Bark River, MI (July 13, 2003)-The 2003 season of the CORR Lucas Oil Series hit the half-way point at the BOSS Snowplow Off Road Challenge in Bark River, Michigan. Johnny Greaves (Pro-4), Scott Taylor (Pro-2) and Jeff Kincaid (Pro-Lite) continue...
Bark River, MI (July 13, 2003)-The 2003 season of the CORR Lucas Oil Series hit the half-way point at the BOSS Snowplow Off Road Challenge in Bark River, Michigan. Johnny Greaves (Pro-4), Scott Taylor (Pro-2) and Jeff Kincaid (Pro-Lite) continue their unprecedented run to successfully defend their division championships. As Taylor continues to control the Pro-2 division, Greaves and Kincaid are within striking distance of the lead in their respective division.
In 2003, the spirited drivers of the Pro-4 division have staged one of the closest battles, as the top-five drivers are separated by 11 points. Johnny Greaves came into Round 7 with a five point lead, but it was trimmed from five to two points after Round 7. Jason Baldwin's Filger Manufacturing Ford took the lead from the difficult land rush start, where the drivers shoot down the hill, and hit a hard-right turn at the bottom. Baldwin's Ford was the second truck to turn one, but he passed Steve McCrossan for the lead on turn two and did not relinquish the lead throughout the race, winning for the second time in 2003. It took Scott Douglas' RANCHO Ford a few turns to get by McCrossan, but once he did, he was set on chasing down Baldwin.
For several laps, the RANCHO Ford would close in on Baldwin, but after several attempts, Douglas had difficulties with his transmission, which knocked him off pace.
With Douglas slowing, Carl Renezeder's Lucas Oil Chevrolet moved into second-place, where he nearly caught Baldwin on the last lap. Even though Renezeder could not catch Baldwin, he placed second in Round 7. Curt LeDuc's Skyjacker Ford finished third.
In Round 8, Steve McCrossan once again took the lead from the start, with Jason and Josh Baldwin in second and third. Greaves stumbled from the start, and he eventually had to pull the Forest County Potawatomi Toyota off the track because he lost front wheel drive. Jason Baldwin had the lead with five laps remaining, while Carl Renezeder was in fourth place. Renezeder moved into second place, passing McCrossan, and with nearly two laps to go, the Lucas Oil Chevrolet passed Jason Baldwin for the lead, and would go on to take his second victory in 2003. Renezeder's win was his sixth consecutive top-five finish.
Renezeder jumped from third place in the Pro-4 division to a 102 to 100 lead over LeDuc. Even though LeDuc's Skyjacker Ford does not have a victory in 2003, he has not finished out of the top-four all year. After a second-place finish in Round 8, Douglas' RANCHO Ford is in third place with 98 points. Greaves finished 5th in Round 7 and 7th in Round 8, dropping him to fourth place with 97 points. Jason Baldwin's win, coupled with a 4th place finish, gives him 91 points, good for 5th place.
Scott Taylor, the four-time defending Pro-2 champion, won for the third time in a row in Round 7, and his Mobil1 Ford now has 4 wins and 6 top- three finishes in the first six rounds of racing. In the first four laps, Taylor was in fourth, behind Dan Vanden Heuvel, Kevin Probst, and Evan Evans. The first three drivers were performing well before they were hindered later in the race. Vanden Heuvel's Kumho Tire Chevrolet maintained the lead for three laps until the truck started to overheat, causing him to subsequently pull off the track. At that point, Kevin Probst' IndyCom Chevrolet took over the lead, with Evan Evans close behind. With four laps remaining, Evans got by Probst, but the pass was illegal since it was in a yellow-flag zone. Evans was black-flagged, and served a stop and go penalty. Shortly there after, Probst had to pull off the track due to a broken spindle. When Evans served his stop and go penalty, Taylor took the lead, and went on to claim his 32nd career Pro-2 win. R.J. Flanagan finished in third-place, giving the Red Line Oil Chevrolet its third top-five finish in the last four rounds.
In Round 8, the race began with a violent crash, when Vanden Heuvel's truck flipped and landed on its top. Taylor was also involved in the accident. The race was red-flagged, and Vanden Heuvel was able to pull himself from the truck, sustaining minor injuries.
At the restart, the Quick 'n Brite team of Larry Gourlie and Tommy Bradley were two of the first three trucks to turn one, but Evan Evans was determined to take his first win of the 2003 season.
On the third lap, Evans went by Probst for the lead, followed by Carl Renezeder and Scott Taylor. When smoke began to come from Renezeder's truck, Taylor passed him. For the last few laps Taylor attempted to catch Evans, but his determination was too much to overcome. Evans' victory in Round 8 was the 19th in his Pro-2 career. Taylor's lead over Evans is 34 points-126 to 92. Renezeder struggled in both rounds, moving him into third place in the Pro-2 championship point standings.
