SCOTT DOUGLAS SUPER FAST AT CRANDON BUT THIS WASN'T THE WEEKEND Crandon, Wisconsin-You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice- every driver from rookie level to true legends of the sport of off-road racing love to race at Crandon ...
SCOTT DOUGLAS SUPER FAST AT CRANDON BUT THIS WASN'T THE WEEKEND
Crandon, Wisconsin-You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice- every driver from rookie level to true legends of the sport of off-road racing love to race at Crandon International Raceway. And it's a love earned out of respect not glamor. This fast, high speed yet technical natural terrain off-road super speedway is challenging because you can never really master Crandon. If you work hard enough, though, the best teams drivers will understand a few of its secrets and gain a command of Crandon's complexity. Scott Douglas is in the top echelon of drivers who have come close to that mastery, earning earning numerous wins and not one but two BorgWarner Cup victories here.
2009 marks Crandon's 40th Anniversary and with a long-term agreement with the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL and support from the Professional Driver's Group (PDG) it's apparent that this historic racetrack has a bright future. Scott Douglas, crew chief Bill Smith, and the seasoned Douglas Motorsports crew know Crandon well. In practice on Friday, Douglas clicked off the fastest lap and was again the one to beat after Saturday morning practice.
Unlike the two abreast grid rolling starts that TORC uses at most race tracks, Crandon lines the trucks up door to door motocross style and launch them by dropping a green flag. The start of TORC's round 5 of racing on Saturday at least one PRO 4x4 truck left early getting a jump on the field. The wide-open sprint to Crandon's always exciting Turn One was made more exciting than usual as a truck that jumped the start moved into The AMSOIL Kumho Ford F-150's line in a blocking move that forced Douglas out of the throttle.
Douglas was sixth through Turn One and by the finish line jump Scott had already moved up one place. The trucks in front of Douglas were all fast, so the best tactic was to run hard, stay out of trouble and take advantage of opportunities. Douglas worked hard to find a clean line around Rick Husman for the first five laps and drove deep into the starting line hairpin pulling along side the Toyota. Wheel-to-wheel contact with the tires touching put an extraordinary load on the frontend breaking Douglas' four wheel drive. PRO 4X4 trucks are very hard to handle without front drive so all Scott could do was muscle the truck around to the finish. Despite the disadvantage, Douglas only lost one place to finish sixth.
In the sixth race of the 2009 Traxxas TORC Series, Douglas had a great start but was forced wide by contact with Rick Huseman in Crandon's high speed Turn One this dropped him back to fifth. On lap three, one of Crandon's famous rocks hit a brake line and pinched it closed. To gain enough hydralic pressure to slow the truck, Scott had to pump the brake pedal. Even with the fancy footwork required, Douglas was able to maintain his position and challenge Curt LeDuc for fourth.
On lap six, several trucks in front of the AMSOIL Kumho Ford got out of shape coming out of the gravel pit and were sideways over the Traxxas Launch Zone jump. Douglas saw an opening and went for it driving hard into the finish line turn with a shot at second place. There was contact, with trucks going everywhere and in the ensuing chain of events Douglas rolled 1- 1/2 times ending up on his roof sideways at the exit of the turn. Hanging upside down in the belts, Scott signaled the safety crew to hook on a tow strap and right the truck. Even though the F-150 was upside down for several minutes, he hit the starter, cranked the engine for a few seconds and the truck fired. "I credit the the AMSOIL Synthetic Racing Oil for my ability to relight the engine and drive away without major damage" stated Scott after the race.
Douglas caught the tail of the field under yellow and was back on the gas when they went green, pushing hard to finish well in the points with a strong fourth. The finish has Scott fourth in season points, just one beind Johnny Greaves in third and ten points out of second.
The AMSOIL Kumho F-150 was a crowd favorite for the Forest County Potawatomi Chairman's Cup race. Since the PRO 4X4 trucks are faster than the PRO 2WD trucks, the start is staggered to even the field. This year the PRO 2WDs started all the way up in the BorgWarner Turn Two with the PRO 4x4s about a half mile behind at the normal starting line. Crandon Cup races can be pretty wild as drivers let it all hang out for a chance at a big purse and bragging rights for the coming year. The AMSOIL Kumho Ford got the hole shot and the PRO 4X4s were running flatout in an effort to catch and work their way through the PRO 2WD field. Douglas hammered it hard over the finishline jump when a truck in front of him angled across the track from the far outside line. Still in the air bouncing through the rhythm jumps, there was no way to avoid contact and the number 7 Ford caught the rear of the other truck turning it. Just as the two were getting things sorted out, Huseman blasted over the jump, hit Douglas and turned him all the way around. Unfortuantely, the officials called a penalty black flag on Scott Douglas, taking the AMSOIL Kumho Ford out of contention.
Crandon had the upper hand this time-but don't count Scott Douglas and the AMSOIL Kumho Douglas Motorsports team out when the gates open on Labor Day weekend to cap Crandon's 40th Anniversary. All bets are off and it's game on for both the TORC Series PRO 4x4 points races and the 2009 BorgWarner Cup race.
Crandon TORC Series action will air Sunday June 28th at 12;30 pm on ESPN2. TORC Series racing resumes July 11th and 12th in Bark River, Michigan for rounds 7 and 8 of the Midwestern swing.