After nearly two decades of desert racing preeminence, a career that lists 92 short track victories and seven national championships at the top of an awe-inspiring list of accomplishments, Carl Renezeder has no immediate plans of resting on laurels anytime soon. It wouldn't be his style anyway. In fact, to the dismay of his competition, all indications show he may just be reaching full stride.
In the opening rounds of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series at Firebird International Raceway Team Renezeder kicked off the 2011 season with three podium finishes.
Renezeder says he's not looking ahead at possibly reaching the 100 win mark this season; he is in fact looking no further than number 93 at this point.
In the opening rounds of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series contested at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona, the AEM sponsored Renezeder brought home a second and a sixth-place finish in the Pro-2 class, and a pair of podiums with a second and third in his Lucas Oil/General Tire Pro-4 effort.
"Obviously, our goal is to put a mark in the win column each time we go out there, but if we don't get that done, it's nice to keep DNFs off the books as well," remarked Renezeder. "Not finishing a race digs you into a hole that can be hard to climb back out of as the year progresses. I'm happy with some of the changes we've made on the trucks for this year, and I'm confident about the rest of our season."
Without a number-one plate on either of his trucks since back in 2004, Renezeder insists he’s more determined than ever this year.
Asked if he could touch on some of changes that were made to his trucks Renezeder replies, "I wish I could go in depth on a lot of that stuff, but there is so much proprietary information among each team these days that we really need to keep it close to us. As with any team, we're continually searching for as much forward traction and drive as possible, and we're always working on ways to get through the corners quickly."
At times during the race at Firebird it appeared as though Renezeder had a target painted on his truck, as he got hammered on several occasions in the Pro-4 race. Each time he was bumped though, he worked his way back toward the front, until he ran out of time to chase down the top two spots, salvaging a solid third-place finish.
In the Pro-2 race however Renezeder didn't fair quite as well, with nearly half the race remaining, Renezeder had to baby a broken truck to the finish. Incidental contact broke the upper a-arm on the front left corner, forcing him to limp it around the track for as long as it would hold. With that in mind his sixth place was an impressive result.
"Our kind of racing has inherent contact" commented Renezeder. "You can't run this hard, on this small of a course, with constantly changing surfaces, without having some incidental contact. However, there are some guys that aim a bumper at you, and that's frustrating. It's not racing when that happens. I avoid contact as much as possible, mostly for selfish reasons - I don't want to do anything that could damage my truck. But, I'm sure some opening round adrenaline plays into some of the extra bumping and banging that we saw that weekend. I'm just glad we avoided the majority of it."
Renezeder says that even after all these years of racing success he still approaches each new season as he always has.
"We don't approach it any differently. In fact, without a number-one on one of our trucks for the first time since 2004, we're hungrier than ever to win races and grab a championship, or two. We worked hard in the short off-season developing new stuff with our trucks, in hopes of getting them faster, and we'll continue to R&D throughout the season."
Although it would be reasonable to assume Renezeder might be looking ahead towards reaching the milestone 100 win mark, he says he resists that temptation.
"At the moment our eye is on win number 93. We're just keeping our heads down and working hard at getting it all to fall into place. It's not easy to win in any professional sport, and the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series is no exception. If you're on the top of the podium, you've done something special."
When discussing what's up next for Team Renezeder he quips, "Like Dory says in Finding Nemo - just keep swimming - we're on the right path." Adding, "Can you tell I have four kids?"
"We just need to keep working hard. We're so grateful for the team that surrounds us - companies like AEM, Lucas Oil, General Tire, Team Associated, KMC, King, Magnaflow...I wish I had the space to mention them all, because it's the entire program that makes us successful. It's going to be a great season for all of us!"
The next race for Team Renezeder is at Speedworld in Surprise, Arizona, the weekend of April 16 and 17.
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