14-Year-Old Prodigy, Mitchell DeJong, Races with K&N Filters into Future Stardom

 
 
Micthell DeJong is no stranger to the podium and would like to make frequent appearances to the stage in the number one position Micthell DeJong is no stranger to the podium and would like to make frequent appearances to the stage in the number one position
We don't like to throw the word "prodigy" around, but it's hard not to when talking about off-road phenom Mitchell DeJong. The 14-year-old continued his dominance over The Off Road Championship series (TORC), sponsored by Traxxas, with a win and third place finish at June's Red Bud Motocross Park in Buchanan, Michigan, and blazes head-first into the fray for the remainder of the series. Despite sporadic mechanical hurdles, ranging from a flat tire, to losing 3rd gear and a broken sway bar, DeJong still pulled away with a podium finish at the end of each round.
Mitchell DeJong drivers the black and red number 24 Buggy in The Off Road Championship
Mitchell DeJong drivers the black and red number 24 Buggy in The Off Road Championship Series


Of course, DeJong's recent wins come shortly after two 2012 Pro Buggy victories at Glen Helen Raceway and setting a new track record of 47.6 seconds during the Round 2 main event, besting the previous record by 0.3 seconds. Contrary to what one might think, Mitchell still isn't old enough to legally drive a car on public roads, which is typical for a 14-year-old Temecula, California eighth-grader with eighth-grader concerns, like homework.

When this Traxxas/Red Bull athlete's nose isn't buried in his schoolwork, you can find him working with his dad, Vince prepping his race vehicles, "I spend a lot of time at my parents business, DeJong Off Road Mfg.," DeJong explains. Proudly sponsored by K&N Filters, DeJong said, "The K&N Air Filters give me a lot of confidence. Being the youngest driver to be approved to compete in this class is really awesome and I hope to earn the respect of the other competitors on the track."

The consecutive wins at the first two rounds of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Regional Series are only made more amazing by DeJong's lack of prior experience in Pro Buggy. New elements like turning brakes, foot pedal clutch, H-pattern shifting, and open wheels only seemed to stoke DeJong's excitement, exclaiming, "Pro Buggy is a blast to drive!" I'd say the biggest challenge so far would be going from the sequential shifter to the H-pattern shifter and the floor clutch."

Many hours go into the preparation of Mitchell DeJong's off road buggy with the help of his father
Many hours go into the preparation of Mitchell DeJong's off road buggy with the help of his father
Nonetheless, the young gun remained undaunted, turning lap times at the Devore, Southern California track comparable to the class' more seasoned drivers. Of course, it only makes sense as DeJong's goals include becoming a race champion like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Travis Pastrana, and of course, his dad. Goal-setting is key to DeJong's success, as he explained, "The first time I went out to the track for a test, I had set a personal goal to run the same times as the top competitors in the class."

DeJong wields an ironclad work ethic which has paid off in a succession of championships. DeJong started racing competitively from the age of five, proving his mettle on both pavement and dirt, from go-karts, to off-road modified trucks, to Legend cars. Within five years, DeJong has accrued, an amazing, 8 championship titles, including two Lucas Oil Off Road Championships, two Karting championships, and Off-Road wins at Lake Elsinore Motocross Park, Primm Desert and in the Traxxas TORC Series.

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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.

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