Todd LeDuc sweeps Pro 2 main events at Pomona to lead Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc's effort
POMONA, Calif. -- Todd LeDuc used the luck of the draw and a dominant race truck to complete a sweep of the Pro 2 class main events during the Championship Off-Road Racing series weekend at the Los Angeles County Fairplex.
LeDuc, 29, who had led every lap en route to his first win of the season on Saturday repeated that performance on Sunday, thanks to a fortunate inversion of the top qualifiers that moved him from eighth on the starting grid to the pole.
Rockstar Makita Team LeDuc leader Curt LeDuc, Todd's father, called that inversion "a gift from God," and Todd wasn't about to squander that good fortune. He was asked what his plan was for the race and he said it was simply to run hard and get away from the field, and that's what he did -- twice.
LeDuc had his Toyo-shod Ford comfortably ahead of second-place Scott Taylor when the mandatory yellow flag waved at the midway point of the 18-lap race. Then, despite some minor tractions problems after the man-made track was watered, he held his lead on the restart and found himself well ahead after Taylor and Jerry Whelchel got together in Turn 2 while fighting for second. LeDuc led by more than five seconds with three laps to go and finished 3.2 seconds ahead of Ricky Johnson, with Whelchel third.
"This is unbelievable," Todd said after his sixth career CORR victory. "We made some changes (in spring rates) on the truck to get it a little bit quicker today. I thought they were going to go a little conservative on the watering (during the caution) and they actually made it worse. I was being super creative on my lines -- all the way to one side of the track, all the way to the other side of the track, just looking for anywhere that was dry and had traction. Once the track dried out, the Toyo tires were unbelievable."
Todd's win became more important to the team during the afternoon as various misfortunes befell Curt and Kyle LeDuc in the Pro 4 class feature and Brian Deegan in the Pro Lite main.
Curt started ninth in the 18-lap Pro 4 race, moved to sixth by the time the caution flag waved, and then charged into second place, only to have a certain runner-up finish destroyed when he was hit from behind and turned sideways in the final corner on the final lap. He went from second to fourth, then filed a protest over what he felt was deliberate, unnecessary contact.
Kyle, meanwhile, was working his way back through the field after getting a tire stuck in a berm and rolling his Ford truck onto its side on the second lap. A former Pro Lite champion who is a Pro 4 rookie, Kyle had started last in the 15-truck field because mechanical problems prevented him from qualifying, but had worked his way to ninth when he rolled. He finished 11th, ahead of two of the drivers who were ahead of him in the point standings.
Pro Lite class rookie Brian Deegan, the team's fourth driver, seemed well on the way to his fourth straight top 10 finish, having moved from 13th to seventh after 13 of the 15 laps. But on the next lap Deegan pulled off the course with a broken throttle cable and that relegated the freestyle motocross star to a 19th-place finish.
"I just think I could be more comfortable in the truck," Deegan said. "I haven't got it right yet; it's kicking me real bad. I'm really going to have to try to go through and redo all the suspension."
There will be ample time for fine tuning now since the next race in the series, at Chula Vista, Calif., July 26-27, is more than six weeks away. And the way Curt LeDuc sees it, a few more tweaks could put the Rockstar Makita entries atop the standings.
"This was a great weekend," Curt said, "with Todd winning back to back, from the pole both times, and Saturday was the third race of the year for Kyle to contend for a win (finishing third).
"This team is a real threat. Rockstar and Makita and Toyo and Ford have given us the tools to contend for wins in every race. Then Toyo Tires stepped up and built us a brand-new tire. This team is on the verge of having a breakthrough season, an unbelievable season.
We're a threat in every race."