Hord, Greaves and Taylor Grab WSORR Off-Road Championships at Lucas Oil Speedway
WHEATLAND, Mo. It came down to the final two rounds of fender-to-fender action and as the dust settled over the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., class champions were crowned in 9 separate World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR) classes. Some familiar names were at the top of the list in the PRO category as Chad Hord of Felch, Mich., took the PRO Light title in his Boss Snowplow Kumho Nissan Frontier; Johnny Greaves of Abrams, Wisc., drove the Potawatomi Monster BFG Toyota to the PRO 4x4 championship; and Scott Taylor of Belvidere, Ill., grabbed the PRO 2WD crown in the Skyjacker BFG Ford.
The race weekend, sponsored by Nissan and billed as the "Nissan Showdown in the Show-Me State", brought WSORR Tour 2007 to the new state-of-the-art Lucas Oil Speedway for a first ever off-road race event and local fans were awed by the non-stop action.
Points championships were determined in both thrilling and heartbreaking fashion throughout the weekend, particularly in the PRO Light Pickup battle where Jeff Kincaid of Argonne, Wisc., had made a late season surge to take the points lead away from his rival Hord. Kincaid drove his Potawatomi BFG Toyota to the Round 12 win on Saturday followed by Hord and Art Schmitt in a Goodyear Nissan. Kincaid needed to finish only sixth or better to clinch the title in Sunday's final round. Hord grabbed the hole shot on the tight and technical Wheatland track and Kincaid settled into the third position until he spun his truck and then received terminal damage to the Toyota Tacoma when he was struck hard by another racetruck following in the pack of pursuers. The disappointed perennial PRO Light champ had to settle for 13th and then watch as Hord drove to the win and his second class title in a row. Randy Eller finished second in Round 13 in his Maxxis Ford and Schmitt survived an end-over-end crash and recovered in time to grab the final podium spot in the final round battle of attrition.
Johnny Greaves had an easier time of it in the PRO 4x4 contest by winning the Round 12 race and padding his big points lead. Carl Renezeder in the Lucas Oil BFG Sobe Nissan Titan was second on Saturday followed by Scott Douglas in the Amsoil Kumho Ford. Greaves let those two duke it out on the track in Sunday's finale to the thrill of the crowd with Renzeder getting the win, Douglas second and Kent Brascho in his Goodyear Chevrolet finishing third. Greaves played it safe and finished fourth but joined the post-race celebration in winner's circle to claim his season long points title. Brascho concluded his successful privateer effort in WSORR Tour 2007 by finishing second in the points.
Multiple PRO 2WD champion Scott Taylor added a first WSORR championship to his impressive resume and took nothing for granted by driving his way to the title with a win in Sunday's final round. Dan Vanden Heuvel, who was driving the Herculiner Toyo Ford of an injured Ross Hoek, finished second on Sunday and "Hot Rod" Rhonda Konitzer in her MYM Goodyear Chevrolet made her second podium finish of the season by claiming third. Vanden Heuvel put Hoek's truck in the winner's circle the day before in Round 12 followed by Brian Hinman in the Redline Goodyear Chevrolet and Keith Steele, who was campaigning his Monster Goodyear Chevrolet SRT Division truck in the PRO contest, finished third.
Earlier in the day, Steele had a door-to-door battle with Super Stock Truck defending champion Dan Baudoux in the Mole Lake Casino BFG Ford that had the Lucas Oil Speedway crowd on its feet up until the final couple of turns when Baudoux's truck expired. Steele got the Round 12 win but the biggest celebration was by Ben Wandahsega of Bark River, Mich., who clinched the Super Truck championship in his Potawatomi Toyo Chevrolet by finishing second and holding off the man chasing him in the points- third place finisher Dave Waldvogel in the Bendix Toyo Chevrolet. In Saturday's race, Baudoux cruised to the win followed by Steele and Wandahsega.
The Super Buggy crown is headed north to Alderman, British Columbia, as Gary Nierop on Goodyear Tires put himself in position to clinch the title with a strong second place finish in Saturday's race and then he carefully negotiated his way around the track in Sunday's finale to avoid the fate of Jeff Kincaid. The strategy worked as Nierop clinched the points with a ninth place finish in the finale. Fellow Canadian Corry Heynen on BFG Tires was stealing some of the thunder in victory circle with back-to back wins in the final two rounds. John Mason in his Mendeola Goodyear Honda followed Heynen and Nierop to the podium on Saturday and then followed it up with a second place finish on Sunday. Scott Schwalbe on BFGs grabbed the final podium spot in the season finale.
Scott Beauchamp of Bark River, Mich., took any possible drama out of the Stock Truck class points race by finishing strong in his Goodyear Chevrolet and sweeping the weekend action. Beauchamp won six of the twelve rounds of racing in 2007 on his way to the title. Jason Bort in a Goodyear Chevrolet finished second and Eric Ruppel in the BFG Ford finished second and third on Saturday which is where they also finished in the points. Al Konitzer in the Goodyear Dodge was second on Sunday followed by Craig Metz in a Toyo Ford.
The 1600 Buggy class title goes to John Fitzgerald of Omaha, Neb., who was battling defending class champ Mark Steinhardt in a close points chase. A DNF took Steinhardt's BFG buggy out of contention on Saturday even though he bounced back with a third place finish on Sunday. Fitzgerald didn't make the podium in Wheatland but his five wins for Goodyear on the season powered him to the championship. The final WSORR rounds in Wheatland were swept by Michael Seefeldt in his BFG machine. John Huven was second in Round 11 and Terry Fitzgerald was third, both on Goodyears. On Sunday, Bob Blaney on BFGs followed Seefeldt with Steinhardt in third.
In 1600 Light Buggy action, Jamie Kleikamp of Wilson, Mich., took the Round 11 win and the Series title for Goodyear. He was followed by Mike Vanden Heuvel on Toyo Tires on Saturday with Wes Frehse on BFGs third. Vanden Heuvel picked up his fourth win of the season in Round 12 followed by Bryan Holtger on Goodyears and Todd Lemke on BFGs.
Tim Moeller swept the Formula 4x4 racing in Wheatland in his Goodyear Ford but it was the consistency of Dave DeMaegd of Mishawaka, Ind., in a Goodyear Jeep that crowned him as the titleholder by just one point over Bob Sayers in a Goodyear Ford. DeMaegd finished second on Sunday with Johnny Cornish in a Goodyear Ford third. On Saturday, Jerry Conrad followed Moeller to the finish line in his Pit Bull Ford followed by Larry Maciosek in a Goodyear Ford.