Jimmie Johnson Gives Chad Knaus an Off-Road Experience

Jimmie Johnson waiting for Chad Knaus to get strapped in

(CONCORD, NC - APRIL 19, 2012 - RIS) With a short time off between races, Jimmie Johnson returned to his off-road racing past by taking crew chief Chad Knaus for a short ride in the safety truck for the TRAXXAS TORC Series. Practice at the Dirt Track at Charlotte opened for the season-opening event and prior to the official laps, Johnson drove his crew chief around, followed by various media types getting a ride with the truck's regular driver.

Gates open for this crowd-pleasing event Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM, with opening ceremonies following practice and time trials at 7:00 Friday evening and 6:00 on Saturday. Follows is the track's press release:

The region’s dirt racing fans will experience a different kind of event this Friday and Saturday at The Dirt Track at Charlotte when the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL hits the track for two days of action-packed off-road truck racing.

TORC’s four premier classes, including PRO 4x4, PRO 2WD, PRO Light and the Super Buggy class, will battle on a course of turns and jumps within the tight confines of the lightning-fast, four-tenths-mile clay oval. Below are some noteworthy items leading in to this weekend’s event at The Dirt Track.

What to Expect for First-Time TORC Fans

Fans experiencing the Traxxas TORC Series for the first time this weekend can expect to see some beating and banging from the top off-road racers in the country, as they fly through the turns and over the jumps at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.  

“TORC truck racing is really Supercross with trucks,” said Mike Jenkins, president of Traxxas and driver of the No. 47 Traxxas Pro 4x4 truck. “At the track here at Charlotte, we’ll jump the trucks about 100 feet over the tabletops.”

Several famous names have been linked to off-road truck racing. Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson got his start in off-road racing and NASCAR drivers like Robby Gordon and Brendan Gaughan are still known to get behind the wheel of an off-road truck from time-to-time.

Free Post-Race Pit Party for Fans

After fans enjoy each evening’s Traxxas TORC Series racing action at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, they can head down to the pit area for a party open to all ticket holders. Fans will get a chance to get up close to drivers like defending PRO 4x4 champion Ricky Johnson and 2010 champion Johnny Greaves and their trucks. There will also be music provided by Tim Hall and Buffalo Country.  

Traxxas R/C Car Display

Series sponsor Traxxas will have a full display during the two-day Traxxas TORC Series event this weekend. On Saturday April 20 at 6:30 p.m., drivers from TORC’s PRO 4x4, PRO 2WD and PRO Light classes will face off in the Pro Driver R/C challenge on the display’s full-size dirt track. Both Friday and Saturday, a 1/8 scale model will turn laps on The Dirt Track at Charlotte between the PRO Light and PRO 2WD classes. Throughout the event, there will also be a full vending trailer with all Traxxas R/C car models on display and for purchase.

Friday-Night Action Live on SPEED

Friday night’s Traxxas TORC Series racing action will be broadcast live on SPEED. Fans can watch live beginning at 8:30 p.m. as the series’ top divisions battle on the short-course of turns and jumps at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. This weekend’s event serves as the season opener for both the TORC Series and The Dirt Track, and it is only one of two racing events in the series’ season to air on SPEED.

Save $5 with Food Lion AutoFair Ticket Stub

Fans who are planning to attend the world's largest automotive extravaganza, the Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway, can save their ticket stub and get $5 off admission to the Traxxas TORC Series event at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The Food Lion AutoFair running now through Sunday, will feature many displays including a collection of vehicles from Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and appearances by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison and longtime RCR crewman Chocolate Myers. The AutoFair also features collector car auctions, a flea market with more than 10,000 vendor spaces, a massive manufacturer midway, a car corral, special exhibits, a kids' zone and crazy fair foods.

Tickets for the Traxxas TORC Series event at The Dirt Track at Charlotte are just $20 for adults each night and free for kids 13 and under. Spectator gates open at 3 p.m. each night. Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday. To purchase tickets, call the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

Connect with The Dirt Track at Charlotte by following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/thedirttrack or by becoming a fan of The Dirt Track at Charlotte Facebook page.

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2012, Issue 4, Posted 10:35 PM, 04.19.2012