First race weekend of 2014
March 2014 - I wanted to be sure to give you a run-down of how our first race weekend for 2014 went while it was all still fresh in my head! :)
First, it is always a pretty big feat to get everything designed, redone, printed, wrapped, made, sewn, etc. for the start of a new season. Everything turned out really well, and I am stoked about it all. Our Optima trailer wrap looks great, my new helmet looks awesome, and my new suit from SPARCO came a day late, but it looks amazing as well! The truck turned out great, our crew shirts look awesome, and I was even able to whip out some team t-shirts for the crew to work in during the weekend.
We have been running the truck at the regionals for a couple of races and it has been doing so well -- it is really dialed in and I am feeling really good in it. I also know that I am just as good of a driver, if not better, than the guys I am running up against, and that confidence is a pretty good tool to have going into this season! I will be running much harder this year and mixing it up a lot more with everyone than I did last year, when we were still developing the truck.
LOORRS has compressed our race weekends into ONLY two days, meaning they have made it a huge challenge to have practice, qualifying, AND racing on the same day. This leaves very little time to make adjustments on the trucks or fix anything that gets broken, and it proved to be a huge challenge to even the biggest crews out there this past weekend. We have a solid crew, however, and we were able to have the truck ready to hit the track every time.
Our first day of practice, qualifying, and racing did not go as well as we had hoped, due to some distributor issues we had all day. During the race, I was running with the front of the pack despite my truck sputtering and
cutting in and out, and we had worked up to fourth in a very stacked field before the distributor rotor came completely apart and ended our run.
Sunday we continued to chase distributor and ignition issues in practice, but we had figured out most of it by race time. For the main, due to the heavy contact I took while making passes and charging to the front, I suffered a severely bent tie-rod, which toed in my front wheel badly, making it hard to turn OR go straight without the truck wanting to veer off. I figured it out enough to still run at a pretty good pace, and was actually making up a lot of places due to others dropping out or going slow for their own reasons. As I was racing on the last lap, trying to pick up one more position, the toe-in caused my truck to veer off of a small cliff on the front straight and flip a couple of times, giving the crowd and TV quite the spectacle. I was fine, due to some great safety equipment and a solid truck, and the truck just suffered some easily repairable damage. I also managed to pull off a 6th place finish!
The fans were amazing and we had a lot of TV cameras in and around our pits, including several on the truck for the duration of the weekend. We should be seeing some good footage on TV! :)
There is a California Regional race in two weeks, and we are going to try to get the truck ready to race that weekend, it is great seat time and it is at Elsinore, which is the track we are racing at for our next two rounds of LOORRS! So we will be busy getting everything fixed and ready to go for that over the next two weeks.
Here are a few photos from the weekend. I will have more as soon as they are sent to me.
P.S. Yes, that is Randy Johnson! He came out to shoot the race and now he wants to shoot for me anytime I am out here! :) I look like a midget - haha!
Once again leading the pack out for the final session track conditions were difficult to judge. Some corners still had standing water. With Josef hot on our heals we managed a banker of 1:26. Returning to the pits the live timing reported that Josef was ahead with a 1:25.9. It was time to take full advantage of the potent Torco Race fuel and turn up the boost a little. Back out onto the track and the car was flying, the power increase was incredible resulting in a great time of 1:22.6. Once again though the event had its casualties and the session was red flagged. Sitting in the queue to get back on track Paul and Steven made some adjustments to the car and provided some much needed coaching on using the brakes a little later and a little less. Out for the final few laps behind Josef we needed a clean line so down the back straight the Legacy let rip and provided that much needed space. A reasonably clean but cautious lap time of 1:21.3 flashed up on the AIMs MXS dash but it wasn't until the chequered flag and a return to the pits that our win was confirmed. What a result, another win on what could be considered our most challenging circuit of the Time Attack 2015 calendar.
Once again we showed the competition how much of an advantage Torco Fuels provide in Time Attack events.
WELLER ON THE PODIUM IN RENO!!
Chandler, AZ (AUG 27, 2013) When the #18 Optima Batteries / Tilted Kilt Pro 4 team left Glen Helen after a disappointing weekend of racing last month, plans were already being made on the drive home for the best way to rebound and come back even stronger the next time. Those plans worked well, because the #18 battled back and found a podium spot in Reno, NV for Round 11 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
"We knew we had to make some changes after Glen Helen," explained Weller. "We were literally working on the Reno race as we were driving home from that weekend. Short-course racing can be tough physically and mentally, so much of your success or failure stems from your ability to rebound and stay focused on what lies ahead."
Excited for a 2nd year of short-course racing in their city, the fans from Reno came out in full force, and the Optima Batteries/Tilted Kilt driver spent hours signing autographs and taking pictures with established and brand new fans of off-road racing, while her crew made sure her truck was ready for the weekend.
The team used Friday's practice and Saturday's qualifier to make changes and tune Weller's suspension for the huge, high speed jumps that the Wild West Motorsports Park is known for. When it came time to race on Saturday, Weller was ready.
