Duncombe ready for new challenge in Lucas Off Road Series
Auto racing • Veteran driver ready but not quite sure what to expect.
Published: June 20, 2013 02:10PM
Updated: December 7, 2013 11:33PM
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Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Ron Duncombe loves cars, including his 32 Ford pick-up and will be one of the local drivers competing in this weekend's Lucas Oil Off-Road Series races at Miller Motorsports Park.

Tooele • Ron Duncombe is a self-proclaimed old dog in Utah two- and four-wheel racing circles.

He’s about to learn a new trick.

Duncombe, 46, debuts a Maverik-sponsored Pro Lite truck Saturday and Sunday during the Lucas Oil Off Road Series at Miller Motorsports Park.

A veteran driver who has raced everything from BMX to oval track midgets to monster trucks, Duncombe admits he’s not sure what to expect this weekend.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” he said. “It’s just like anything else. The more seat time you acquire, the better you are going to be. But due to the building process involved with this truck, we’re going to be baptized by fire.”

Competing in a division where the average size of the field this season has been 28 trucks, Duncombe doesn’t expect much sympathy from his rival drivers.

“There’s going to be a lot of banging out there ... and these guys are killers,” he said. “They’ll be on me like rats on a Cheeto.”

Duncombe and his Maverik team are hoping for the best result possible, of course. But they are also realistic about their chances in their truck’s debut.

“It would be amazing to get on the podium, especially against the guys we’re racing against,” Duncombe said. “Realistically, though, that’s probably something that’s down the road for us.”

Dumcombe grew up in the Salt Lake Valley, attended Murray High School and started racing BMX as a youngster.

“As a tot, if my mom couldn’t find me, I’d be sitting out in the garage on my dad’s motorcycle,” he said. “I got the bug, I guess, at a young age.”

Duncombe, however, never excelled at BMX. So he moved into motocross, midget racing and, eventually, a Maverik-sponsored monster truck.

“I was getting to the age where I couldn’t race dirt bikes any more,” he said. “They’re isn’t a lot of longevity in that. It’s a young cat’s game. There’s an old saying, ‘With age comes a cage.’ So I went with the trucks.”

During his journey in motor sports, Duncombe has been battered and bruised but never seriously injured.

“There have been a few wrecks,” he said. “Certainly with what we do, it’s not if something will happen but when it happens.

“But I’ve been fortunate. Besides a few minor things — cracked ribs, a few concussions, things like that — I’ve avoided the real nasty stuff.”

Off the track, Duncombe has also become a well-known face of Utah racing as the host of a reality TV show and radio talk show. The TV show ended after three years and 53 episodes that enabled ordinary people to experience adventures like stunt plane flying, scuba diving in Mexico, bobsledding with the U.S. Olympic team and paragliding over Bear Lake.

The radio show still airs every Saturday at noon on 97.5 FM in Salt Lake City. A Maverik employee, Duncombe says the company’s sponsorship of his projects have been the reason for his success.

“We’re in the oil business and like to cater to people who have the same interests as us, whether it’s snowmobiling or riding on the dunes — all forms of motorsports,” Duncombe said.

“That’s why I pinch myself everyday. I have a wonderful family and a great position with Maverik. They’ve always been receptive to trying new things — thinking way, way outside the box.”

If you go

P Where • Miller Motorsports Park

When • Saturday and Sunday

Schedule • Gates open at 9 a.m. Qualifying in seven classes begins at 10:20 a.m. Opening ceremonies held at 2 p.m.