CORR: Pomona II: Team Le Duc preview

TODD LE DUC IN PRO 2 TRUCK HAS TWO FOURTHS IN FIRST POMONA RACE Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc returns to Pomona with all four drivers among CORR point leaders POMONA, Calif. -- Seven weeks ago, when Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc rolled into...

TODD LE DUC IN PRO 2 TRUCK HAS TWO FOURTHS IN FIRST POMONA RACE
Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc returns to Pomona with all four drivers among CORR point leaders

POMONA, Calif. -- Seven weeks ago, when Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc rolled into the Los Angeles County Fairplex for the opening event on the Championship Off-Road Racing series schedule, it did so with high hopes and a lot of questions.

Two of its Toyo-shod Ford trucks were new and a third had been extensively revamped. Two of its drivers were in new classes, and one of them was a raw rookie. And there was no way of accurately measuring how much progress the competition had made during the offseason.

This weekend, when the team returns to the Fairplex for the third of this year's eight events, the hopes are even higher and most of the questions have been answered. The competition has become more intense, but the Rockstar Makita Fords have proven to be fast and agile and all four of the team's drivers are in the top 10 in the point standings.

Kyle LeDuc, a former Pro Lite champion who moved into the Pro 4 class this season, is fifth in the standings. He has finished in the top 10 in all four races, topped a by a runner-up effort May 18 at Primm, Nevada, where he also was the fast qualifier, and trails class leader Rick Huseman by 28 points. Father and team leader Curt LeDuc is seventh, 18 points behind Kyle, after finishing second and fourth in the two Primm races.

Todd LeDuc, who had a pair of fourth-place finishes at Pomona, was beset by bad luck at Primm, but still is seventh in the Pro 2 class while Brian Deegan, the rookie, is ninth in the Pro Lite class. Deegan, a freestyle motocross legend, debuted at Pomona with two mid-pack finishes but improved to sixth and ninth at Primm and is just 24 points out of the top five in the class.

The biggest unanswered question now is when that first win will come, and who will get it.

The Fairplex gates will open at 9 a.m. and racing will get under way at noon on both Saturday and Sunday, and the builders of the man-made course have eliminated the paved section that was part of the opening weekend layout.

"I think we're in good shape," said Curt LeDuc, whose team spent time following the Primm event at a photo shoot that will be the basis of a national advertising campaign for team sponsor K&N Air Filters.

"The whole course is supposed to be dirt, with no pavement, and I think that should make us more competitive. Plus, this will be our second race on the Toyo project tires. They worked really well at Primm and we've learned what they like, so I think we're catching up (to the point leaders) fast.

"Todd blew a rear end and caught a berm on the high side of the track at Primm, but when you run up front things are going to happen. Most of the guys are fighting to find speed. He's not having that problem. He's run fast. He's just got to have things go his way a little bit better. We've put a new Pro Power motor in my truck and it should run on a par with Kyle's engine.

"A lot of teams are struggling and we've got four trucks in the top 10. I think we'll be good."

Curt LeDuc moved to California from New England more than 30 years ago to compete in the long-distance desert races. He's still an active participant in that form of the sport, driving a Rockstar Makita Ford in Class 8 at all Best in the Desert events and doing part-time duty in the SCORE Desert Series. He was in Baja California last weekend for the SCORE Baja 500, teaming with Nick Vanderway to finish 11th in the Trophy Truck class. Todd, meanwhile, teamed with Ron Whitton to finish fifth in the Trophy Truck class and sixth overall.

"Todd and I both had about 250 miles of warmup for this weekend," Curt said. "I think it helps keep your skills sharp. I think racing in the desert is an advantage. Driving in CORR makes you a better desert racer and the desert makes you sharp for CORR."

-credit: tld

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Series OFFROAD