It’s said everything is bigger in Texas and after Friday’s racing was canceled due to severe storms, a massive crowd came out to the Dirt Track at Texas Motor Speedway to see the 2015 season opener of TORC: The Off-Road Championship Presented by AMSOIL. Those fans that packed the stands were not disappointed as they watched hardcore battles in all three PRO categories with Scott Douglas earning the victory in PRO 4WD, defending PRO 2WD champion CJ Greaves kicking off his season with a win, and Kyle Hart taking his first-ever TORC PRO Light race title.
Texas native Mike Jenkins led for much of the first half of the PRO 4WD race with CJ Greaves and Johnny Greaves racing second and third behind him. Chad Hord, who suffered transmission issues during qualifying, fell back early as two-time NASCAR Truck Series champ Matt Crafton, driving a special Chris Kyle Memorial Benefit paint scheme, was running on only two-wheel drive due to a differential issue in practice.
There was beating and banging between the top three as Douglas was patient and opportunistic, picking off drivers one by one. Jenkins lost the lead as the Greaves boys tag teamed him, but then they got into each other in the final turn before the flag stand. Douglas took the lead and never relinquished it.
CJ’s truck was wounded in the contact with Johnny and was never a factor for the remainder of the race. Hord moved up to third and was looking competitive enough to race with second-place Jenkins, but Johnny was able to make the pass & regain the runner-up spot.
In the first race of the night, Travis Dinsmore, who finished second at the last race of 2014 in Crandon, led for most of the race, but near the end, biked it in the hairpin turn, falling to fifth. Kyle Hart was a top-three truck all night, battling with Crandon winner Shawn Morris. Doug Mittag was second early on, but after contact in Turn 3, fell back in the pack and was black-flagged after the competition caution.
Luke Johnson battled hard all night and after the final caution when Jake Lunderby, driving CJ’s old PRO Light, rolled over in the hairpin turn, Johnson dive bombed into Turn 1 and took second place from Morris, while Hart checked out. For a driver who didn’t even think he was going to be able to race this season until a week before the event after Cooper Tire stepped up to give him a full season of racing, a runner-up for Johnson was huge.
The PRO 2WD race saw CJ Greaves pick up where he left off last year, taking a dominating win. Obstacles played a big part in the race as 2009 TMS PRO Light winner Marty Hart hit a tire barrier as did Mittag. Mittag and Hart were fighting hard for second most of the race as was Keegan Kincaid. Mittag and Hart ended up getting into each other which put Hart back to fourth. Mittag was able to stay in second, but he later suffered a right rear flat and finished fifth. At the end of the race, Hart was beginning to reel in Kincaid for second, but ran out of laps. Mittag eventually finished fifth with Arie Luyendyk, Jr. finishing just outside the podium in fourth.
The next race on the schedule for TORC is at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis May 16-17. To purchase tickets to the Rumble on the River, visit TORCSeries.com/Tickets. Fans can follow TORC’s social media platforms at Facebook.com/TORC, and at Twitter and Instagram at @TORCOffRoad.