|Rob MacCachren took the win on the first night of racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.|
“It’s going to be a barn burner!” said Scott Douglas just prior to the start of the racing that would kick off The Off-Road Championship Series’ finale weekend, and Round 15 & 16 of in Las Vegas definitely did not disappoint. By the end, even a little fire was involved.
The season finale for TORC’s inaugural season took place in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It has been an exciting opening season that started with controversy in Texas with sponsors, hit a big highlight at the 40th anniversary of Crandon, and it ended with great racing in the mud and dust of Las Vegas.
|The Trophylite class made its debut in the TORC Series at the Las Vegas finale.|
The Trophylite class was the newest addition to the show, and the first running of the spec-truck class was dominated by Luis Chamberland. Chamberland looked to have the best setup overall and literally ran away with the show with a commanding half-track lead over the rest of the field, which was tightly packed and battling door-to-door for second-place honors.
“We had a great setup!” Chamberland said after the win. “Todd from Fox (shox) helped us out, and we were able to put together a package and it paid off!”
|Casey Currie jumped out to an early lead on Friday but had to settle for third. He rebounded to take the win at Round 16 on the finale TORC race of the season.|
Soon after the Trophylites finished up, Pro Light took flight with Casey Currie taking the holeshot but was quickly overtaken by Mart Hart on lap two. Hart held onto the lead for the rest of the race. Chad Hord and Jeff Kincaid both broke during the race, which tightened up the points championship even more between Hart, Kincaid and Hord. Chris Brant took second place for the night and Currie rounded out the podium in third.
“Awesome race, we needed that in the points,” Hart said. “Both Hord and Kincaid broke. I’m not sure where that puts us in the points but it’s a good thing.”
Hart also took the Oakley Bomb award for fastest lap of the night.
|Curt LeDuc finished the season with two podiums, taking second behind sone Kyle on Friday.|
After the Pro Lights, it was time for the big Pro 4 trucks to come out. Rockstar Energy’s Kyle LeDuc made a hard charge from fifth position in the unusually heavy dust and went on to take the win in the class, with his father Curt LeDuc bringing home second and Scott Douglas third. The point leader Rick Huseman, who placed fifth on Friday night’s race, retained his points lead going into the last round of the season. With a 17-point lead Huseman, only needed to start Saturday’s race to win the Pro 4 Championship.
“I’ve been second in points five times!” Huseman said. “Tonight I just hung back and took it easy. I just kept counting the guys in front of me to know where I was in points.
“But tomorrow I might end up hog-tied somewhere and miss the race,” Huseman joked. “It’s not over until it’s in my hands.”
|Pro 2 had quite a few drivers on the line each night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.|
The last race of the night was the Pro2 show that had 15 trucks on the starting line. The points battle in Pro2 was close going into the final weekend of racing. With Rob MacCachren leading Rick Johnson by a mere two points, it could be anyone’s championship.
Taking a good lead right from the start was Scott Taylor in his Roush/Yates-powered Ford, with Dan Vanden Huevel second and Pro2 points leader Rob MacCachren running third. Not too far off the pace was Johnson in fourth. MacCachren and Johnson made their way around Taylor and Vanden Heuvel and it looked like it was going to be a battle down to the wire. The finishing order for the night was MacCachren first Johnson second, which put both of them within reach of the Championship.
“He got me tonight but it’s still up for grabs,” Johnson said. “I’m going to make him work for it tomorrow!”
|Ricky Johnson was able to improve his second-place finish from the night before with a win on Saturday.|
Saturday night was where it all would be decided. The Pro2 race started off with mayhem in turn one with a huge pile up, with Ricky Johnson coming out in the lead and MacCachren several trucks back but gaining ground. MacCachren was almost up to Johnson when he was spun by Bryce Menzies, but he was able to quickly recover and made his way back to the second position. MacCachren took second place behind Johnson but maintained enough points to seal his championship position by two points.
|MacCachren's comeback in Saturday's race to finished second locked up the Pro 2 Championship.|
“I just want to thank all my crew and sponsors,” MacCachren said. “They worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get me here. I can’t say enough about them!”
Then next race up was the Pro Lights. Right off the start was Casey Currie taking the hole shot, and this time he was able to hold the lead and never look back. He led the race from wire to wire with nobody challenging him. This was Currie’s second win of the season, and he was very happy to go out on a high note.
|Jeff Kincaid played it safe on Saturday night, but his impressive record in the season earned him the championship in the Pro Light class.|
“Whooh! This was awesome, I’m so happy right now!” Casey said after the race. “I had the right tires for this track! These BFG’s really hooked it up!”
The point leader in Pro Light was Jeff Kincaid, who looked to have been taking it easy in this last race, but he had accumulated so many points during the season that he still finished in the top spot.
|Jeff Kincaid celebrates with his crew after the final TORC race of the season.|
“I’m just happy to be here and go out on top!” he said. “I gotta thank everyone who helped me this year! It’s been a wild ride.”
|Scott Douglas' truck caught fire after he and Adrian Cenni made contact during Saturday's Pro 4x4 race. Photo by Dave Clark.|
|Rick Huseman earned the overall Pro 4x4 title at Vegas.|
Even though Rick Huseman only had to start the race to win the Pro 4 championship, the race still had plenty of excitement. In fact, even though it had the smallest starting pro field with eight trucks, the Pro 4 race turned out to be the most exciting of the night – these guys were going all out!
Early on in the race, Johnny Greaves had the lead on the field but an untimely roll in turn three took him out of the race and gave Kyle LeDuc in the lead. LeDuc had a strong lead going for several laps, but a flat tire and then the loss of his power steering put him into the wall ending his night. Then it was Adrian Cenni who had led for awhile until his hood started coming off and he couldn’t see, and he wreaked a bit of havoc on the track and was out of contention.
With only a few trucks left on the track, Scott Douglas had a major fire on track that unfortunately fulfilled his “barn burner” prediction in a way that he didn’t expect. The race was stopped until it was put out, but fortunately Douglas ended up escaping the fire with no major injuries. This left Mike Jenkins, Steve Barlow, Curt LeDuc and Adrian Cenni on the track for a green, white, checkered finish, as Huseman started the race but pulled off the track to save his gear from an unnecessary pounding. Huseman’s move was probably smart, as the last laps were started by a full crash derby that started going into turn one. These guys were racing as if there was no tomorrow, and in the end it was Mike Jenkins who took his first win ever with Barlow in second and Curt LeDuc in third.
|Mike Jenkins survived the Pro 4x4 race to take his first win of the season at the final race.|
“We’ve been waiting for this!” Jenkins said while celebrating his victory after the race. “My guys have worked hard and it’s finally here! I’ve wanted this so bad.”
But the celebration that was a season in the making was in Rick Huseman’s camp, who had come second place in the points five times but was finally able to take home his first Championship.
“This is the greatest thing, I can’t believe it’s here.” Huseman said. “We’ve been so close so many times and here it is. These guys – my crew, my sponsors – have done an amazing job all year and have given me the best tools to get the job done. It’s just awesome!”
|Adrian Cenni's hood prevented him from seeing the track well enough to be in contention at Vegas.|