Starting near the rear of the field, Weller had her work cut out for her, and at the drop of the green flag, she began her task of working through the pack. With the help of a few caution flags and some quick reflexes to avoid a few pile-ups, Weller found her groove and had worked her way up to third place at the final caution flag of the race. With a pack of Pro 4's behind her, she had one lap of furious racing to hold her position and take the podium, and hold it she did, crossing the finishline just behind multi-champion Carl Renezeder for a third place finish.
"It always feels good to get on the podium," said an elated Weller. "But to do it after such a rough previous round feels even better! It makes the long hours and really late nights of race prep and motor work totally worth it!"
"I needed this, my team needed this, and I love being able to thank my sponsors and give them some love on the podium and on TV!"
Sunday's race was looking to be a repeat of the previous round for the #18 Pro 4, but some unavoidable race contact in turn one due to some tangled trucks a few laps into the race had started damage to the rear of the truck that would ultimately end Weller's run in a fiery finish, as she was forced to pull off with only two laps to go, and third place in her sights.
"I could feel so much going wrong with the back of my truck," explained Weller, after the race. "But in this type of racing, sometimes you have to push it until it just won't go anymore, because every lap and every point counts, and I really wanted that podium again!"
With only three weeks left until the next two rounds, the team is already hard at work repairing the damage and making sure the #18 is ready to hit the track at the Las Vegas Motorsports Park for rounds 13 & 14 on September 20-22.
WELLER MOVES UP IN POINTS AT ELSINORE
Chandler, AZ (May 21, 2013) Coming off of some good momentum after an early-season podium in Las Vegas a few weeks before, the #18 Pro 4 Tilted Kilt / Optima Batteries team rolled into Lake Elsinore, CA with a truck prepared for battle.
"We are always making little changes here and there," explained Weller, before the race weekend. "We are working on reliability right now, so we have made some good changes to our motor and oiling system, and we have done some things with our drive that I'm excited to try out. When we get our reliability dialed in - and we are close - then we will work on finding more speed."
Weller's fan base is growing by leaps and bounds, and this was quite obvious by the long lines of race enthusiasts who would throng to her pits anytime she was available to talk, sign posters, and have her picture taken with her fans.
"I have the best fans," Weller commented. "Even if I don't have the best session in the truck, as soon as I get out I am greeted with big smiles and the nicest people who are just excited to be there at the races. Their enthusiasm is so contagious, and it constantly reminds me of just how great this sport really is."
Saturday's race was hailed as one of the most exciting races of the weekend, and Weller's #18 Tilted Kilt / Optima Batteries / Maxxis Tires Pro 4 was right in the mix after starting deep in the field, and after taking some serious hits throughout the race, she ended her all out battle for third place with Brandon Bailey in a door-banging drag race all the way to the checkered flag. She missed the podium by a fraction of a second, but you couldn't tell by the smile on her face as she climbed out of her truck.
"Racing hard is fun! No one likes to go out there and drive around the track by themselves.......when you are actually out there fighting for every inch with other drivers - that's when racing is the best!" explained Corry. "Yeah, I really wanted that podium, but we had the fans on their feet and screaming, and that's worth it right there!"
Sunday's race wouldn't be quite the nail-biter that Saturday's race was, but there were still some good battles on the track, and Weller made a run from the back of the field after a quick pit stop to check for some potential damage, and wound up with another fourth place finish when the checkers flew.
With two solid finishes for the weekend, her pair of fours unofficially moves her up to 4th place overall in the points standings for the Pro 4 class. With only a few points separating her from 3rd and even 2nd place, her goal of a top three finish this year is well within reach. If she can find the second or two she is looking for as her crew chief turns his focus now to speed, her goal of winning a race is also tantalizingly close.
"I know we have what it takes - our team, our truck, our driver - to get to the front of this field." said Jason Weller, Corry's Crew Chief / Husband. "Every round we get a little bit closer, and we are excited to see what we can bring to the table for our next race in Utah."
Watch for Rounds 5 and 6 on CBS, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, SPEED and MavTv in the coming weeks, as Corry Weller and her team get the #18 ready for Rounds 7 and 8, to be held at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT on June 22-23rd!
WELLER ON THE PODIUM IN LAS VEGAS!!
ROUNDS 3/4 OF THE LUCAS OIL OFFROAD RACING SERIES
Chandler, AZ (May 2, 2013) Corry Weller, the only female racer to tackle the rough and tumble Pro 4 class in the highly competitive Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series continued her streak of good luck at the Lucas Oil Off Road track in Las Vegas, NV with a solid third place finish in only her second weekend of the 2013 race season!
With a multitude of her sponsors present, such as Optima Batteries, Maxxis Tires, LoanMart, AIRAID, AED (all the way from Virginia), ADS Suspension, and FiberWerx, Weller wanted to be sure to give them a weekend to be proud of.
After struggling with a rough track in practice and qualifying, Weller turned up the heat in Round 3, and did what she needed to do to put her #18 Tilted Kilt/Optima Batteries Pro 4 truck on the podium. Fans watched anxiously when she bicycled hard early in the race, pulling off a great save, but putting her to the back of the field. With a hard charge, however, she found herself in third place before a late race caution flag bunched up the field.
