CORONA, CA (January 30, 2019) - Robert Stout has perhaps one of the most-diversified portfolios on the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
Considering how the Indiana native has excelled in most every kind of vehicle he's raced during a 12-year career. It's no surprise he proved a quick study, winning 2018 LOORRS Production 1000 UTV Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
"We walked away happy with our year and satisfied with everything," Stout said recently. "The only thing missing, we never did get ourselves a win. But other than that, we had just about as good a year as we could have hoped, for being new."
Stout, 26, finished fourth overall in Production 1000 UTV points. He had three podium finishes in 11 starts and is looking forward to chasing a championship in the class in 2019.
That would add to a resume that includes two-time national champion and driver of the year in professional Sports Cars; including the Mazda MX-5 Cup in which he also plans to compete again full time this year. Stout also has driven Winged Sprint Cars along with Indy Lights cars during his career.
He's won at a lot of venues, including the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he kissed the bricks after a Global MX-5 Cup win on Father's Day 2017.
But other than a dabble with a Pro Buggy racing in 2014, Stout never had raced Off Road vehicles prior to last season. Why did he think it was the right time?
Stout was a big fan of the style of racing, for starters.
"I love Sports-Car racing. It's what I've spent my whole life doing and training for and working on," he said. "Off Road is something I've been coming to the races for so long. I've always loved it and always wanted to run it.
"All of a sudden, the Production 1000 UTV came within sight. It's probably the most-affordable form of racing you can do that still offers a full TV (coverage) package. That alone sells itself. On top of that, it has manufacturer involvement."
"At this point in my career, I have no Plan B. I've committed my life to racing. The reason I'm running (Sports Cars) in the Mazda MX-5 Cup, is the manufacturer's involvement. They offer you a way to move up to the next level. If you win the Cup, they fund you to move on."
Stout said Production 1000 UTV, with its strong backing from various manufacturers makes the class particularly appealing.
This year, he looks to again have sponsorship backing from Tommy Thompson Motorsports and Magic Dry absorbent to make a run at dethroning Brock Heger from the top spot.
"Now that I've run all these tracks before, and we've made strides in the development of the car, I feel confident that we're going to be one of the main contenders," Stout said. "I've been training harder than ever before. Those races can be physically exhausting. Those cars can be a handful to steer. I'm blown away with how much a 15-lap race can wear on you in one of those cars.
"But I feel really good knowing the car, knowing the tracks and knowing my competitors. And having almost a year working with Paul (Yaw) and his suspensions, I feel we're going to be a contender."
Stout, who's from Brownsburg, Indiana, but resides much of the year in Palm Springs, California, said an ideal circumstance would be to secure enough funding to run both Production 1000 UTV and Turbo UTV in the same Yamaha manufactured vehicle.
"If all goes well, maybe we can expand as the year goes on," he said.
Either way, he looks forward to being a part of the thrills and spills of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series for a second straight year.
"I had been a spectator and fan for over 10 years," he said. "To be a part of the show now is awesome … not only to be involved in it, but to be a contender for a win every time we show up."
Story by Lyndal Scranton
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Production 1000 UTV division:
The Production 1000 UTV two-seat class is for Stock 1000 cc motors with 80-110 horsepower. Minimum overall width of the vehicle is 70.5 inches. Minimum weight for RZR, Arctic Cat and Can Am is 1,610 pounds (including driver); for Yamaha the minimum weight is 1,780 pounds (including driver). Production 1000 UTV car numbers are 900-999.
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the Midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a West Coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four-wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Our events can be seen on CBS, CBS Sports Network, and MAVTV. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course! For more information, please visit www.LucasOilOffRoad.com and be sure to sign up for our newsletter in our Newsletter Signup section of the home page.