The Pro Buggy title in the five-race Thursday Night Nats Series at Sacramento’s LSR Speedway came down to the final round with BMiller Racing’s ) Brian Strange, Eddie Bernal, and Justin Moon all battling for the crown.
Entering Round 5 action, Strange held a one-point advantage over Bernal with Moon just five points back. In the first heat of qualifying, Moon posted the TQ in an attempt to earn the valuable extra series point. But Strange laid down a flawless second qualifying run to register the TQ, the extra point, and the pole position for the main. In other words, it was Strange’s title to claim; if he could manage to win the main or stay in front of Bernal and Moon, he would win the series.
Piloting his Losi TLR22, Strange jumped out to the lead in the six-minute main and never looked back, putting together a near-perfect run to win the race and series championship. Meanwhile, Moon and Bernal waged a monster battle while chasing Strange with Bernal taking advantage of a slight Moon bobble in lap 21 of 22 to move into second place. But there was no time to make a run at Strange, who won the race by just over three seconds, while Moon cruised to a third place finish.
For the series, the trio would finish in the same order; Strange 1st, Bernal 2nd, and Moon 3rd, running Panther tires (www.pantherteam.com) coupled with DE Racing Borrego wheels (www.deracing.net) and powered by ProTek “Supreme Power” lipo batteries (www.amainhobbies.com). All three teammates ran Bobcat front tires in clay compound with Strange and Bernal mounting clay Rattler IIs in the rear with Moon opting for clay Switch 2.0s.
The series finale in Pro 4 short course was not as dramatic, but the Round 5 race was wild and wooly as usual from start to finish. BMiller Racing’s Lou Figueria already had the series crown wrapped up in Round 4 but still went all out in qualifying to grab the TQ.
In the main, Figueria was flying off the start but suffered a self-inflicted crash midway through the first lap and dropped all the way back to seventh. Meanwhile, River City Racing’s Trever Lund, who was firmly sitting in second in series points, forged to a comfortable lead that he would never relinquish. Figueria regained his composure and had his Losi SCTE on rails with clay Panther Switch 2.0s and DE Racing Trinidad rims and a ProTek 6400mAh 70c lipo, laying down the race’s fastest lap to move into third and then eventually second. He ran out of time in the six-minute main to make a big run at Lund, and instead settled for the series championship while Lund and BMiller Racing’s Josh O’Connell finished second and third, respectively, in series points.
The series championship in Pro 2 short course was also decided before the final round with Bernal winning all four of the previous rounds in his Associated SC10 with clay Panther Switch 2.0s, black DE Racing Trinidad rims, and a ProTek 6400mAh 70c battery. Bernal opted to sit out the final round to allow for the remaining two series podium positions to be determined in an all-out shootout between BMiller Racing’s Todd Pearson and Terry Wickum and River City Racing’s Jeff Lorenzo.
Going into the final round, Pearson led Wickum by two points for second and was six points in front of Lorenzo. Wickum earned the valuable TQ point in the second qualifying heat and had the pole for the six-minute main with Lorenzo and Pearson lining up right behind him. The three battled early along with RCR’s Cameron Kerndt before Pearson briefly took the lead in lap four and then traction rolled just after the timing loop.
With Pearson’s need for marshal assistance and Lorenzo suffering some mid-race struggles, Kerndt and Wickum settled in for an outstanding heads up fight the rest of the way. The two raced cleaned lap after lap with Wickum making one final surge in the last two turns and down the straightaway to the line, but could not catch Kerndt who won by a mere .090. Pearson stayed smooth the rest of the way to finish third. In the final series standings, Wickum edged Pearson by one point for second behind the champion Bernal.
LSR Speedway (www.lsrspeedway.com) continues to show why it is one of the real up-and-coming indoor tracks on the West Coast. With a world-class dirt oval and now an upcoming major expansion of the off-road layout, LSR Speedway has big plans for the rest of the 2012 season and beyond.
LSR SPEEDWAY THURSDAY NIGHT NATS SERIES PRO CLASS FINAL POINTS TOP 5 FINISHERS
1. Brian Strange 399 points
2. Eddie Bernal 395 points
3. Justin Moon 389 points
4. Nate Henry 374 points
5. Nathan Bernal 366 points
Pro 4wd SCT
1. Lou Figueria 401 points
2. Trever Lund 394 points
3. Josh O’Connell 382 points
4. Shon Wilcox 378 points
5. Patrick Zhao 370 points
Pro 2wd SCT
1. Eddie Bernal 404 points
2. Terry Wickum 383 points
3. Todd Pearson 382 points
4. Jeff Lorenzo 374 points
5. Cameron Kerndt 368 points