TORC: Keith Steele Texas summary

Keith Steele Gains Valuable Knowledge at TORC Opener Madison, WI (May 19, 2009) - After thoroughly dominating and winning the Super Truck division of the now defunct World Series of Off-Road Racing, Keith Steele found a new...

Keith Steele Gains Valuable Knowledge at TORC Opener

Madison, WI (May 19, 2009) - After thoroughly dominating and winning the Super Truck division of the now defunct World Series of Off-Road Racing, Keith Steele found a new challenge, competing in the PRO-2WD ranks of the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL. Along the way, Steele Off-Road Racing had another challenge, find the funding to get the team to all sixteen rounds of racing.

The economic times of our country, and all the off-season changes in the sport, left Keith Steele without enough funding to campaign his #29 Kevin Pence-built PRO-2WD, in the TORC season. Regardless, the decision was made to come to Texas of the TORC opener, to see how the team measures up to the rest of the competition.

The only crew Keith had at Texas was his chief mechanic and brother, JJ Steele. The brothers' primary goal for the weekend was to run hard and finish both races on the lead lap.

The Friday practice sessions were uneventful for the Keith Steele, as most drivers were just trying to adjust to being out on the track after a very long off-season. Almost immediately, they found that getting the truck to hook up to the track would be another challenge, especially when the competition had specifically race engineered PROJECT tires and the #29 was racing on DOT tires that you can purchase at any tire store. Nevertheless, Steele Off-Road Racing persevered, qualifying thirteenth out of fifteen PRO- 2WD trucks.

Round 1

Right from the start, the black #29 Wolverine Performance powered Chevy struggled with traction. Undaunted Keith took what the truck would give him and finished in ninth place.

"We really were slipping and sliding out there tonight," noted Keith Steele. "We are at a real disadvantage running on the DOT tires. JJ and I came out here to race, and learn what we have to do to compete with the top teams in our sport. The more time we spend here at the track, the more knowledge we obtain."

Overnight, and into the next afternoon, heavy rains blanketed the Fort Worth area, making the .7 mile off-road track impossible to use. Somehow, after six hours of endless draining, scooping, scraping, and grading, the track was race ready. The race program was delayed by about ninety minutes, but the 5000 off-road racing fans that filled a sizeable portion of the grandstands, didn't seem to mind.

Round 2

The black #29 Chevy lined up in the ninth position based upon Round 1 results. The Keith Steele truck also had new shoes as well. Earlier in the day, Keith struck a deal with Kumho Tires to use four slightly used Kumho Road Venture PROJECT tires. Now the team had a tire sponsor for Round 2.

Again, the race went off without much drama for the #29 Kumho Tire Chevy. Keith found the truck to me much more manageable with the Kumho Tires. The pace of the race also quickened as teams were finding their way around the track better than the previous night. At the finish, Keith crossed the line in ninth place.

Afterwards Keith Steele commented: "Man, I'm just worn out. This track is really tough. We came here to see how we stand against the competition. JJ and I learned a lot. We stayed on the lead lap both nights. What a difference PROJECT tires make. Our Wolverine powerplant is larger than before, but we need to get more power out of it. It's in there, we just didn't invest in the dyno time. We didn't even lose a body panel. Hopefully this trip will get us noticed and help us with our funding for the rest of the season."

Steele Off-Road Racing would like to thank the PDG and AMSOIL for the travel voucher assistance, and Kumho Tires for the PROJECT tires in Round 2.

-credit: steeleoffroad.com

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Series Offroad