Two time back-to-back Pro Buggy Champion, Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr. pulled off the weekend sweep during Round‘s 2 & 3 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS). Hardesty has officially turned the heat up on the Pro Lite 2018 competition with two 1st place finishes.
Estero Beach & Resort, located in Ensenada, Mexico, hosted the “Battle South of the Border” and features an off road short course track right on the beach. Darren and the team were pretty much pumped up to be racing in Baja. “The beach is just a cool place to be, so racing on a beach makes it that much better and the fans here are amazing!”
Hardesty headed into the race weekend with high hopes and on the mend from Round 1. Fully prepped with a race ready championship winning Alumi Craft Pro Buggy, Hot Sauce laid down consistently fast laps ranging in the top top 3 during the practice rounds. The young driver executed the qualifying session with the same speed & wheeling acumen, landing 3rd on the pole, despite the critical loss of the shifter knob.
By the near start of the weekend’s first race the beach venue had swelled with local off road racing fans filling in. Hardesty and team, highly motivated to put on the show, gave the Alumi Craft a standard yet thorough race winning look over and rolled the #99 Bilstein Pro Buggy out to the starting grid.
With the drop of the green flag, Round 2 had begun. To the trill of the large crowd, 13 off road buggies buzzed over the high speed short course for ten laps, dicing and dodging for track position. Darren did what he does and came out on top.
“Everything played out according to the plan,” explained Hardesty. “We started the race with confidence. Played the game following Kevin McCullough to half way point. Then I took the pass for the lead on the competition caution restart. It was already over when the green flag dropped!”
Race Round 3 was perfectly implemented just as well except Darren took over the lead on Lap 1 and never relinquished the position, winning the second race of the year and first ever weekend sweep. “The team worked super hard all weekend, Hardesty admitted. “I can’t thank everybody who came down south enough. They kept me on my feet all weekend and made sure that nothing was wrong with our race car after every run. The team worked hard to improvise after the shift knob came off, and even harder to keep the #99 Bilstein Pro Buggy on top of the box all weekend.”
“I am proud of our race wins and more importantly, proud of the team effort that helped me make it happen! Thank you to Bilstein, Off Road Warehouse, Mickey Thompson Tires, STEEL-IT, Impact, Lucas Oil Products, Bink Designs, Alumi Craft Race Cars, Black Rhino Performance, RacerX, and USA Wheels.”
“HotSauce” and the team have returned to Southern California and are already preparing for the Round’s 4 & 5. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series next stop is in Wheatland Missouri on June 23-24 at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Photography By: Bink Designs
About Darren “HotSauce” Hardesty Jr.
Darren “Hot Sauce” Hardesty Jr. is a third generation racer who is making his own mark in racing. Working his way up the ladder from JR1 Kart, where he was named “Rookie of the Year” in 2011, he graduated to the fastest kart class in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series,. Racing a Pro Buggy In 2015, Hot Sauce earned the Rookie of the Year title and the points championship in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Regional Series. He gave the pro level series a try and did extremely well; so well that he also ran the Pro series for the rest of the season. He became the youngest driver to win a race in the Pro series and went on the take the Rookie of the Year title; earning his second Rookie of the Year title during the same season. In 2016, he has continued to accrue wins and podiums at the professional level. During his trip to the World Championships at the Big House in Crandon, Wisconsin, he earned a victory and second place podium finish racing against the Crandon regulars. At only 16 years of age, Darren Jr. became the youngest driver to win a pro series championship when he dominated the final race of the series. He vaulted from third place in the standings to a tie for first. Having more wins than his top competitor broke the tie, earning HotSauce the title. Darren’s strong performance in 2016 attracted a huge fan following and a rising star nomination from the Off Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame. He backed up his strong run in 2016 with a second straight championship in 2017. He is going for his third championship in a row this season. Anytime he is in the driver’s seat, it’s guaranteed he will spice things up as his nickname “HotSauce” suggests.
Visit // www.darrenhardestyjr.com
About Bink Designs
Bink Designs is a premier graphic design company located in San Diego, CA. Since 2003, Bink Designs has been committed to providing cost-effective solutions for clients’ high-end graphic needs. Bink Designs will work with you to develop a strategy that matches your goals. Bink Designs offers a number of services, including: Identity, Print Design, Vinyl Graphics, Web Design, Photography & Apparel.
Visit // www.binkdesigns.com