San Bernardino, CA
Defending Pro Buggy Champion Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. has found himself in a tight points battle coming into the final races of the season. Winning a points championship in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is a huge accomplishment. Winning back to back titles puts a driver at a whole other level. With so much on the line during rounds 11 and 12 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Ca, HotSauce had to do whatever it took to overcome any obstacle that came his way.
During round 11 on Friday, he suffered mechanical problems with his transmission. First third gear went out, and then fourth gear as well. Unwilling to give an inch to the competition, he had no choice but to keep the transmission in fifth gear for the entire race. Running in fifth gear would be difficult to maintain over the entire length of the course. “I had to keep the throttle buried the entire race,” said Darren, “Normally you would let off the throttle over the jumps but it gave me a chance to get the rpm’s up. I could not slow down for the corners so I had to trust that my Mickey Thompson Tires and Bilstein Shocks would keep me glued in the turns; and they did!” HotSauce was able to make it work; finishing fourth place out of 13 cars.
With all the pounding that Darren’s Alumi Craft Pro Buggy takes during a typical race, mechanical issues are sure to occur. It’s a testament to his crew and sponsors Bilstein, Off Road Warehouse, Mickey Thompson Tires, Impact, Lucas Oil, Bink Designs, Champion Spark Plugs, Alumi Craft Race Cars, Black Rhino, RacerX, and USA Wheels that his car runs so strong and so consistent. He did suffer a mechanical issue in round 11, but the car still performed amazingly considering the extra strain he put on it going full speed through the turns and landing off the big jumps with the throttle wide open. During round 12, he put it all behind him, and the rest of the pack too.
“We started second on Saturday but got out front on lap one,” Darren continued, “I had Watson on my tail but had the speed and handling to stay out front, winning wire to wire. It was a really good weekend for us in the points. Our lead going into the final rounds is now 23 points.
We were tested, but the strength of our car and our team really stood out. We were proud to get such great results for our friends, family, and the fans. The crowd was standing room only and they were going crazy. They were as excited as we are for the final weekend of racing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix on October 21st and 22nd.”
If you have a chance to come out and watch HotSauce battle for a second straight points championship don’t miss it.
Photography By: Bink Designs