Madison, WI (July 25, 2013) – The second stop on the Keith Steele Off-Road World Tour was Route 66 Raceway. The independent driver/owner of the #29 RaceTeamGear.com Chevy had his best performance of his PRO-2WD career with a strong sixth place finish in front of a near capacity crowd at Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago. The team accomplished all three of its main goals for the weekend, race hard, finish well, and expose RaceTeamGear.com to a large crowd of short-course off-road racing fans.
After a solid start to the team’s season at the high-speed Crandon International Off-Road Raceway, Keith Steele had to literally change gears to prepare his race truck for the door to door racing found at the stadium short-track at Route 66 Raceway’s dirt track. The one mile layout that ran all around and inside the half-mile circle track, had all the typical jumps, bumps, and off-camber turns one expects at a short-course track, but at Route 66 the track is narrow and there’s no run off areas, so one mistake will end your night in a heartbeat.
The Friday afternoon qualifying session saw Steele qualify eleventh fastest out of fifteen PRO-2WD trucks. This put the #29 RaceTeamGear.com Chevy in row six for the start of the fifteen lap affair.
The first half of the race saw Steele in a great battle with Jarit Johnson as the two headed for the halfway mandatory caution. The restart has the field lined up single file with Steele in tenth place. When the green flag was waved, #29 RaceTeamGear.com Chevy began working up the running order. By lap ten Steele was running in seventh place. Then on the final lap of the race Keith Steele grabbed on more position to finish in sixth.
“This is one intense racetrack,” remarked Keith Steele. “You basically have to tell yourself to breathe or you just won’t. This was the most fun I’ve had in a race truck in a while. Racing with Jarit (Johnson) was blast. Then realizing I was catching Chad (Hord) the last two laps was huge. I don’t know if I can wait until tomorrow to race.”
Saturday’s Round 10 race came for Keith Steele as his sixth place finish put the “man in black” on the front row of the starting grid. When the green flag was waved, Steele was running alongside some of the really big names in the sport. Unfortunately a first lap incident created a red flag situation calling for a complete restart.
Almost immediately after the green flag was waved for the second time, the power steering failed on the #29 Chevy. The tight and technical Route 66 layout is no place for a truck without power steering to race, so the night ended before it really started.
“We continue to prove that our limited budget team can run with the power houses of the sport,” noted Keith Steele. “Right now our budget limits the number of races we can run, but if the right offer comes along, we know we can run with the best drivers in the class. Oh by way, did you see that crowd, I think short-course has a home in Chicago.”
The final race on the Keith Steele Off-Road World Tour is Labor Day Weekend at the Crandon Off-Road World Championships in Crandon, Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.steeleoffroad.com.
Photo: Peter Murphy