Krieman, Caddell, Menzies and Johnson take Charlotte TORC

Ricky Johnson added his seventh straight win in TRAXXAS TORC Series races

(CONCORD, NC - APRIL 21, 2012 - RIS) Ricky Johnson added to his long string of victories with a nearly three-second margin of victory over Adrian Cenni, in the night's finale. Cenni suffered a flat tire, held off long enough to wait for the competition yellow, went into the pits for a new tire and returned to the track in last place, fighting back to finish a closing second place.

Super Buggy started with a bang on the first lap when Jeff Sleegers hit a jump sideways and rolled his buggy. Steve Krieman had grabbed the lead off the start and was chased by John Frana until young Mitchel DeJong challenged for the lead and made a smooth pass into second in the second lap. Frana fought back and made the pass on the front straight as the pair closed on leader Krieman.

Last night’s winner DeJong slowed in the first turn on the restart, falling to last and unable to maintain a race pace, then pulling to a stop in the fourth turn, where a safety truck hooked up to him and towed him to safety under a local yellow. TORC races operate under local yellows like road racing, except in major cautions. Taking the white flag, leader Frana’s buggy had a flat right rear, allowing Krieman to make the pass, with Andy Zipperer third, Michael Hester fourth and Jeff Sleegers fifth after his rollover.

In Pro Lights, Shawn Morris parlayed the pole position into a four length lead after the first lap. Keegan Kincaid, Luke Johnson, Andrew Caddell and CJ Greaves made the first lap interesting until they spread outand Kincaid closed to challenge for the lead – Morris bicycled in the last turn on the second lap and Luke Johnson used good track position to snatch the lead . Kincaid missed the jump exit of the Tabletop and flipped hard, getting towed to the center of the track under a local yellow. He exited the truck unhurt, but as the Johnson truck was being towed clear, Josh Dorr’s truck rolled onto hits roof in the third turn. Also towed to safety, this driver was unable to continue, joining the infield parking lot.

Nick Baumgartner’s truck lost most of its bodywork, heading to the hot pits to have the hood removed. At the mid-race yellow, Luke Johnson led Shawn Morris, Ross Hoek, CJ Greaves and Brad Lovell approaching the restart. Morris grabbed the lead through the infield but overcooked the final turn, spun and dropped to last. Russ Hoek got the lead in his orange truck, but then Johnson challenged inside. Hoek withstood the challenge and Johnson missed a jump on the back straight. Two laps later, Hoek slipped slightly wide in the second turn, allowing Andrew Caddell and Luke Johnson around as the pair ran in tandem until Johnson slid wide in the first turn, allowing the reigning champion to grab the lead, extending his lead while Brad Lovell came close to taking out some of the infield lights exiting the second turn and again on the tabletop. Caddell won the race, followed by Luke Johnson, Hoek, Greaves and Randy Eller.

The Pro2 feature was led to the green flag by Mike Oberg, with Andrew Caddell to his right. Chad Hord, Bryce Menzies, Jeff Kincaid, CJ Greaves, Mike Jenkins, Jamie Grosser, Steve Barlow and Dan Schlieper completed the field. A three-truck ‘meeting’ in the final turn sent Kincaid, Barlow and Grosser to the back of the field as they tangled and took several seconds to continue. Chad Hord took the lead from Oberg in the second turn, with Menzies following and then Caddell but Oberg managed to repass Caddell for third as the pair raced side by side for the position.

Andrew Caddell rolled in the infield right hand turn but got righted and towed to a safe spot to try to restart. When the No. 21 Mopar failed to recrank, he exited the truck and the green came back out with Hord leading Menzies but Menzies used the infield tabletop to get the lead. Greaves and Oberg carried on a huge battle for third until Oberg flipped entering the infield right hand turn, landing on the truck’s roof with a small oil fire in the undercarriage. He was unhurt, the truck got extinguished and righted, then towed to a safe spot for the restart. Menzies motored to a comfortable lead, followed by Hord and Greaves, with Kincaid and Jenkins in the top five with three laps remaining.

Menzies, Hord, Greaves, Kincaid and Barlow finished the race as top five, after some of the hardest “frammin’ and bammin’” a race can have.

Pro4s capped the weekend of off-road racing action with Adrian Cenni on pole, flanked by Mark Jenkins and followed by Johnny Greaves, Mike Jenkins, Scott Douglas and Ricky Johnson. Tonight’s races have increased in action with each green flag, so numbers don’t mean much. Cenni led the first lap with Greaves second, Mark Jenkins third nd Johnson looking inside for third halfway through the second lap. Lap five saw Cenni’s left rear tire go flat, allowing the trailing truck to get around him, then Ricky Johnson got around but Greaves slowed as the competition caution flew, allowing Cenni to pit for a new tire and Greaves pulled off into the pits as well. Cenni returned to the track in time to be scored on the lead lap but Greaves’ race was over. Cenni clipped Mike Jenkins on the back straight after the restart and moved into fourth, while Johnson, Mark Jenkins and Douglass had a tight battle for the lead.  Cenni moved low in the firs turn, then Douglass clipped the wall, allowing Cenni into second, chasing Johnson for the lead. Cenni set fast lap of the race so far on lap 14 with a 41.02 second clocking. Mark Jenkins spun at the end of the back straight and slowed,, just before Cenni missed the exit of the right hander and nearly took out the infield posts.

Johnson took his seventh straight win, followed by Cenni, Douglas, Mike Jenkins and Mark Jenkins limping in fifth. “Adrian and I got into each other…” said Johnson indicating that the contact was incidental to the racing and nothing either driver wanted.

Tonight’s race will be aired on SPEEDtv later this summer.

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 9:48 PM, 04.21.2012