Corry Weller/Tilted Kilt Go Big at Lake Elsinore w/LOORRS!
Rounds 3 and 4, April 21-22nd 2012
When fans walk through the front gates and into the pit area of a Lucas Oil Off Road Race, there is no mistaking whom female driver Corry Weller represents. If the massive black awning with the unmistakable Tilted Kilt shield logo doesn't give it away, the unique black and red plaid graphics on her 900HP, fire-breathing Pro-4 race truck will certainly do the trick. Given the amount of traffic and the lines that formed around the pit any time Corry was under the canopy, the Tilted Kilt/Maxxis Tires Pro-4 team is gaining popularity by leaps and bounds, and this past weekend at Lake Elsinore, CA was no exception.
With so many fans watching to see how one of their favorite drivers would perform in her second weekend of racing in the Pro 4 class, Weller knew she wanted to do well and make them proud.
"My first weekend of racing at Firebird, I was learning how to handle my truck with other trucks on the track, and I held back a bit because I didn't want to do anything stupid, or get in anyone's way for my first experience racing with everyone." explained Weller. "I was still learning truck control, and getting the hang of how big this truck really is. But, going into this weekend, I was just really excited to get back in the truck and step things up a bit, since the first race was over with and I had figured out what it was all going to be like."
With a successful practice behind her, Weller went out on Saturday and qualified .9 seconds off of the fastest qualifier, putting her in the same 49-second lap bracket as the top seven competitors in her class.
"My qualifying time on Saturday let me know that I was able to run in the pack already, and it gave me a lot of confidence going into Saturday's main." Weller said. "I got some high-fives from a few of my fellow Pro-4 racers, too, and that felt really good." she added.
With a mid-pack start for the main, Weller was off with the rest of the field as the green flag flew. While the track held up great in qualifying, it was already starting to show some signs of wear when Weller hit a rut in the sweeper only a few laps in, and flipped in spectacular fashion before ultimately landing back on her wheels. For a few breathless seconds, everyone wondered if she would be able to continue, but that concern was soon drowned out with a roar of the engine as she fired her truck back up, and took off after the field to stay on the lead lap, shedding body panels as she went.
"I had a lot of people worried about me after my roll, but I have always been the type to drag myself out of the dirt if I crashed racing MX, get back on my quad, bend my levers back and finish my race, no matter what." explained Weller. "That roll probably looked worse than it was - I was just really kind of angry with myself for letting it happen, and I knew I had to really charge hard to make up for it."
From the restart through the remainder of the race, Weller was determined and focused not to make any more mistakes, as she worked her way through the field and eventually into third place. When a sudden roadblock in the turn before the whoops appeared, Weller had to dodge quickly to try to squeeze through several trucks who had spun out, but she was clipped by another truck and spun sideways, losing her chance to get through unscathed. She spun her truck back around as fast as she could and took off after third, but ran out of time before the checkers to challenge him for the position. Despite her early rollover, Weller had charged from the very back of the field into a solid fourth place finish in only her second weekend of racing in the Pro-4 class.
Anyone who had any doubts about her jump from UTVs into the big trucks could rest assured that she would do just fine, as her crew got busy checking her truck over and getting it ready for one more day of racing.
Sunday morning saw the Tilted Kilt/Maxxis Tires/N-FAB Pro-4 looking good as new and ready for qualifying. Weller was only able to get one full lap in, however, due to a mechanical steering failure, but her one lap still put her in the 9th position for the main.
"I am really feeling comfortable in my truck now, and it's a great feeling to be able to focus more on the race, and less on the actual mechanics of just driving the truck. This is where I had wanted to be by mid-season, and the fact that I'm already getting there is more than I could have hoped for!"
When the green flag dropped for Sunday's race, Weller's strategy was to stay close to the pack, but not too close, until everyone was through turn three safely. Her plans went out the window, however, when her left front axle broke and she found herself facing backwards on the track.
She got turned back around and made her run for the field, but quickly found out that power being put to the ground by only three axles made turns and jumps very unpredictable, and she would have to be very careful for the remainder of the race. Careful doesn’t always mean slow, however, and Weller hauled the mail and still managed to pull off a number of passes, until she was able to cross the checkers in 7th place overall.
"After the races, I had a couple of people tell me to keep my chin up, but honestly, I am really happy with how this whole weekend turned out." commented Weller. "Even with a rollover, and some of the other issues we had, we still performed above our expectations coming into this weekend. The truck is great, my team is great, the track was fun. I mean, this is my second weekend racing in this class, and I almost had a podium! Who could be bummed about that?" she added.
Look for the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series to head back to the "Valley of the Sun" for the weekend of May 19 - 20 for Rounds 5 & 6, as the series returns to Speedworld Offroad Park in Surprise, AZ for the first time in 2012. Also, don't forget to tune into SPEED at 2:30PM ET on Saturday, April 28th, for coverage of the first rounds of the 2012 season from Firebird Raceway. See you at the races!
Corry Weller is sponsored by:
Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery - Maxxis Tires - Lucas Oil - N-FAB - Eclipse RV - SPARCO USA - HJC Motorsports - Weller Racing
** N-FAB is a proud sponsor of Corry Weller, and we wish her luck as she continues to compete for the 2012 LOORRS season! **