Carl Renezeder was looking forward to putting on a great show for his fans at rounds 11 and 12 of the Lucas Oil Off Roading Racing Series held at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, CA. In this final season of racing, it would be the last time he would compete for his hometown fans. It turned out to be a two-way street as the fans turned out in force to show their appreciation for the many thrills Carl has given them over the years.
“We had a hood in our pits that we invited everyone to sign,” said Carl. “The amount of people who signed the hood and the things they wrote were just amazing.”
The real highlight of the weekend was giving a young boy named Ryan a ride in the 2-seater Pro-2 truck. Ryan is a 6 ½ year old boy with Leukemia who I met in August with his family. I gave Ryan a tour of my race shop and then promised him a ride in my truck after the race in Glen Helen. We were introduced to Ryan through NEGU: Never Ever Give Up, and the Jessie Rees foundation. Their mission is to ensure that every kid fighting cancer has the support to Never Ever Give Up. Once the racing was over we were able to strap him in and take him for three laps on the track. I’ve never seen a kid so happy. It was an experience he will never forget the rest of his life. Those things that happened were worth more to me than any race results.”
If Carl’s goal was to give the fans a show, he certainly lived up to that. He qualified the #17 Pro-4 Lucas Oil Products/RC10.com Ford 2nd fastest by only a tenth of a second. Starting on the outside at Glen Helen is precarious because turn one is a sharp left hand turn and the inside row always runs the outside row to the outside towards the wall. As expected, that’s what happened and Carl dropped to 3rd and 4th by the time he was able to blend into the field. He had a fast truck and was able to make his way back into the second position behind Bryce Menzies. It was one of those races where there was constant trouble in the pack and a yellow flag nearly every lap. It made it a difficult race to establish any kind of rhythm or to set up the truck in front for a pass. With only three laps to go, Carl’s clutch literally blew up sidelining him for the rest of the race.
It would have been a good chance to get some points on Kyle LeDuc as Kyle had gotten very aggressive earlier in the race trying to pass Carl. “Kyle got real aggressive coming off the jump into turn five,” says Carl, “He got into me on the face of the jump and loosened me up a little bit then landed on the back of me but ended up taking himself out. It would have been great to win with Kyle out, but the clutch ended our race.”
With a new clutch, Carl was back with a vengeance for round 12. During qualifying, he took the pole position. It was his turn to start on the inside line into turn one. As soon as he hit the track for the warm-up lap, his anticipation waned. For some reason, the track crew had ripped the track about 12 inches deep. Instead of racing on a perfectly groomed track, they would be racing on loose dirt that resembled a freshly plowed farmer’s field. “Coming into turn two I tried to go low and protect the inside,” said Carl, “I got up on the bicycle and lost a few positions. I ended up bicycling in just about every corner for the next two laps before I figured out I would just have to slow down until the track came around. I started to make my way through the field. There were a couple other guys who struggled and also got up on the bicycle allowing me to move through the pack. I ended up moving all the way to the front with only RJ Anderson ahead of me. RJ over rotated as I was making the pass and hit me in the front end. I still got around him but the contact did some damage to the truck. It messed up my front drive, and that was it for us. We really have our work cut out for us. My TR17 guys have to basically cut the back end of the truck to fix the damage Kyle did, and cut the front half of the truck off to repair the damage from RJ. The whole front end of the truck got moved over two and a half inches. We have to rebuild the truck in order to make the final race at Wild Horse Pass. The team is going to have to dig deep and make that happen so we can go out there and try and win our final race, and our final Cup race.”
Carl will have one more chance to hit the dirt when the series goes to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona on October 21st and 22nd. They will have a nearly new truck after all the work they will do, but if anyone can get a truck up to speed in a hurry, it’s Carl Renezeder, and the TR17 crew.