Student vs. Sensei as Menzies & MacCachren face off in Calif. TORC final
Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2012
TORC’s PRO 2 title’s on the line next Saturday, Oct. 29th at Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Calif.
By Pat Schutte
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 20, 2012) – The 2012 Traxxas TORC Series, presented by AMSOIL, PRO 2 championship comes down to the wire a week from this Saturday, Sept. 29th, in California with just four points separating the student, defending TORC PRO 2 champ Bryce Menzies (Red Bull/Ram/Mopar/KMC Wheels), and the sensei – legendary off-road great Rob MacCachren (Ram/Mopar/Traxxas/BFG).
Don’t think for a second through that points-leading MacCachren, who has been a mentor-like figure to the 25-year-old Menzies, will not utilize every opportunity at hand to win the championship. Twice the runner-up in the TORC Series’ PRO 2 class (2010 & 2011), MacCachren is on a mission to put the No. 1 TORC plate on the side of his Ram truck for 2013.
“You have to go hard every time you are on the track,” said MacCachren. “Bryce and I are so close right now that every point will matter. You get bonus points for qualifying first or second and for leading or being second at the halfway point of the race and those points will be pretty important. It’s pretty much going to come down to who beats the other guy.”
For his part Menzies won’t balk at the chance to position his Ram ahead of MacCachren’s – even it means ramming the other Ram. Experienced in off-road far beyond his age indicates (Menzies is a two-time SCORE Baja 500 champ), Menzies understands his 2011 TORC PRO 2 title came as a bit of a gift from the then-injured MacCachren: “Last year when we were battling for the championship at the end of the season Rob was racing hurt (shoulder). This year he’s back and very motivated, which in turn motivated me.”
Menzies continued: “You really want to beat Rob MacCachren over any other guy (in TORC PRO 2). He’s such a legend in the sport of off-road that, if you can run with him, you know you’re doing something right. This is a contact sport and you have to be prepared to move people out of the way in order to win.”
TORC’s inaugural event on the west coast should benefit both the Vegas-based Menzies and MacCachren with hometown supporters. But keep in mind that, should something incredible happen (which it often does in motorsports), both Michigan’s Chad Hord (BOSS Snowplows/Nissan/BFG) and Wisconsin’s CJ Greaves (Monster Energy/Toyota/Maxxis) are well within striking distance of TORC’s PRO 2 top spot at 227 and 221 points, respectively.
“Coming into the last race it’s nice to have it on our home turf,” said Menzies. “We’ve torn the truck down to the ground and built it back up so that, hopefully, none of the stupid mechanical issues we had earlier in the season will happen at Lancaster. It’s crunch time. There’s going to be lots of pressure and me and Rob will be battling it out to the end.”
Menzies made the first move in defending his TORC PRO 2 title by scoring two podiums – including a win - in the heart of NASCAR country at famed Charlotte Motor Speedway. Driving for MacCachren (who had a prior commitment) at Charlotte was Andrew Caddell, who’s battling for the TORC PRO Light title. Caddell did what he had to in his first TORC PRO 2 race, salvaging some series points for MacCachren with a 5th/9th overall finish. Still, MacCachren started the 2012 TORC season out in a bit of a rut.
“It's coming right down to the end of the year,” said MacCachren. “Both Bryce and I have had our ups and downs throughout the season, so it's been pretty tough. Last year, I’d say my year was up and down a lot more and Bryce’s was very consistent. This year, Bryce has been a little bit more up and down than me. I know both of our teams are working hard and will be ready for Lancaster. We are carrying momentum from the 200th career win at Crandon into Lancaster.”
The likely turning point for MacCachren on this summer’s TORC tour came at another NASCAR venue – Chicagoland Speedway. MacCachren was utterly dominant that weekend, going 1st/1st (to Menzies’ 6th/3rd) and blowing ahead in the overall points. But Menzies would claw his way back into the chase at Bark River (Mich.) and Crandon (Wis.), taking two wins in four races to MacCachren’s one (win) and closing the gap heading into Lancaster’s Saturday doubleheader to four points.
“It’s going to be harder on the team preparing the track than it is on me, that’s for sure,” said Menzies, a sentiment shared by MacCachren. “I just have to make sure I back up all their hard work with equally hard driving and keep the mistakes to a minimum.”
Up next … Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, Lancaster, Calif., Sept. 29-30.
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!
Photos by Pat Schutte