Kleiman Off-Road Racing had both Kyle #42 and Cody #48 turn in some of the best performances of their young careers. Kyle landed on the podium both nights, as Cody was able to compete for a top finish even after a truck destroying crash just a few days before the Chicagoland event. The Ponsse Cooper Tire backed team will be a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the season.
Originally the Upper Peninsula based PRO-Light team was scheduled to begin the season at the Crandon event later in the month, but an eleventh hour decision brought the team to Chicagoland to take on the field of short-course young guns.
Before the team headed to the “Windy City,” the Kleiman family scheduled a day of testing at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway. The day went well for Kyle but Cody had a horrific crash. The frame rails collapsed while Cody was coming through a high-speed corner, tossing the race truck in to a violent end over end incident. Fortunately Cody was only shaken up slightly, but the truck was a total loss.
After the crash, the team removed all the useable components off the truck, and headed down to Chicago. Initially Kyle would be the only family member racing at the Chicagoland Slam, but on Thursday evening Cody felt confident enough to jump into the team’s back-up truck.
The weekend went extremely well for Kyle Kleiman. Friday night saw a quick charge into a podium position right from the start. After the mandatory caution the #42 Ponsse/Cooper Tire truck was battling for the top spot. The final lap saw the Kyle and Luke Johnson battle for the top spot. Johnson rolled as the younger Kleiman brother took home his second win of his career.
Saturday evening saw a similar scenario as Kyle ran in the top four for the entire race. As the laps wound down to the checkered flag, a couple of quick moves had Kyle “on the box” with a third place finish.
Cody Kleiman pulled off his own heroics just by getting in the truck just three days after the truck-destroying incident. Realizing that its best to get back into a race truck as quickly as possible, a last minute decision was made to get the team’s “box car” ready to go racing. Mark Kleiman, team owner and father, guessed at a chassis set-up and gave his son a fighting chance to go racing.
Cody seemed to be running right with his brother much of the race until the closing laps. The #48 Ponsse/Cooper Tire finished a well-deserved fifth place.
The Saturday evening finale saw the elder Kleiman running in the top half of the running order throughout the sixteen-lap event. On the final lap, looking to gain a spot or two, Cody caught a rut and put the yellow and black truck on its side which resulted in an eleventh place finish.
Afterwards the Kleiman brothers took some time to reflect on the weekend.
“Friday night things were happening all around me,” noted Kyle Kleiman. “I had no idea what was going on. I tried to race as clean as possible, especially on a track like this, because one wrong move and the night could be over. Then Saturday night the track gained a ton of grip and the infield corners were a real handful. I biked the truck a couple times and somehow kept it off its roof. This was a great weekend for myself, my brother and our team.”
“After the testing crash, I was shaken up a bit,” commented Cody Kleiman. “After a day or so my dad asked me if I still wanted to race here at Route 66. I knew mentally getting back in a truck would be tough, but I’m a racer and I knew what I needed to do. We prepped the old truck and hoped for the best. Considering everything we went through in the past five days, the weekend was a success personally as well as for our team. Congrats to Kyle this weekend and thanks to my family and friends for all their support.”
Believe it or not the team is already hard at work trying to reconstruct the damaged chassis to have it race ready for the next race on the TORC schedule, the “Big House Brawl” in Crandon, Wisconsin on June 25-26.
If you can’t make it to Crandon to watch the Kleiman family compete in person, the entire weekend will be broadcast live at www.torceseries.com/live.
Kleiman Off-Road Race Team thanks its partners
Ponsse along with their family of associate sponsors:
Eco-Track, Trelleborg Nokian Tires, Klinner Insurance, Oregon, Wallingfords & Exide Battery
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