Ensenada, Baja California Mexico
Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. loves HotSauce; that’s how he got his nickname. Judging by the crowds at his pit and the number of posters and stickers handed out at the Lucas Oil Off Road, Rockstar Energy, Battle South Of The Border at the Baja International Short Course track in Estero Beach, the fans in Baja love HotSauce too. In an unprecedented move that was made possible by Rockstar Energy, the Ensenada based Papas&Beer team of Rodrigo Ampudia and Lucas Oil, rounds 11 and 12 of the series were held at Estero Beach resort in Ensenada, Baja Mexico. The brand new track got mixed reviews from the drivers but the fans loved it.
“The fans were real motor heads,” said HotSauce, “They were really interested in our team and loved my Competitive Metals, Bilstein, ORW, Mickey Thompson Tires, ReplayXD, SPY, Lucas Oil, Bink Designs, Alumi Craft Pro Buggy. We handed out every poster and sticker we had to the friendly fans that came out to the race.
The track at Estero Beach was crazy; I’ve never seen so much crashing and action. The sand was deep; there was a lot of roost and deep ruts. On Saturday, I got crossed up in some ruts and went sideways. I landed on the sidewall and peeled a tire off the rim. The tire was fine but the bead was off the rim giving me a flat. We were not sure what tire to run but Mickey Thompson hooked us up with a real aggressive tread.”
The Competitive Metals team changed the wheel quickly in the hot pits but it was under the green flag so HotSauce went a lap down. He finished round 11 in 7th place. With some valuable track time, the team knew what to do in round 12.
During qualifying for round 12 on Sunday, HotSauce ran the 2nd fastest time on Lap one. They had the car dialed in for the rough sandy track. During the race, HotSauce was in an intense battle up front with Kevin McCullough and Mike Valentine. “McCullough and I were going back and forth for the lead,” said HotSauce, “I was trying all different lines, the roost was blinding.
I was going through tear-offs and it was tough hitting my braking points in the corners; I missed a few. We came real close to taking another win. We had bad luck on Saturday but we came back and got ‘em back on Sunday.” HotSauce earned another podium in round 12, he finished in 3rd place. His results moved him up in the season long points standings too; only 7 points back from 3rd place.
Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. will be right back on the track Aug 22 – 23 at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, Nevada. The track is super-fast with big elevation changes and tricky corners. It will be another exciting race for HotSauce. Come out to the race or go to: http://darrenhardestyjr.com/ for the latest news and information about Darren’s racing program.
Photography By: Bink Designs