As the The Fastest Name In Radio Control and the title sponsor of the Traxxas Off-Road Championship (TORC), Traxxas makes radio-control racing a fixture of each TORC series race, and draws the area's fastest R/C drivers at every stop on the circuit. At Bark River Raceway in Bark River, MI, a new group of racers experienced Traxxas R/C racing: the TORC series' top pro drivers! The biggest names in short-course racing gathered to race Traxxas Slash trucks head to head, for a unique perspective on R/C competition. Just minutes after racing in their full-size trucks, and still dressed in their racing gear, TORC’s top pros were on the R/C drivers’ stand, lining up their Traxxas trucks for the start of a 20-lap race. Each driver raced a replica of his full-size machine. Beneath the bodywork, each truck was completely box-stock, so no driver had a horsepower or traction advantage— something rarely seen in full-scale racing! The only non-factory component in each truck was a transponder, an electronic device that allowed the lap times and track position for each driver to be counted electronically— the same technology used in full-size motorsports including the TORC Series.
At the start tone, all fourteen trucks launched into competition with a "land rush start." Mike Jenkins, driver of the no. 47 Traxxas Pro 4X4, got the holeshot, and was spared the carnage as fourteen trucks funneled into the first turn. As corner marshals quickly righted overturned and tangled (but undamaged) trucks, the racing continued. Rockstar Energy/Makita’s Todd LeDuc lead the chase to catch the leader, with Monster Energy’s Jeremy McGrath close behind. Since all of the trucks had equal horsepower and traction, the drivers had to conserve momentum and choose the most efficient lines to stay out front. Simply holding position in the field took skill; moving up required a keen eye for the best racing lines. Rebounding from a mistake was especially difficult, as Mike Jenkins learned on lap five, when a bobble cost him three precious seconds and allowed Todd LeDuc to take over the lead. Both Todd and brother Kyle, also of the Rockstar/Makita team, proved very capable on the track and peeled off consistent laps as the front runners. The LeDucs took over first and second place by the halfway point of the race, spurred ahead by the constant threat of Traxxas’ Mike Jenkins in third. All the drivers were models of concentration, race-faces on, as the final seconds of the race counted down. As Todd Leduc completed his 20th lap to finish the race, the drivers cracked into laughs, smiles, and hand-shakes as they climbed off the drivers’ stand. Rockstar Energy’s Todd LeDuc won the race with an 18-second lead over brother and Rockstar teammate Kyle LeDuc in second, and Traxxas’ Mike Jenkins finished third with a 21-second lead over fourth place finisher Jeremy McGrath. Rick Huseman, Jeremy’s Monster Energy teammate and Traxxas driver, rounded out the top five.
After the race, the drivers kept their Slashes to practice for the rematch at Crandon International Raceway during TORC Rounds 11 and 12. The event also marks the 40th anniversary of the legendary off- road track, and all of Crandon will come out for the week-long celebration of off-road racing. That celebration will include more incredible R/C competition with TORC's top pros, and it’s going to be intense— whether it’s full-scale or radio-control, these guys can wheel!