Chad George seemed headed to
the top of short course off-road
racing. In the first years of the Lucas
Oil Off Road Racing Series, he was
dominating first UTV, then the spec
SuperLite class, beating people like
2013 Pro Lite champ and current
Pro Lite and Pro 2 competitor RJ
Anderson, and Pro 4 racer Corry
Weller. But then came a rough
season in Pro Lite, where he never
finished better than fifth and
ended up 12th in the points.
“My truck wasn’t up to par, so
every time I went out on track,
we’d change something trying to
catch up,” George says. “Come
half-season, the truck was pretty
good, but my confidence was shot.
You can’t win without confidence.”
That’s a large part of what has
led to his resurgence this year.
Strapping into a Pro Buggy, he
knew exactly what to expect, for
several reasons. One, the family
company, Funco, builds fancy
buggies. Two, his cousin had
raced at the end of 2013 with a
clone of the buggy in which he
would compete, sorting it out.
“A truck is kind of out of our
ballpark. But with a buggy, we knew
exactly what was going to be the
case. My cousin Garrett had run it
in the last two races of 2013 and
done some testing, so he’d worked
out some bugs. By the time I got
in the car, that allowed us to be
competitive from the get-go.”
CHAD GEORGE CAME BACK HARD AFTER A DIFFICULT SEASON IN PRO LITE AND A YEAR OFF.
“Nothing beats head-to-
head racing, or taking the
checkered flag first and the
bliss that follows”
wheelie out…the whole deal. It’s insane.”
As much as Chad loves playing in the
dunes, he loves racing more. He was a
Kawasaki factory driver in UTVs before he
started heading up the truck ladder.
When that didn’t go exactly as planned,
racing wasn’t as much fun. But this
season has renewed his competitive fire.
“Racing is a lot different than playing,”
he says. “The driving difference between
the sand car and Pro Buggy is small.
Getting into the Pro Buggy, you’re just
wishing you had the power of the sand car
and that little bit more suspension. But
nothing beats head-to-head racing.
Nothing beats taking that checkered flag
first and the bliss that follows. It just can’t
be matched out on the sand. I love both,
but if I had to choose, I’d go racing because
I’m a very competitive person. Luckily,
here at Funco, we get to do both.”
And that is very much the key to
George’s success this season. There are a
lot of similarities between the sand car
and the Pro Buggy, and in driving them.
“The sand dunes at Glamis, where we
usually use a sand car, are nothing but a
giant short course, but you get to choose
a line,” he explains. “The geometry is
pretty similar. Take a sand car, shrink it
down and you’ve got a Pro Buggy. They’re
really one and the same, on a smaller
(ABOVE) For Chad
and Garrett George,
testing the family-built
Funco buggies on the
dunes of Glamis is part
– a very enjoyable part
– of their day job. But
racing in the Lucas
Series’ ultra-competitive Pro Buggy
class (ABOVE RIGHT)
beats even that.
chad George was a two-time u TV champ in
2009 and (aBoVE) ’ 10. He followed those
successes with the 2011 superlite title.
scale. Driving one of our sand cars next to
driving my racecar, the skills and the
operating translate really well.”
Now, he’s on the verge of claiming
another championship in his “rookie” year
in Pro Buggy, while his cousin is headed
toward a top-five finish in the points. He
notes that he has a hard time identifying
himself as a rookie, because the buggies
are what they do, day in and day out.
“When I stepped into it, it came easy to
me, because I knew what to expect,” he
says. “I knew how hard I could go, and it was
a self-built, Funco Motorsports-built car, so
I knew I could trust it; I knew what it was
going to do in a corner. That goes back to
having confidence, not only in myself, but
my team and the people behind me.”
Sometimes, it seems, it pays to go
with what you know...