Corona, CA - For 13-year-old Connor Barry, the appeal of driving an off road racing vehicle is simple.
"I like it because you are a kid and you can go out and drive and have fun," Barry said.
"You can go and drive and if you win, you get cash. It's a cool thing to be involved in. Most kids aren't in a race car and it's fun to be different."
"Being with your family, that's fun, too. Racing is a family sport."
Young Barry, an eighth-grader from Menifee, CA, had a lot of fun during the 2018 season.
He won seven events on the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, to capture the JR 2 Kart division series, in his CBR Performance Kart.
Barry now sets his sights on the Mod Kart class in 2019.
"My goal was to get my first championship and to win all my races," Barry said of the 2018 season. "I did that, besides two of them."
Off Road racing has been a family sport for the Barrys. Parents Clint and Georgeanna own and operate CBR Performance Products, which manufactures radiators and oil coolers for off road racing vehicles.
"That's kind of how the kids got involved," Georgeanna Barry said. "We would go see customers at the races and the boys were like 'we want to do this' and that's how they got involved in it."
Connor's older brother, 18-year-old Nathan (past Mod Kid) has helped blaze the trail through the Kart ranks. Connor said his brother's advice has been a key and should continue to help him as he advances in the sport.
Meanwhile, his friends find out that he's a championship-level off road racer, they are impressed.
"They think, 'Ooh, wow, that is cool,' " Barry said with a laugh.
Barry knows that winning will become more difficult as he gets older. But he already has a game plan for the full season ahead in Mod Karts.
"My goal is to get on top of the box and maybe get to the top of the points," he said, adding that he's going to have to be a smart and patient driver.
"It's doing the right stuff," he said. "It's being smooth. If you're not smart, you're going to have a hard time trying to win."
Barry looks to one of his racing idols, Hall of Fame off road champion Rob MacCachren, as an inspiration. The youngster said he dreams of someday making his mark driving a powerful Pro 2 or Pro 4 Truck, like MacCachren has.
"That's my goal," Barry said. "I want to be inside a race car and kind of do what Rob 'Mac' has done. Just win a lot of racers, get some good sponsors and get a lot of championships."
The 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series begins March 16 with the SoCal Shootout at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California.
Courtesy of Lucas Oil Off Road