Ricky Johnson wins TORC round 8 with a packed house! Pastrana takes home a podium finish!
Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012
This past week, TORC switched up the race days at the Chicagoland Raceway to Thursday and Friday night so that the fans of Nascar could also enjoy some off-road racing. Menzies Motorsports arrived to the track on Tuesday afternoon where heat and humidity overtook the track.The pits quickly filled up with all the pro teams and on Wednesday afternoon, the drivers got suited up and ready for practice and qualifying on the revamped TORC Chicago Short Course Track. With a new course design, the Menzies crew and drivers had to figure out the best set up with thetrucks that could put them in the top qualifying spot.
After a few rounds of practice they went right into qualifying where Pro4 driver Ricky Johnsonran the fastest lap by over 1 second. Teammate Bryce Menzies qualified in 4th and manning the number 199 Pro2 for the weekend, Travis Pastrana qualified 7th. The team continued to make changes to the #1 Pro2 of Bryce Menzies so that we had the best truck possible to attempt at a podium finish in Thursday’s race.
Along with the sun rising on Thursday, so did the heat and with that storm clouds were making their way towards the raceway. The teams went out for one last practice before race time and whengates opened up at 3pm, the crowd of new fans started to fill the walkways and come race time, the stands were full. With a full day to prep for the night’s race, the team was ready to get theraces going. Opening ceremonies started at 7pm and the Pro Buggies started racing immediately afterwards. Prolights came next and watching from the hot pits were the 3 Red Bull drivers, RickyJohnson, Bryce Menzies and new to TORC, Travis Pastrana. Half way through the Prolight race, the clouds let loose and the rain came pouring down, soaking the fans, crew and drivers. With the endof the Prolight race also came the end of the rain and it left the track perfect for the Pro2’s and Pro 4’s.
Ricky Johnson took to the wheel of the Menzies/Red Bull #1 truck and both nights he was sure to put on a show for the crowd. Starting in 6th on Thursday night’s race, Johnson quickly made his way to third where he would battle till the mandatory yellow and during the halfway lap had to pull into the hot pits to change a flat and would come out of the pits in last place for the restart of the race. Johnson knew he needed to charge hard to make his way back towards the front of the track and that is just what he did. Coming all the way from last to 3rd place, the #1 Pro4 truck had its work cut out for it and the body was beaten and bruised along the way but Johnson pushed the truck to the limit and put it on the podium. “We hada fast truck, obviously,” said Johnson who took also brought home another Oakley Bomb award for the nights Pro4 fastest lap.
Friday night Johnson would find himself starting in the 3rd place position and as soon as the green flag dropped he was determined to get to the front. A few laps in Johnson made his way past Mark Jenkins and had his sights set on current leader Johnny Greaves who was more than 5 truck lengths ahead. The #1 truck quickly closed the gap and before the mandatory yellow Ricky was sitting in 1st place and took that first place lead all the way to the checkered flag! Ricky Johnson still sits 1st in points with a 17 point lead and is also leading with the most fastest laps and has 5 Oakley Bombs.
Rounds 7&8 brought a new and well-known name to the TORC series. Travis Pastrana who would race a Menzies prepped Pro2 for his first time. With just a few hours of testing in the truck two weeks ago, Travis would be taking a lot of advice from the 2011 Pro2 champ, Bryce Menzies. Bryce and Travis will be racing in the same class, but it was the team’s goal to get both of the trucks up on the podium.
Thursday nights Pro2 race would see Bryce starting behind Taylor, Kincaid and next to Hord with Pastrana in7th. The trucks came across the green flag and made their way into the first turn. Bryce was right on the bumper of Taylor trying to make a clean pass so that he could take over the second position and start chasing down the leader. In the mean time Pastrana was calmly making his way through the pack and when the half way caution came out Menzies was in 3rd and Pastrana not far behind in 6th. With Jenkins now leading and McCachren in second, Bryce new he had his work cut out for him. The race got back underway and the top 3 trucks were constantly passing one another and for a moment Bryce took over the lead, but with a slight mistake that lead was quickly taken away. More carnage ensued and Bryce found himself going from 1st place to 6th and teammate Pastrana was now sitting in 2nd. As the checkered flag waved, it was McCachren who came across in 1st followed by Pastrana and then Taylor. “I wasn’t really going that fast, but I was trying like hell,” Said Travis as he claimed his first Pro2 podium.
For Friday nights races the stands were packed and the Pro2’s would be the final race of the night. With Ricky winning in his class, Bryce set out to do the same and bring home that win. Bryce started the race on the pole and held his lead for some time but had McCachren on his bumper wanting the lead. As Bryce came into turn 4 he went up on two wheels and this mistake would see the lead slip away once again. Bryce fell back to the middle of the pack, but he turnedhis frustration into motivation and didn’t give up. Bryce passed back Greaves, Kincaid and Oberg,but teammate, Pastrana, was struggling to get his Pro2 to the front of the pack. Bryce fought a hard fight and came through he finish in 3rd place. Bryce still sits 3rd inpoints, but with only a 7 point difference between him and the points leader, McCachren. Bryce still has 6 rounds to get himself back in the position to claim another championship.
After Friday night’s races, the Menzies pit was surrounded with fans that were in search of autographs from the Red Bull drivers. Bryce Menzies, Ricky Johnson and Travis Pastrana signed autographs until there were no more fans left. The next race for the Menzies team is TORC rounds 9&10 that take place in Bark River, MI. Be sure to follow the drivers and the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check out the latest news and photos.