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DragonFire Dominates Lucas Oil Regionals

March 22, 2016

Weller Bounces Back, Mixed Bag For VanBeekum, Benson Gets Beat Up!


Team DragonFire was out in force at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, for Rounds 3 and 4 of the Lucas Oil Regional Off-Road Series. With two thirds of the “Killer Bs” — Ken Benson and Bobby VanBeekum — and Corry Weller competing in multiple machines in a couple of classes, we were a factor in just about every lap of qualifying to the finals in the Production 1000cc UTV and SR1 classes. 



The weekend started off on the right track with Bobby VanBeekum setting the first fast time in Production 1000 qualifying, just a fraction of a second ahead of “rookie” Corry Weller (Corry is a multi-time champ, but this is her first season with Team DragonFire and in her new Yamaha YXZ 1000 racer). How close was it? Bobby's top speed was 67.699mph with a lap time of 47.859 seconds, while Weller was just 0.265 seconds behind with a top speed of 67.325mph! Despite some teething pains with his new Can-Am, Ken Benson was still in the hunt, just 0.653 back of VanBeekum. 
“Clutch and steering issues continued throughout Friday's practice,” says Benson. “We did some corrections in time for the qualifying and made the main on Saturday. The Can-Am car is growing into a competitive car… we have the speed, we just need to get the handling dialed in a little better.” After working out some of the bugs, Benson had to battle ongoing steering rack issues, compounded by a flat tire 2 laps in. “I had work to salvage the points I could for the season and hang on for 7th place.” Meanwhile fast qualifier VanBeekum got caught up in the first turn turmoil and was only able to make it half-way through the 10 lap main.


However Corry was in a class by herself, putting almost a full second gap on the field in Saturday's Production main event. But it wasn't as easy as she made it look. “I led wire to wire... after getting taken out on turn one.” A spectacular aerial flip didn't seem to slow her in the Prod 1000 class. “I got a great start at the green, and was railing the cushion in turn 1 when I got plowed by another racer who failed to hold their line, which sent me flipping. I landed on my wheels, and was able to fire my YXZ back up again. When an incident happens on the first lap, the race is restarted, and since I was able to keep going, I gained my front row position back — I always drive better when I'm angry,” she laughs.

She also went on to set the fast qualifying time in SR1 with a speed of 72.172mph half a second over Benson. Weller won Saturday's SR1 main in her trusty Honey Badger and Benson finished as solid 5th. “SR1 racing always gets the adrenaline going, with 100ths of a second separating the class it comes down to 10 laps of consistency,” says Ken. “Corry is the defending class champ because she is consistent… and consistently FAST!”


A wet track both days resulted in all the racers having a lot of fun! “The SR1 class was a fast race as usual and wet track conditions made the action even more intense,” explains Ken Benson. “Sunday was a great battle with the McCormick team in the SR1 class. I made a clean pass into 4th when I pushed over a berm in turn 4 resulting in a three position loss with just one lap to go.” While most people would be bummed by getting bumped out of contention on the last lap, Benson will be back. “I had a blast this weekend and can't wait for the next round… Nothing compares to the door to door action of short course!”


“Qualifying for the SR1 class on Sunday went just like it did on Saturday,” claims Corry. “I was able to burn off the fastest qualifying lap once again in a very fast field. The top eight SR1s were all within .9 seconds of each other!” This parity places a premium on the SR1 start. “I knew I needed to get out front quickly, because if you don’t, it takes a tremendous amount of work to pass anyone in the top 5 or 6 cars.”


Her Honey Badger was up to the task. “My SR1 is so dialed in I feel like it is an extension of my body and it does anything I ask of it. We swept the SR1 class for the whole weekend and took three wins out of four races this weekend — I'll take it!” The only fly in the ointment was the last Production 1000 race on Sunday. “I was in second and getting ready to make a pass for the lead when an electrical issue from my rollover on Saturday killed my motor. I had to fight those issues the rest of the race. Still finished and happy that Dustin Nelson was able to take the win in his Yamaha YXZ1000.”


Meanwhile in a bit of redemption from getting taken out after being fast qualifier on Saturday, Bobby VanBeekum bounced back. He set second fastest qualifying time on Sunday and demonstrated why he is the defending champ in the Production 1000 class putting his Polaris RZR into second just behind Dustin Nelson, nearly three seconds clear of third place. “It was definitely a mixed bag in terms of results, but it was a blast,” he concludes.


There is now a break in the Lucas Oil Arizona Regional Series. Rounds #5 & #6 are set for May 6th and 7th at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.



By The Numbers:

Ken Benson SR1 Qualifying Position:

Saturday 5th, Sunday 7th

Made one lap on Saturday after almost missing qualifying!

Finish Position:

Saturday 5th, Sunday 7th


Ken Benson Production 1000 Qualifying Position:

Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th

Finish Position:

Saturday 7th, Sunday 4th


Robert VanBeekum Production 1000 Qualifying Position:

Saturday 1st, Sunday 2nd

Finish Position:

Saturday 10th, Sunday 2nd


Corry Weller SR1 Qualifying Position:

Saturday 1st, Sunday 1st

Finish Position:

Saturday 1st, Sunday 1st


Corry Weller Production 1000 Qualifying Position:

Saturday 2nd, Sunday 6th

Finish Position:

Saturday 1st, Sunday 6th

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