Defending Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro 4 Unlimited champion Rick Huseman of Riverside, Calif, was killed in a plane crash near Barstow, Calif. on Sunday. Also on board the private plane was his brother Jeff.
Huseman is survived by his wife Michelle and son Ricky. He was 38 years old.
Huseman dominated the 2010 LOORRS Pro 4 competition, winning 10 of 15 races with his family oriented team where brother Danny was his crew chief, brother Kevin was chief mechanic and father Keith was also frequently working on the Monster Energy/Traxxas Toyota. He was second in the points with three races left in the 2011 season. He was also the 2009 TORC Pro champion and the 2010 Dirt Sports magazine Driver of the Year.
Huseman began racing in short course off road in at Glen Helen Raceway 1997 with a Ford Ranger he and his brothers built. Several seasons in Pro Lite established him as a frontrunner before he moved to Pro 4 in 2005. By 2007 he was winning races in the division, and was tied for first place in points in 2008 when the CORR season was cut short.
Huseman concentrated his career on short course racing, unlike many who double up with desert racing. “I like the adrenaline rush,” of short course, he explained. “Just going fast around the tracks, racing side by side and the instant results. It's a lot of hard work, but you see your work pay off real quick.”
Huseman had a reputation as a master of traffic; in his 2010 LOORRS championship season, he had to come from the back several times to take victory (in one instance, he was forced to start at the back because he missed a driver's meeting while playing with his newborn son).
“Whenever I can come from the back and pass people fair and square and pass the fast guys and go for the win, that's a really good race for me,” he said in an interview last year. “Those races make it a lot more special. When you get the hole shot and lead the whole race, it's great and it's fun and all, but you don't feel you worked as hard for it as when you come from the back. I'd rather start in the back and win the race than start in the front and win, just because it feels better.”
Huseman becomes the second member of the Lucas Oil Off Road family to pass this year. Super Lite competitor Jeff “Ox” Kargola was killed in a motorcycle accident in Baja California in April.