Holland, MI (July 24, 2012) – A strong run in Round 8 w as just what the doctor ordered for Ross Hoek and his #21 Ignite Racing Fuels/Venom Energy/Allstar Performance Ford. TORC’s third visit to the dirt track at Chicagoland Speedway in as many years, brought out not only a stellar PRO-Light field of racers, but a near capacity crowd of spectators packed the grandstands both nights. Ross Hoek and the rest of his PRO-Light competitors did not disappoint as both of their rounds of racing were some of the most competitive and entertaining of the year.
The race track was much different than in past years. The layout was much more technical which lead to more passing zones and a greater emphasis on driver and suspension setup and less on horsepower. Along with seven jumps that were placed throughout the track and very challenging infield section included a tabletop, a rhythm section and a field of moguls all lined up one after the other.
Thursday – Round 7
Thursday afternoon qualifying saw the orange #21 Ford fight fuel pickup issues putting Ross at the back of the seventeen truck starting lineup. Ross realized the only way to challenge for a spot on the podium would be to make bold moves throughout the fifteen lap race. One of those moves happened before the start of the race. A unique tire combination was mounted on the race truck. The race track held a fair amount of moisture thanks to a passing thunderstorm from the night before, so Ross decided to run a tire setup similar to a sprint car in order to take advantage of the conditions.
When the green flag was waved it looked like the tire gamble was working. The first four laps saw the #21 Ignite Racing Fuels/Venom Energy/Allstar Performance Ford pass seven competitors moving into eighth place. Then the unexpected happened, a rain cloud passed over the track and steady rain fell during the middle portion of the race. Now the track became very slippery and Ross had his hands full as the tire choice was not working in his favor. When the checkered flag was waved, Ross Hoek finished eleventh.
“Right from the start we had a great tire package,” noted Ross Hoek. “I took a gamble and it looked like it would pay off. The rain shower during the race wasn’t expected, but that was all it took for our gamble to backfire. Besides that issue our truck ran great, and tomorrow night will have a better outcome.”
Friday – Round 8
Based on the previous night’s performance, Ross lined up eleventh on the starting grid. Confident with his race truck’s chassis set-up, Hoek quickly moved up three positions by the third lap. Getting further up the running order, the team knew it would be very important to be patient, yet be aggressive at the right time. The strategy worked as the #21 Ignite Fuels gradually picked up three more spots as the laps wound down. At the checkered flag, Ross Hoek crossed the finish line in fifth place.
“Tonight we had a great run from start to finish,” commented Ross Hoek. “Starting well back in the field really makes it a challenge to get on the podium. Hope all the fans watching on SPEED and all those that packed the grandstands enjoyed our race, I know I had a blast tonight. After all is said and done our Ignite Racing Fuels/Venom Energy/Allstar Performance Ford can challenge for a podium spot every time out. We are really looking forward to getting back to the wide open spaces of Bark River and Crandon.”
Next Race: August 11-12, 2012 @ Bark River Off-Road Raceway in Bark River, Michigan.
– Mike Reusche, words & pic
– Mike Roth Photography, pic