Vegas, the City of Sin, Excitement and Heart Break!
After two weekends of, shall we say “less than perfect” weather earlier this year, the third visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway seems to be the charm for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. With near-perfect conditions for both drivers and fans alike, it was a great day to be at the races, with blue skies, a light wind, and warm, pleasant temperatures all day. On top of all that, drivers really seemed to be raising their game, and the result was a perfect set of 10 great races in 10 races on the track today- it was truly a day not to be missed. If you couldn’t be here, you sure missed out on a very memorable day of racing. The stands were jammed full of race fans, a lot of which came from the SEMA show that was going on the days before the race.
Vegas was a mediocre weekend for the LSR SR1 Race Team. After the last 4 rounds with DNF’s we changed strategies around a little, and switched more into “survive mode”. After Greg’s huge crash a few weeks ago, he was a little nervous in practice just getting a feel for the car again, and letting some of those nerves subside. Qualifying on Friday afternoon faced the drivers with blinding sun rays and shadowed corners as the sun fell over the city. To top things off, we were the last class on the track, so all the corners were rutted out from all the big trucks, and with the blinding sun shooting right into the drivers eyes, half the turns were laying in the shadows. It was difficult to force the car through the corners, and really push hard not knowing if there was a hole or rut that would swallow up the car. Greg qualified towards the back of the pack.
Saturday was a new day, and we had the advantage of having a perfectly groomed track, as we were the 1st class to have our main events. Greg was still feeling the pressure of the crash, not to mention a bad qualifying round, and the need to keep the car together for the finish line, so the strategy was to play it safe for the 1st half of the race, and turn things up a bit towards the end after the mandatory caution. We ended up with a respectable 5th place finish out of 10 SR1 cars.
Greg was feeling a lot more confident for Sunday. After surviving the previous race, and getting more comfortable, he wasn’t feeling as nervous. We changed strategies to be a little more aggressive for round 14. Starting just in front of mid pack was nice, as they really watered the track for us. There were all sorts of puddles on the track, so we knew we had to be a little cautious as to not spin out. By the caution flag, Greg was sitting in 4th position battling for 3rd. After flying over one of the large jumps, if felt like one of the rear shocks blew, and lost all dampening abilities. So Greg was able to nurse the car around the track and hold on to a 6th place finish. After getting the car back into the pits, we discovered the shock completely bent in half, basically rendering the rear passenger side suspension useless. We have come to the conclusion that we will need to step up to a truck sized shock for the amount of abuse we are putting these cars through. They are hardly a side x side anymore at this level, and require a more robust shock to handle the extra abuse from short course off road racing.
Greg is currently sitting in 7th place out of 12 cars for the season. It’s for sure been a tough season for this team. But we are keeping spirits high, as the season comes to an end with one more weekend of racing.
The next round is December 11th at a brand new track in our hometown at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler AZ. We are looking forward to ending the season on a high note!