Kyle LeDuc is in – and grew up around – the business of racing. For him and his family, racing isn't a hobby, or even a job; it's a career, a lifestyle. But don't get the impression that he isn't having fun. For him, the saying “Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life” isn't just words, it's a credo.
“Part of the reason why we're so good is we have fun racing, ” he says. “We have fun at the shop and race RC cars and motorcycles and go to the kart track and try to stay as active as we possibly can, It's a tough life to live when you're racing and doing chaos...but, yeah, I wouldn't change anything, We love to have fun just as much as we love to get down and dirty and get business done.”
LeDuc grew up going to races with his legendary father Curt and now races the No. 99 Pro 4 Unlimited Ford as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools team with his father, also in Pro 4, and his brother, Todd, in a Pro 2. Growing up a LeDuc, it seems like destiny to be involved in off-road racing.
“It's one thing to grow up around it and another to want to do it and get in that driver's seat. I like working on 'em and building 'em as much as I like driving 'em. We do really well driving as a team and as a family.”
LeDuc drove Pro Lite for many years and, as he puts it, “made a lot of mistakes, had a lot of crashes and won some championships.” Then he stepped up to Pro 4 a couple of years ago with big success – including winning three of the four Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series races he entered last year, plus winning the Borg Warner Cup. Much of that comes down to preparation; that only makes sense given the business his family is in.
“There's never anything on this truck that can't be 200 percent,” he says. “If you don't touch it, you second-guess it. We go home and we strip these trucks down as much as we can, we get on everything. We've got a crew that you can rely on. You've got to rely on your crew and how good they are and they've got to want it just as bad as you do, I feel like we've got that program and that's one of the reasons we're so successful consistently, I just go do my job as well as I can, A lot of times I'll screw up; I'll put it on its lid or I'll smash and crash; but if we both do our jobs as well as we can, those are the days you go home champions and you know you deserved it.”
One of those days was last year's Borg Warner Cup race. It was an event that his father won nine years ago, and Curt shared the podium with Kyle on that day. There are others who didn't get the result the effort put forth might have warranted, but he remembers fondly nevertheless. Like several years ago in New York in a Pro Lite race against Rick Huseman – now an opponent in Pro 4. “It was the end of the year, the points were already decided and we were just having a free for all. We both drove so hard, just on the chip, just checked out. We were half a lap ahead of everybody. It was so much fun. There was a huge 150ft step-down and I flew about 180ft and landed on flat ground and blew my neck out. But it was one of the days I'll never forget – just going huge.”
It's that rough-and-tumble competition that draws him to short course. Add in some fan interaction and it's the perfect venue for Kyle.
“I've done a lot of stuff – mountain biking, motocross, desert racing,” he says. “This short course stuff, I can't wait to get to the track. It's really cool because the people can come and see it. They can see what motors we're putting in. They can see me yelling or my dad yelling or just getting our stuff together. Never mind that the racing is just stupid exciting. Whether it's a battle up front or a battle for dead last, it's cool. Every single race is so different.”
Not to mention fun.