JR 2 Kart has been home to what has been arguably the most unpredictable racing in all of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Just this past season alone, six different drivers were able to emerge with a victory over the course of seven rounds in the division. When it came down to the final round from Chandler, Arizona’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in late October, four drivers had a realistic shot at capturing the championship. What unfolded was the wildest and most memorable race of the season that saw each of the top three drivers in the standings encounter misfortune, which opened the door for Bakersfield, California’s Broedy Graham to jump up from fourth to first in points and capture an unlikely championship.
The 11 year old Broedy G. Racing (BGR) driver got his first taste of victory in 2019 by winning the opening round at Glen Helen in March. With a win in hand, he persisted through the ups and downs often come with racing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and put himself in a position to win at the final round. It was at Wild Horse Pass where Graham’s ability to stay out of trouble and drive a clean race resulted in the biggest accomplishment of his young career.
This was a big year for you in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. You not only won your first race, but you also ended up capturing the JR2 Kart championship. Can you talk about everything you experienced this season?
It was a fun season battling with all my friends. Coming into the last race I didn’t think I could get up to first place from fourth place. I was just hoping for a podium (finish) and (maybe) get a trophy for third place in the championship. But when I saw that Cade (Martin) flipped I knew he was going to be out. Then when I was in fourth place and Rhyan Denney and Talan Martin got into it, I just started thinking I need to get on the podium and race a clean race. Not take anyone out or get a black flag.
As the race in Chandler was unfolding, you were aware of what was going on with the championship? You knew the trouble the drivers ahead of you had meant you could maybe win the championship?
Well, at the start of the race I was just hoping I could finish in front of Jessie Owens. Then when I saw that all happen I thought I could get up there.
What was it like to come into the race thinking that you didn’t really have a chance to win the championship, only to end up as the champion?
I really hoped I was the champion, but we were all trying to figure out the points. Everyone was saying Cade (Martin) was first, and then we got the final results and I was first. It was crazy. It didn’t even feel like I was the champion.
Now that we’re a few weeks from the end of the season, what does it feel like to be able to call yourself a champion at such an early stage of your career?
It feels good because I think that it could lead my racing career to the big cars. Hopefully I can (move into) Mod Kart next year, but if not, we’re going to be running JR 2 again.
You made it onto the podium three times this season, and you began the year with a win. Since you were clearly fast enough, did you always believe you could ultimately win the championship?
Yes. Coming into the first race I was super excited. I was hoping I could win, and I won, so I was just all in for going for the championship after that.
What was it like to be a part of such a competitive division? It’s fun because I know everybody in the class, so if we kind of get into a little tangle up we’ll be mad at the moment. But once we get off the track and see each other, after that (we’re ok). If it’s a big one, we’ll kind of be mad at each other, but if it’s a little one, like when I got spun out in Reno, I was mad at the moment. But once I got off the track I didn’t really care because I finished.
How did you stay strong during those few races where you didn’t finish exactly where you hoped?
My mom and my dad just kept on telling me there’s a couple more races to go. After Reno I finished like sixth and seventh, and I was not happy. They just kept telling me two more races and you can make it up. After Glen Helen I dropped to fourth, and going into Arizona I was just hoping I could get the championship.
What are your goals for next year? What is your ultimate goal competing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series?
We’re figuring out what we’re going to do for next season. I think we may do Mod Kart. If not, we’re going to run JR 2 again, (hoping to) take the championship again. If I can make it up (in the bigger classes) I’d want to run a Pro 4. In the offseason, we might be running outlaw karts.
Racing is all about the family for you, as your brother races as well. What is it like to be able to do this as a family and have parents who are willing to do whatever it takes to help you and your brother succeed?
It’s really fun, because I feel like nowhere else (is it like off road). I race sprint cars, and when you go out there you race, you watch some races, and then go home. In Lucas Oil Off Road it’s like a camping trip. You go, you stay a couple days; you hang out with all your friends and their families. It’s just a fun time and I like off road better. I want to thank my parents because they travel everywhere. They spend a lot of money, especially to let me and my brother both race. They’ve been helping me a lot.