One of the coolest parts of going to off-road races is hanging out with the guys who are actually out on the track battling it out. In the world of short-course racing, Kyle Leduc is one of the heavy hitters, as he’s dominated the Pro 4 class since 2014 with plans to win the championship again this year. Pro 4 is the fastest class in the Lucas Oil short-course races, and it’s very competitive. So far in 2018, the points race has been very tight with Leduc right behind the points leader and pushing hard to make sure he takes home the 2018 championship. While we were out at Glen Helen races recently, we got a chance to catch up with Leduc.
A lot of the Lucas Oil short course races have courses with lots of high-speed corners and only a few low-speed corners. For those types of tracks, the setup of the trucks don’t have to change a massive amount, but at the Glen Helen track, there are a lot of tight, low-speed corners, which requires many teams to change the setup of the truck and make it difficult for the drivers to get comfortable in the truck. “We changed quite a bit to come here from the race in Utah; it’s drastically different on this small, tight track,” said Leduc. “Those tracks are higher mile-per-hour with no hairpin turns. This track has lots of hairpins, so we need a truck that’s forgiving and will whip around easy at low speed.”
With such a tight, technical, and gnarly track, having a good plan of attack during race time can be the key to success. “It’s super tight and it’s tricky,” commented Leduc. “The qualifying is pretty basic. You can pick and choose where you want to go, but during the race, it gets gnarly with multiple cars trying to go into the same corner with ruts everywhere; it can get bumpy really quick. It’s a matter of playing it safe and choosing your battles.”
Unfortunately, Leduc’s efforts at Glen Helen were hamstrung when it came time for the races. In both Friday and Saturday events, his truck suffered a major malfunction that forced him to bow out – on Friday, it was a driveshaft popping out and causing him to spin out in two-wheel-drive; on Saturday, it was a leak in the cooling system that would have cooked his engine if he kept on going.
Nevertheless, Leduc is nothing if not talented and tenacious. He’s won the last four Pro 4 championships and could very well come out of 2018 with a fifth trophy. Even if he only manages to keep himself afloat in points, he’s still looking at 3rd place for the season, and he stands a very good chance to beat out Mittag (who’s in 2nd place) in the span of two races.
We’ll be looking forward to seeing Leduc and his team’s performance in Chandler next month. Do you think Leduc has what it takes to get a five-peat with these last two races? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.