Greaves Team Grabs Another Podium at Chicagoland's Route 66 Dirt Track
Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012
Chicago, IL (July 21, 2012)The Off Road Championship (TORC) made a rare Thursday and Friday engagement for rounds 7 and 8 on the dirt at Route 66 in Joliet, Illinois. The Route 66 complex is adjacent to its sister track at Chicagoland Speedway which plays host to NASCAR, IndyCar and ARCA events. The Friday night installment was broadcast live on SPEED TV as well as streamed live over the internet. With nationally know X-Game and Rally Car icon, Travis Pastrana and NASCAR truck series racer Matt Crafton joining the field; it was sure to produce some very competitive racing. Mother Nature was also bearing down on the scene but all races were run with only a slight delay for the Pro Light race on Thursday evening.
Johnny and CJ Greaves, excited about the opportunity to show their stuff to the national television audience, geared up for the tight, technical course made of a re-configured oval dirt track. The two nights of racing proved to be an emotional rollercoaster and hard fought experience for the team.
Thursday, CJ qualified 2nd and started on row 3 beside fellow Monster Energy sponsored Casey Currie. After a couple of full-course caution restarts, CJ had his Monster Energy/ Toyota/ Oakley/Maxxis Tire Pro Light lined up in the 4th position for a single file start. CJ stayed in the top5 the entire race but was not able to make any headway on the leaders. He was running 5th, battling with Matt Cook for 4th on the white flag lap. Matt did a hard nose-over on the infield double jump landing him on his side and allowing CJ to take a hard fought 4th place finish.
CJ Greaves crawled out of his Pro Light machine and jumped into his Pro 2WD Toyota Tundra to join a field of talented drivers. CJ qualified 2nd. With the 6 truck inversion, he started on row3 beside Rob Mac. Travis Pastrana was behind him on row 4, the younger Greaves found himself in the middle of a lot of talent that he would have to contend with in order to get to the front. Onlap 3, CJ tried to make an inside move on Chad Hord, going for the 4th position at one of the hairpin turns. When he did, his front wheel hit the giant tire barrier hard, spinning him around.Barlow slammed into his rear quarter panel. CJ righted his truck and went back to work. The damage was severe however. Well off the pace, CJ would have to pull out of the race on lap 4: a devastating and disappointing blow to CJ in the points race as well as his hopes for a great showing.
Johnny qualified third and started the Pro 4x4 class race on row 2 with Ricky Johnson just behind him on row 3. Scott Douglas won the holeshot but Johnny was right on his back bumper. Johnny, taking the inside line into turn 1, took the lead. On lap 4, Johnny caught a rut. As he checked up, Douglas slammed into his left rear, spinning him 180 degrees, facing the wrong way. Douglas gunned his machine and drove over the front of Johnny's Monster Energy Toyota. After the mayhem, Johnny emerged in 5th. At the competition caution, RJ pitted to change a tire advancing Johnny to the 4th spot. The contact with Douglas obviously damaged Johnny's ability to steer his truck. He was able to make his way to third but the damage would eventually take its toll. Johnny ended up in 5th.
Friday was rebound day for Greaves Motorsports. With the live SPEED TV broadcast, both CJ and Johnny were anxious to get back on the track and improve on Thursday's showing. Up first was CJ Greaves in the Pro Light. He started from row 2 for the 2-by-2 rolling start. When the green flagflew, He jumped immediately into the top 3 and up to the second spot before the end of lap 2 before disaster struck. CJ caught the edge of a berm and rolled over on his side in the infield bringing out a full course caution. Track crews put him back on all 4's and he was able to re-fire his machine. CJ sped around the track to join the rear of the field, still on the lead lap. Greaves went to work on the restart, picking off one position at a time. By the competitioncaution, he had made his way into the top 4 behind Currie, Caddell, and Morris.
With few opportunities to pass, CJ Greaves was finally able to get around Morris to take thirdin the infield whoop section. On the white flag lap, a full-course caution came out when Norman flipped. The restart would be a green/white checkered situation. Officials sent the field around a couple of times. As bad luck would have it, CJ had a right rear flat. He would not be able tohold off the field at the restart and settled for a disappointing 8th place.
Pro 4 hit the track next. Johnny Greaves lined up on the front row and took the lead before the end of lap 1. RJ passed Jenkins to go into second, setting up the classic battle fans have come to enjoy between Johnny and Ricky. Johnny was able to hold off Ricky for a while but RJ would eventually pass him. Johnny held tight to the 2nd position with Douglas trying his best to get around him. Johnny held on to add another podium to the Greaves team's accomplishments.
"I was pretty sure I could get out into the lead but Ricky has been running good all week, so I figured if he reels me in, I'm not going to fight him for it, just jump in behind him and find out what we've been missing 'cause I haven't been doing a lot of laps," said Greaves from the podium. "It's a good start for me, we're on the podium and moving forward."
Thirteen trucks hit the track for the featured Pro2WD class race. CJ was number 13, starting from the very back of the pack with a lot of trucks and talent in front of him to pass. Like a man on a mission, he picked off one position after another: Jenkins, Oberg, Barlow and Pastrana. He was up to 6th by the competition caution with Chad Hord in front of him and next of the list to pass.
On the restart, Hord and Kincaid pass Taylor. It was CJ's turn to pass him. As they exited theturn, CJ powered to the outside of Taylor. But Taylor took the line away from CJ, forcing him offthe side of the tabletop and off the track. CJ kept digging and only lost one position. In the mean time, Travis Pastrana rolls bringing out a full course caution. USAC resets the field back to the last green flag lap: Rob Mac, Menzies, Hord, Kincaid, Taylor, CJ and Barlow made up the top 7. CJ quickly got around Taylor clean for 5th, but when Menzies bicycled, Taylor ran hard into CJ allowing Barlow to claim 5th. The track was getting increasingly slick. With about 2 lapsto go, CJ over rotated and dropped several positions. He battled with Mike Jenkins. Menzies, Barlow, Kincaid, and Jenkins have problems on the last lap, allowing CJ to finish in the top 5.
Greaves Motorsports will head to the long Bark River, Michigan track on August 11-12. Johnny has won many races in Bark River that features a huge jumps and long sweeping turns.