Like many second-generation racers, Myles Cheek cut his racing teeth in the karts. Like many who started in karts, the two-time and reigning Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Modified Kart champion moved to Pro Lite when it was time to hit the big track. But, unlike most, he has shown impressive speed and racing chops right out of the box.
The son of 2009 Pro Buggy champion Chuck Cheek, Myles is beginning his rookie year in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. He had a brief foray into Pro Lite last year at Glen Helen, but Rounds 1 and 2 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park last month marked the beginning of his full assault on Pro Lite.
He did it in style, coming out fast in qualifying, running the second-fastest lap in his qualifying heat to 2012 champ RJ Anderson. Then he raced hard, taking the fight to three-time Pro Lite champ and eventual race winner Brian Deegan – whose Metal Mulisha outfit sponsored Cheek in karts the past couple of years. Cheek finished second – not a bad start to a season in which he says he’d like to finish with a top 10 for the season and the Rookie of the Year award.
“I was just hoping to get a top-10,” he says of the first race. “My main goal was to get eighth place. To be able to get second and run with those guys is awesome.”
While Cheek had the one outing in Pro Lite last year, he still went into Wild Horse Pass relatively fresh. Since then, the Cheeks changed the shocks to Fox and the tires to BFGoodrich, and had only two outings in it since Glen Helen.
That makes his performance all the more impressive. Further, it illustrates just how good the karts are at preparing competitors for the trucks.
“The Mod Kart feels just like a Pro Lite,” he says. “It’s a little narrow, but the Mods have a little more travel, so it’s a little bit nicer when you land. But they drive almost the same.”
Still, experience aside, it takes some skill to go toe-to-toe with one of the sport’s toughest competitors and the guy who used to sponsor your efforts. But Cheek didn’t shrink from the challenge of taking on Deegan:
“I’ve watched his driving all through the years. He’s been driving the class a long time. I just wanted to see where he’d make a mistake. I tried to pressure him and get him a little nervous, but he wouldn’t budge.”
Away from the track, the 15-year-old Cheek is doing the usual high school stuff – hanging out with friends at the beach and going surfing. Or he’ll ride motocross with his buddies.
At the track, though, age doesn’t mean much. How old and experienced the guy in the truck is next to you has no bearing on how hard you attack, or how aggressively you defend. It’s a lesson that Cheek seems to have learned quickly.
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