Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc drivers will try to translate fondness for Chula Vista track into visits to winner's circle
CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- "I think we're in good shape,' Curt LeDuc said. Then he paused and laughed and said, "I say that every time, don't I?"
LeDuc has in fact expressed that sentiment before each of Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc's appearances in the Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) series this season, and he hasn't been wrong yet.
The highly-competitive, closed-course racing series reaches the halfway point in its eight-race season this weekend (July 25-27) with rounds seven and eight at Chula Vista International Raceway, and all four Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc drivers are in the top 10 in the point standings.
Pro 2 class star Todd LeDuc, who won both main events in the most recent event at Pomona, Calif., June 7-8, is third in the standings and has four top 10 finishes in the six rounds. Younger brother Kyle, a rookie in the Pro 4 class, is fifth in the points and has five top 10 finishes. Team leader Curt LeDuc has a trio of top 10s and is sixth in Pro 4. And freestyle motocross legend Brian Deegan, a novice at racing on four wheels, has three tops 10s and is 10th in Pro Lite.
The brothers said the point standings are nice to talk about, but their focus is on winning races, because if they can do that the titles will follow.
"I'm happy that we're somewhat close in the points," Kyle said. "We've made a statement so far this year with my Rockstar Makita Ford and me driving it. We've qualified on the pole and we've run up front. But we need to win a race. That's my goal.
"We know how to win. We've just got to step up and put it together."
It would be no surprise to see both of the brothers in the winner's circle at Chula Vista because they've won there before and they love the racing at the facility south of San Diego. Kyle has taken the checkered flag four times in the Pro Lite class and Todd has three wins in Pro 2, including the 2007 season finale.
"It's my favorite track," Todd said. "The truck and I usually perform really well there, and I think with the new Toyo tires it will be a great advantage.
"The track is 'blue groove' dirt. It looks kind of like the sprint car tracks looked at the end of a race, really packed hard and super slippery. If you've got good throttle control you can excel there, but you've got to really be nice to it."
Kyle took part in a recent open test along with Deegan, who is featured in an article in Racer X magazine and will be both a contestant in and an ESPN announcer for the X Games at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., July 31-Aug. 3. Kyle drove the team's Pro Lite entry while Deegan drove his own practice truck and Kyle said they went home with a "good feel" for the track, which is built in a rock quarry surrounded by a wildlife preserve.
"The track is huge and it's exciting, with all the elevation changes," Kyle said. "It's more of a race track than Pomona, with ups and downs and lefts and rights. It's an awesome track."
Curt LeDuc took advantage of the opportunity afforded by the six-week break to accept the United Four Wheel Drive Associations' invitation to be the keynote speaker at its convention in New Hampshire and reacquaint himself with his Massachusetts roots.
Todd said that most of the time, however, "we've been working hard and fixing everything" as well as helping Pro 2 rival Evan Evans get his new truck ready to race. Curt LeDuc said that in a sense helping Evan Evans was a form of repayment for the help Evan's father, Walker Evans, gave LeDuc when he first came West to race against the elder Evans and others at Riverside International Raceway.
The team also watched a lot of television when NBC and SPEED TV aired replays of the CORR races at Primm, Nevada, and Pomona and paid particular attention to the performance of the Rockstar Makita Fords.
"We saw what we needed to change on the trucks and made some adjustments, Kyle said. "We cut a lot of stuff up on my truck and made some improvements."
So, as the elder LeDuc has often said, Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc seems to be in good shape for the final five races.
This weekend's races will be televised live. Saturday's activity will be on SPEED from 3 to 5 p.m. PDT and NBC will carry Sunday's races from noon to 1:30 p.m. It will be the first time both days of a CORR weekend have been broadcast live.