WSORR: Taylor Makes History Again at BorgWarner Shootout in Crandon
Skyjacker Ford driver Scott Taylor (above) of Belvedere, Illinois, made history before a packed house today at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway by becoming the first and only man ever to win the prestigious BorgWarner Shootout twice in a PRO 2WD truck, a virtually impossible feat similar to lightning striking the same place twice or a golfer earning two holes in one.
The highlight of the 39th annual Crandon World Championships weekend, the 10-lap Borg Warner Shootout pits the best PRO 2WD and PRO 4WD drivers in the nation against each other in a handicap-style race format in which the PRO 2WDs receive a headstart and the PRO 4WDs are forced to come from behind and run them down. The winner of the race is immortalized by having his name placed on the BorgWarner Cup, one of only two in existence; the other is reserved for the winner if the Indianapolis 500.
After becoming the first and only man ever to win the BorgWarner Shootout in a Pro 2WD, in 2002, the 52-year-old Taylor (right) pulled off the miraculous feat again by nailing the holeshot and driving his Robert Yates Racing-motored Ford F150 cleanly in the lead for all 10 laps on the 1.75-mile Crandon course. Taylor’s chances for victory significantly early in the race when polesitter Johnny Greaves tangled with another PRO 2WD driver and rolled his Monster Energy Drink/Potwatomi Toyota PRO 4WD, collecting fellow PRO 4WD driver Scott Douglas in the process. With PRO 4WD driver Kent Brascho also going out early, the door was thrown wide open for the PRO 2WDs to dominate the race, and dominate they did. Taylor kept his nose clean for the entire distance, followed by Hoek and newly crowned Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing Champion Dan Vanden Heuvel to make for a PRO 2WD sweep of the podium for the first time in the 14-year history of the BorgWarner Shootout. Taylor’s margin of victory over Hoek was 17.122 seconds.
“It was just favorable for the PRO 2WDs today,” Taylor said afterward. “For me, the stars were aligned. I just can’t put it any other way. It is so important to win the race. It’s the last race of the year, and you always remember the last thing you did. Now they have a year to talk about it. I never saw anything [accidents] out there, just some junk here or there on the track. I just kept my head down and stayed focused. With five laps to go, I knew that we had it in the bag.”
Taylor (above) doubled up by coming from behind to win the 11-lap Lucas Oil PRO 2WD race earlier in the day. Fellow Skyjacker Ford driver and Saturday winner Ross Hoek took the holeshot followed by Rhonda Konitzer in second. Konitzer was reeled in by Amsoil/Kumho Ford driver Mike Oberg and Taylor over the first several laps. On lap five, Taylor running in third, passed Oberg going over the barn jump to move into second. Taylor then continued his march to the front, passing Hoek for the led in the Argonne Loop.
With two laps to go, Hoek slowed up with mechanical problems on the front straightaway. Oberg and Konitzer thundered by, moving into second and third. Over the final lap, Konitzer came under attack from Kevin Probst, who passed for third coming out of the Gravel Pit but in the final corner, but problems with his truck caused Probst to drive off the end of the corner. Konitzer rolled through the final turn and claimed a solid third place.
Scott Douglas (left) of El Cajon, California, won the Ford Trucks PRO 4WD race in his Amsoil/Kumho Ford F150. The race began with newly crowned Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing PRO 4WD Champion Kent Brascho grabbing the holeshot, but a fire on lap one of the 11-lap race forced him off the track. Monster Energy Drink/Potawatomi Toyota driver Johnny Greaves (right) took over the lead, but on lap two, Douglas got a run on Greaves and took the lead going over the Barn Jump. On lap four, Greaves and Lucas Oil/Skyjacker Ford driver Carl Renezeder made contact in the Gravel Pit. Renezeder took the position, and Greaves was black flagged for the contact. During his penalty stop, Greaves was passed for third place by Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Ford driver Curt LeDuc.
On lap 10, Renezeder caught Douglas in the Gravel Pit. After light contact, Douglas came out with the lead while Renezeder gave up a little ground. Douglas took a solid win while Renezeder rolled to the line in second place.
The battle for third heated up in the final turn on the last lap when Greaves powered by LeDuc going into the turn. LeDuc ducked back under Greaves and hard on the throttle held off Greaves to the line for third.
