Robby Woods came to Glen Helen Raceway last weekend with a score to settle. While Woods currently resides in the top ten in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) premier Pro2 Unlimited class, his first visit to historic Glen Helen Raceway this season did not meet his demanding expectations. LOORRS’ return to Glen Helen started on Friday with Woods qualifying third amongst 15 of the best off-road racers on the planet. When he was not on the track, Robby Woods was busy signing autographed posters and handing out free t-shirts to fans. When the Pro2 Unlimited trucks took the green flag Saturday under the night lights, the crowd was a sea of blue Dethrone Royalty shirts cheering for Woods and his No. 99 Lucas Slick Mist / Superchips Chevrolet.
Qualifying third against teams with considerably larger budgets and more experience is impressive, but when the green flag dropped for Saturday night’s race Robby Woods’ talent really began to shine. Robby started on outside of the fourth row and quickly slipped past Jeremy McGrath on the second turn to move up to third place. He patiently followed Rob Naughton for three laps, pushing Naughton until Woods saw the opportunity to strike. At this point there was only one driver ahead of the No. 99 Lucas Slick Mist / Superchips Chevrolet: Brian Deegan. Woods stuck to his game plan, with his father Bobby Woods coaching and spotting Robby from outside the truck. Woods was in the zone, and after six laps of cat-and-mouse the pressure finally got to Deegan, who blew through a turn. The crowd was on their feet as Woods and Deegan were side by side racing across the whoops and approaching Glen Helen’s huge table top. Robby matted the throttle to pass Deegan in mid-air and move into the lead at the mandatory caution half way through the race.
Deegan was not going to give up without a fight, but despite hard contact on multiple occasions he could not free the lead from Robby’s grasp. Late in the race Robby Woods had a 12 truck length lead on the competition and was overdue for his first Pro2 Unlimited victory. All of the banging with Deegan had taken its toll though and the right rear tire let go with four laps remaining. Without enough time left to get into the hot pits, his heart sank as Woods watched his lead evaporate and he crossed the finish line in second place. Robby set the fast lap though on Saturday in a truck that he designed and built himself, demonstrating that his talents extend beyond the driver seat.
Professional short course racing is as much psychological as physical, and Robby came into Sunday’s race intent on going even faster than he had on Saturday. Starting on the fourth row, Woods picked up where he left off on Saturday, battling Brian Deegan for track position. After passing Deegan, Robby Woods was in second place when he overshot the table top jump and nearly endo’ed the No. 99 Lucas Slick Mist / Superchips Chevrolet! This pushed him all the way back to tenth place, but his father encouraged Robby to keep his cool; there was plenty of time left to regain track position. The No. 99 Lucas Slick Mist / Superchips Chevrolet quickly moved up to fifth place, but wanting to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s cut tire, he stayed out of the melee that was taking place in front of him. When Carl Renezeder and Rodrigo Ampudia got tied up on the last lap, Robby saw his opportunity to capitalize and shot into second to earn his second podium finish in as many days. “All of our hard work is paying off,” Woods commented at the end of the weekend. “This is our fifth appearance on the podium this season.” That is more podium finishers than any other Pro2 Unlimited driver in 2011.
The next round of LOORRS racing will be held outside of Phoenix at Speedwold Off Road Park on September 24th and 25th. Woods was already on the podium at Speedworld earlier this year, and it could very well be the location of Robby’s first Pro2 Unlimited victory. You can follow Robby Woods and the No. 99 Lucas Slick Mist / Superchips Chevrolet on his quest for the LOORRS Pro2 Unlimited series championship at www.robbywoods.com or on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/robbywoodsracing. Coverage of Robby Woods and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series can be seen on CBS Sports, Speed Channel, Versus, and MavTV, check your local listings to relive the excitement of short course racing action.
Robby Woods would like to thank the following for their continued support:
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