Tears of joy were flowing after Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. clinched the 2016 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro Buggy championship at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ. HotSauce led at the halfway point and went on to win the final points race of the season. His results put him in a tie for the championship with Garrett George. The tie-breaker came down to most wins in the season, giving the title to Hardesty.
“After I took the checkered flag, my spotter Matt Major came on the radio and told me we had won the championship,” said HotSauce, “I can’t put into words what it means to us. The whole team was so happy, tears of joy were flowing.
We worked so hard this year after getting no points at the first race of the season. It was important to us that we had the chance to battle with Garrett George and my other competitors all year. Garrett is a great competitor. He made us work hard for it and I learned a lot from him. I was so anxious before this race I could not sleep for a week. I wasn’t tired, I was pumped full of adrenaline. I knew I could count on my team to have our Bilstein, Off Road Warehouse, Mickey Thompson Tires, Impact, Lucas Oil, Bink Designs, Alumi Craft Race Cars, Black Rhino, RacerX, and USA Wheels Pro Buggy in perfect shape for the race. It was a shame that everyone could not make it to the race but we knew they were watching us. Hands down, my team was the hardest working team out there this year. I can’t thank the crew, my fans and my sponsors enough; I could not have done it without them.”
After becoming the youngest driver to win a professional series race, Hardesty also became the youngest driver to win a pro series championship. His incredible accomplishments were noticed by the Off Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame committee who nominated him for a rising star award. “The nominees and winners of the new Rising Star category have already gone above and beyond in their respective category. They may already have numerous accomplishments, wins and championships. We are recognizing them as Rising Stars for the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. They are on track to becoming inductees one day and each year we will recognize the younger generation as they continue to help grow our industry.” – Bud Feldkamp, ORMHOF. You can go to the Off Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame (http://ormhof.org/awards/) website to join and vote for Darren Hardesty.
Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. has followed in the footsteps of his Father Darren and Grandfather Earl who all have won offroad racing championships. His goals in the off season are to hit the gym and make preparations for another championship run in 2017.
( 3 Generations of Offroad Champions / Darren Hardesty Sr. / Darren Hardesty Jr. / Earl Hardesty )
Photography By: Bink Designs