Crandon, Wis. — To say it was a big day for Mopar® and Ram Truck drivers with the Traxxas TORC (The Off-Road Racing Championship) Series at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway in Wisconsin on Sunday, Sept. 2, would be an understatement. Ricky Johnson doubled up on wins, including triumphing in the $40,000-to-win Third Annual Amsoil Cup Challenge, while Rob MacCachren recorded the 200th overall win of his illustrious off-road career.
“What a great weekend for Mopar and Ram Truck at Crandon with the TORC Series, as Rob MacCachren and Ricky Johnson won today, along with Bryce Menzies winning yesterday,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Mopar and Ram Truck have accumulated 23 wins this season, which is nothing short of amazing. With just one event left this year, we look forward to heading to California in a few weeks to see if we can repeat as champions in each of the three PRO classes.”
MacCachren’s victory in his Mopar Ram was his fourth of the season as he chases his second TORC PRO 2 title. The current point leader took the top spot from Chad Hord on the eighth lap with a textbook dirt track slidejob. MacCachren quickly pulled away as he took the white flag of the nine-lap contest, and wound up winning by over two seconds. Bryce Menzies, who was victorious at Crandon on Saturday, finished fifth in PRO 2 in his Mopar Ram, after falling to the back of the 12-truck field following a first lap spin. Mike Jenkins crossed the finish line ninth on Sunday in a Ram-bodied truck.
“This feels great,” said MacCachren. “Over the years, I’ve tried to surround myself with the right people and have been able to do that. It especially feels great to do this at Crandon. I came here for the first time in 1989 and had a huge passion for this track. I’ve got a lot of good memories at Crandon and it’s neat to go into the record books here. Hopefully I’ll keep racing for many more years to come and continue getting to come here to Crandon.”
The Amsoil Cup Challenge pit PRO 4 drivers against their PRO 2 counterparts. The PRO 2 drivers received a 12.5-second advantage at the start of the 10-lap race, which ran straight through without a competition caution. Johnson charged to the front of the PRO 4 entries and quickly began to track down the PRO 2 drivers. With four laps remaining the native of El Cajon, Calif., moved into third and began to work on Robby Gordon, who was running second. Johnson got around Gordon with three laps left and set his sights on his teammate Bryce Menzies, who was piloting a PRO 2, and had led from the start. Johnson charged past Menzies with three laps to-go, and would pace the remainder of the race to earn the $40,000 top prize in his Mopar Ram. Menzies finished second, with Andrew Caddell sixth in a PRO 2 Mopar Ram and Mike Jenkins seventh in his Ram-bodied PRO 4.
“I’ve been trying to win one of these for a long time, so this means the world to me,” said Johnson. “I’ve seen guys like Rob MacCachren and Jack Flannery wear the wreath for winning one of these, and now I get to. The whole Menzies Motorsports team did an amazing job with both trucks finishing one/two. I can’t thank Mopar, Ram and all of our sponsors enough. This feels great.”
In the point paying PRO 4 event, Johnson steadily worked his way through the field prior to the competition caution. The Californian was running third at the halfway point, and moved into second on the seventh lap when leader Johnny Greaves lost a wheel. Johnson then set his sights on leader Adrian Cenni, taking the lead with just two circuits remaining in his Mopar Ram to earn his series-best seventh win of the season and extend his point lead, as he chases his second straight title. Mike Jenkins finished sixth in a Ram-bodied truck on Sunday.
“This is a team sport,” said Johnson after his PRO 4 win. “The drivers get to stand up here and collect the trophies and the applause, but I want to dedicate this win to the entire Menzies Motorsports team. We lost an engine yesterday and they stayed up all night putting a new bullet in and it ran awesome all day long. We really felt we had something today and to go out and win and turn the fastest lap is saying something.”
Andrew Caddell earned his ninth podium finish of the season with a runner-up performance in PRO Light, piloting his Mopar Ram for Jenkins Brothers Racing. The reigning class champion used a strong launch on the standing start to move into third on the opening lap, and remained in that position for most of the nine-lap race. Caddell moved into second with two circuits remaining, when Brad Lovell spun. That pair is separated by just five points heading into the season finale later this month, with Lovell leading. Luke Johnson finished fourth in a Mopar-powered Ram in PRO Light on Sunday.
“It was a great day for us,” said Caddell. “Our Mopar Ram was pretty strong and I knew I had to drive a smart race. We’re headed Lancaster, Calif., (Antelope Valley Fairgrounds) for the final race of the year with a shot at the title and it will be double or nothing there. I can’t wait to get there and battle Brad (Lovell) for the championship.”
The Traxxas TORC Series wraps up the 2012 season Sept. 29–30, at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Calif. For more information on the Traxxas TORC Series, visit www.torcseries.com.