THE RUSH OF CRANDON THRILLS IN ROUND 5 BIG HOUSE BRAWL
CJ Greaves Wins Again in PRO 4; Brad Lovell Earns First Victory of the Season in PRO 2; and Kyle Kleiman Extends His Points Lead in PRO Light with Third Win In a Row
CRANDON, Wis. (June 24, 2017) – The Big House brought the speed as TORC: The Off-Road Championship presented by AMSOIL made its 2017 debut at the sport’s most famed raceway. The Crandon International Off-Road Raceway is often deemed the holy grail of short-course, off-road racing, and for the thousands of fans who covered hillsides and filled the towering grandstands, the action didn’t disappoint.
While Crandon is a known commodity for most TORC Series drivers, the all-out, throttle-down venue was a marked change of pace from the shorter and more technical tracks of Chicago and Minneapolis visited early this year. With cool temperatures and mostly overcast skies, the track was grip laden on Saturday, forcing many crew chiefs to rethink gearing and torque transfer characteristics to attain maximum performance.
CJ GREAVES RECORDS THIRD WIN OF THE SEASON IN PRO 4 The Greaves strangle hold atop the PRO 4 box continued, but this time it wasn’t easy as Ross Hoek erupted from the land rush start and stayed deep in the throttle through the legendary turn one to take the early lead. In tow it was Johnny Greaves and Scott Douglas as they negotiated the monster jumps of the front stretch. Much to everyone’s surprise, CJ Greaves was buried deep in the pack though the opening lap, but he wouldn’t stay there for long.
Hoek was an animal in the early going, holding the throttle on longer and pitching the truck deep in nearly every turn. The elder Greaves stayed close, but a loop out in the hairpin turn before the finish line jump not only slowed Johnny, but collected Douglas as well. While both drove away, the door was flung open for CJ to burst through and quickly move into second place.
“I was so focussed on Ross up there, he was driving like a mad man and I’m like go get him Ross,” said Johnny Greaves with a chuckle. “I just lost a little bit of focus and the track was slippery than I anticipated.”
As the laps approached the mandatory competition yellow, CJ slid past Hoek for the lead. And while the pass was a classic CJ move, it was the battle for second soon after that ultimately decided the final podium positions as Johnny Greaves slipped between both Hoek and Keegan Kincaid to regain his second place position. At the line it was CJ taking his third win of the year and giving himself a 2-point championship advantage over his father Johnny who finished second, and Kincaid rounded out the podium.
LOVELL EXTENDS POINT LEAD IN PRO 2 WITH FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
The Big House track of Crandon was perhaps the first true test of performance for the PRO 2 trucks in 2017 after undergoing a significant rule change prior to the season. Fitted with new spec-power limits and mandatory DOT tires, the track where power reigns supreme would put the competitiveness of the rule to the test.
For Brad Lovell, the rule change suited him just fine as he put on a green-to-checkered clinic and claimed his first win of the season. With the biggest field in the PRO truck division, it was a hornet’s nest of full-throttle action in turn one. Soon after, Lovell, Luke Johnson, and Eric Ruppel pulled away from the rest of the field. Their gap increased even further when a spin out behind them transformed turn two into a parking lot.
From that point on it was a three truck race with Johnson looking for every advantage possible to slip past Lovell but it wasn’t meant to be. “I got close a couple of times,” said Luke after the race. “I took a couple of stabs, but Brad ran a great race. Hopefully we got something for him tomorrow.”
The win for Lovell was confirmation that he and his team have what it takes in the new PRO 2 configuration. “I was yelling at myself inside the car, you can do this all day,” said a very happy Lovell after the race. “Ride right on the edge as hard as you can…that’s what it takes to win here.”
KYLE KLEIMAN BATTLES MORRIS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN IN PRO LIGHT
It was a battle of the ages in PRO Light as the veteran Shawn Morris and the young gun Kyle Kleiman went toe-to-toe in what many deemed the most competitive truck class of the day. While the class is known for its youthful, run-and-gun competitors, it was the 45-year-old Shawn Morris of Loveland, Colorado who showed up ready to race.
While Morris wasn’t fastest in qualifying, he was a man on a mission in the main event as he jumped out to an early lead and fended off current points leader Kyle Kleiman for much of the race. Lap after lap, Kleiman looked for a way to expose Morris and move into the lead, and lap after lap, Morris shut the door on the youngster from Wilson, Michigan.
With Morris racing in “protect” mode late in the race, Kleiman charged wide and got the drive he needed on the exit to eventually make a pass stick. “I had a few runs on him, but he (Morris) had the speed,” Kleiman said after the race. “He made me work for it.”
For Morris, having the win slip through his hands was bitter sweet. “I gave it my all,” said an emotional Morris from the podium box. “I may be old compared to those young guys, but I still got it coming.”
GREAVES STAYS PERFECT IN PRO STOCK UT
CJ Greaves remained perfect in PRO Stock UTV with another convincing win. However, it wasn’t as easy for the rest of the field as Brian Wasz forced ta red-flag with a multi-flip crash in the opening laps. Not long after, it was Daely Pentico getting into Ken Masch, who was sitting second in the year-end points chase. The incident created another caution and forced both competitors out of the race. In the end, it was Greaves cruising to an easy win, with Zack Martin finishing second and Dillion Pointon in third. “I gave it Hail Mary in the gravely pit,” said Greaves after the race talking about his move to the front after the opening lap. “I made it work two times in a row and came out on top.”
VAN EPEREN CAPTURES THIRD WIN OF SEASON IN PRO MOD UTV
Rodney Van Eperen continued to be the one to beat in the PRO Mod UTV ranks as he held off Kyle Chaney to claim his third win of the young season. The win however didn’t come without a few surprises as Van Eperen first misread a local yellow as a full-field caution, and then later steered out of a bicycle move in the closing laps. A blown belt by Jason Luburgh gave Rodney the lead back after the yellow flag error, and later it was Treavis Poynter who nearly got around Van Eperen after making the two-wheel bobble, but it wasn’t meant to be. Following Rodney across the line was Chaney in second and Tim Farr in third. “Those guys out there were really pushing me,” said Van Eperen. “They’re making me work to stay in front.”