Jeff Kincaid (Pro-Lite) had an 81 to 77 lead over Rick Huseman heading into Round 7. With the Bark River Off-Road Raceway placing a premium on the land-rush start, Huseman benefited from being the first truck into turn one. Kincaid and Steve Federico followed the leader. Early in the race, Kincaid's Forest County Potawatomi Toyota made a run at Huseman, but the Fabtech Ford maintained the lead, and Huseman would earn his second win of the year. Mark Krueger had his best finish of the year in Round 7, finishing ahead of Kyle LeDuc.
Mark Krueger picked up the first victory of the newly formed Art Schmitt racing team in Round 8. His Nissan Frontier took the lead from Steve Federico with two laps remaining, and would post his first Pro-Lite win since 2001, which was also in Bark River. At the start of the race, Kincaid bolted to the lead, but a flat tire knocked him off pace. Huseman made a run at Krueger, but he did not have enough power to catch Krueger. By finishing second in Round 8, Huseman broke a 97-97 tie with Kincaid, and is now in first place, 113 to 102. Hampered by the flat tire, Kincaid placed 11th. Chad Hord's Boss Snowplow Toyota finished third in Round 8, and he is currently stands fourth in the championship standings.
Although Krueger has bragging rights over his teammates by taking the first win, the team is starting to show its potential. With a pair of 5th place finishes, Art Schmitt is in third place with 81 points. Reliable driving, which includes seven consecutive top-ten finishes, gives Joe Wutke III sole possession of fourth. Krueger also seems to be finding his groove, recovering from a rough start. His best finish before Round 7 was 6th in Round 3 (Antigo). With his win and third-place finish, Krueger moved to 7th (60 points) in the standings, seven points out of 5th place. With four top-four finishes in the last five rounds, the Ingle's Market Toyota of Federico is in 6th place (63 points).
Ben Wandahsega and his Forest County Potawatomi Chevrolet earned his first two victories of 2003 by sweeping Rounds 7 and 8 in the Sportsman 2 division. The Bark River resident now has three career Sportsman 2 wins, with all three coming at the Bark River Off-Road Raceway. At the start of both rounds, Wandahsega passed Ross Hoek's Superlift Ford shortly after the start. By sweeping both rounds, Wandahsega moved from 6th place in the point standings to a tie for fourth, six points behind second-place driver Mike Oberg. Oberg's Dynomax Chevrolet had a second-place (Round 7) and a third-place (Round 8) finish, and is eleven points behind Dan Baudoux, who has a 103 to 92 lead. Michael Savage is still in third place with 89 points. Gordon Zima had his best finish of the year, placing second in Round 8.
Stock drivers Mark Kleiman (Round 8) and Jeff Lutzow (Round 7) both won for the second time in the 2003 season. Kleiman finished behind Lutzow in Round 7, where Rod Wells had his best finish of the season, placing third in the round. After Round 8, Keith Steele maintains a three point lead over Kleiman and Lutzow (103 to 100), who are tied for second-place in the division. Rhonda Konitzer is fourth in the point standings, following a fourth-place (Round 7) and a second-place (Round 8) finish. Rookie Dave Waldvogel had his best finish of the season in Round 8, placing third.
Mike Geiser, who was making his second start of the 2003 season in Round 7, took the checkers, claiming his second career Super Buggy win. James Lair had his best finish of the year in Round 7, placing second. In Round 8, Scott Schwalbe regained his championship form, winning for the second time in 2003. Aaron Hawley bounced back from a 20th place finish in Round 7, finishing second in Round 8. Hawley leads Tim Lemons 88 to 84. Schwalbe is in third-place with 71 points.
In the Single Buggy division, John Svanda picked up his first win of the 2003 season in Round 7. His victory was his second career win in 48 starts, and his first since 2001. Defending champion Michael Seefeldt placed second in Round 7, and Steve Socha finished third. In Round 8, Seefeldt won for the second time this year, moving him into third place behind Mark Steinhardt. With a third-place finish in Round 7 and a second- place finish in Round 8, Socha moved from third to first in the current point standings. Socha leads Steinhardt 91 to 84, with Seefeldt close behind (80 points).
In the Light Buggy division, Jeff Virnig earned his second win of the 2003 season in Round 7, holding off 2002 champion Josh Hintz. With a second- place finish in Round 8, Jeff Virnig moved ahead of Ben O'Connell for the points lead. O'Connell suffered from a rollover in Round 7, where he placed 23. Hintz had a second (Round 7) and fourth (Round 8) place finish for the weekend. Virnig now has an 86 to 79 lead over Hintz. O'Connell moved back to third place with 77 points.
In the 2003 Manufacturer's Championship, Ford has a 122 to 110 lead over Chevrolet in the Pro-4 division. Toyota is third with 97. In Pro-2, Ford has a slim 126 to 124 lead over Chevrolet. Toyota maintained its lead in the Pro-Lite division, 124 to 114 over Ford. Nissan has 102 points.
Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2003 CORR Lucas Oil Series will return to the Bark River Off-Road Raceway for the U.P. Off-Road 100 on August 9-10. For more information, visit www.corracing.com or www.upoffroad100.com.