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Aaron Gilliam, Race ProTech
Justin Peck says he's ready to race this weekend.
Driving an off-road truck is 1,000 times more difficult than any other motor racing sport. Frankly, I just love dirt. —Justin Peck

Racing returns to Utah this weekend as Utah Motorsports Campus, formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park, hosts its first major event as the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series makes its seventh appearance in Utah.

Two days of off-road dirt racing will take place at Utah Motorsports Campus Saturday and Sunday. Utah's Justin Peck will be behind the wheel as he looks to win this weekend in the third of eight series stops.

“Off-road racing has its own allure from other motor sports,” said Peck. “I have been racing for 24 years, with the last four years behind the wheel of the truck. I have driven everything in motorsports and on every surface possible, but with dirt, the conditions can change so rapidly. Dirt presents unique challenges consistently throughout the race. Driving an off-road truck is 1,000 times more difficult than any other motor racing sport. Frankly, I just love dirt.”

Weather may play a key role in how the race is decided this weekend, but that does not bother a dirt racer like Peck.

“No matter what the conditions are, with dirt racing you really do not have a clue what is going to happen one second in front of you,” said Peck. “Other racers can bottle up a corner trying to squeeze into a spot where there isn’t room, the track can form deep ruts that will toss you around and dirt is constantly flying around. Conditions change every moment throughout the race. It’s like having a shotgun fight in a closet.”

For Peck, racing in dirt propels him to be a better driver and racer.

“All racing is hard,” said Peck. “If you have the desire, you can race. Most anybody can learn to race and drive asphalt tracks. Car racing like that is a synchronized sport. If you hit your marks on the track, brake in correct spots and apex the motor of the car in critical places, you can find success in road racing. In off-road its completely different, and that’s why top race drivers have a dirt background. Dirt teaches you how to drive and evolve while you drive rather than learning how to be a synchronized driver only. Dirt creates that unique skillset that drivers will take back to other racing disciplines. Top names like Tony Stewart (NASCAR), Robbie Gordon (NASCAR) and Brian Deegan (Motocross) have found a passion in racing off-road trucks.”

In addition to the off-road racing, there will be multiple other races taking place at the Motorsports Campus throughout the weekend. The sports cars of the Utah Region of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA Utah) will race Round 3, while the superbikes of the Utah Sport Bike Association’s VORTEX Masters of the Mountains Series will race in Round 2 of their respective 2016 seasons.

“This is a momentous weekend for us,” said Willem Geyer, general manager of Utah Motorsports Campus. “There are few, if any, other racing facilities in the world that could stage a weekend with three separate races, a concert and rental karting taking place simultaneously. Our staff have worked extraordinarily hard to make this event happen, and we are looking forward to seeing lots of happy families in the grandstands this weekend.”

Peck echoed the words of Geyer.

“What this really means is that we have a facility in Utah that is unlike any other,” said Peck. “Fans can come enjoy an entire weekend of racing, in one facility, and see multiple racing disciplines. That doesn’t happen that often, and to have this not only be a facility we can fine-tune our careers in racing, it provides an avenue for the entire family to experience the passion of racing that we drivers love to share. It is a big weekend for the Motorsports Campus."

Tickets for the weekend are available online at www.UtahMotorsportsCampus.com, and range from $30/day for general admission to $35/day for covered grandstand seating. There is also an exclusive VIP pass available for $135/day. VIP parking and RV/camping accommodations are also available. Children 12 and under will be admitted free to general admission, with a $10 fee for covered grandstands and a $50 fee for a VIP pass. Tickets to the Young Dubliners concert are $20 as a stand-alone purchase.

For more information on the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, visit their website at www.LucasOilOffRoad.com. For event or other information regarding Utah Motorsports Campus, visit www.UtahMotorsportsCampus.com or call 435-277-8000.

Utah Motorsports Campus is managing the facility formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park on behalf of Tooele County while efforts to sell the facility take place.

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series preview

Justin Peck

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series preview

Justin Peck

Tyler Tate is the owner and operator of T Squared Action Sports and the senior action sports analyst for 120 Sports TV. Follow Tyler for sports coverage on all social media platforms: T Squared Sports