CORONA, California (June 14, 2016) – Sunday is Father’s Day and Rodrigo Ampudia knows what he would like to give his dad for a present.
A win or even a place on the podium in the, Pro 2 portion of the Rockstar Energy Battle South of the Border presented by Lucas Oil “would be great,” he said. “We’ve definitely been trying to get on (the top step of) that podium for a while and we’ve been close a couple of times. It would be fantastic to do it this weekend.”
Ampudia has been racing Pro 2 in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series presented by GEICO since 2009. He has been to the winner’s circle once, at Tooele, Utah, in June of 2010, and he’s stood on the podium 13 times.
Recent seasons have been frustrating, but he has remained a contender and the Lucas Oil/Papas&Beer team is one of the most popular in the series. That’s one reason they all are looking forward to celebrating both Father’s Day and the renewal of the event at the Baja International Short Course at the Estero Beach Resort in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, June 18-19.
The Ampudias were the driving force in bringing the world’s best short-course off-road racing to their hometown and last year’s two days of racing attracted standing room only audiences.
Ampudia said that inaugural event last August was “really good. It’s definitely an event we believe will be growing for years to come and we’re happy to be hosting it in our home town. People are getting in touch to see if we’re ready and the team is ready. They’re all excited about the event.”
Bryce Menzies and RJ Anderson won the Pro 2 races on the 1.1-mile course and Ampudia was fourth both days. In 2015 Kyle LeDuc and Kevin McCullough swept Pro 4 and Pro Buggy, respectively, and Brandon Arthur and Anderson split the Pro Lite wins in rounds 11 and 12 of the 16-race championship.
This weekend the series will reach the halfway point in the season with rounds 7 and 8 and Ampudia said since last year’s event they have “dug out the racing lines” and “added a lot of new dirt (to the course), to help the track hold up a little bit longer.”
The racing could have a major effect on the point standings, too. Rob MacCachren is leading Pro 2 by 34 points over Jeremy McGrath, 35 over RJ Anderson and 36 over Carl Renezeder; Renezeder is on top in Pro 4, with MacCachren 22 points behind and Bryce Menzies 25 back; Jerett Brooks leads Arthur by 14 points in Pro Lite, where they are threatening to pull away from the field; and just 13 points separate the top four of Mike Valentine, Taylor Atchison, Garrett George and Sterling Cling in Pro Buggy.
The on-track competition is the culmination of a five-day south of the border fiesta for the teams, who will arrive in Estero Beach on Wednesday, June 15, and move into their pits and go through registration on Thursday. The first rounds of practice are Friday afternoon and early evening, with general admission tickets selling for $5 and spectator gates opening at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 per day or $40 for the Saturday–Sunday weekend and the schedule is the same for both days. Gates will open at 8:30 a.m., qualifying will start at 9:30 a.m. with Pro 4 followed by Pro Lite, Pro Buggy and Pro 2, and racing will get under way following opening ceremonies at 2 p.m.
All the racing action will be streamed live on Lucas Oil Racing TV, the first Internet streaming television network offering motorsports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for its subscribers. Both days of racing also will be shown on MAVTV the Motorsports Network at a later date.