RED BULL OFF-ROAD RACING BARLOW MOTORSPORTS TEAM SETS WINNING STANDARD AT TORC SERIES OPENER IN TEXAS Fort Worth, Texas-With rounds one and two of the inaugural season of the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL now in the books, it's clear...
RED BULL OFF-ROAD RACING BARLOW MOTORSPORTS TEAM SETS WINNING STANDARD AT TORC SERIES OPENER IN TEXAS
Fort Worth, Texas-With rounds one and two of the inaugural season of the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL now in the books, it's clear that the Red Bull Off-Road Racing Barlow Motorsports team of Steve Barlow and Ricky Johnson are on top of their game.
It's not often that a brand-new truck can be a factor in a highly competitive class like TORC Pro 2WD. But when Ricky Johnson qualified third right out of the box in the number 48 Red Bull F-150, there was little doubt that Barlow Motorsports had the truck well sorted out and ready to race. What came next was more impressive yet. In the very first round of TORC Pro 2WD racing, Johnson and the number 48 Red Bull Ford were a factor from the drop of the green flag. After the opening lap frenzy settled down with Johnson in forth, Ricky passed Greg Adler at the start/finish line and drew a bead on Jeremy McGrath and second place. Late in the race, MacGrath slid high on the oval trying to pass leader Rob MacCachren and Ricky Johnson saw his opportunity and dove low making the pass, reeling in MacCachren with a tire going down. Johnson made the pass for first in front of the grandstands on the front straight and held off MacGrath to the checkered flag and a first place finish in the first TORC Pro 2WD race.
TORC inverts the top six finishers for the second round of weekend racing, so Johnson started sixth, on the outside of row three for the Saturday night race. Heavy rains soaked the track late Friday night on through early afternoon on Saturday. The track crew did an amazing job of working the clay surface to race ready condition by show time on Saturday night. Ricky Johnson wasted little time working his way to third to battle again with Rob MacCachren for second for much of the race. With three to go, Johnson made his move and locked down second to the finish line. Ricky Johnson's first and second place finishes earned first place standings in the Pro 2WD points race with 46 points after two rounds of racing.
With just two practice sessions under his belt on the fresh Texas Motor Speedway track, Steve Barlow drove a flawless line in qualifying to post the third fastest time in Pro 4x4, just like Johnson's Pro 2WD performance. That quick lap put him third on the grid for the first race on Friday night under the lights. Round one of Pro 4x4 racing delivered a different track surface than practice and qualifying as the clay on the Texas Motor Speedway 0.4 mile oval tightened up and produced incredible grip. The number 2 Red Bull Pro 2WD ran strong, but carburetor issues wouldn't allow Barlow to match his qualifying pace. He stayed with it, finishing sixth while gaining valuable championship points.
The top six inversion put Steve Barlow on the pole for the Saturday night race. After a frantic rolling start as the Pro 4x4 trucks rounded turn four on the oval, Barlow was able to hold the lead through the infield rhythm, over the table top and back around onto the oval. Kyle LeDuc slipped by, but Barlow held the number two position for the first five laps. Unfortunately, an alternator glitch reduced power, putting Steve at a disadvantage-particularly since the clutch that locks four wheel drive in the transfer case is electronically controlled and proper 4x4 operation is critical in this class. Barlow pushed hard with what he had and finished an impressive forth, ending the weekend fifth overall in the Pro 2WD points standings, just 21 out of first place after two rounds of racing.
"Barlow Motorsports is a team effort from the drivers and crew chiefs to every member of the crew. With all the variables thrown at us this weekend, I'm very pleased that both trucks finished every lap of every race and we are starting off this exciting season of a new series in such great shape..." stated Steve Barlow after the race. "We also learned a lot and look forward to being an integral part of the growth of the TORC Series."
Traxxas TORC Series action resumes May 29th and 20th at the Perris Auto Speedway in Perris, California. Broadcast of Round one and two from Texas Motor Speedway can be seen on ESPN2 at 11:00 am on Saturday May 24th. The Perris, California race is scheduled to air on Sunday June 7th at 5:00 pm on ABC.