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LUCAS OIL REGIONALS – GLEN HELEN, CA RECAP

May 31, 2016

LUCAS OIL REGIONALS – ROUND 1 – GLEN HELEN,  CA

 

The last weekend in February marked Corry Weller's first foray into the second of three championship titles she is in contention for this season as Round #1 of the Lucas Oil Regional Series in SoCal was held at Glen Helen’s short-course track. “We had one of those rare race weekends with great weather, and it was a nice way to start out the So Cal season,” she says,

Production 1000

This would be my second race weekend in the YXZ, and my first race ever in the Production 1000 class in the California Series. This class is always huge, and I knew I needed to qualify well so I could get out of the mess that is mid-pack and back in the field for the actual race.

 

After Round 1 & 2 of the AZ Regionals, Jason and I spent a valuable testing day dialing in my setup and getting some seat time in on the YXZ, and that work paid off as I was able to take a solid, 2nd place qualifying time just behind my Yamaha teammate, Dustin Nelson. That gave me a ton of confidence going into the main event, as it was a way for me to judge my speed against the field of 21 entries.

 

With a 2-car inversion, I was able to start the race on the pole. I got a great start, and having clean air is a huge advantage on a wet track!  I was able to run some good lines and put a little space between me and a hard charging Polaris XP 1000. I ran some good laps, but made a mistake in turn 4 that left the door wide open for Nelson to get by me and take the lead.  He and I battled a bit, and then I just worked on racing smooth and making sure he and I took the top 2 positions on the podium in a field of Polaris XP1000s.  

 

When the checker’s flew, it was Yamaha 1-2 with Dustin in first and me in 2nd for the season opener at Glen Helen!

 

Glen Helen Rounds 2&3

This past weekend we made the drive out to Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park for Rounds 2 & 3 of the Lucas Oil Regional – So Cal Series.  We had spent the weekend prior doing some homework and getting in some valuable testing time, and felt we were more than ready to get out on the track and go head to head with the California racers.

 

ROUND 2

Qualifying

 

I started out in my Dragonfire Racing / Yamaha Motor USA YXZ1000R with a mid-field start for qualifying.  In CA the line-up for qualifying is first come, first serve, which makes it difficult to get a good starting position unless you park your vehicle in staging when the sun comes up.  Starting mid-pack I knew I had to find a way to either gap myself, or just start picking off cars in front of me until I could find a clean lap.  I chose to pick them off, and found myself weeding through a ton of traffic with over 25 UTVs on the track at the same time.  Several times I got slammed into while making a pass by drivers who couldn’t seem to hold a line, but I still managed to burn off a solid 2nd place qualifying time, right behind fellow Yamaha driver, Dustin Nelson. 

 

Prod 1000: I got a great start in my YXZ and quickly moved into the lead, and started hitting my marks right away, pulling away from the rest of the field with each turn.  By the first caution flag, I had already gained a large lead, and wasn’t excited to see the yellow come out, since I knew it was take away the nice cushion I had just worked so hard to get.  I got a great start again, and started building my lead once again, when another caution came out a couple of laps later.  This time, on the restart, I noticed I was not pulling as hard as before, and suddenly I found myself fighting for position as well as control going into turn 2.  I quickly realized something was wrong, and struggled to stay in a podium position, even with a busted left rear axle.  I couldn’t hold a top three, but fought for the rest of the race and wound up still finishing in 6th place overall.  Upon further inspection and some post-race CSI work, we determined that the cause of the broken axle was the hard contact I received in qualifying to the left rear wheel and tire.  We determined that it started the damage that finally ultimately showed itself halfway through the main. Fortunately, the YXZ is a tough machine and the three remaining axles and CVs held up to the extra abuse I gave it as I raced the rest of our race!

 

CORRY WELLER RACE REPORT

LUCAS OIL REGIONALS – ROUND 4 CALIFORNIA – GLEN HELEN RACEWAY

 

ROUND 4

 

With less than a week between race weekends to get our DragonFire / Yamaha YXZ1000R and Optima Batteries SR1 cleaned, prepped and ready to race again, we were lucky that we didn’t have a lot of prep work to do after last weekend’s races.   We washed and detailed both cars at the track last weekend before we even packed up and went home, so it was just a matter of checking both cars out, swapping out some fresh Maxxis tires, and doing a basic oil change/filter cleaning before we packed them both back into the trailer to head to Glen Helen Raceway for Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Regional CA Series.

 

Production 1000

 

After practice on Friday, I knew the track was going to be loamy, deep and full of ruts on the outside, and blue groove on the inside lines.  The wall of dirt on the outside in turn 4 would prove interesting the whole day, but it wound up being one of my favorite turns because it was so challenging!   

 

Qualifying went very well, and I just worked on putting together a whole lap with no mistakes.  With 25 UTVs on the track at once, it can be difficult to get that fast later lap with lap traffic, but I pulled off some clean passes and got the fastest lap time in Prod 1000.  My spotter drew a 4, which would put me on the second row, outside.

 

We made a couple minor tweaks before the race, but the YXZ was handling so well we didn’t really have to do much.  Having a manual transmission on a track like this was a big advantage, because I could get wheel spin when I needed it to help slide through the ruts instead of getting caught up in them.  I would be starting next to my fellow Yamaha racer, Dustin Nelson, and I knew it would be a mad rush between the two of us for one of us to get to the front first!  

 

When the flag dropped, I got a nice start and immediately began looking for a way around the Yamaha in front of me.  When he went inside in turn two, I went high and pulled into 2nd place pretty quickly behind Hammel, with Nelson right behind me.  

 

With the track so rutted, there were plenty of rollovers, and a caution came out pretty early on.  I knew that was my chance to get around Hammel, who tends to block pretty aggressively, so at the drop of the green, I stayed on him until I had a chance to set him up for turn 4.  I pulled up along his outside going in, and kept him tight to his line, despite him hitting me and trying to push me out, as I railed the outside and passed him on the exit.  With clean air, I just put my head down and raced my lines as fast as I could.

 

With Nelson getting around 3rd place quickly, I had no room for mistakes if I wanted to take this win.  I had to change up my lines as the track dried out and the traction changed, but despite some really hard charges from Nelson throughout the remainder of the race, I was able to run my race the way I wanted and won another Prod 1000 round!  Nelson finished in 2nd, with another YXZ in 3rd for another all-Yamaha podium!

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After years of researching and developing the best products in the industry, DragonFire has taken UTV’s to the next level. Superior technology and innovation are incorporated into all of our products. The DragonFire team consists of industry experts in multiple disciplines, which leads to unsurpassed quality, performance and usability.