2018 Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series – Wheatland, MO
Brock Heger Sweeps Wheatland Production Class, Chaney and Farr Win Turbo
Wheatland, MO (6/25/2018) – Brock Heger won both Production UTV races, while Kyle Chaney and Tim Farr won the Turbo Class races during the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO races at Lucas Oil Speedway. The doubleheader event was held to allow both West Coast and East Coast racers to unite at the series longest track.
Wheatland is unique on the tour as it features a 1.2-mile layout with nine turns, a huge tabletop jump, and a blend of three types of dirt: heavy clay, black dirt, and sand. The technical nature of the circuit makes it a true driver’s track. Weather was perfect on Saturday making for ideal track conditions. Heavy rain on Sunday, though, caused both races to run in wet and muddy conditions.
In Saturday’s Production race, Heger qualified third and took the lead early in slick conditions that favored his Maxxis Tires. From there, he wasn’t headed and beat out Mickey Thomas and Jason Weller. All three were driving Yamahas.
“I knew the way Lucas was preparing the track that my Maxxis Tires would hook up well at the beginning and the Hoosiers wouldn’t,” said Heger. “So I had an advantage at the beginning. I got into the lead and ran well.”
Thomas, who was running Hoosiers, had trouble during the first half of the race, but came on strong after the cross flags. At the end of the race, he passed Weller for second and the two battled through the final lap. The finish marked his second podium of the season.
“It was tough for the first half of the race, but in the second half the track came to us,” said Thomas. “I made a pass for second at the end with Jason Weller and we really went at it. This is my second podium this year for Hans Ada Racing.”
Always eyeing the points, Weller ran a conservative pace, but landed on the podium after fighting it out with Thomas. He enjoyed the technical nature of the track that rewarded driving, not just brute horsepower.
“I’m constantly thinking of saving the car, while also looking at the podium,” said Weller. “The track is awesome. I love the turns, the big jumps and the whoops.”
While Saturday’s conditions were perfect, heavy rain on Sunday turned the track into mud bowl. In Sunday’s Production race, Heger started second, took the holeshot and led every lap
Employing a slam it and go driving style, Heger enjoyed sliding his way to his third victory of the season, which handed him the points lead. Keith Brooks finished second, ahead of Robert Stout. All three were driving Yamahas.
“It rained all day so I knew it was going to be super slick and we set up for it,” said Heger. “I was able to throw it into the corners and never lift. It was kind of a throw it and hope for the best. Not taking any roost really helped me and the suspension was way better. This is the most fun I’ve ever had in a UTV race.”
Brooks recovered from a hard crash in Saturday’s qualifying, an engine change and a back injury to finish second and score his first podium of the season. He used the mudding skills he picked up competing in the Southeast to his full advantage.
“We fixed the car, and made it through so today was a good day,” said Brooks. “I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to race today. The mud reminds me of the East Coast. I grew up in Atlanta, so this was second nature for me.”
Though Stout has a long history of experience on asphalt, he proved he could do it in the mud, finishing third. He battled with Brooks during the waning laps, just losing second on the final lap.
“It was an intense battle,” said Stout, who has previously raced sports cars and winged sprint cars. “It’s extremely muddy, but I had a great time out there. Today was my first day at the track so I’m really happy to be up here on the podium.”
In the Turbo Class, Chaney brought out the Can-Am Maverick X3 he’s campaigning in the Midwest Short Course League. Using the race weekend like an extended test session, he held off a charging Cory Weller to secure the victory on Saturday. Paul O’Brien passed Cory Weller on the final restart to finish second. Weller was third. All three were driving Can-Ams.
“This was more of a test weekend for the Midwest Series and I got a lot out of it; certainly more than in the other series,” said Chaney. “We’ll take what we learned, bring it to the Midwest Series, and hopefully get some wins there, too. This track is really fun and there is a lot of time to make up because it’s a very driver-oriented track. It’s not all about horsepower.”
Despite qualifying 10th for Saturday’s race, O’Brien made it through what was the largest field of turbo cars yet this season to finish second. On the final restart, Weller went wide into a turn and O’Brien pounced, taking second from his Weller Racing teammate.
“I knew I had to put my head down, avoid the carnage, and slowly work my way forward,” said O’Brien. “Toward the end a couple of guys went out and I made some good passes. It made for a good race and I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out. I got a good gift with the caution right at the end.”
Weller held on after losing the spot to O’Brien and finished third. She was pleased to see the large field of cars and to get the opportunity to compete with the many East Coast racers here.
“It’s always fun to see where you stack up with guys from other series,” said Weller. “I’ve watched Kyle Chaney and Tim Farr in the TORC Series. I knew they were fast and Paul’s been my competition all season. It turned into a great battle and it didn’t disappoint.”
With the Turbo Class first out on track on Sunday, the course was muddy and brutal. Summoning his many years of experience crashing through the woods in GNCC, Farr took the lead in his BAK40 Can-Am Maverick on the first lap and never looked back. Chaney finished second, ahead of fellow cross country alum Kyle Hart.
“This is an awesome facility and it was a lot of fun, but the conditions were definitely crazy,” said Farr. “I just tried to make good lines and not make mistakes. It was my race to throw away, but it’s easy to do that in these conditions. This facility is amazing. The track is the most fun I’ve every driven in a SXS. It takes some power, but you really have to drive the car. It has every different type of turn and terrain. The back tabletop was really fun.”
Chaney scored his second podium of the weekend. He challenged Farr for the first few laps before visibility became an issue. He tried a charge at the end, but ran out of laps and finished second.
“The first couple of laps I challenged Tim, but by the second lap I ran out of tear-offs,” explained Chaney. “My plan was to make a charge with a couple of laps to go. I didn’t know that they had shortened our race so the next thing you know the white flag was coming out and I only had one lap to get it done. I just didn’t have enough time. Second is still good. My car worked well and everything was perfect.”
The muddy conditions played into Hart’s favor. With plenty of mud racing experience, he drove a smart pace and finished third.
“We struggled this weekend, but I was slowly getting better, and I just ran out of time,” said Hart. “We really wanted to contend for a win this weekend, but we’ll get more serious about it if we decide to come back. The mud helped us because it threw everyone a curveball.”
The next Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event is a single-round event at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, NV. That race is scheduled for July 21.