Division leaders look to carry momentum into Rounds 7 & 8 At Heartland Park Topeka
Indianapolis, Ind. (July 5, 2005)-With the 2005 CORR Lucas Oil Series hitting the half-way mark this weekend (July 8-9) at the Toyo Tires Off- Road Championships in Topeka, only three of the eight division leaders have a lead exceeding ten points, giving several drivers an opportunity to close the gap in their respective divisions.
In the Pro-4 division, Carl Renezeder has a 103-94 lead over defending champion (and his brother-in-law) Jason Baldwin. Renezeder, the 2003 Pro-4 champion, won Rounds 1-3, and finished second in Rounds 4-5. Baldwin was able to close the gap by winning two out of the last three races (Rounds 4 & 6). Baldwin has not finished below 4th place in 2005.
Six-time defending Pro-2 champion Scott Taylor's target as the man to beat in the division continues to get larger, but as he pulls further ahead with flawless driving, that mark is getting smaller for his opponents. Taylor has three wins (Rounds 1, 5-6) and six top-five finishes through Round 6, building a 101-82 lead over Josh Baldwin. Taylor is the first CORR driver to eclipse 40 victories in a career (41 total).
Baldwin is having his best season in Championship Off Road Racing, winning his first career race in Round 4 (Antigo), and also has one second-place finish and two third-place finishes. Brian Hinman, the 2004 Pro Rookie of the Year, finished 2nd in Rounds 5 and 6, giving him 73 points and sole possession of 3rd in the division.
In the Pro-Lite division, Chad Hord used back-to-back wins in Rounds 5-6 to take over the division lead, 95-79 over Steve Federico. Hord has 3 wins and a second-place finish in the first six rounds. Federico's consistency in the early season (five top-five finishes) keep his championship dreams alive.
Veterans Art Schmitt (1 win and 5 top-five finishes), with 75 points and Jeff Kincaid (2 wins and 4 top-four finishes), with 70 points are easily within range of Hord and Federico, as the second-half of 2005 gets underway. 2004 Pro-Lite champion Kyle LeDuc has struggled in the early part of 2005, currently in 8th place with 44 points.
The battles are tight in the Sportsman Series, as Aaron Hawley (Super Buggy) is the only driver who has a lead exceeding ten points. Actually, Hawley's lead has grown to 96-65 over Gary Nierop and Mike Geiser. Hawley has 1 victory (Round 1) and six top-three finishes.
In other divisions, defending champion Dan Baudoux has a 99-98 lead over Ben Wandahsega in the Sportsman 2 division. Baudoux has three victories, including back-to-back wins in Rounds 5-6. In the Stock division, defending champion Keith Steele has a 98-93 lead over Dave Waldvogel. Both drivers have two victories, with Steele winning in Rounds 2 and 5, and Waldvogel winning Rounds 3 and 6.
Over the past few seasons, it has been Michael Seefeldt and Mark Steinhardt battling over the top spot in the Single Buggy division, and it appears it will be the same in 2005. Seefeldt used three straight wins in Rounds 2-4 to build a 90-85 lead over Steinhardt, who won for the first time this year in Round 6. Steve Socha also won for the first time in Crandon, winning Round 5. Socha has 79 points; 11-points back of the lead.
In the Light Buggy division, Ben O'Connell leads Jeff Virnig, 92-83. Virnig has two wins (Rounds 3-4); but an uncharacteristic finish for him in Round 6 (21st) gave O'Connell a larger lead. O'Connell has one win (Round 1) and six top-four finishes.
For more information on the Toyo Tires Off Road Championships, visit www.hpt.com or www.corracing.com.