With just four rounds left in the 2018 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series season, every lap counts coming into this weekend’s Rockstar Energy Golden State Off-Road Nationals at Glen Helen Raceway. The doubleheader event, which includes the season-opening round from March that was rescheduled due to inclement weather, will see the Production 1000 and Turbo UTVs take on one of the most iconic tracks in the series.
Brock Heger’s P1000 title defense has thus far been nothing short of a dominant performance. He’s won four of the first eight races of the season and taken a podium every time out to extend a 63-point advantage over Myles Cheek in the championship. Heger won his sixth race of the 2017 season in the first leg of last year’s Glen Helen doubleheader, which he split with Paul O’Brien.
Cheek, meanwhile, will come in as one of Heger’s top challengers, with wins in the last two races and four in all this year. But it was actually Jason Weller, not Cheek or Heger, who took dual podiums in the P1000 class last season, with second and third place finishes. Weller enters the event third in points, just four behind Cheek, and will look to improve on the three podium finishes he’s taken so far this season.
O’Brien, on the other hand, is performing much better in the Turbo class as one of a handful of double-duty UTV drivers this season. While he ranks only 10th in the P1000 standings, with only a single podium since last year’s Glen Helen win, O’Brien sits tied atop the Turbo UTV standings with Corry Weller. She split last month’s doubleheader at Utah Motorsports Campus with O’Brien, earning her third win of the season in the process—the current tiebreaker between the duo.
Despite the very different scenarios atop the championship standings, the top five drivers in points in both classes could look very different at the end of the weekend. Besides Cheek and Jason Weller’s battle for second in P1000, Mickey Thomas and Robert Stout are separated by only five points for fourth and fifth. Thomas has two podiums this year to Stout’s one, but Stout earned top qualifier honors twice this season—something only he and Heger have accomplished in 2018.
In Turbo UTV, Trevor Leighton and Eliott Watson are only 10 points apart for third place, while Andy Ives is only 12 points clear of Robert Van Beekum for fifth in class. Leighton won the first race of the inaugural Turbo UTV season at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in April, but his runner-up finish in the first Utah race was his first podium since then. Watson comes off his second podium of the season in Utah, while Van Beekum placed third in Mexico and Ives is still searching for his first podium.
Finally, Ronnie Anderson has to be hoping for a big weekend after a trying 2018 so far. Running both UTV classes as well as a Pro Lite, last year’s Glen Helen runner-up has struggled since a second place finish in the Turbo UTV opener. He didn’t compete in that class at all in Utah last month, and currently sits seventh and ninth in the two UTV point standings coming into this weekend’s action.
The Rockstar Energy Golden State Off-Road Nationals will see two 20-minute races for the Turbo UTV class, and a pair of 10-lap races for the Production 1000 UTV field. Live streaming of the event will kick off at 10PM ET/7PM PT on LucasOilRacing.tv on both Friday and Saturday. In addition, LOORRS Turbo UTV action from Wild West Motorsports Park earlier this year airs on Sunday at 10PM ET/7PM PT on the CBS Sports Network.
Words by: Chris Leone // UTVUnderground.com
Photos by: Harlen Foley // UTVUnderground.com