Jeff Kincaid (above) of Argonne, Wisconsin, won the Traxxas PRO Light race in his Traxxas/Potawatomi Toyota to land his second class win in three days of racing at Crandon. The win today was icing on the cake for Kincaid, who won the points championship the in the penultimate round. Kincaid took the holeshot and never looked back, leading from green to checkers. Boss Snowplow Mazda driver Chad Hord worked his way through traffic all race long to finish second. E3 Spark Plugs Nissan driver Jon Probst had a mid pack start but a strong run gave him his second podium finish of the weekend.
Craig Rogaczewski started off the day’s racing by winning the Indian Springs Enduro truck race in the T&K Ford. Rogaczewskit led from flag to flag. Matt Dale gave a hard chase through the eight-lap race but couldn’t close the gap enough to challenge Rogaczewski, and finished in second. Ben Wierzba battled with Matt Ives for few laps until Ives pulled off with mechanical problems, giving the position to Wierzba. Over the final laps, Jim Van Rixel closed the gap to Wierzba but Van Rixel ran out of time and finished fourth, well enough to clinch the Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing Enduro Points championship.
Jeff Virnig won the seven-lap FCP Northern Lights Casino 1600 Light buggy race by making a last-lap pass on Saturday winner Mike Vanden Heuvel in the Argonne Loop. Vanden Heuvel kept close, but he had to settle for second place. The race for third shook up on the last lap. Tony Keepers and Greg Stingle battled for the position going into the Argonne Loop. Contact was made between the two and both launched off the track. Craig Paitl took advantage of the situation to move into third place. Matt Gerald was right behind Paitl after the off-track excursion between Keeper and Stingle, but Gerald could not make the pass for third on the final lap.
Michael Seefeldt won the KC Hilites 1600 buggy race in is MMi buggy. Kyle Lucas got the holeshot, followed by Brad Erickson and Saturday winner Mark Steinhardt, who was on the move early, passing Erickson on the first lap and Lucas on lap two in the Argonne loop. The top three ran in order until lap four when Erickson and Lucas made heavy contact in the Gravel Pit and rolled. The race was red flagged and restarted single file.
Seefeldt made the move to the inside of the final turn passing Steinhardt for the lead. Steinhardt chased for the remainder of the race but could not retake the position. Seefeldt took the win, but Steinhardt’s second-place finish netted the Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing 1600 Buggy Points Championship to go with the World Championship ring he had earned from Saturday.
The battle for third also heated up after the restart. Bob Blaney took the position after the Erickson/Lucas wreck. A lap after the restart, Rob Kinner passed Blaney in the Gravel Pit. Blaney kept pressing and on the last lap retook the position finishing third.
Eric Ruppel of Chetek, Wisconsin, completed a weekend sweep by winning the E3 Sparkplug Stock Pickup race. Craig Metz took the holeshot but rolled his truck in the Gravel Pit on lap one of the eight-lap race, giving the lead to Ruppel. Don Demeny and Dave Schneider inherited second and third, respectively. The top three ran close for several laps before slowly spreading out. When the dust settled at the end of eight laps, Ruppel had his second win of the weekend and clinched his first Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing Stock Pickup Championship. Demeny finished second and Schneider motored across the line for third.
Corry Heynen of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, took home his first win of the year in the General Tire PRO Super Buggy race after a solid run. At the end of lap one, Saturday winner Tim Lemons led the field followed by Scott Schwalbe and Heynen. One lap later, Heynen powered by Schwalbe for second. The order remained the same until lap five when Lemons spun in the Gravel Pit. Heynen and Schwalbe drove by before Lemons got straightened out. The top three ran in the same order over the final five laps.1. SCOTT TAYLOR- PRO 2WD 2. ROSS HOEK- PRO 2WD 3. DAN VANDEN HEUVEL- PRO 2WD 4. KYLE LEDUC- PRO 4x4 5. JERRY DAUGHERTY- PRO 4x4 6. MIKE JENKINS- PRO 4x4 7. DAVE WALDVOGEL- PRO 2WD 8. BEN WANDAHSEGA- SUPER TRUCK 9. CURT LEDUC- PRO 4x4 10. ZANE ROBERTS- PRO 2WD 11. JERRY CONRAD- PRO Ultra 4x4 12. CARL RENEZEDER- PRO 2WD 13. MIKE OBERG- PRO 2WD 14. DON WILLIAMS- SUPER TRUCK 15. DAN BAUDOUX- SUPER TRUCK 16. RON SCHREINER- SUPER TRUCK 17. KEVIN PROBST- PRO 2WD 18. JOHNNY GREAVES- PRO 4x4 19. KENT BRASCHO- PRO 4x4 20. GORDON ZIMA- PRO 2WD 21. SCOTT DOUGLAS- PRO 4x4