The opening rounds of the 2007 Championship Off-Road Racing Series was held at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, CA. The dirt track had hosted PRO Rally events in the past, but it would not compare to the show CORR was about to unleash...
The opening rounds of the 2007 Championship Off-Road Racing Series was held at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, CA. The dirt track had hosted PRO Rally events in the past, but it would not compare to the show CORR was about to unleash on the desert community, located 60 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
The venue offered a completely paved pit and camping area for the competitors and grandstand seating for 11,000 spectators. The track itself had been reconfigured three times before the final layout was ready for competition. The .8-mile track consisted of three high-speed tabletop jumps, three high back turns, three flat corners, and two sections of whoops. The track offered a little bit of everything for both the competitor and spectators alike.
For 2007, Douglas Motorsports will have two PRO-4 race trucks for their use as they compete in the West Coast based CORR series and Midwest based WSORR series. At the first event of the year here in Lancaster, the team brought the backup truck along on this trip to get more early season tuning accomplished. In a few weeks, both the CORR and WSORR will be in full swing. Another benefit, of course, would be an availability of a backup race truck for this weekend.
Scott Douglas, and his team arrived in Lancaster on Tuesday, which would allow for that extra testing on both trucks before the Friday afternoon qualifying session. By the end of Friday's practice session, Scott's #7 AMSOIL, Kumho Tires, Sycuan Casino, KC HiLites, Alloy, American Racing Ford F-150 was at the top of the speed charts.
When qualifying began everyone was gunning for the AMSOIL Kumho Tire #7. New for this weekend, all starting grids would be lined up LeMans style. This positions the race trucks, angled side by side, in a long row, with the fastest qualifiers at the front. This really gave a qualifying a new meaning. It seemed that all the PRO-4 competitors really picked up the pace, including Scott, for the qualifying session.
After all runs were completed Scott qualified third with a time of 52.637 seconds. This was almost 1.5 seconds faster than any lap he ran in practice, and only .16 off the pole time of Johnny Greaves.
Saturday - Round 1
The start saw fifteen PRO-4 trucks lined up with Scott Douglas in his AMSOIL Kumho Tire #7 in the third spot, ready for the fifteen-lap sprint. As the field headed out of Turn Two, only #22 Greaves and #17 Renezeder were in front of him. On lap five, Douglas moved around Renezeder for second place.
Then the mandatory yellow came out, bunching up the field really giving Scott a shot to grab the lead. When racing resumed the Kumho Tires applied all the Pro Power horsepower to the ground and kept the #7 right on leader's bumper. On lap ten, Josh Baldwin rolled creating a full course yellow (new for CORR in 2007) that lasted two laps, as the safety crews moved the vehicle and debris off the track.
When everyone got back to green flag racing, Greaves and Scott were racing side by side. On lap fourteen, Scott got on the inside of the Greaves truck heading into Turn Three. The two trucks touched with Scott's front bumper catching the side of Greaves' rear bumper, sending the #7 AMSOIL Kumho Tire truck cart wheeling through the turn, up and over the concrete wall, and stopping upside down on the outside of the track.
Fortunately, Scott walked away for the incident, but his World Championship winning truck would be out of commission for the rest of the weekend.
Johnny Greaves went on to win the opening round of CORR PRO-4 competition. As Greaves made his way to the podium, Scott stopped Greaves and had a few stern words with the winner about the incident. Officially Scott completed thirteen laps and was awarded 11th place.
With only a few hours until the Baldwin Cup Round One PRO-4 Qualifier Race, Bill Smith, Ryan Quella, Mike Schoffstall, Jason Schampers, and Chris Burgess went to work prepping the backup truck for competition.
The Baldwin Cup is an additional round of racing for both PRO-2 and PRO-4. Each division races separately seven times accumulating points to determine your starting position for the year ending $66,000 winner take all Jason Baldwin Memorial Cup event. All qualifier races and the finale will be broadcast on NBC Sports.
Somehow Scott and the team got the backup truck to the staging area on time and ready to race the Baldwin Qualifier.
PRO-4 Baldwin Cup Qualifier
Fourteen PRO-4 trucks lined up according to their Friday qualifying times. Again Scott starts in the third spot. When green flag was dropped, pole sitter Greaves stalls his truck and watches the entire field pass him by before refiring the truck. In the meantime, #7 AMSOIL Kumhot Tire Ford F-150 settles in to third place behind Huseman and Renezeder. Scott pushed his truck to the limits as a podium finish looked to be well within his sights. Then on lap eight the mandatory caution came out, the front drive on the #7 Ford F-150 broke ending the race for Douglas Motorsports.
Officially the Douglas Motorsports #7 finished in 9th place. Congratulations to Johnny Greaves as he charged from the back of the pack to take the win.
