Carl Renezeder Claims Most National Titles in 2011 and his Eighth Championship

Carl Renezeder proves that good-guys do indeed finish first.
Carl Renezeder proves that good-guys do indeed finish first.
The headline alone is staggering. Yet it doesn't nearly tell the entire tale of Carl Renezeder, the veteran racer with the enormous heart of a champion. Renezeder is an old-school driver, which is to say he respects the sport and other competitors, in a manner that's too often still unfamiliar ground for some newbies. Clean driving isn't something he has to think about; it's in his DNA. A win that isn't rightfully earned rings hollow to his way of thinking. After an amazing 2nd place finish in his Pro-2 truck in the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup in Arizona, officials there made a baffling decision to take it away from him. We'll get back to that in a bit, but first let's celebrate all the incredible positives 2011 held for Renezeder.

The 2011 Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing season hosted Carl Renezeder's phenomenal run to his eighth championship. He finished on the podium 14 out of 15 races, with three wins, nine 2nd place finishes, two 3rd place finishes, and one 4th place. The winningest driver in the short-course off-road world now also has the most national titles of any short-course driver in the history of the sport.
AEM's Carl Renezeder inked his name in the record books with his epic 97th race victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
AEM's Carl Renezeder inked his name in the record books with his epic 97th race victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


After winning his 97th race last month and mathematically sewing up his eighth title Renezeder told AEM News, "In the last six years, 2010 was the first season that we didn't win a championship so it feels really good to get one back. The best part of this Pro-4 championship is that we were not only consistent in finishes, but we were always competitive. We've been on the podium in all but one race so far this season - it felt like a championship truck all year. I'd have to go back and look at the stats, but in all my years of doing this, I don't think we've ever had such consistent finishes in one class."

Renezeder maintains that all 97 victories have been hard-fought, but his epic battle at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in November, which paid tribute to the late Rick Huseman, will not be forgotten for a very long time. "The best way for us as drivers to honor Rick was to dig deep and battle hard," said Renezeder after the win. "That's exactly what I did and I'm incredibly proud of my entire team for the trucks they gave me this weekend, and our eighth championship."
After winning his eighth national championship Renezeder commented that he couldn't remember having a more consistent season in one class as he had in 2011.
After winning his eighth national championship Renezeder commented that he couldn't remember having a more consistent season in one class as he had in 2011.


Yet even all those stats and the garland of champion's roses around his neck couldn't lift the spirits of Renezeder and his team when his 2nd place finish in his Pro-2 truck in the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup was taken. Going into the race the AEM sponsored driver remarked, "The entire team has a lot of confidence going into the last race weekend. The pressure is off for the championships, so we can just go out there and have fun and try to win some more hardware for the trophy case and some cash for Christmas presents."

Renezeder decided to take a chance in Sunday's race by choosing his Pro-2 truck over the quicker lap times of his Pro-4 truck. "We had a mechanical failure in the Pro-2 on Saturday early in the race, and I never got a chance to run it hard," explained Renezeder. "I just felt like the truck had something left to prove this season."
In winning his eighth title Renezeder now has the most national titles of any short-course driver in the history of the sport.
In winning his eighth title Renezeder now has the most national titles of any short-course driver in the history of the sport.


He was right. The truck was flawless and Renezeder drove his race, crossing the finish line in 2nd place after some classic on-track battles. He even led the race at one time. He held off some hard-charging Pro-4s, worked his way back forward after getting spun out mid-race, and then made a phenomenal save on the last lap when he was part of a three-truck collision to come across the line in 2nd place. The collision was reviewed by officials for several minutes while the drivers found their way to victory lane. The finishing order was announced and television interviews were conducted, with Renezeder being congratulated by CBS, Versus, SPEED and MavTV for his 2nd place finish. But before they paraded the drivers up onto the podium, the officials announced a change to the finishing order, black-flagging Renezeder, thus moving him back to a 9th place finish.

"I honestly don't understand it," commented a dejected Renezeder. "I feel bad for the team - we didn't deserve to have that taken away from us."

It's a tough way to finish out a great season and a great race. Renezeder always conducts himself with calculating skill and finesse on the track, but more importantly, he drives with an overwhelming will to win and the heart and soul of a true champion. While the 9th place finish was a hard pill to swallow, Renezeder and his team are trying not to let it dampen their spirits from celebrating their eighth championship season.

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