While we’re still riding high from last month’s King Of The Hammers, and the Hammertown extravaganza that goes with it, the buzz has begun to wear off. We’re deep in the throes of cabin fever, and we need something else to scratch that racing itch. Perhaps something on a short track this time. Something born of a rich racing tradition in the Midwest and honed in the racing hotbeds of California, that’s now thriving coast to coast (and even stretching down into Mexico). Something with a fan-friendly atmosphere and multiple disciplines, that has a style for practically every racing fan. Lucky for us, a brand new season of Lucas Oil Off Road Racing is just about to get underway.
SoCal Shootout Starts Season
This Saturday, March 16, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS), presented by Geico, will bring its signature brand of heart-pounding entertainment to the famous Glen Ellen Raceway in San Bernadino, California, for the General Tire SoCal Shootout, presented by K&N Filters, to kick off a new season of short track racing.
This classic San Bernadino racing mecca boasts over three decades of rich history. It will host a nighttime showcase under the bright lights that’s sure to draw a crowd of men, women, boys, and girls to watch trucks and buggies in multiple classes slinging mud and swapping some paint in an environment that is as family-friendly as it is heart-racing.
Known in dirt-track circles as “The premier series in the world of short course off-road”, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing continues to grow with each passing season. And that success is due in large part to the constant support and enthusiasm provided by the team at Lucas Oil, as well as its founder and CEO, Forrest Lucas, who saw the sport’s potential and helped to mold it into what it is today.
A Short History Lesson – Lucas Oil Off Road Racing
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing comes from a rich history of American racing, and can trace its roots all the way back to dirt tracks as far back as 1969, at places like Crandon International Raceway and the SCORE races at Riverside Raceway in the 1970s. The sport evolved through the ’80s with the MTEG series and into the ’90s with the Flannery family-led SODA Series. SODA became Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) in 1997, and existed as such for over a decade. By 2008, CORR and its Midwestern counterpart, WSORR, were well into the slow process of folding, simply unable to keep revenue streams in the black. A new series, The Off Road Championship (TORC), emerged to take their place.
But while TORC carried the mantel for the sport, former CORR staffers Tony and Sherry Vanillo began work on an entirely new racing series. But this time, they would have the staunch support of Forrest Lucas, a longstanding patron of the short track arts, and the Lucas Oil brand standing behind it. And thus, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series was born in 2009.
The new series enjoyed success right from the beginning. But still, the competition with TORC was bisecting the loyal fan base of short track dirt fandom. As the TORC series’ popularity began to wane, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing took measures to absorb it, giving birth to the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League. This unified body that we know today has been succeeding wildly beneath the Lucas flag ever since. And they’ve done it by keeping the sport in the hotbeds where it thrives, uniting the West Coast and Midwest circuits—whose rabid fanbases have kept short track alive through so many institutional overhauls.
And this fan-friendly recipe has paid off.
Sure, the big truck races of Pro 2 and Pro 4 are generally the biggest draws. But the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series offers a total of nine different racing classes, including options for junior drivers, to ensure that the competition stays varied and that their is some excitement for fans of all ages, genders, and skill levels.
There’s the aforementioned Pro 2 and Pro 4 trucks, of course. Then there’s the Pro Lite Unlimited midsize trucks, Pro Buggy, and Production Turbo and Production 100 UTVs (utilizing stock UTV engines). For Juniors ages 10-15, Modified Kart makes use of karts with motorcycle motors. And those drivers who’ve been ready to race since they left the womb, Junior 1 and 2 Kart racing involves enthusiasts as young as 8, with motors that can make as little as 9 horsepower. (Hey, it’s never too early.) And such a rich tradition of family involvement has made LOORRS a pipeline for the racing talent of the future, such as NASCAR up-and-comer Hailie Deegan,
One of the big draws for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing stars-of-the-future to attend events is to get a glimpse of the Series’ stars-of-today, of which there are plenty. And with an ease of access to drivers, including scheduled autograph sessions before each race, the chance for young drivers and fans to meet their idols face-to-face gives fans and drivers alike a sense of community, even of family, in the LOORRS circuit.
Leading the star-studded cast is the decorated veteran, fan-favorite, and living legend Rob MacCachren. To newcomers, he’d best be described as the Michael Jordan of his discipline. (And both of them can trace the beginning of their star-status all the way back to 1982!). MacCachren has a resume too lengthy to list, winning almost everything the sport has to offer in his time, including an astonishing four victories in the Baja 1000, five Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series 4×2 truck division championships, and a staggering eight career short course off road titles. He is the rabbit all the big dogs are chasing after.
Another driver drafting behind MacCachren in the spotlight is RJ Anderson, fresh off of his first-ever 2018 Pro 4 Championship season. Born as racing royalty, he is the son of Walker Evans’ longtime crew chief. And, as Riverside, California’s favorite son, Anderson has been hyped as the next-big-thing since he was 14. This year, he hopes to expand on last year’s successful campaign.
Plenty of others bring name recognition to the fold, as well. Kyle LeDuc, Scott Douglas, Brian Menzies, Rodrigo Ampudia, and Brian Deegan (of freestyle motocross fame), among plenty others, make for excitement every time LOORRS comes to town. Networks like CBS, CBS Sports, and MavTV have all seen the value in the sport and are broadcasting it to the masses—which is great. But nothing can quite replicate the experience of one of these events in person, a day of thrills and excitement for racing fans of all ages, interests and abilities.
Just go check it out. And trust us, if you love short track, dirt track, racing in general, or just a great way to spend a day with your family, it is impossible to not enjoy yourself. It’s sure to be another exciting season filled with heart-thumping action!