Story & Photos By: Brandon Bunch
It’s crazy to think that the year 2021 has gone by so fast, as here we are in November, just after the season finale of the Texas Outlaw Series at Texplex Park in Midlothian, TX. The $200,000 series purse has attracted racers from all over the country, with $30,000 going to each winner of the Pro Turbo and Pro N/A classes. We’ve seen the likes of Ronnie Anderson, Kainan Baker, Cross Kirchmeier, and Collin Truett go to battle in the Pro N/A class, while the Pro Turbo class has had Cody and Hunter Miller trading wins back and forth with Kyle Chaney and Ronnie Anderson in the mix as well—and both class championships were decided in these final two rounds.
Heavy rain leading into the weekend left both the track and the pits a mushy mess, and racers had a hard time just getting to their spots without getting stuck. The typical Friday practice and qualifying was cancelled as workers did their best to get water off the track, while also compacting the roads through the pits to aid the racers rolling in. By the end of the day, it was clear racers were antsy to get the action moving on track.
A quick practice session finally kicked off early Saturday morning, and racers got to work feeling out the track. It was still slick and soft in spots, but was set to develop into a competitive racing surface. Practice was a good look at the track for most, however Ronnie Anderson had another stroke of bad luck as the engine in his Pro N/A RS1 let go on the first lap leaving us wondering if the championship would be lost before the racing even began…
The Pro classes began racing with the Pro Turbo class early in the day with Moto 1 split up into two separate heats, with two separate starts. Cody Miller and Kyle Chaney went to battle in the first heat with Chaney getting the better of the two with Collin Truett finishing on the podium in third, but it was Ronnie Anderson again having bad luck. Anderson took the outside line of the split first corner, while Jordan Berza put it up on two wheels on the inside line, and recovered only to launch over the berm right onto Anderson’s RZR Turbo S ending his race early. Heat 2 featured Myles Cheek taking the holeshot, with Kory Willis and Hunter Miller giving chase. The three battled through the race, but it was Miller and Cheek fighting for the lead on the last lap before Cheek suffered a mechanical failure handing the win to Miller.
The Pro Turbo main event was set to be a thriller, as a win by Cody Miller meant him securing the championship with one round left to go. When the green flag dropped, it was Cody Miller who took the holeshot with his brother Hunter right on his tail, and they were nose to tail for the whole moto. At the competition caution, the two brothers had a big lead over Kory Willis in third, and as the green flag dropped they stretched it out again.
With $30,000 on the line, it was Hunter’s last chance to bring the championship fight to the last round. Despite all efforts, Cody was able to dive back under Hunter in the final corner on the last lap to take the win in both the race, and the 2021 Texas Outlaw Series Pro Turbo Championship. The stoke was high, and the champagne was definitely flowing as the whole team got in on the celebrations.
It was a different story in the Pro N/A class, with the points race coming down to a fight between 13 year old Kainan Baker, and Ronnie Anderson. As mentioned earlier, Ronnie suffered an engine failure in practice that morning, but was saved by the Cheek family allowing him to run Myles’s RS1 for the weekend in order to stay in the fight for the championship.
Moto 1 of the day saw Kainan nail the holeshot and run to the finish in first place, with Ronnie seconds behind, but not quite close enough to challenge for the lead in his borrowed RS1. In the second and final moto of the day, Kainan again grabbed the holeshot and held the lead all the way to the finish even through the competition caution. Ronnie again was not so lucky, as issues set in with three laps to go and he fell off the pace dropping back to 6th place by the finish. The not-ideal finish for Ronnie left him 5th for the day in the combined moto score, and gave Kainan a 3-point lead going into the final round on Sunday.
The final day of racing kicked off bright and early with a sight lap, as track workers stayed up through the night grooming the track and changing up the configuration to give racers an additional challenge for the day. The track was made longer through the changes, so the number of laps was reduced to compensate for the difference. The change actually produced overall shorter races, and much of the added track was a bit more narrow creating a tougher time for those needing to come through the pack.
With the Pro Turbo class championship settled in the previous day, racers were set to give it their all trying to grab a race win—with nothing to lose. In Moto 1, which again contained the separate Heat 1 and Heat 2 starts, Cody Miller took the holeshot in Heat 1 and set the fastest lap of the moto on his way to another win with Kory Willis back in 2nd place, but not without suffering from a failing front differential at the end of the race. In Heat 2, Kyle Chaney took a demanding holeshot and ran away to a 1st place win, with Cody Taylor finishing 2nd while running a good pace thanks to some needed car setup changes. Corbin Leaverton finished a solid 3rd, while Hunter Miller grenaded his front differential on the first lap and finished 4th.
In the final Pro Turbo Moto of the year, Kyle Chaney took the holeshot and again ran away from the pack to win the race and the overall. Cody Taylor battled with Cody Miller who broke a spindle early in the race, and then stayed ahead of the battle for third between Hunter Miller and Kory Willis. Hunter took third by the end of the race after Kory blew one of the high speed sweeping corners, but Kory’s 4th place finish in Moto 2 put him on the podium in the overall standings. With Kyle Chaney, Cody Taylor, and Kory Willis standing on the podium, this was the only round of the year that did not feature a Miller brother standing on one of the steps. Chaney’s win put him in 3rd place for the final championship standings behind the two Miller brothers.
While the final Pro Turbo motos did not lack any excitement, the race for the Pro N/A championship was set to be a real nail-biter. Moto 1 kicked off with Kainan Baker once again taking the holeshot, while Ronnie Anderson exited the first corner back in 4th place. By the time they came around for the 2nd lap, Ronnie was up in the lead with Kainan back in 3rd place and Robert Stout was between the two in 2nd place. Ronnie crossed the finish line in 1st place on the last lap, with Kainan in 2nd after getting around Stout who finished third, and first time pro racer Chase Carr finished in 4th place.
You could feel the tension on the line as racers readied themselves to set off for Moto 2, as this was the race that would decide who was taking home the $30,000 prize—and also the glory of a championship win. When the green flag dropped, Robert Stout ended up pulling the holeshot, with Kainan in 2nd, the newcomer Chase Carr in 3rd, and Ronnie Anderson in 4th. Going onto the second lap, Anderson had already pushed his way up to 2nd place while Kainan and Chase were locked into a battle over 3rd.
Everyone held their positions until the 4th lap when disaster struck for Kainan Baker, as his right rear wheel bearing let go, taking him out of contention in the race. He dropped back to last place and stayed on track to get a finish, but it wasn’t enough as Ronnie Anderson crossed the finish line in 2nd place taking the overall win, and clinched the championship by only 4 points. Robert Stout just about drove the wheels off his YXZ on the way to the moto win, and even had his radiator pop at the podium, while Chase Carr landed on the podium in 3rd place.
The season at Texplex couldn’t have been any more brutal for all racers involved, but it just made it that much sweeter for the champions at the end of the year. Cody Miller and Ronnie Anderson survived the eleven round season best, and each took home that $30,000 prize—and the pride of being the fastest Outlaws in Texas.