There’s probably no other issue of Dirt Sports + Off-Road more anticipated than the Driver of the Year issue.
We’ve had folks asking us for months who the winner was going to be (and putting in good words for their own favorite); our answer was always that we had to wait until the various series were completed. This was especially true given the fact that a few drivers had dominating seasons. Kyle Leduc cleaned up in LOORRS and Jason Voss was on a tear in the desert, including being part of the winning Baja 1000 team.
But one driver was not only seemingly unbeatable in his chosen series, taking the 2014 Nitto Ultra4 National Championship, both East and West Coast Ultra4 series championships, and back-to-back wins in what may be the toughest off-road race currently being run, the King of the Hammers.
That’s why the 2014 Dirt Sports + Off-Road Driver of the Year is Loren Healy.
Healy finished the Nitto championship with 5,000 points. He did this by winning every race of the series. The one thing that put him ahead of the others was that it didn’t come all that easily for him. There were other racers who were close to him at times, but Healy rose above by sheer dogged determination. He simply wanted it more and made sure that when the checkered flag flew, he was the one out front.
That says a lot about this young man, and was a big factor in our determination of his winning the DOTY. Others may have run away with their series, but Healy fought tooth and nail with some very good drivers for his wins. It’s not like he was the underdog, but we always like it when a racer works for his wins and doesn’t buckle under pressure. He decided that was not to be denied.
For our Rookie of the Year, we chose Steve Eugenio, who took the SCORE 2014 Trophy Truck Championship. Yes, Eugenio may have run the 1000 in 2013, but 2014 was his first full season behind the wheel. Taking the Trophy Truck title against some of the best off-road drivers in the world is a feat that many veteran drivers still find difficult.
We at Dirt Sports + Off-Road congratulate our drivers of the year for 2014 and their teams and sponsors. It was a long, grueling year for all of us … and we can’t wait for 2015 to begin!
Until then, have fun, be safe, and we’ll see you next month.