Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc has an engaging weekend in Primm CHERRY VALLEY, Calif. -- Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc was at the center of a three-ring circus last weekend. There was an engagement ring, a ring and pinion, and...
Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc has an engaging weekend in Primm
CHERRY VALLEY, Calif. -- Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc was at the center of a three-ring circus last weekend.
There was an engagement ring, a ring and pinion, and results that were ringing endorsements for recent changes. There was even a visit by rapper Snoop Dogg to enliven the Champion Off-Road Racing series first visit of the year to hot, dusty Primm, Nevada, on May 17-18.
The only ring missing was the proverbial brass one signifying victory. But after a series of strong performances the team's four talented drivers came home to prepare for a return to Pomona on June 7-8 knowing that the next race definitely could result in that first win.
Team founder Curt LeDuc drove his Toyo-shod Rockstar Makita Ford truck to a pair of top five finishes in the Pro 4 class, taking second on Saturday and fourth on Sunday. Son Kyle LeDuc, a Pro 4 rookie who set the pace in qualifying, was seventh on Saturday after some power steering problems and second on Sunday, just over one second behind race winner Rick Huseman, after proposing to girlfriend Amber Mader (who said yes) in a pre-race ceremony.
Pro 2 class contender Todd LeDuc, who had finished fourth twice in the opening round of the series, was 19th and 16th this time. But on Saturday he started on the pole, led the race and was running a strong second until losing the ring and pinion gears, and on Sunday he clipped a barricade and tipped the Ford over while attempting a pass on the high side of the Las Vegas International Off-Road Raceway track.
Pro Lite class rookie Brian Deegan, who had had a pair of mid-pack finishes in the season opener at Pomona in April, made a quantum leap forward at Primm by finishing sixth on Saturday and ninth on Sunday.
"The biggest thing (in all classes) was attrition," Curt LeDuc said. "It was just a slug fest. The dust was so bad. It was so hot (above 100 degrees both days) and the wind was blowing and it dried the track up so fast that halfway through a race they had to throw a caution and water the track, and then it was slick as heck. The weather conditions contributed to chaos in all the classes."
LeDuc said Kyle's qualifying effort "puts him on the radar" as a contender and that his own truck got "quicker every time we hit the track," thanks in large part to sponsor Toyo.
"The biggest improvement I think we had was with the new Toyo race tires. They helped every car we put them on. And K&N deserves a lot of praise. With all the dust, air filters were way more important than they had been in the past, to keep that silt out of the motor. That played a big part in our success."
LeDuc said the highlights of his weekend came on Saturday, first when he was "able to podium (finish in the top three) before the boys did this year," and then when he took Snoop Dogg for a ride and "flew it about 150 feet or so off the big table top" jump.
The highlight for the team came on Sunday, though, thanks to some collusion between Kyle, CORR officials and the NBC/SPEED Channel television crew. Kyle was asked to join sister Valerie, sister-in-law Leah Pruett LeDuc and Mader in giving the traditional "gentlemen, start your engines," command. Then, with the TV cameras recording the moment for posterity (and SPEED's telecast at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 24), Kyle knelt and popped the question.
Mader said the words that made her Kyle's fiancee and they all said "start your engines." But they haven't set a wedding date.
SPEED will present Saturday's race in its two-hour show on Saturday. NBC will show Sunday's racing from 9:30 to 11 a.m. PDT June 15.
-creit: team leduc