TORC Rounds 3 and 4: Traxxas on Top!
Perris, CA (May 29, 30)—THE Traxxas Off-Road Championship set the night on fire at Perris Auto Speedway (PAS) with some of the closest, most action-packed racing seen yet in the Traxxas TORC series. All the nation's top pro drivers were fiercely battling it out for a win with intense door-to-door racing, roaring fans on their feet, and hotly contested lead changes that separated the podium finishers by mere fractions of a second. At the end of the weekend, Traxxas driver Rick Huseman scored a win in Saturday's Pro 4X4 competition while Jeff Kincaid earned the top spot on the podium with a victory in Pro Light. Mike Jenkins (47) ripped up the track in Pro 4X4 with his strongest, most aggressive driving performance to date that was unfortunately cut short by mechanical failures.
Jeff Kincaid: Pro Light
Jeff Kincaid had Perris fans on their feet with a blazing performance that demonstrated what short-course racing is all about. Since Round 3's starting positions were determined by the drivers' performance in Round 2, Jeff started in the back of the field (engine trouble lead to a 13th place finish for Jeff in Round 2 at Texas Motor Speedway). Round 3 began with a first-lap spinout for Kyle LeDuc, so the field fell back into line for a restart. Kyle got the holeshot on the restart with Round 1-winner Marty Hart close behind, followed by Round 2-winner Casey Currie. Marty's truck soon suffered mechanical issues and he faded back, allowing Currie to move into second. Meanwhile, Jeff Kincaid put his No. 4 Traxxas Pro Light Toyota to work with surgical precision, as he picked off truck after truck in a relentless push to the front. By the halfway point, Jeff had gotten past Currie to take second place with Kyle LeDuc squarely in his sights. As the yellow flag came out for the mandatory mid-race caution lap, the trucks bunched together and the crowd was on edge sensing the epic battle to come. When the green flag dropped, Jeff reduced the fight to a single devastating punch, as he held tight to the inside line of turn one to edge out Kyle Leduc. Once in the clear air of first place, Jeff unleashed the fury of the fresh motor in his Traxxas Toyota to open a gap on the field and rolled through the checkers with his first victory in the TORC Series. "I guess it's all in how you rebound from your last race, and we couldn't have rebounded any better," said Jeff after his win. In addition to his win, Jeff earned the Oakley Bomb Run award for turning the fastest lap of the race.
Rick Huseman: Pro 4X4
Short-course superstar Rick Huseman also carried Traxxas onto the podium with his Monster Energy/Traxxas Toyota in Saturday night's Pro 4X4 racing. After winning both rounds of TORC racing at Texas Motor Speedway, Rick stood first in points. Per TORC rules, the top six positions of the grid were inverted for Friday's Round 3 and with Rick going on to finish fourth. Round 4 saw another start from the sixth position with the inversion. Before the first lap was over, Rick improved his position to third and fell in behind Steve Barlow and Johnny Greaves (winner of Round 3). Just one lap later, Barlow exited the track with a broken right front suspension, leaving the race to the Monster Energy Toyotas of Greaves and Huseman, with Kyle LeDuc in third. Not to be counted out was Scott Douglas in the Amsoil truck, stripped of its bed side panels after an early pileup in turn three, and on a mission to get to the front. The suspense in the stands was on the redline as the trucks lined up for the green after the mandatory mid-race caution. The three poured it all onto the track with a massive display of raw aggression and driving talent as Huseman looked for his opportunity to get past Greaves, while Douglas plotted a way around both drivers. Huseman found his opening on the third lap after the restart, and got his Monster/Traxxas Pro 4X4 under Johnny Greaves in turn four to take over the lead, leaving Greaves to deal with the hard-charging Scott Douglas. Rick opened a gap on Greaves and Douglas to take the win, his third TORC victory in just four starts, placing himself on top in TORC Pro 4X4 points. Huseman also earned the Oakley Bomb Run Award for the fastest lap time of the race.
