Renezeder Fights To The Front On A Tough Track In Utah
The sheer tenacity of 9 time offroad champion Carl Renezeder was on full display during rounds 5 and 6 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, UT. Tough track conditions made it especially demanding for competitors, but gave Renezeder an opportunity to entertain the fans with an incredible display of racing skill and competitive drive. The track has a narrow groove that makes it difficult to pass, and the clay in the soil can take on several consistencies. It’s slick when wet, and hardens when it dries; making the ruts unforgiving. Opportunities present themselves when people make mistakes.
Truck set-up is always a gamble when teams show up for the weekend. During qualifying on Saturday morning, the #17 Pro-4 Lucas Oil Products/RC10.com Ford was just a bit off for the track conditions. The team qualified 8th fastest; less than 5 tenths of a second from the quikest time. Starting back in the field during round 5, it did not take long for Carl to start making his way to the front. Gaining several positions in the first laps, he passed three trucks at one time in turn 4. He climbed all the way to second spot where he battled with Doug Mittag. The two drivers went back and forth for several laps. Carl’s truck got progressively tighter, meaning it had more grip in the corners, making it difficult to slide through the turns. His battle with Mittag allowed Kyle LeDuc to run out front unopposed for the win. Carl won the battle with Mittag; finishing on the podium in second. After starting deep in the pack, it was a huge accomplishment for the team.
The TR17 crew had a chance to make changes to the truck overnight, and when qualifying took place on Sunday, they nailed the set-up. As the laps go by, everyone puts in their best effort, so times get faster with each lap. On the final lap of qualifying, Carl was running fastest on the track, and was pushing to earn the additional point for the pole position. Running the engine at the redline, he felt it fall off and then quit, leaving him unable to finish the final lap. He feared it would drop him to dead last on the grid but he wound up 5th fastest. The inversion drawn for the race was a 6, so he would start on the outside of row one, a great reversal of fortune.
Once the green flag dropped on the race, Carl was running on the bumper of pole sitter Rob MacCachren. They ran several laps, sometimes side by side, fighting for the lead. “We were side by side in the corners and never even touched,” says Carl. As he and MacCachren battled for the lead, it allowed Kyle LeDuc to close up on the pair and start poking his nose in there. “In order to take a line that will get you past the truck in front, you leave yourself vulnerable to the guy behind you,” Carl continued, “When I tried to protect the inside against Kyle, my truck got up on two wheels and I had to change my line to recover. It was just enough to allow Kyle to force his way by. As we made our way through the whoops Eric Barron caught up to us. Barron tried to dive in on us and made contact with Kyle. Barron’s truck shot sideways right in front of me, and I couldn’t avoid him. My truck hit him and popped up; landing on top of him. With all four tires off the ground, I was stranded there for many laps, and it resulted in a DNF (did not finish). It was a bummer because we had a very strong truck and were in a great position for the win or another podium finish.” Carl did not get the finish he wanted, but the fans got one heck of a show.
Each round of this final year of racing is bittersweet for Carl. Not only is he at the top of his game, but the outpouring of fan support makes it even harder to say goodbye. The Team Renezeder pit was crowded all weekend as the fans streamed in to get an up-close look at the gold #17 Pro-4 Lucas Oil Products/RC10.com Ford and spend some time with Carl. “It’s difficult enough that I won’t be racing the Lucas Oil Series anymore, but to see the fans choked up, and so sad to see you go, is hard to take,” said Carl, “At the same time, it’s rewarding to have such great fans, and learn how much it means to them.”
Work is already underway for the next rounds of racing on Jul 22 – 23 at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. It will be the first time the series visits Wheatland so each team will be starting with no data on the track. “We are testing a new shock set-up with King Shocks,” said Carl, “We don’t know what to expect in Wheatland but will bring our best package to the race and let her rip!” It should be another great show for the fans.
Fans Make Estero Beach Worthwhile For Carl Renezeder
Ensenada, Baja California Mexico — The fans showed up in droves at rounds 3 and 4 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series held just south of Ensenada, Baja Mexico at the track in Estero Beach. The fervor of Mexican race fans is legendary. During the SCORE Baja 1000, which Carl won in 2007, fans line the course for nearly the entire length. At Estero Beach, they lined up at Renezeder’s pit to say hello and get an autograph or photo with Carl.
“The fans were phenomenal,” said Renezeder, “They love our team, they love our sport, and they were extremely enthusiastic all weekend. We love going to Mexico and the fans make it that much better.” As this is Renezeder’s final short course racing season, he is concentrating solely on the Pro-4 class. It gives him more time to spend with the fans that he appreciates so much. In addition to the swag handed out by the team, one lucky fan won a #17 Pro-4 Lucas Oil Products/RC10.com Ford remote controlled race car from RC10.
The team had a great time with the fans, but on the track, they struggled. “We missed the set-up just a little bit,” said Renezeder, “We qualified 5th on Saturday which isn’t bad. We have 12 laps, it’s a long race. During the race, the sandy roost was extremely difficult to see through and the track layout made it difficult to pass. We dropped a couple spots and then we went up to 3rd I think; it was back and forth the whole race. We ended up finishing 7th which isn’t good for us. Honestly, the truck just wasn’t as fast as we had hoped it would be at that track. We were just a little bit off.”
On Sunday, they were running in the pack when contact with other trucks caused front end damage that ended their race. “In the pack, it’s really tough back there,” said Renezeder, “it’s difficult to see and hard to navigate through traffic. The sandy surface is really completely different than any other track that we see. We made changes to our set-up for the deep sand that did not pay off but we have a great set-up that worked well for us in Phoenix. We will go back to those settings and after testing will be ready to go in Utah.”
Rounds 5 and 6 on the schedule will be held at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, UT on Jun 24th and 25th. For more information on Carl and the entire TR17 team go to: http://www.teamrenezeder.com/.
Photography By: Bink Designs