TORC Series Makes an Impression at The Dirt Track at Charlotte
In the best PRO 4 class finish in the history of the Traxxas TORC Series, presented by AMSOIL, Johnny Greaves (Monster Energy/Toyota/Maxxis) and Ricky Johnson (Red Bull/KMC Wheels/Mopar/Ram) made a whole mess of new TORC Series fans in the heart of NASCAR country, staging what amounted to a UFC fight in 4,000-pound, 900-horsepower PRO 4x4 short course off-road trucks on The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway – a battle ultimately won by Greaves.
But the battle wasn't over once the checkers flew as Johnson, on his way to the podium, got into it with the Greaves clan, then Johnson's camp exchanged pleasantries with Greaves while he was on the podium. And while no punches were thrown by either party, this was as close to an Allisons/Yarborough Daytona '79 NASCAR moment for the TORC Series has experienced in its first three years of racing.
"Love me or hate me, that was a hell of a race," said Johnson, who literally LANDED on the roof of Greaves' truck as he was trying to overtake his new rival. "And I imagine you'll see Johnny pissed off a few more times this year. He's the defending champion and I'm coming after him." Greaves survived the all-out attack by the former AMA motocross champ and went on to beat Johnson to the checkers – recording the first win of the season for the defending TORC PRO 4 champion.
"I started out a little too cautious, didn't want to break like on Friday night," said Greaves. "I'd picked out a few fast lines and made the pass for the lead – and he (Johnson) used me like a pogo stick! But I'll get a chance to pay the favor back – I guarantee that!"
Great racing going on behind the No. 1 and No. 2 racer with Scott Douglas (AMSOIL/BFG/MasterCraft Safety) and Mark Jenkins (Traxxas/BFG/AMSOIL) battling it out fender-to-fender until Douglas got the upper hand and hammered out the final podium spot.
The student got the better of the mentor at Saturday night's PRO 2 main event when Bryce Menzies (Red Bull/KMC Wheels/Mopar/Ram) took Rob MacCachren (Traxxas/Mopar/AMSOIL/BFG) to the checkers, recording a wire-to-wire win – his first-ever win in his rookie year on the TORC Series - in the evening's second contest on the Dirt Track @ Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Menzies, who broke while leading last night on the final corner prior to the last laps, was running a new motor after his team thrashed through an engine swap late last night and in the searing heat on Saturday. Menzies was pumped with his team's effort and the overall performance of his Mopar-powered Ram 4x4. "Mopar and Ram got us out front and we were able to lead the whole race," said Menzies, who won the Oakley Bomb award for the fastest PRO 2 lap on the night.
With Menzies well out front and in control of the race after the competition yellow, MacCachren and Chad Hord (BOSS Snowplows/AMSOIL/Nissan) locked into an epic PRO 2 battle for a number of laps before MacCachren caught Hord with a blitzing inside move at the end of the fastest portion of the track, slashing down the banked turn three corner into the infield and past Hord. Hord had foiled the move twice before, but on the third time with three laps to go MacCachren was able to make it stick.
"It was a pleasure racing with Chad," said MacCachren from the podium. "We got together a couple times, door-to-door even, but I think we both raced clean. And I'm hoping the fans enjoyed it (to which the sizable Charlotte crowd answered with cheers)."
Friday night's 2nd place PRO 2 finisher, Scott Taylor (Miller Electric Welders), suffered some mechanical issues early and left the track. This left the door open for the third and final podium spot, which was snatched up easily by Hord.
For the second-straight night at Charlotte defending 2010 TORC PRO Light champion Casey Currie (Monster Energy/General Tire/Nissan) was on top of the Lights class, but a spectacular Triple Twisting Lindy/fireball crash by Samuel Hubinette (Traxxas/Mopar/AMSOIL/BFG) coupled with a rollover, spinout and mid-race hot pits visit by Andrew Caddell (Traxxas/Mopar/AMSOIL/BFG) had things about as interesting as they could in the night's opening contest.
Caddell in particular put in one of the best performances of the year thus far in coming from dead last at the competition yellow to 2nd place. "I got the lead, tried to set a pace. Tried to gap (the field) before the yellow and I hooked a rut there. Feel bad for my team ... they gave me a great truck tonight."
Even Currie was pumped for his rival: "For him to come back to second was a hard charger right there."
But Currie was not to be caught, winning the Traxxas Maxx Lap award for the fastest PRO Light lap despite Caddell's maniacal charge.
Rounding out Saturday night's PRO Light podium was the #44 of Brad Lovell (AMSOIL/BFG/Torchmate), who scored his second podium of the season.
Story courtesy Pat Shutte.