On Friday April 26th, JCRI and Kyle Leduc debuted their brand new Pro2 to the Lucas Oil Series. It would be the first time Kyle Leduc would race in this class and a first for JCRI as well, as they have never built a pro2 before. The first testing session before the big race weekend in Las Vegas, NV was well underway when the JCRI team breathed a sigh of relief to see the new #98 Pro2 and keeping up with the top drivers. With a few minor changes to the truck they were ready for the weekend.
With a stacked Pro2 class, Kyle would have to work hard to get a top spot for qualifying. 16 Pro2′s ran for 5 minutes as they all were still trying to get a feel for the new track changes. Kyle would qualify 13th for Saturday’s race.
Temperatures were about to peak at 100degrees on Saturday and needless to say, it was going to be a hot Pro2 race. Pro2′s are one of the most action packed classes and therefor they are saved for the last race of the day. Starting in the back of the pack, Kyle knew he would need to quickly, but carefully make his way to the front. The green flag waved and all 16 Pro2′s went barreling into turn 1 and all trucks came out alive.
“Our goal going into this race weekend was to see where we stand and figure out what changes we need to make to better the truck.” Said Team Manager Sean Hodgdon
After 13 solid laps, Kyle Leduc would finish Saturday’s race in 10th. After mass amounts of carnage ensuing only laps from the finish, Kyle and the team were more than accepting for a top 10 finish and coming out of the battlefield and only taking on minor wounds to the truck.
The more seat time Kyle got in the new Pro2, his times would improve and that was proven in Sunday’s qualifying session. Moving up 5 spots, the JCRI/Monster Energy truck staged for round 4 in 8th. The crowd was on their feet as the last race of the weekend started. It would be Brian Deegan who would come out of turn 1 in the lead, but Kyle was ready to give all the drivers a run for their money. As the laps went by, Kyle would be on the bumper of Rodrigo Ampudia and Marty Hart and ready to pounce on their position as they made mistakes. Keeping the momentum going, Kyle passed Greg Adler after laps of being in his rock filled roost. Upfront a battle for first place was developing just laps before the checkered flag. Kyle held his lines and focused on finishing. As the checkered flag waved in the dust, it would be Deegan taking the win followed by Austin Kimbrell, Rob MacCachren, Patrick Clark, Jeremy McGrath and Kyle Leduc.
Packed up and ready to go back to the shop and start preparations for the next race, team JCRI couldn’t be happier with where they stand leaving this race weekend. With only a few changes here and there, they know they are headed on the right path to hunt down a podium this year.
“My goal is to win at least one round and not be a guy with huge hopes and goals, and never get them.” Said the new Pro2 driver, Kyle Leduc.
Words and Photos by Jenn Hellstrom