Blue bird conditions followed a day of threatening rain as Round 8 of TORC: The Off-Road Championship presented by AMSOIL heated up in Bark River, Michigan.
The intensity of the sun mixed with a constant breeze forced the Bark River track crew to work overtime to keep conditions optimal, and it was only matched by the action on the track where a host of spin-outs and barrier scrubs shook up the year-end championship chase standings.
BARRIERS, BICYCLES, AND BLOW-OUTS HIGHLIGHT CJ GREAVES’ PRO 4 WIN
With three wins each between Johnny Greaves and his son CJ in PRO 4 competition, something had to give. For the points leader, Johnny Greaves, that something was a rear tire. It gave way in the closing laps, taking him out of contention. That opened the door for CJ to make up ground on his father in the points chase, and he did just that when race leader Chad Hord smacked a concrete barrier with three laps to go.
In the early going, the Greaves duo were out of podium positions, as Chad Hord, Keegan Kincaid, and Scott Douglas battled for their respective spots atop the box. But in the closing lap before the competition caution, Douglas pushed the cushion too hard and smacked the outside wall allowing CJ to slot up into third. Then, during the competition caution, a faulty window net forced Kincaid, who was running in second, to pull into the hot pits.
It was Hord, CJ, and Johnny lined up nose-to-tail on the restart, and in the first turn Hord caught an edge, putting his truck up on two wheels and eventually into the concrete barrier. It looked to be a Greaves battle for the checkered, but Johnny’s tire failure allowed a hard charging Kincaid, who had made his way back through the pack, to cross the line in second with Douglas in third.
“Chad (Hord) was running so strong,” said CJ after his podium celebration. “He got up on the bike there and he gave it to me. The track was weird today…there were blue grooves, holes…it was real tough to try to find an advantage.”
Despite the unexpected pit stop, Kincaid recorded the fastest lap of the race in route to his second-place finish. “This truck was on a rail,” said Keegan. “They’re making us work for it, but I like a challenge and we’ll be on the top spot soon enough.”
JOHNSON STRETCHES POINTS LEAD WITH PRO 2 WIN
After yesterday’s incredible debut win by Andrew Carlson, championship contenders Luke Johnson, Brad Lovell, and Eric Ruppel looked for PRO 2 to return to a level of expected “normalcy” as Carlson would now get a taste of roost starting thirteenth in a 15-truck field. At the drop of the green, the expected front runners fought for position in turn one, with Lovell gaining the most ground with a fifth to second move. In front of him it was Mark Peterson with Luke Johnson sitting in third.
As the front runners battled, seemingly out of nowhere came the black truck of Carlson, who in just a few laps had worked his way up to fourth. Then, just as quickly, Carlson found himself in podium contention as Lovell, who had won back-to-back races just a few weeks prior in Crandon, over-rotated. With nowhere to go, Carlson tagged Lovell on the exit of the turn before getting back on the gas and slotting into third. Lovell would eventually have to make his way to the pits during the competition caution due to a mechanical issue.
With all the action behind him, few had noticed the clean and consistent laps being put down by leader Luke Johnson, but on the restart, it was apparent to everyone as Luke pulled away from Peterson, who battled with Carlson during the final five laps, only to lose the position to him on the closing lap. At the line it was Johnson, Carlson, and Peterson taking the respective podium positions.
“The guys put together an awesome truck for me today,” said Johnson, who recorded the fastest lap times in PRO 2 both days at Bark River. “I’m stoked to be back on top…it’s a good day.”
The victory was the second of the season for Johnson, putting more distance between himself and the rest of the PRO 2 field in the championship standings. But, Carlson made perhaps an even bigger statement on the weekend, backing up his Saturday PRO 2 win with a come-from-the-back second place finish. “I just knew I had to get work done fast,” said Carlson.
CODY KLEIMAN NOTCHES FIRST PRO LIGHT WIN OF CAREER
With a day-two inverted start putting points leader and yesterday’s winner Kyle Kleiman on the third row, the pressure was on his brother Cody Kleiman to try to make it a weekend to remember for the Kleiman family… and he didn’t disappoint. With Chad Rayford taking the holeshot and early lead, Cody looked for his opportunity and took advantage just prior to the competition yellow. A few laps prior, Kyle looked as if he also might make a bid for the podium, but an over-rotation and contact ended his day early with a broken tie-rod.
Cody continued his dominance on the rest of the field after the restart, pulling a comfortable lead over Rayford and holding it for the final five laps. However, there was plenty of action behind them where a first turn melee on the restart shuffled the deck, giving Matt Siorek a taste of third momentarily. Shawn Morris, however, had other plans, overcoming a complete roll-over early in the race, a pair of “bicycle” turns, and a spin-out to make his way into third at the checkered.
Cody Kleiman’s win was the first of his PRO Light career, and it backed up the win by his brother in the same class the day prior. “This is an amazing feeling…this is what Kyle feels like all the time,” Cody joked after climbing out of his truck. “It can’t get any better than this…Kyle wins yesterday, now this…incredible.”
GREAVES REMAINS PERFECT IN PRO STOCK UTV
It may have taken a few more laps than usual, but CJ Greaves notched his seventh consecutive win in PRO Stock UTV on a dusty and challenging track during the heat of the day. CJ had to work for this one a bit more than past races, starting sixth due to the inverted start, and battling a fast group of riders including Dillon Pointon, Kenny Masch, and Adam Reek. Despite the dusty conditions, CJ found his way to the front before the competition caution of the eight-lap race. There was plenty of action behind him, however, with Jake Lunderby eventually finding himself in second. Masch hung on for third despite having a UTV that was still feeling the lingering effects of a twisted frame from a previous crash. “Man, it was dry out there,” Greaves said after the race. “A few times I just had to hold the gas to the ground and follow the dust.”
CHANEY GETS THE MONKEY OFF HIS BACK WITH FIRST WIN
After finishing second in six consecutive races, Kyle Chaney finally garnered his first win of the season in PRO Mod UTV with a convincing win after passing Tim Farr in the opening lap to take over the lead. It was a lead Chaney would never relinquish. Tim Farr would eventually compose himself after early contact and make his way back up to second at the line. The surprise podium of the race was points leader Rodney Van Eperen, who was forced to start in 19th position after an engine failure forced him to install a stock back-up engine into his mod UTV. “It’s about time,” Chaney could be heard saying as he exited his side-by-side after the race. “I knew Tim (Farr) was all over me…it feels awesome to get my first win.”
UP NEXT – RUMBLE AT REDBUD IN BUCHANAN, MICHIGAN
The TORC Series will return to action August 12-13 in Buchanan, Michigan for rounds 9 and 10.
Tune in for live streaming by visiting torcseries.com, YouTube at /USACTORC, or Facebook at /TORC.