Lake Elsinore, CA
Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. has inspired many fans with his performance on the track in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Racing in the ultra-competitive Pro Buggy class, race wins and podiums are hard earned. In rounds 3 and 4 at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park in Lake Elsinore, CA, his crew was doing everything possible to make him faster but he was harassed by those strange gremlins that can come out of nowhere. During qualifying for round 3, a rock clipped his brake line. The Pro Buggies are so light, they have to use their brakes to get the cars to turn. A lever in the car controls the brakes on the left or the right side; it’s called a cutting brake. With both brakes applied on one side, the car pivots to that side. With no brake pressure, the cutting brake does not work and the car does not turn. The result for HotSauce was an 11th place qualifying position.
During the race, he put his head down and charged towards the front. That’s when he pulled off “the pass.” So much is happening in the car during a race; it’s sliding around, there is much more contact than most know, and the whole time you are trying to read the track and anticipate the actions of the cars around you. Split second decisions have huge consequences.
HotSauce saw a tiny sliver of space and he went for it! He dove to the inside of the corner, slayed the turn, and slid up the track in front of five other cars. He picked up five positions in one turn. The cars he passed banged his rear bumper, but the pass was made and the crowd went wild. He went on to finish 5th and then moved up to 4th when another competitor was disqualified in post-race technical inspection.
“I heard it looked pretty cool,” said HotSauce about the pass, “When you see a gap, you have to go for it. With the support we get from Bilstein, Off Road Warehouse, Mickey Thompson Tires, Impact Safety, Lucas Oil Products, Bink Designs, Alumi Craft Race Cars, Black Rhino, RacerX, and USA Wheels, I have nothing but confidence in the car.” The points gained in that round put Darren in a three-way tie in the points standings; moving him from 13th to 8th with a long season still ahead.
In round 4, HotSauce was fast in qualifying; running the second fastest time. During the warm-up lap for the race, he smelled fuel so he ducked into the hot pits so the crew could take a look. That sent him to the back of the field. After the green flag flew, the car started popping and was down on power. The car stalled in a corner but HotSauce was quick to save it and get re-fired. He was losing positions but was determined to get the car across the finish line. Benefitting from his never give up attitude, HotSauce kept moving while other drivers ahead of him dropped out. He crossed the line in sixth place salvaging more points towards the championship.
“Mike Porter from Redline Performance diagnosed the problem,” said HotSauce, “It was a cam position sensor. Those are the types of things you just can’t plan for. We are happy with our results from Lake Elsinore and are excited to get to Utah next. I got my first Pro Buggy win there. I love the drive there, I love the track, I like everything about it. It’s tight and very technical; I like that.” Rounds 5 and 6 are on May 21st and 22nd at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, UT. Come out and watch “HotSauce” in person or stay up with the latest news and information about Darren’s racing at: http://darrenhardestyjr.com/ where you will find fan information, race reports, photos, videos and much more.
Photography By: Bink Designs