2022 Championship Off-Road Pro Spec champion Gray Leadbetter scored back-to-back runner-up finishes in her return to Ryan Beat Motorsports and the #28 Bilstein Chevrolet Colorado for the start of the 2023 season at Antigo Lions Roaring Raceway. The first female driver to ever win a championship in the series holds a five-point advantage on the competition through the first two rounds in her bid to go back-to-back.
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“We had a pretty good weekend to kick off the season in Antigo!” said Leadbetter. “As much as we wanted to get back on top of the box, it was awesome to score so many points and hang onto the red plate going into Crandon, and I had a ton of fun on the new layout. Huge thanks to Ryan Beat and the whole R/BM team, all of our partners, my family, friends, and everyone who supports me. I can’t wait to get back out there!”
While the Pro Spec grid more than doubled in size from last season, with multiple other drivers changing classes to join the field, Leadbetter was ready for the challenge. She kicked off the weekend by posting the fastest time in qualifying on Friday, although an invert would place her sixth on the starting grid for Saturday’s opening round. Undeterred, Leadbetter would pick her way through the field, posting the fastest lap of the race and getting up to second place, coming within a second of replicating her opening-round win at Antigo last year.
Sunday’s race saw another invert, with Leadbetter starting fourth. Despite adversity in the form of an early spin, she recovered and remained aggressive in her charge to the front. Lined up fifth after the competition caution, and with team owner Ryan Beat calling the start on her radio, Leadbetter had one of the most spectacular restarts in recent memory—using a quick reaction to pounce from fifth to first before once again settling into the second position.
While Championship Off-Road takes a week break, Leadbetter will remain behind the wheel this weekend as she contests the Nitrocross season opener in the SXS class as part of Visions Off-Road at MidAmerica Outdoors. Her appearance comes just weeks after she tested the series’ signature Group E car alongside founder Travis Pastrana to rave reviews, both on track and off. The event will take place on an all-new track designed by Pastrana himself to be the ultimate Nitrocross track, and will mark Leadbetter’s return to side-by-side racing after success in a Pro Mod vehicle across multiple series earlier in her career. Tickets for Visions Off-Road are available here.
Gray Leadbetter’s 2023 Championship Off-Road program with Ryan Beat Motorsports is supported by Chevrolet, Bilstein, Pennzoil, Toyo Tires, Tremor Wheels, Steel-It, Sunoco Race Fuel, RIGID, Magnaflow, Mechanix Wear, FK Rod Ends, Hyperco, Brembo Brakes, Ehren, Fortin Racing, Fiberwerx, Automatic Transmission Design, Power Steering Solution, Geiser Performance, Antigravity Batteries, Hawk Performance, DS Customs, and Calico Coatings. Following Antigo, her next race in the series will be the Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run at Crandon International Raceway on June 24-25.