The Johnsons, dad Ricky & son Luke, dominate TORC PRO 4 & Light podos @ Bark River
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2012
TORC’s PRO classes put on a thrilling show for yet another massive crowd at Michigan’s Upper Peninsula track
By Pat Schutte
BARK RIVER, Mich. (Aug. 11, 2012) – The Traxxas TORC Series, presented by AMSOIL, drew another massive crowd to Upper Michigan’s Bark River Raceway, round 9 of the 2012 schedule. And stealing the show in TORC’s premier PRO 4x4 class and support PRO Light class was the father/son team of Ricky and Luke Johnson, each winning their respective class – with Luke’s win being his first career win with TORC.
Taking top honors in the PRO 2WD class was Bryce Menzies while 14-year-old racing phenom Mitchell DeJong won again in the PRO Super Buggy class. Action continues tomorrow (Sunday) at Bark River Raceway with round ten of the 2012 Traxxas TORC Series.
Flat out bad luck continues to haunt 2010 TORC PRO 4 champ Johnny Greaves (Monster Energy/Toyota/ Maxxis). Heading into the white flag lap and leading the Bark River main event on Saturday in convincing fashion on Saturday, Greaves reportedly took a rock to the radiator, rendering his truck lame and allowing three trucks to pass him – including current TORC PRO 4 points leader Ricky Johnson (Red Bull/Mopar/Ram/KMC Wheels) for the victory.
“Johnny had all of us covered,” said Johnson. “Poor guy’s been snake bit.”
Johnson ran a smart 11 laps in the main event, putting himself in the best position to win when Greaves truck went down. But it was his son Luke’s big win in TORC’s opening event of the weekend that was on RJ’s mind on the podium. “It meant so much to me,” he said, choking back the tears. “Luke’s worked so hard for this … it means way more to me than my win today.”
Battling to a 2nd place finish on the podium was Mark Jenkins (Traxxas/AMSOIL/BFG). Jenkins charged hard all race and earned a podium spot despite Greaves’ early departure. “We’ve been working hard to improve the No. 25 truck, giving it everything we have,” said Jenkins. “I just wish we could bump Ricky off the box one of these days.”
Scott Douglas (AMSOIL/Borla Exhaust/BFG), currently 2nd overall in the PRO 4 points, would round out the podium in 3rd. The gracious Douglas was quick to praise his fellow PRO 4 podium placers for a battle well-fought at Bark River. “We had a solid truck that got us on the podium every time this year, but this time we just got beat. Congrats to Ricky for winning it and Mark for finishing a strong 2nd.”
Rounding out the top five were Greaves, who held on for 4th, and Dan Baudoux with his best finish of the season (5th).
Noteworthy: About the only consolation for Greaves was the fact he won the Oakley Bomb Award for the fastest lap around Bark River, clocking a scorching 1:18.766 on lap seven – nearly two seconds faster than Johnson’s fastest lap (1:20.546).
PRO 4x4 Results
1- Ricky Johnson 2- Mark Jenkins 3- Scott Douglas 4- Johnny Greaves 5- Dan Baudous 6- Al Drews 7- Jerry Conrad 8- Mike Jenkins 9- Adrian Cenni 10- Jim Ridderbush 11- Milan Mazanec
Defending TORC PRO 2 champ Bryce Menzies (Red Bull/Mopar/Ram/KMC Wheels) finally beat back the mechanical gremlins and bad luck that has plagued him the past several races and won Bark River – convincingly – on Saturday.
Menzies stared mid-pack and made his way to the podium by getting past a host of top TORC drivers in Chad Hord (BOSS Snowplows/Nissan/AMSOIL),Mopar/Ram’s Rob MacCachren and Jeff Kincaid (Traxxas/AMSOIL/BFG) to take the lead at the competition yellow. Menzies then brought ‘er home to 1st place at the checkers, with nary a challenge from the rest of the field.
“This one’s for the team,” said Menzies, who picked up the Oakley Bomb Award for the fastest lap of the race. “We’ve been struggling a bit so, yeah, this is great to win here at Bark River.”
Blasting out early in the opening laps of the PRO 2 contest was Kincaid. The local racer built as much as 14-car lead before the rest of the field started to catch up. He’d continue to run well thought the end of the race, with Menzies being the only racer that’d get past him. “We just couldn’t keep up with Bryce,” said Kincaid. “But here we are in 2nd … and I’m happy with that.”
Third place on Saturday in the PRO 2s at Bark River would go to class point leader MacCachren. Shooting for his 200th career win, “Rob Mac” would battle with Scott Taylor (Miller Welding) on a couple occasions before separating from the rest of the field while chasing Kincaid and Menzies. “I made a mistake early in the race and Bryce got by. After that the roost got real tough,” said MacCachren. “We’ll go back and work on the truck tonight and have ‘er ready-to-go on Sunday.” Taylor would finish fourth and PRO 2 rookie CJ Greaves (Monster Energy/Toyota/Maxxis) would round out the top five.
