• 5 min read
In the final race of the afternoon,  Metal Mulisha General Brian Deegan and Carl Renezeder took the start from the front row of the Pro 2 Unlimited field. Renezeder got shuffled back in turn one after an error on his part, but Deegan quickly stretched his legs to take the early lead in his #38 NOS Energy/Mickey Thompson Ford. Bryce Menzies ran second in the #7 Red Bull/Discount Tire Ford, with Rob MacCachren third, Renezeder fourth, and Patrick Clark fifth. On lap two, Clark lost control and ran straight up into the outside wall at turn two, dropping him well back, and allowing Jeremy McGrath to move into fifth in his #2 Maxxis/Icon Vehicle Dynamics machine. Clark’s crash brought out a full course yellow at the end of lap two, and on the restart lap, a near-stack-up in turn one led to RJ Anderson getting by McGrath on the outside for fifth in his #37 Rockstar Energy Drink/Polaris RZR truck. In the next corner, Renezeder biked and dropped back to sixth when Anderson and McGrath got past him. Up front, Menzies pulled a beautiful inside pass on Deegan at turn one to grab the lead on the next lap, with a full course caution then falling at the end of the lap after Myan Spaccarelli had pulled part of a tire barrier onto the track when he hit it up in turn two. Racing resumed on lap eight, and Deegan seemed to be struggling somewhat for grip. MacCachren took advantage, driving by on the inside at turn one on lap 11 to grab second. Deegan bounced right back, though, and passed MacCachren back on the outside at turn three. Another full course caution came at the end of lap 12 for on-track debris, and after the restart, Renezeder made a pass in a very rare way, as he jumped past McGrath off the flat jump into turn two to grab fifth on lap 16. Renezeder was looking very quick, and he then passed Anderson at turn two on the next lap, where contact between the two resulted in Anderson spinning out and dropping to seventh. More on-track debris led to another full course yellow at the end of lap 18, and while Renezeder was still looking like he had another pass or two in him, the opportunities just weren’t presenting themselves. On the final lap, it was MacCachren who made a move, as he dove deep on Deegan into turn three, before coming up and over Deegan’s hood with one of his back tires as Deegan tried to dive back underneath him. The move sounds a lot worse than it really was, and officials allowed it to stand. Ahead of the drama, Menzies put in a fantastic drive to take the win, ahead of MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools Ford, Deegan, Renezeder in the #17 Lucas Oil/ Ford, and McGrath.

Closing out the action for the weekend were the Pro 2 Unlimiteds, and it would be Patrick Clark and Carl Renezeder starting alongside one another on the front row. Clark moved into the early lead, and held it through the end of lap one, with Metal Mulisha General Brian Deegan, Renezeder, Rob MacCachren, and Bryce Menzies filling out the top five. Menzies drove by MacCachren on the outside at turn three to get up to fourth on lap two after MacCachren turned in too tight and had to correct for his mistake. On the next lap, Clark ran wide at turn one, before then slowing way down in turn two, as some kind of major issue was keeping his truck from being able to corner correctly. Clark got himself off the track and was out of the race, which put Deegan into the lead in his #38 NOS Energy/4 Wheel Parts Ford. On lap five, Menzies suffered broken right front suspension in turn one, which put him out of the race, and moved MacCachren, Doug Mittag, and RJ Anderson up to third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Mittag then got out of shape going through the rollers between turns four and five on lap seven, which cost him his fourth place, as Anderson got by for that spot after turn five. Up front, Deegan was starting to open just a small gap, but the Competition Yellow then came out at the end of lap eight, and the gaps within the field were brought back down to nil. On the restart lap, Anderson, Mittag, Myan Spaccarelli, and Eric Fitch had a mini melee from turns two to three, and while Anderson came out of it while maintaining his fourth place, Spaccarelli moved past Mittag to take over fifth in his #12 Tonka/Motive Gear Toyota. For the next six laps, things settled down a bit, and while everyone on track was moving along at a very quick pace, none of the drivers within the top five seemed to be able to make any ground on one another. MacCachren seemed like he may have been closing just slightly on Renezeder with about two laps to go, but on the penultimate lap, a small slip up from Deegan was all the opportunity Renezeder needed to make a move. With Deegan just a bit slow out of turn three, Renezeder got up alongside coming into turn four, where he put himself in the inside line and stuck the corner to take the lead in his #17 Lucas Oil Products/Lucas Oil Racing TV Ford. Perhaps a bit rattled by this, Deegan was a little out of shape through the rollers between turns four and five, and that allowed MacCachren to get up and make a pass for second down the inside at turn five. Further back, Mittag got back around Spaccarelli to re-take fifth in his #81 Jhonlin Racing Team/K&N Performance Filters Ford on that same lap, but after that, there were no further moves within the top five. Renezeder picked up his second win of the day, as he took both Pro 4 Unlimited and Pro 2 Unlimited today (something he hasn’t done in quite a while), ahead of MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools Ford, Deegan, Anderson in the #37 Rockstar Energy Drink/Walker Evans Racing truck, and Mittag.

With that, the first race weekend of the 2016 season is done and dusted. In five weeks’ time, the series will head to southern California and the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, for Rounds 3 and 4 of the championship. Get ready for an action-packed weekend April 23-24, and get your tickets now, as the racing is always great amidst the high-flying jumps at Lake Elsinore.