three Pro divisions coming into New York with reigning champion Carl Renezeder and brother-in-law Jason Baldwin separated by only one point. Saturday's Round 13 didn't shuffle the deck very much; when Baldwin finished in second behind Renezeder making the point spread just five points.
Sunday's final delivered more excitement than some competitors bargained for with two roll-overs and thrilling finish. Starting on the outside of row two, Scott Douglas in the Rancho Ford took command of the race on lap one and ran in first until three corners from checkered flag.
In the final laps of Round 14, Jason Baldwin closed on Douglas driving deep into the corners, but was unable to make the passes stick when Douglas kept his cool, stayed on the race line and pull away out of the corners. In addition to Douglas and Baldwin, the lead pack included Renezeder and Johnny Greaves. In the 180-degree turn at the bottom of the Kumho jump hill, just three corners from the finish line, Douglas broke a front CV joint and spun. Baldwin went by on the outside, followed by Renezeder and Greaves. Contact between Greaves and Renezder going back up the hill sent Renezeder into a violent roll.
Jason Baldwin won Round 14 and his first Pro-4 championship accumulating 214 points. Season Pro-4 points standing have Carl Renezeder in second with 207 points, Scott Douglas in third with 180 points, Curt LeDuc in forth with 171 points, and Johnny Greaves fifth with 167 points.
All the 2004 CORR Lucas Oil Series champions will be honored at the annual Champion's Banquet and Award ceremony November 6, 2004 at the KI Convention Center and Regency Suites Hotel in Green Bay, WI.