BUCHANAN, Mich. — The second Pro-Light race of the weekend at RedBud MX was a bruiser with the tight racetrack forcing drivers to play a high-speed game of bumper cars as the TORC Series presented by AMSOIL completed its annual visit to southern Michigan.
In the end, defending class champion Brad Lovell managed to find the podium for the sixth time this season, pulling off a respectable third-place result in his AMSOIL/Torchmate/BFGoodrich Nissan before a boisterous Sunday afternoon crowd.
“I’m so proud to be back up here on the podium,” Lovell said. “That was a brutal race. So much banging and bumping. You just can’t avoid it on this track but today was especially hard. I took some hits today, I promise you.
“Thank goodness for AMSOIL keeping my engine healthy and BFGoodrich for getting us some great tires to move around this track. Everything worked perfectly for us today.”
After earning a fourth-place Saturday, Lovell was third on today’s grid after officials inverted the top six finishers. But holding onto the spot was anything but easy and after two laps he found himself back in fourth place, where he stayed for the next six circuits.
“I had a lot of pressure from behind and some guys were getting into me,” Lovell said. “I made a note of that but didn’t let it bother me. I stayed focused on the race.”
Halfway through the 14-lap race a mandatory yellow flag bunched the field together again and on the restart, Lovell began earning back the lost position, methodically picking off Mark Kleiman and Rafael Navarro. But as the front two drivers slightly gapped the chase group, Kleiman and Navarro fought back and managed to get around Lovell and pitch a back-and-forth battle for third.
With time running down, Lovell took advantage of the tangle Kleiman and Navarro were having with one another and ducked underneath both men in an expert bit of driving to steal away the final podium position.
“RedBud is one of those places where you always want to do well,” Lovell said. “The fans are loud and rowdy and they make you dig down and find a little something extra for them. That’s what it took today because there were three of us going all out for one spot and I was the lucky guy to get it done. I’m really happy for my guys and this entire team.”
The group gets a couple of weeks off before returning to action Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at Crandon International Off Road Raceway in Wisconsin.