WHEEL WOES, DANGEROUS COLLISION CHECK DOUGLAS' MOMENTUM AS CORR SEASON REACHES HALFWAY POINT Crandon, Wis., June 23...You cannot win races on three wheels or when the rear end of your truck is destroyed in a collision, as the ...
WHEEL WOES, DANGEROUS COLLISION CHECK DOUGLAS' MOMENTUM AS CORR SEASON REACHES HALFWAY POINT
Crandon, Wis., June 23...You cannot win races on three wheels or when the rear end of your truck is destroyed in a collision, as the Douglas Motorsports-owned Rancho Ford F-150 proved at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway here this weekend.
Driver Scott Douglas posted a strong second-place showing in Saturdays Championship Off-Road Racing Lucas Oil Series points event, but was knocked out of the field with a broken wheel and A-arm in the first lap of Sundays points round. The Rancho Ford was quickly put back into fighting trim for the prestigious Governors Cup three hours later only to be knocked out of action when a competitor rammed the F-150 midway through the 10-lap challenge race.
"We were pretty happy with the way the truck was running Saturday and even happier after Sundays practice session, but we ran into some tough luck when the racing started," said Douglas, the two-time Pro-4 world champion. "We were in the wrong place at the wrong time in [Sundays) points event, and I feel lucky not to be in a hospital bed after getting rammed in the Governors Cup. It certainly didn't cap off the weekend the way I would have liked."
Douglas was positioned near the center of the field in the land-rush start for Sundays points round but ran into trouble while following an inside line going into the second turn. As the Rancho Ford powered off a jump just before the turn, the Pro-4 field suddenly slowed, leaving Douglas little room to maneuver. The result was a violent landing and broken parts.
"In reviewing the tape, it looks like the rest of the field 'checked off' going into the turn and I couldn't because I was in the air," he said. "When I came down, I really didn't have any alternative but to try to veer to the right to avoid trouble, which overstressed the wheel on the landing."
The early exit came in the wake of a strong showing in spite of a comparatively poor starting position in Saturdays round. Eventual winner Curt LeDuc took a clean line off the pole position to establish a nearly 12-second lead over the rest of the Pro-4 pack, with Douglas coming out of the first turn in fifth place. The Rancho Ford regained four of those spots and engaged LeDuc in a drag race over the balance of the 15-minute run. LeDuc's lead shrank to six seconds, but no less, over the rest of the event.
"We just ran out of time," Douglas said. "If I could have closed in a few more truck lengths, I felt like I could get into Curt's line of vision and make him start worrying about us. We never quite got there."
Sunday afternoons Governors Cup event, which featured a huge field made up of Pro-4, Pro-2, Pro-Lite and Sportsman 2 competitors, continued the Rancho Fords woes. Pro-4 trucks were forced to drive very aggressively to make up for the significant head start given to the other classes.
"When the track is as dry and dusty as it was here, the four-wheel-drive advantage really isn't enough to make up for that kind of margin," Douglas said. "There was no way any of the Pro-4 trucks were going to be able to win the race."
What chance the Rancho Ford did have ended when Douglas was rammed from behind on a turn by Pro-4 competitor Josh Baldwin. Baldwin's truck penetrated the Rancho Fords rear frame, with a front wheel scuffing the back of Douglas' seat. Baldwin was black-flagged for the foul. CORR officials called a Pro-4 drivers meeting immediately following the race and issued warnings that future fouls would not be tolerated.
"I don't want to dwell on who did what to whom," he said. "We just want to go out and prove that we have the best truck in the field. We're halfway through this season and I feel we have a lot of wins ahead of us."
The Rancho Ford F-150 features a host of new technologies for 2002, including a custom Rancho suspension system, DynoMax exhaust system, Wolverine Performance LLC Ford Racing Technology V8 engine, Weissman five-speed manual transmission, Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST) electronic fuel injection system, Reider Racing/Precision Gear front and rear differentials and BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires.
The CORR Lucas Oil series continues July 13 with the Boss Snow Plow Off-Road Challenge in Bark River, Mich.
For more information on Scott Douglas and the Rancho Ford, check out the Douglas Motorsports website at www.douglasmotorsports.com. Also be sure to visit www.gorancho.com and www.dynomax.com for more information on the world's best suspension and exhaust products.