Broc Dickerson's goals for this year's Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series are to stand on the winner's circle podium as often as possible and claim Rookie of the Year honors in the Pro Lite class.
That would seem to be a snap after what Dickerson did in 2015. The 15-year-old from Brawley, California, raced three different vehicles in three different series at the national and regional levels, made 63 starts overall and won 18 races and five championships. He was the Pro Lite and Limited Buggy champion in both the Southern California and Arizona regionals, added a Modified Kart title in Arizona and was third in the Modified Kart class in the national series.
Dickerson wrote a little history as well. He had seven wins in Pro Lite, the first coming six weeks before his 14th birthday and making him the youngest class winner in history, and his fifth-place finish in Baja California in just his second start made him the youngest-ever top 5 finisher in one of the national series’ pro classes.
It's an impressive resume, to be sure, and it gives Dickerson confidence that he can be competitive. It's not terribly relevant otherwise, though, because the motor sports cliche about only being as good as your next race applies more often than not and Dickerson is wading in deeper water this season.
Jeff Dickerson raced off-road in single-seat and Pro Trucks so Broc was exposed to the sport at an early age, but he didn't follow his dad into it. He followed cousin Connor Pankratz.
“He raced a Trophy Kart and we'd go to all the races and kind of help him out. Then I got a Junior 1 (kart) and that's where it started,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson made his debut for round five of the 2009 season. He got his first top 5 finish at round five in 2010 and his first win in round nine on his way to the class championship in 2011, when he also ran a partial season in the Jr. 2 class. Broc raced in both those classes in 2012, finishing fourth in Jr. 2 and losing the Jr. 1 title to Connor McMullen by 1 point, then combined Jr. 2 and Modified Karts in 2013 and raced only his Modified Kart in 2014.
Last season he raced a full Modified Kart schedule, finishing third in the standings, and began the transition to Pro Lite by running six races in the national series and winning both the Southern California and Arizona regional titles.
“I didn't age out (of the Modified Kart class),” he said. “I could have done one more year. But it was just time to get out and move on.
“It's not much different, actually,” Dickerson said while comparing a Modified Kart and a Pro Lite truck. “Coming from the Mods it wasn't a big step. They're pretty similar. It's very competitive, in both classes. Everyone's fast (in Pro Lite); like the top 10 are within half a second or a second. Every little bit counts. That's how the Mod Karts were, too. You need every little bit of skill and luck you can get just to be on top.
“The driving style is not far off. It's a big step from regionals, but we were just learning last year. This year we're diving in deep. Our goal is just podiums. We've got to get up there and we're getting closer and closer and closer.
“The goal is Rookie of the Year. Hopefully we can get some top 5s and podiums.”
In his four races this season the Brawley High School freshman has finished ninth, 10th twice and 13th, in the season-opener at Chandler, Arizona, in a Keith Stamper Ford truck purchased during the winter from Bradley Morris, who also provides occasional critiques and advice.
“He'll (Morris) spot for me in certain races,” Dickerson said, “then he'll come over after and give me some tips, say what he thinks I need to do differently and what I’m doing good. He's got a lot of experience in this class and that truck, so he knows what works. He'll help me out a lot.”
Dickerson also gets help and advice from his father, who's also his crew chief, and takes notes and watches videos of all the truck classes “to see what they do and what I can do to go faster.”
He's finding the balance between being fast and out of control, too.
“It's my first year and people already say I'm over-anxious, I drive too hard and stuff, so I'm really trying hard not to be too aggressive and touch anyone,” Broc said. “I don't want to have a bad name. I'll be here for a while so I don't want anything to happen. I don't want to have a bad reputation.”
BROC DICKERSON AT A GLANCE
Age: 15 (30 March 2001)
Lives in: Brawley, California
Marital status: Single
Occupation: Student at Brawley High School
Car number: 23 Pro Lite
Type of chassis: Keith Stamper Ford
Engine: Pro Power Ford
Crew Chief: Jeff Dickerson
Sponsors: Ultra Wheels; BFGoodrich Tires; Pro Power; K&N Filters; BME; Action Sport Canopies; Dynamic Motorsports
Years in racing: 8
Divisions raced: Lucas Oil Off Road Pro Lite, Modified Kart, Jr 1 and 2 Karts, BMX
Series points standings: 24 Pro Lite, 3 Mod Kart (2015); 4 Mod Kart (2014); 14 Mod Kart, 3 Jr. 2 Kart (2013); 2 Jr. 1 Kart, 4 Jr. 2 Kart (2012); 1 Jr. 1 Kart, 17 Jr. 2 Kart (2011); 11 Jr. 1 Kart (2010); 17 Jr. 1 Kart (2009)