Carl Renezeder’s Final SoCal Race a Two-Way Street
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.
Renezeder On Roller Coaster In Reno
Carl Renezeder was on a roller coaster ride at rounds 9 and 10 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, Nevada. The track at Wild West does climb very high up the hillside before plunging down the front straight into turn one, but the rollercoaster Renezeder was on, had to do with his up and down reversal of fortune. In his final season of racing, it’s important to Carl to give the fans at each track a great show. He delivered on Saturday with a decisive win in his #17 Lucas Oil Products / RC10.com Pro-4 Ford. During Sunday’s race, he was out front again, but suffered a rare mechanical issue that sidelined him before the finish.
The TR17 crew did an excellent job preparing the #17 Pro-4 for Reno as it was very fast, right off the trailer. During qualifying, it was getting faster with every lap. Carl put down some consistently fast laps and ended up qualifying third. During the race on Saturday, the inversion drawn was a 4, so Carl started outside of row 2. After the green flag dropped Carl settled into the third spot behind Kyle LeDuc and Doug Mittag. “I sat back and watched the pair out front for a little bit,” said Carl, “Mittag was putting some pressure on LeDuc and I started showing them my nose for quite a few laps. I was being patient and just waiting for the race to develop but I kept the pressure on. Mittag was holding his line well so we could run close together with no contact.”
Eventually, Carl made his move; passing Mittag and setting out for LeDuc. LeDuc had put a little gap on Carl as he was locked in battle with Mittag. Carl picked his spot and made a clean pass on LeDuc who did not want to yield the position. LeDuc put up a fight for half a lap until Carl really made the pass stick and started opening up a gap. At the finish, the gap had grown to about 20 truck lengths. “The truck was super fast, really predictable, and I felt good on the track,” said Carl, “It was a great day!” With a win under their belts and a dialed in truck, Carl and the TR17 crew were free to relax and enjoy some time with the fans.
During qualifying for Sunday’s race, Carl was laying down the fastest times during the first few laps. On his final lap, the lap most drivers aim to get the number one spot, a truck spun out in front of Carl ruining his run. Carl ended up qualifying 4th fastest instead of first. The extra point for qualifying on the pole would have been nice, but he knew he had a fast truck capable of winning again. Whatever frustration the team was feeling after qualifying was soon wiped away when the inversion drawn was 4. That put Carl on the pole for the race.
“I got the holeshot and held the lead until a yellow flag came out on lap one,” said Carl, “After the restart we were back in the lead. I was picking my lines, staying smooth, and waiting for the track to come in. I had RJ Anderson behind me and I knew he was going to be aggressive. I was protecting my line when he got into my door in turn 4 and tried to drive me off the track.
I got on the brakes and let him go because I didn’t want to hurt the truck. I knew I could get him back because my truck was faster. The yellow flag came out just after the pass so he had to give the position back. I built up a comfortable lead but the contact with RJ damaged my right rear tire and I had to stop under green several laps later to change it. I got back out a lap down. I backed it down a little and then I snapped a timing chain on the engine. It just wasn’t my day. I wasn’t going to be my day. It’s just the way it worked out.”
Before the TR17 crew heads to their last race in California at Glen Helen on September 15 and 16; a track where Carl has always done well, they will travel to the birthplace of short course racing in Crandon, Wisconsin for the 48th World Championship. “We are very excited about racing in Crandon,” Carl continued, “Crandon is a special place and we can’t wait to open it up on the wide open track. When we get to Glen Helen we feel really good about the track there and our truck set up. We do a lot of testing there so I think we are going to be really fast. We want to go out both days and win the race.” There is always a huge crowd at Glen Helen. Get your tickets early if you want to catch Carl in his last Southern California appearance.
Photography By: Bink Designs