Rodrigo Ampudia Flies High At LOORS Season Finale
Rodrigo Ampudia came into the final round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORS) with a surprise for the competition. The young Papa's and Beer Racing driver is still recovering from the devastating knee injury that he sustained earlier in the year, but for the last race of the short course racing season Rodrigo decided to dust off his Pro Lite truck to campaign it in addition to his usual Pro 2 Unlimited. This would give Ampudia twice as much time on the all-new track at Phoenix's Firebird International Raceway.
In the four cylinder Pro Lite truck class, Ampudia qualified 8th out of 13 drivers for Saturday's race. As the race progressed, the No. 36 truck was running in fourth place and attacking for the third position when Rodrigo caught a rut that violently rolled over the truck three times. Ampudia kept his cool and miraculously the truck still functioned! The Ensenada native then soldiered on for a 12th place finish in the race.
In the final race on Saturday night, Rodrigo qualified fifth in the premier Pro 2 Unlimited class. This put his brand new Fiberwerx Ford Raptor bodied truck on display on the front row when the green flag dropped. Ampudia stayed out front in the No. 36 Lucas Oil / Papas & Beer Ford for the first half of the race, holding off Rob MacCachren in head-to-head action that brought the packed stands to their feet. While Rodrigo was able to keep all of the other drivers at bay, mechanical gremlins eventually overcome his efforts and forced him off the track.
Saturday night saw the Papas and Beer Racing team scrambling to prepare Rodrigo's 800-horsepower Pro 2 Unlimited truck for Sunday's Rockstar Energy Lucas Oil Off Road Challenge Cup. With 27 hungry drivers on the track at once in both 2WD and 4WD trucks and $30,000 on the line, short course racing fans new the action would be intense. There was plenty of contact on the crowded track from the very start, but Rodrigo managed to avoid trouble until his truck met Jeff Ward's in mid-air! Ampudia's No. 36 truck was spun around and came to rest on a track barrier. Despite sitting in last place at the mid-point of the race and being nearly a lap down on the competition, the young Ampudia showed veteran maturity and a never-say-die attitude to persevere and finish the race in the 8th position.
Earning five podium finishes for the season, Ampudia finished in fourth place overall in his 800 horsepower Pro 2 Ford Raptor. Competing in LOORS Pro 2 Unlimited class amongst 31 drivers, Rodrigo has proven he has what it takes to be considered amongst the very best in the sport of short course racing. With a fully healed knee, look for Rodrigo Ampudia and the Lucas Oil / Papas and Beer team to be even faster in 2011.