"I knew I had Eric Barron right behind me, and I think Kyle LeDuc behind him, so on the final restart I just drove as hard as I could without making any mistakes."
Weller proceeded to pace the two champion drivers ahead of her as she and Barron gave spectators quite a show in their late race battle for third. Despite some contact with the #32 on the final lap, she held her position and rocketed across the finish line to claim her first podium finish of the season, and her third podium since moving up to the Pro 4 class last year.
"I wanted it." stated Weller, in a post-race interview. "It was right there in my hands, and I wanted it so badly for my team, for my sponsors, and for myself." She added, "I am a very competitive person, and I think people are starting to see that more and more, as we get this truck dialed in and I get more experience in this class."
Sunday's Round 4 would give Weller another opportunity to show her competitive side, as she lined up on the front row for the final race of the weekend, after a three row inversion.
"I love being in the front," Corry explained. "You don't realize how much of an advantage it is to have clean air until you experience being midpack on the start in one of these races! The roost is insane, and you are pulling tear-off after tear-off, while driving as fast as you can and trying to steer clear of the chaos. Being on the front row allows you to concentrate 100% on your lines, and it's a huge advantage."
When the green flag dropped, Weller jumped immediately into first place and proceeded to lead the charging field of veteran drivers for 5 laps, until a cut right rear tire began to slow her progress. Not realizing she had a flat, Weller drove her heart out, continuing to throw her truck into the left hand turns, and finding herself struggling for control and traction.
It wasn't until her tire blew completely apart that she realized what had happened, and after a quick stop in the hot pits for a tire change, she rejoined the last lap of the race and was able to salvage an 8th place finish.
"We had a great weekend," said Weller. "We had so many sponsors out here that were so pumped to see us on the podium, and then in the lead on Sunday. My crew gave me a great truck every time I hit the track, and my husband has been dialing in my setup, has built me a great motor, and is making some really effective changes.
"We are showing some of the speed that I know we have, and it's only going to get better as we progress through this season!"
Watch for Rounds 3 and 4 on CBS, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, SPEED and MavTv in the coming weeks, as Corry Weller and her team get the #18 ready for Rounds 5 and 6, to be held at Lake Elsinore, CA on May 18-19th! For weekend schedule and ticket information, visit www.lucasoiloffroad.com.
Keep an eye on Corry Weller by visiting her website at www.corryweller.com.
FIRST WEEKEND OF 2013 SEASON A SUCCESS FOR
PRO 4 #18 DRIVER CORRY WELLER
Chandler, AZ (March 29, 2013) The Tilted Kilt / Optima Batteries #18 Pro 4 truck and team of Corry Weller had a successful first weekend in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, in a class where just finishing a race is considered a good day.
Taking on the challenge of owning her own truck, and with her husband/crew chief, Jason Weller (Weller Racing) in charge of their first Pro 4 race team, the brand new #18 crew came into the first weekend of the 2013 short-course season fully prepared and ready to race. Sporting a similar design to last season's Tilted Kilt themed truck, there was an obvious change noted with the addition of new co-sponsor Optima Batteries, as the #18 rolled out onto the front straight for opening ceremonies during Round 1.
"We bought this truck from Carl Renezeder about a month before this first race weekend," explained Weller. "This is the truck that I raced all last year, so when it comes to me going out there and feeling comfortable right off the bat, this was the best choice for our program. This season, we are taking what we learned last year, and adding in some of the stuff we want to try this year in order to customize the truck a bit more to my driving style. This will be our year to learn what setup works best for me, what the truck can and can't handle, and for me to get out there and really push it."
She added, "We couldn't have done any of this without the Tilted Kilt coming on board for another year, and without Optima Batteries choosing to co-sponsor me this year. When I think about the faith these companies have in me and our program, as well as Maxxis, LoanMart, AIRAID, and all of my product sponsors, it really makes all of us want to work even harder to make them proud."
Weller certainly started her 2nd season in Pro 4 off well, as she was in the mix and working her way up through the field from a third row start within the first few laps of Round 1. Despite some damage from some early race contact, Weller drove hard and came away with a top 5 finish for the day!.
Sunday's Round 2 race saw Weller with another third row start, and she was looking to use the lines she had found in qualifying to get her to the front as quickly as possible. When the green flag dropped, she surged into turn one with the field, and kept on pace until her truck suffered another crippling blow from a competitor. With a quick trip to the hot pits to see what the damage was, she was back out on the track and drove her truck to an 8th place finish, putting the cap on the first race weekend of the 2013 season.
"For our first race weekend doing it all on our own, we consider it a successful weekend." said Corry's crew chief/husband, Jason Weller. "We finished every practice, every qualifier, and every race - we had a ton of fans, sponsors, and media in and around our pits all weekend, and when it comes down to it, it's that interraction and exposure that we are working so hard for. The speed and the wins will come - it's the ability to market our sponsors and connect with our fans that allows us to be here and race and go get those future wins."
Watch for Rounds 1 and 2 on CBS, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, SPEED and MavTv in the coming weeks, as Corry Weller and her team get the #18 ready for Rounds 3 and 4, to be held in Las Vegas, NV on April 27-28th.