Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. put in another solid weekend of racing at rounds 13 and 14 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, Nevada. The weekend got off to a bumpy start when HotSauce hit the wall during practice on Friday. “The track was really slick,” says HotSauce, “I over-rotated and backed it into the wall. I have a great crew; they broke out the tools and went to work. They had the car ready to go for qualifying on Saturday.”
If HotSauce sounds a little blasé, it’s because he has eclipsed all expectations this season. When the 2015 short course racing season began, he planned to race his Competitive Metals, Bilstein, ORW, Mickey Thompson Tires, ReplayXD, SPY, Lucas Oil, Bink Designs, Alumi Craft Pro Buggy in the Lucas Oil Regional series. He was making a big jump from a modified Kart to one of the most demanding cars to drive, a Pro Buggy. He entered rounds one and two of the Pro series at Lake Elsinore, ran respectable, and has competed with the pros ever since. Not only has he held his own, he became the youngest driver to win a race in any Pro class; Darren is 14 years old.
“I like the track at Wild West,” said HotSauce, “It’s fast and technical. It’s not an easy place to put in a perfect lap. In round 13, we qualified 6th and finished 4th. It was a good race; there was a lot of passing and intense battles on every lap, I really like that.”
It’s a good thing that HotSauce likes intense battles because that’s what he got in round 14. He was running in the top 5 and eventually moved up to 3rd. He hit the brakes so late in one corner that he stalled the car; dropping him to 5th. “I had two cars dive inside me in the first corner,” said HotSauce, “I was able to steer clear when a couple guys crashed out of the race and then I had a good battle going with Kevin McCullough. Chad George, Kevin McCullough, and I all went off the ski jump three wide. We bumped in air so I landed crooked on McCullough’s front end and broke his tie rod. Congrats to him, he drove it to the finish with it broken. We always race each other hard on the track; I would say we are friendly rivals.”
Darren and his crew are looking forward to the next race in Las Vegas on Sept. 18 and 19. It’s a track where Darren is fast so they are hoping to do well and move up in the points. “We are way ahead of where we thought we would be,” said HotSauce, “This year has been a dream come true.” Head out to the race and cheer HotSauce on or go to: http://darrenhardestyjr.com/ for the latest news and information about his racing program.
Photography By: Bink Designs