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July 31, 2017

HotSauce Goes Good On Everything At LOORRS Wheatland Opener

HotSauce Goes Good On Everything At LOORRS Wheatland Opener

Wheatland, Missouri

Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. was very fast from the moment he unloaded at the brand new offroad track constructed at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri. Rounds 7 and 8 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series would take place on this unique new track that is unlike any other on the circuit. The track is large; measuring 1.2 miles in length. It has huge table-top jumps, a tunnel where the course crosses, and a challenging whoops section that puts the suspension and shocks to a test.

Darren Hardesty Jr, Bilstein, Lucas Oil Speedway, Bink Designs, Off Road Warehouse

Most importantly, it has 9 corners that vary from a wide-open Talladega style turn to a tight s-turn where the cars have to funnel down to single file. Since nobody had raced on the track, it was a crap shoot as to what type of set-up to run on their cars.

Darren Hardesty Jr, HotSauce, Alumi Craft Pro Buggy, Bilstein, Lucas Oil Off Road, Wheatland, Mickey Thompson Tires, Bink Designs

“The track is challenging,” says Darren, “I almost crashed a couple times during practice but my BilsteinOff Road WarehouseMickey Thompson TiresAlumi Craft was fast during all three practice sessions.” In fact, during practice session 3, HotSauce was nearly a full second faster than the next fastest car. During round 7 on Saturday, he pushed hard to test the limits.

Darren Hardesty Jr, Bilstein, Mickey Thompson Tires, Impact, Bink Designs

“When the green flag dropped I kept the car in second gear,” said HotSauce, “The track was really slick and I spun out. I was super upset with myself. I made some crazy passes but I had so much confidence in the car; I could put it anywhere I wanted to. I drove the whole race on the absolute limit; climbing back up to finish 2nd.”

Many drivers would be content with having a great car and a podium finish, but Darren is constantly driven. He spends hours watching footage from the race; analyzing how to go faster, and studying his competition. During round 8 on Sunday, he would need that drive as the rest of the field upped their game considerably.

Darren Hardesty Jr, HotSauce, Road To Wheatland, Bilstein, Impact, Off Road Warehouse, Bink Designs, Mickey Thompson Tires

HotSauce qualified on the pole for round 8 and the inversion drawn was a 2. He got the holeshot and was leading at the end of the first lap. In what was a precursor of things to come, another competitor received a black flag for rough driving; on the first lap! On lap 2, Elliot Watson made a move on Darren and took over the lead. That would set up a dogfight between both drivers until the checkered flag flew.

Darren Hardesty Jr, Bilstein, Lucas Oil Off Road, Bink Designs, Mickey Thompson Tires, USA Wheels

“I was bumper to bumper with Watson the whole race,” said HotSauce, “It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. On the second to last lap, I made the pass for the lead. I knew he would dive inside me in the next turn but I didn’t expect him to make wheel to wheel contact and push me wide. Going off the big table-top jump I gave him a nudge to let him know I was still there and not happy. I finished 2nd place again, but after the race, the officials pulled us aside for a chat. Both of us were guilty of some bumping, but they said you cannot move another car off line to gain a position. They gave Watson the black flag; moving us up to the top spot. I was still pumping with adrenaline after the race and said some things on the podium I regret. Looking back at it, I was disrespectful of the Watson team and said some things that were uncalled for in the heat of the moment. I apologize to their team; they are great competitors. We are friends off the track but as soon as the green flag drops; we are there to win. We are now only separated by a single point in the championship standings. I am so thankful for my team and my sponsors, BilsteinOff Road WarehouseMickey Thompson TiresImpactLucas OilBink DesignsChampion Spark PlugsAlumi Craft Race CarsBlack RhinoRacerX, and USA Wheels for giving me the fastest car out there!”

Darren Hardesty Jr Wins Round 8 At Wheatland, Missouri

Darren Hardesty Jr Wins Round 8 Lucas Oil Off Road

The fans came to Wheatland from all over the country and were treated to some intense racing action. They lined up all weekend to get a selfie, autographs and posters from HotSauce.

Darren Hardesty Jr, HotSauce, Autograph Signing, The Champ, Bilstein

His BilsteinOff Road WarehouseMickey Thompson Tires team will be put to the test again at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, NV on Aug 26 and 27; it ought to be very exciting!

Photography By: Bink Designs