Mike Jenkins: Pro 4X4
In Friday night's Pro 4X4 event, Traxxas' Mike Jenkins turned his inner demon loose and laid down his most aggressive driving performance of the season. Starting from the back, Mike quickly got past Kyle LeDuc, and began an aggressive charge on the now 3-time winner Rick Huseman. With the pressure on, Rick opened the door when he was spun near the halfway point of the 20-lap race. The hard-charging Huseman then came back quickly to re-pass Jenkins, even putting his Monster Energy/Traxxas truck on two wheels to do so. Immediately after making the pass, Mike regained his position and added another as Rick slowed to avoid Curt LeDuc, who spun out after making contact with Adrian Cenni in turn five. The yellow flag signaled the mid-race mandatory caution, with Mike's Traxxas Pro 4X4 in fifth place ahead of Rick Huseman and Kyle LeDuc (Curt LeDuc was out of the race after his contact with Cenni). Mike Jenkins, determined not to give up a position, stuck to the fast line and kept the throttle pinned to keep the No. 47 Traxxas truck ahead of Huseman. The close racing kept the crowd on their feet until the final lap of the race when Mike's front driveshaft came apart, unable to survive Mike's merciless assault on the track. During the race between Jenkins and Huseman, more attrition on the track created an opportunity for Mike to land a spot on the podium if the #47 truck had not failed. Mike was pleased with the race nonetheless. "The truck worked great. The BFGoodrich tires were hooked up, and we had a good suspension setup with King Shocks. We just kept taking spots. But as I came off that tabletop and took the next jump, I tossed it into second and turned it in to get the truck landed and in position, it bound up and threw out the right front output shaft. I tried to stay in it, but it just pushed out to the wall. I thought I could get it back out there, but the upper suspension arm was broken. We were done. It was a good race. It would have been a lot better to get in that last lap though."
Mark Jenkins: Pro 2WD
In Pro 2WD action, Traxxas' Mark Jenkins started in seventh position in Round 3, and immediately started to move up in the field, yielding only one position to Evan Evans after the start. Evans soon spun out; bringing himself and Mark Jenkins to a dead stop that permitted the rest of the field to pass. Mark pulled out all the stops to get No. 25 back in the race, quickly reeling in Dan Baudoux and lining up on Doug Fortin. The mandatory mid-race caution gave Mark the chance to close up on the field. At the green flag, Mark held his position until third-place driver Jeremy McGrath spun out and dropped to last which allowed Mark to get around Fortin in the fray. Scott Taylor and Mike Oberg became Mark's next targets. Taylor left the door open for Mark to execute a tough inside pass in turn four with some shoulder-to-shoulder contact along the way. Now the full-throttle chase was on to catch Oberg. Mark made the pass inside of Oberg just before the straight, but Oberg, in an attempt to defend his position, moved to the inside and made contact with Mark's right rear quarter. The contact resulted in a spin and rear suspension damage that took the competitive edge out of Mark's truck, sidelining his attempts to progress further up in the field.
In Round 4, Mark started tenth in a strong truck that quickly reeled in Mike Oberg but was set back later by a spin in turn two. Mark pushed on keeping pace but was unable to move up before the mid-race mandatory caution. Back under green-flag racing, Mark took advantage of an opportunity when a tangle in turn four let Mark advance three positions, picking off Greg Adler, Todd LeDuc, and Evan Evans. Within the next two laps, Mark used the momentum to put Doug Fortin behind him as well. Racing paused for a caution on the track, and as the green flag signaled the return to racing, Mark maintained his lead over Adler, LeDuc, and Evans. Adler slipped beneath Mark on the next lap pushing him back to eighth. Just as quickly, Mark moved back up to seventh by passing Mike Oberg, only to lose a position to Evan Evans. The close racing action continued when Mark used a traffic jam in turn two that bunched up the field allowing Mark to rip past Evan Evans and Scott Taylor to occupy sixth place. Taylor took his position back in turn one, and the battle was on as Taylor, Jenkins, and Evans duked it out, with Mike Oberg in the wings looking for an opening to get through. In the end though, Mark would not be rewarded for his perseverance and forceful driving efforts as a spin on the dry, slick surface of turn one, on the final lap, caused him to lose position with no time to recover. In the final analysis, Mark still finished one spot ahead of where he started and his fastest laps compared well with the best of the Pro 2WD field. The expectations are running high for a strong performance at The Big House in Crandon starting June 20th.