Team ReadyLIFT® Racing Fires Up The 2011 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Opening Weekend In Dominating Fashion
Team ReadyLIFT® and our strong off road race teams rolled into Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona locked and loaded to dominate the first two rounds of dirt action in the 2011 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. There was a lot of excitement and anticipation coming into this first race weekend of the season. Team ReadyLIFT® Racing expanded its team network to include some of the biggest and brightest stars in racing, a list that now includes off road racing legend Johnny Greaves and seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath! Team ReadyLIFT® driver and 2010 Unlimited Pro Buggy Champion Cameron Steele who also pilots the ReadyLIFT® sponsored Trophy Truck in the desert racing series joined Stronghold Motorsports to drive the Monster Energy/ ReadyLIFT® Unlimited Pro Lite, the same truck that ReadyLIFT’s Marty Hart drove for Stronghold to win the 2010 Pro Lite Championship. For 2011 Marty has joined Johnny G Motorsports to pilot Greaves’ formidable Monster Energy/ ReadyLIFT® Unlimited Pro 2 while ReadyLIFT® Racing veteran Rob “Fig” Naughton has returned to the seat of his Stronghold Pro 2 after winning Rookie of the Year in 2010. Walking the Firebird Raceway pits one thing was boldly clear; Team ReadyLIFT® Racing has stacked the deck with the ultimate dream team in short course off road racing!
Saturday’s highly anticipated Round 1 races were filled with many highs and lows. In Pro 4, Johnny Greaves matted the throttle of his Monster Energy/ ReadyLIFT®/Maxxis Tire Toyota Tundra and solidly commanded the field by leading most of the race until some contact in turn 3 put Greaves up against the fence. Looking to rebound from a series of unfortunate events on Saturday, Sunday’s race was much different as Johnny battled fiercely from the back of the entire field all the way to the front to bang door to door with Rick Huseman for the lead. When the checkers dropped Rick held onto the lead while Greaves finished a strong second place after having passed everyone on the track with the exception of Huseman!
The Lucas Oil Off Road Series premiere Unlimited Pro 2 races were some of the best in recent memory. Twenty-five trucks took to the track in Saturday’s round one event. Team ReadyLIFT® Racing drivers Rob Naughton, Marty Hart and Jeremy McGrath found the first race of the season to be challenging. After getting punted by Rodrigo Ampudia over the table top jump, Naughton struggled to regain the handle of his ReadyLIFT®/Lucas Oil/Maxxis Tire Ford but did manage to charge forward for a decent finish. Stronghold’s Jeremy McGrath fell victim to being a pinball in the thick herd of impatient mid-pack drivers but defiantly wrestled his Monster Energy/ ReadyLIFT®/Toyo Tires Ford to the checkered flag right behind Naughton for a solid finish. Marty Harts first race behind the wheel of the Monster Energy/ ReadyLIFT® / Maxxis Tire Toyota Tundra Pro 2 was impressive. Marty battled as a serious contender for a podium. But one huge leap over the front stretch jump mortally wounded the truck’s steering and sent Hart to the pits for an off-road suspension band-aid.
Sunday’s Pro 2 event was a complete turn of events. Marty Hart was fastest qualifier but after having to change an engine was sent to the rear of the field for the start. Stronghold teammates Naughton and McGrath started 7th and 8th. When the green flag and dirt flew, Naughton made quick work of getting up to the leaders and battling hard with Carl Renezeder, Brian Deegan and Bryce Menzies. Jeremy “Showtime” McGrath wasn’t far behind. As the laps wound down, the drivers traded paint and changed lines in every turn. Renezeder and Menzies played bumper tag one time too many times and opened the door for a three way battle between Naughton, McGrath and Deegan. With only a few laps to go the question would become, would Naughton get his first ever Pro 2 win? Would Team ReadyLIFT® finish 1st and 2nd? Could Hart running in fifth place catch up and make it a Team ReadyLIFT® podium sweep? To the roar of packed Arizona stands Rob Naughton took the checkered flags and clinched his first ever Unlimited Pro 2 win followed closely by Jeremy McGrath in second! The Stronghold duo were simply far too good and far too fast for the rest of the class elite!
Team ReadyLIFT® racer Cameron Steele debuted his Stronghold Motorsports Monster Energy/ ReadyLIFT®/Yokohama Tire Pro Lite in round one on Saturday. Steele was very competitive in his first ever Pro Lite race until a broken steering pulley hurt his chances for a good finish. The team rallied and fixed the issue before Sunday’s race where Cameron fought through a maze of carnage for a solid 6th place finish. With a little more seat time behind the wheel of the 300 horsepower mini truck you can bet Steele will be challenging guys like Brian Deegan, Chris Brandt and Jimmy Stephensen for the win and championship title!
In Pro Buggy, Stronghold’s Brandon Bailey looked to improve on his 2010 rookie season. The Lamb Energy/ Lucas Oil/ ReadyLIFT®/ Yokohama Tire sponsored Pro Buggy was driven solidly by Bailey but the wrong choice of gearing made it difficult to navigate the track in the same fast time as the leaders, rendering Brandon to an 8th and 9th place finish for the weekend.
Overall the weekend was an epic chronicle of unforeseen up’s and down’s for our teams. The drivers and crews are the best in the business because they stare adversity right back in the face and challenge themselves to overcome whatever obstacles are presented. From everyone at ReadyLIFT® Suspension we would like to congratulate all of our teams for their hard-fought racing efforts in rounds 1 & 2 as well as congratulate Stronghold Motorsports and Rob Naughton for his first ever Pro 2 win. The win was made even sweeter with Jeremy McGrath standing in the second place podium spot along with fellow Monster Energy/ ReadyLIFT® team driver Johnny Greaves earning a solid second place finish in Pro 4! If there was one thing that was boldly obvious on this race weekend, it’s that Team ReadyLIFT® Racing will be a force throughout the season and there is no doubt you will be reading about many more wins!
The next stop for Team ReadyLIFT® will be Rounds 3 and 4 of LOORRS racing at Speedworld Off Road Park in Surprise, Arizona on April 16 and 17. Make plans now to come for the entire weekend and enjoy the wild racing action and get your own autograph and driver swag from all of the Team ReadyLIFT® drivers! Until then, look for coverage from this weekend’s race at Firebird International Raceway on CBS, the Speed Channel, Versus, and MavTV.