Noteworthy: Down by only three points to MacCachren heading into Bark River, Hord shredded his right rear tire and was unable to finish the race, blowing the points chase wide open.
PRO 2 Results
1- Bryce Menzies 2- Jeff Kincaid 3- Rob MacCachren 4- Scott Taylor 5- CJ Greaves 6- Steve Barlow 7- Mike Jenkins 8- Chad Hord 9- Mike Oberg 10- Justin Keehner
Traxxas/AMSOIL/BFG racer Luke Johnson won his first-ever TORC main event, leading wire-to-wire in Saturday’s PRO Light final at Bark River.
“It’s different being up here on top of the podium, but it’s something I could get used to,” said Johnson. “I didn’t qualify so well and we’ve been up and down a bit this year, but I love this track. It’s rough and challenging and we definitely picked up in the race.”
In 2nd place, running a very consistent 11 laps at Bark River, was Brad Lovell (AMSOIL/Nissan/Torchmate). Lovell moved up in the overall points towards leader Andrew Caddell (Mopar/Ram/Traxxas) after Caddell put his Ram up on its roof in turn three.
“We really ran a smooth race with virtually no mistakes,” said Lovell. “I chased the top guys for what seemed forever and it was really tough to see through all that dust. But we got it nailed.”
Blasting up front early in the PRO Lights – from the pole position – was Shaun Morris (Maxxis/AMSOIL/Proformance). Morris’ lead would be short-lived as Johnson would soon take over. But the gritty racer would persist, holding it down through the checkers and taking 3rd. “We had a tough beginning of the season, and blew a lot of things there in the first half (at Bark River). But coming back from the back of the pack to make the podium, I can’t complain about that,” he said. Note: The Bark River Saturday PRO Light podium was Morris’ second-straight finish on the rostrum.
And though he would fire his truck and get running again, Caddell had a flat rear tire and didn’t figure in the overall scoring. Supercross.com’s Matt Cook (4th) and Randy Eller (Maxxis) rounded out the top five.
Noteworthy: Johnson won the Traxxas Maxx Lap award with a 1:25.696 best time in the PRO Lights class, earning himself a $5,000 reward for his efforts.
PRO Light Results
1- Luke Johnson 2- Brad Lovell 3- Shawn Morris 4- Matt Cook 5- Randy Eller 6- Eric Ruppel 7- Mitch Dorr 8- Mark Oberg 9- Ross Hoek 10- Jason Janusz 11- Andrew Caddell 12- Keegan Kincaid 13- Nick Baumgartner 14- CJ Greaves
PRO Super Buggy
Fourteen year old Californian Mitchell DeJong (Traxxas/BFG) put up his second-straight win in the PRO Super Buggy class, distancing himself twice – once at the beginning and again after the competition restart – from the rest of the racers, en route to a decisive win on the opening day at Bark River.
“We’re in it for the championship, so I tried to be as patient as I could, but it’s always great to win,” said DeJong.
By far the highlight of the race, and quite possibly the highlight of the PRO Super Buggy class this summer, was the spectacular finish by JR Wheeler, who went airborne – upside down – to pass Aaron Hawley over the finish line for 3rd place.
“About the only thing I didn’t do was roll around and yell that I was on fire,” joked Wheeler on the podium, alluding to the great Ricky Bobby finish in “Talladega Nights.”
Running one of his better races of the year in to 2nd place was local Wisconsin racer Scott Schwalbe in his trademark orange No. 29 PRO Super Buggy. Schwalbe passed Hawley straight up on the white flag lap and made it stick through the checkers.
Super Buggy Results
1- Mitchell DeJong 2- Scott Schwalbe 3- JR Wheeler 4- Aaron Hawley 5- Bryan Bernloehr 6- Andy Zipperer 7- Tom Schwartzburg 8- Justin Folkman 9- Bob Klaus 10- John Frana 11- Chris Haenlein
Up next … Crandon (Wis.) International Off-Road Raceway World Championships, Aug. 31 - Sept. 2.
Media contact: Pat Schutte, HPPR, email@example.com
Photo courtesy of Chris Hord
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The Traxxas TORC Series, presented by AMSOIL, is the fastest, most punishing short course racing series on the planet! TORC events are packed with flag-to-flag fender banging as drivers push the limits over whoops and jump-filled natural terrain race tracks. Off-road racing fans come from far and wide to experience the most challenging form of high-octane competition. And once they taste TORC for the first time they’re hooked for life!