Stars Come Out for WSORR Opening Night at Lucas Oil Speedway
WHEATLAND, Mo. (May 27, 2008) The spotlight will be on off-road's star drivers across 10 classes performing at "The Diamond of Dirt Tracks", Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., during the debut of the 2008 World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR) season May 31-June 1. Race teams nationwide are attending the E3 Spark Plugs "Show-Me State Showdown" and Rounds I & II of the World Series season with a first-ever night-time opener.
Saturday's special evening racing features a long list of champion off-road racers led by Lucas Oil's Carl Renezeder, Laguna Beach, Calif., with 67 career short-course wins and championships in four of the past five years. Renezeder captured six wins on the WSORR circuit last season, including the prestigious Forest County Potawatomi Chairman's Cup Race and a PRO 4x4 win at Wheatland in front of a cheering Lucas Oil Speedway crowd. He will compete in both the PRO 2WD and PRO 4x4 races in his Lucas Oil BFG Skyjacker trucks.
Another of off-road's top hotshoes, Jeff Kincaid, of Argonne, Wisc., is expected to set the pace in the PRO Light Pickup Truck class in his Forest County Potawatomi Traxxas BFG Toyota Tacoma. Kincaid is a five-time champion in the class and has his sights set on number six during WSORR's Tour 2008. But both of these drivers will see stiff competition thanks to a talented field assembled to race under the Missouri night sky.
Renezeder will have his hands full in the PRO 2WD battle that features a mix of veterans and exciting newcomers to the class. Longtime off-roader Kevin Probst in the Lucas Oil Simply Wow Toyo Chevrolet had one win, six podium finishes and was third overall in the class points race in 2007. Dan Vanden Heuvel is a 30 year veteran who knows his way around the Wheatland track, as he won one of the rounds at Lucas Oil Speedway last year and was second in the other race while acting as a substitute driver for an injured Ross Hoek. This year, Vanden Heuvel will campaign his own Chevrolet PRO 2WD truck while Hoek has fully recovered and has entered his Skyjacker Herculiner Raybestos Goodyear Ford in the Series. Two of the PRO 2WD newcomers have had great success in other classes. Dan Baudoux, is a three-time Super Stock Truck champion in his Mole Lake Casino BFG Ford, and Dave Waldvogel in the Bendix by Honeywell Toyo Chevrolet, enters the class after a successful 2007 campaign in the WSORR Super Stock Truck division that included three wins and eight podiums.
In the PRO 4x4 class, Renezeder will try to fend off last season's second and third place finishers in the class points race, Kent Brascho, of Pell City, Ala., in a Goodyear Chevrolet and Al Drews of Ypsilanti, Mich. Another seasoned veteran, Jerry Daugherty, of Henderson, Nev., will also be on hand to shoot for the win in his Racin' Dirty JD Construction Mastercraft Goodyear Chevrolet. Daugherty has raced in numerous desert and short-course off-road events and also won a title in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Kincaid is expected to lead the charge in the PRO Light Pickup race but he will be pressed by several top competitors. Steve Federico, in his PF Changs Invisible Glass Hankook Tire Toyota Tacoma, had four podium finishes on his way to a fourth place finish in the season points chase. His Sticker Dude Motorsports teammate Lee O'Donnell, also in a Toyota Tacoma, had one WSORR podium appearance in 2007. Randy Eller, in his Maxxis Ford Ranger, finished right behind Federico in the points battle. All of these veterans will be tested by a newcomer to the class -- John Fitzgerald -- who won the 2007 WSORR 1600 Buggy Championship and this year will campaign a Water FX Ford PRO Light truck.
The World Series Super Buggy class has been elevated to "PRO" status for 2008 and teams have responded to the news as no less than eight of last season's top points finishers have entered the E3 Spark Plug Show-Me State Showdown. Defending class champion Gary Nierop, of Aldergrove, British Columbia, in his Goodyear Toyota, will see plenty of familiar faces at the starting line. Ryan Mulder, in a Nokian Tires VW, had two wins, four podiums and finished third in the points race in 2007, and John Mason steered his Mendeola Goodyear Honda to two wins, five podiums and was fourth in the points.
In the World Series SRT (Sportsman) Division, the headliner is last year's defending Super Truck champion, Ben Wandahsega of Bark River, Mich., driving the Forest County Potawatomi Toyo Chevrolet. Wandahsega was a model of consistency in 2007 with nine podium finishes including three wins. He will be challenged by Keith Steele, in his Monster Energy Goodyear Chevrolet, who also had three wins last year, his first in the class.
One of the fastest growing WSORR classes is the SRT Stock Truck class but there is no question who has the target on his back in the new season. Scott Beauchamp, of Escanaba, Mich., won six of the 12 rounds of racing last year in his TrailReady Goodyear Chevy including both of the Lucas Oil Speedway races where he made many new fans. Other top competitors in the class include Eric Ruppel in a BFG Ford, Dan Beauchamp in a Goodyear Ford and Don Demeny in a Goodyear Dodge.
With the vacancy of Fitzgerald in the 1600 Buggy class, the favorite will be perennial champion Mark Steinhardt of Rhinelander, Wisc., who finished second in the points in his BFG sponsored ride in 2007. Mike Seefeldt, also on BFGs, finished fast claiming both of the rounds of racing in Wheatland and third in the points.
The defending champion in the 1600 Light Buggy class is Jaimie Kleikamp of Wilson, Mich., driving a Goodyear buggy. Greg Stingle, also on Goodyear's, was second in the points. Mike Vanden Heuvel, is a rising star in the class driving his Toyo buggy to four wins including a season final win last year. Dave DeMaegd, of Mishawaka, Ind., is the defending SRT Formula 4x4 SUV champion.
The wide-open, high-speed World Series of Off-Road Racing features a $100,000 race purse at every 2008 event. The Series includes race classes ranging from high performance, high horsepower pickup trucks to entry level 1600cc buggies racing on the country's fastest off-road race tracks. Professional off-road race pickups toss, tumble and bang in the dirt reaching speeds in excess of 120 MPH.