Keegan Kincaid’s chances to repeat as the TORC Series’ PRO Light champion died after Charlotte, two races and four rounds into the 2014 season. We knew it, he knew it, everyone knew it.
Except it didn’t.
Yes, finishes of seventh, fourth, tenth, 17th, and fifth in the first five rounds of the year were pretty damning. But then, finishes of first, first, first, first, and first, in the NEXT five rounds showed that points racing was tossed out the window and it became all about that top step of the podium. During that time, he also entered his first-ever PRO 2WD points race, led a ton of laps, and won against Chad Hord and eventual class champion CJ Greaves. The only other driver not named Greaves or Hord to win in PRO 2WD this year was Keegan’s father, Jeff.
So when Kincaid said he expects to hoist the championship trophy at the end of 2015, believe it.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I don’t expect anything less than to compete for a championship next year. We’re not coming out here for a learning year. We’ve raced in PRO Light for three full years and it’s time to step up. I think when I raced in Sturgis, it gave us a little bit better mind frame of how we can race these guys.”
Confidence is expected from anyone who gets behind the wheel of a race vehicle, but it positively exudes from the 2013 PRO Light champ. “It would be disappointing to say I wouldn’t be contending and that I’m just learning (in 2015),” he said. “I think the learning curve was in the PRO Lights and now we’re playing with the big boys. Hopefully, everybody in PRO 2, that’s their goal is to compete for a championship.”
For a lot of TORC racers, the Battle at the Chip near Sturgis, S.D., during the annual motorcycle rally was a chance to race at one of the biggest parties in the world. For Kincaid, it was the opportunity to take a negative and turn it into his coming of age party.
During testing at the Buffalo Chip PowerSports Complex the day prior to the race, Jeff Kincaid had a nasty wreck that almost completely destroyed his PRO 2WD vehicle. Keegan was entered in PRO Light (where he would runner-up both rounds there) and with his dad hurt, was thrust into the spotlight.
“I didn’t get much practice time in the PRO 2,” Keegan said. “I did get to race the (Crandon) Cup race. I hopped into the PRO 2 that we used at Sturgis for the Crandon race and that’s actually Mike Jenkins’ PRO 2. After my dad crashed, Mike said I was going to drive for my dad in (Mike’s) truck. (Mike) gave me the chance by letting me drive in his PRO 2.
“I didn’t know what to expect, really. (Sturgis) was different than anything else we had raced. It was actually a fast learning curve with the truck. In the first round, I actually thought I had a chance for the win, racing against CJ and Hord, but we ended up getting a flat with like three laps to go. But I was really happy with my performance and it boosted my confidence for the next day.”
The following day, his second in a TORC PRO 2WD points race and only his third-ever start, was the day it began to come together for the Kincaids. They had a pretty good idea PRO Light was not going to be in the cards for them in 2015.
“We had the opportunity to start out on the front row,” Keegan said. “It ended up being pretty good and we led all the way. It was pretty exciting and my dad was really happy, too. It all came together that weekend.”
With plans coming together and the PRO Light sold immediately after the season finale at Crandon, the Kincaids began the project that would consume their so-called offseason—the creation of a brand-new PRO 2WD truck.
When talking about the upcoming season, Keegan mentions CJ a number of times. In fact, anytime he talks about the competition being tough, CJ Greaves’ name is the first off his tongue. In PRO Light this year, the two had a couple pretty intense meeting of the fenders on the track and it was against Greaves that Kincaid raced the hardest for his victory at Sturgis. Are they rivals?
“You can say that, I guess,” Kincaid said. “A little bit. I like competing against CJ. I probably had more fun this year, even though I didn’t get my goal, it was one of the toughest racing years I’ve had.
“The competition was just so good. People like that make you better and I think I’ve gotten a lot better this year. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve got to have my A game every race against those guys.”
With drivers like Brad Lovell, a fellow PRO Light champion, heading for PRO 2WD, along with Jeff Megois and Joe Sylvester and reigning champion CJ Greaves all in the field for 2015, the class is going to see one of its most competitive seasons ever. It’s a strong rookie class, but don’t let Keegan hear that word describing him.
“Hopefully I’m not considered to have rookie status but maybe a couple races in, I’ll show them different.”