San Bernardino, CA
Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr made a tough choice to move up to a Pro Buggy at the end of last season. The Alumi Craft open wheeled car is a huge departure from the Trophy Kart Darren has raced for years. The competition has been just as fierce but banging wheels and rubbing fenders are now a thing of the past. Even slight touching of wheels in an opened wheel car can be disastrous. Luckily for Darren, he is a well disciplined and capable driver. The new car will take some getting used to but his performance at the opening round of the Lucas Oil Regional Series bodes well for his transition into the Pro Buggy ranks.
Darren had a productive practice session on Friday before the race; little was needed to get his Competitive Metals, Bilstein, ORW, Mickey Thompson, RePlay XD, SPY, Bink Designs, Lucas Oil Alumi Craft ready to qualify. “I am still getting used to shifting the car,” said Hotsauce, “But I feel comfortable enough to drive it hard; my Mickey Thompson tires were hooking up!
HotSauce was very hooked up and he didn’t even know it. After his qualifying session, Darren Hardesty Sr. asked him if he was driving at the limit or just a comfortable pace. HotSauce admitted he was struggling with the shifter but felt pretty good in the car. Darren Sr. then told him it was good because, he had qualified first. “I thought no way,” said HotSauce, “My Dad told me I could start in the back if I wanted. I was a little nervous about getting through turn one with the field behind me but I decided to go for it.”
Darren held his own through turn one and settled into a good pace. As the caution flag came out on lap four, He lost 4th gear in his transmission. “I could not get it in 4th gear,” says HotSauce, “I had to run flat out in 3rd banging against the rev limiter.” Despite his transmission issues, Darren went on to finish the race on the podium in 3rd place. “I am really happy with our results. We have the transmission out for repairs; I’m really excited to get to the next round. The car is fast and has great forward bite. With more seat time, I will get used to putting the car in gear and downshifting.”
Darren will be back in action March 7-8 in Lake Elsinore, CA for rounds 2&3 of the Lucas Oil Regional Series. The track in Lake Elsinore is known for its huge jumps and tricky corners. Darren will be put to the test once more in his Competitive Metals Alumi Craft Pro Buggy.