Wilson, MI (April 19, 2013) – After a nine year hiatus from off-road racing, Mark Kleiman reentered the world of TORC short-course off-road racing and immediately grabbed the attention several veteran PRO-Light competitors. After knocking the rust off his driving on Friday , the former three-time Sportsman Super Stock Truck Champion just missed finishing on the podium during Saturday’s PRO-Light eighteen lap feature.
The journey back to short-course racing began just after the first of the year, when Mark purchased Ross Hoek’s podium proven Ford Ranger Pro-Light. Unfortunately living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, off-season testing just isn’t possible due to extreme cold temperatures and serious piles of snow. So when it came to any testing, it consisted of a couple of minutes driving up and down the road in front of his house just before the race truck was loaded into the trailer for the eighteen hour trip to the TORC season opener in Kansas.
The three practice sessions before the season’s first qualifying run was extremely valuable to Mark and his all volunteer crew. By the time qualifying session was over, the # 42 Kleiman Forest Products /Sawyer-Stoll Timber/Hewlett Trucking /Bandit Chippers/Brute Force Outdoor Stoves PRO-Light qualified eighth out of fourteen trucks. It looked like the Upper Peninsula native was definitely getting comfortable with the 400 HP truck.
The opening round of the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL saw Mark take a conservative approach to the race, as he needed more time to get not only comfortable with the truck, but understand how to handle the “rubbin’ is racing” aggressiveness that is TORC PRO truck racing. Ultimately the yellow #42 Ford Ranger finished on the lead lap in ninth place.
The next morning Mark and his volunteer crew cleaned up the truck, while crew chief Cody Kleiman decided on a couple of suspension adjustments as well as a new groove for the tires. The team easily had the truck ready for one more practice session before Saturday night Round 2 action.
Round 2 had Mark lining up in the fifth row in ninth position, based on the finished from the night before. Since the last time Mark had competed, the mandatory caution laps have been added to the strategy of short-course off-road racing. With one round of racing under his belt, he had a better idea of how to handle the mandatory caution, as well as the aggressive driving style needed to keep your truck in contention throughout the entire race.
The start once again saw the #42 Kleiman Forest Products/Sawyer-Stoll Timber/Hewlett Trucking/Bandit Chippers/Brute Force Outdoor Chippers Ford race well, but still in the back half of the field. Once the field restarted after the mandatory caution, Mark really “got up on the wheel.” The yellow Ford Ranger was really working well, diving to the inside of corners and going three wide, as Mark guided the truck towards the front of the pack. With three laps to go, rookie PRO driver was in fourth place, and with the laps winding down, Mark was looking for a way to challenge for a spot on the podium. Before that could happen the checkered flag came out, giving Mark Kleiman a well deserved fourth place finish.
Along with the solid finish the #42 Ford Ranger turned the third fastest lap of Round 2.
“These guys are tough,” noted Mark Kleiman. “We have come a long way since our first practice ever with this truck back on Thursday. I knew Ross had a great truck, and when he moved up to PRO-4 and he put this PRO-Light up for sale, I knew this was the perfect time to make the move the PRO level. I can’t thank my wife, and my crew enough, without them none of this would be possible. This was a great start towards winning Rookie of the Year. Now we have to keep this pace going when we get to Eldora.”
The next race on the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL is May 10-11 at Eldora Speedway in western Ohio.
Mark Kleiman has several marketing opportunities available for the 2013 season. To contact Reva Kleiman for an interview or marketing opportunities please email: email@example.com.