Quickly Bill Smith and team went to work replacing driveline components and prepping the truck for one more race on Sunday.
Sunday morning, after the heat of the battle had cooled, Scott discussed the race incident with Johnny and both sides concluded that the contact was just racing contact and that the action on the track was not blatant or intentional by either party.
Sunday morning Scott Douglas took some time with Bumpracer.com talk about Saturday's wild run.
Have you talked to Johnny Greaves about yesterday?
"We talked this morning, Johnny didn't mean to do what he did, coming down on me, it wasn't an intentional thing. He was throwing a block, he even says he pushed up high, then I got a run and that's what caused it. We probably couldn't recreate it if we had to. It was wild. It was shame because for the four laps previous we were running nose to tail, there were numerous times I could have tagged him. I could have done something malicious. I could have upset the truck; we kept as clean as we could. I know he drives me clean. After the fact was I was pretty upset afterward and had a few words with him. Going up to Johnny was probably not the right thing to do. I told him we got to have respect for each other out there! He's the king dog out there right now, there's a pack chasing him and I'm the leader of that pack."
How severe is the damage to your truck?
"It's severe, it's the most severe I even seen. The tail of it, the trailing arms which are .120" wall plate, are pretty beefy parts, one snapped in half, the other one is folded. The track rods, the 4-link are both bent. The driver's cage held up well. The passenger side is bent alit bit. The most severe damage, even though it doesn't look like its major, but it is the front. The down tubes going to the shock mounts are bent down about three inches which means we are going to have to cut part of the front of the truck off. So it's pretty severe!. First thing Monday, the truck will be at Bill Smith's fab shop, Pro Fabrication. He'll put it on a chassis jig, and get it straightened out."
How did the backup truck perform yesterday?
"It's doing pretty good for the short amount laps on it, only about ten laps. I'm really impressed with the performance. The guys are really doing a great job getting it ready. It wasn't completely ready; we tested out here with it. We are really lucky we had it out here. Without we still wouldn't be racing out here, that's for sure. We are still tuning on it. We are only two tenths off Johnny's qualifying time today. That's pretty impressive considering the number of laps we have on it. We making some spring changes now. We're looking at video of the truck now and doing more tuning. Bill Smith, Ted Kendall, Mike Schoffstall, Ryan Quella, and Jason Schampers are all thrashing away as we speak. It's competitive now, but that's never good enough, we want to win.
One more question, how are you feeling?
"I'm real sore. Not as sore as the truck. I'm all in one piece. All the safety equipment worked. It was a real violent flip. We picked up speed as we cart wheeled, we hit a K-rail, went over an embankment, and ended up in another zip code. We were completely off the track."
Qualifying for starting positions took place mid-morning immediately after the racetrack was prepped and watered. One of the trucks in the first group for qualifying was Scott Douglas. Unfortunately the freshly watered track made for a slippery and slow track for Scott and the other four drivers that made up the first group. The conditions put the #7 Ford F-150 in the sixth spot.
The green flag fell and a made dash went through the Turn One kink, and headed for Turn Two. Then mayhem prevailed, Renezeder came through cleanly in the lead, but the rest of the field seemed to bump and slam through the corner. Somehow Scott came out in second place. Many of the PRO-4 competitors were not as lucky. Johnny Greaves slid on top of the K-Rail and then instantly stopped when he hit a telephone pole. This immediately brought out the red flag and an automatic restart.
While the field made their way back to the starting grid, Barlow, Cenni, LeDuc, Huseman, Troy Herbst, and Scott Douglas made their way to the hot pits. Scott had cut a tire during his brief drive towards the front of the field. Most of the those in the hot pit didn't make it back on track for the restart, but the quick tire change by Scott's crew put him back out just before the green flag flew.
By lap three, the battle tested #7 AMSOIL Kumho Tire, Sycuan Resort, KC HiLites, Alloy, Ford F-150 settled into fifth place and held the position all the way to the checkered flag.
The next race is only a month away, and Douglas Motorsports will have to burn some midnight oil to get both trucks ready for CORR Rounds 3 and 4 at the LA County Fairgrounds in Pomona, as well as the opening rounds of racing for WSORR in Owatonna, Minnesota.
Douglas Motorsports would like to welcome Ringers Gloves as the team's new partner. Ringers Gloves supplies Douglas Motorsports with all their pitware, as well as DriversX driving gloves for Scott. Thanks again to Josh Baltimore and Ringers Gloves.
The first round of the Baldwin Cup Qualifiers will be broadcast on NBC, this Saturday, April 28, at 2pm eastern time.
The CORR divisional rounds of racing will be broadcast on SPEED at a later date.