Las Vegas, NV
Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. wrapped up the Rookie of the Year title at the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series’, Fight Under the Lights race in Las Vegas, Nevada. A pair of top ten finishes put HotSauce over the top in his pursuit of the honor. Darren became the youngest driver to win a pro class race during round seven in Tooele, Utah. He originally planned to only race in the Lucas Oil Regional series after moving up from the Modified Kart class in 2015. He entered a pro class race, did well, and decided to go fulltime with the pros. He has also earned the Rookie of the Year title in the Regional Series where he leads the Pro Buggy Points Championship with one race to go.
“I’m excited about what we’ve done but in racing, you can’t afford to get cocky,” said HotSauce, “We hoped at the beginning of the year that we might take the rookie of the year title in the regional series, but we never expected to be racing in the pro series and taking the rookie title there too. When we got to Vegas, I was struggling to get a handle on the dirt; I was pushing in the corners. On Saturday, we got better. My shift knob broke off during qualifying but still managed to be fourth fastest. I ran really strong during the race in third place. On the last lap a car dive bombed me, hit me in the side and rolled me over. I ended up back on my wheels but dropped to eighth place at the finish. We are anxious to get to Lake Elsinore for the final race in the regional series. I’m not sure exactly how many points we need to clinch the championship but we want a win; that’s what we are shooting for.”
HotSauce has done so well this year, some people forget that he is still learning what it takes to race a Pro Buggy. On the track, he is constantly busy in the car. Each lap takes intense concentration shifting, grabbing the cutting brake handle in the turns and using the throttle to control the car. Off the track, he has to communicate to the crew what the car is doing. Every track is different and track conditions change without notice. He also has to get accustomed to his growing fan base. At rounds 11 and 12 in Estero Beach, Baja Mexico, the fans went crazy for Darren and his HotSauce nickname.
With only a couple weekends of racing left, one in the regional and one in the professional series, HotSauce still has work to do. “We have to wrap up that championship in the regional series,” says HotSauce, “We can also add to our points standings in the big series; in racing, you never stop working. Even after the season ends, we will start planning for next year. I’m really proud of my team and what we have done with our Competitive Metals, Bilstein, ORW, Mickey Thompson Tires, ReplayXD, SPY, Lucas Oil, Bink Designs, Alumi Craft Pro Buggy this year. We have the best sponsors helping us and the fans are always pumping us up. We work hard but we also have a lot of fun.”
The regional series finals will be held Oct. 10 and 11 at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park in Lake Elsinore, CA. The final race weekend of the season in the professional series will be held Oct. 24 and 25 at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park in Lake Elsinore, CA. Catch HotSauce at the Off Road Expo Oct. 3 and 4 at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. or head out to these races to cheer for HotSauce. You can also go to: http://darrenhardestyjr.com/ for the latest news and information about his racing program.
Photography By: Bink Designs