Waldvogel finds the Podium the Hard Way in Bark River July 17, 2007 (Fond du Lac, WI) The Waldvogel Off-Road Racing team traveled to the Bark River Off-Road Raceway in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan over the past weekend for rounds...
Waldvogel finds the Podium the Hard Way in Bark River
July 17, 2007 (Fond du Lac, WI) The Waldvogel Off-Road Racing team traveled to the Bark River Off-Road Raceway in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan over the past weekend for rounds five and six of the 2007 World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR). After a career weekend in Crandon back in June with back-to-back victories, the expectations were high and the confidence was probably even higher coming into the weekend. Driver Dave Waldvogel held the second position in points and looked to close the margin on point leader Ben Wandahsega with another strong weekend at Bark River.
Bark River is a high-speed, high-flying Off-Road race track, including the series largest jump, known by all series racers as "The Hill". Racers in the upper classes of WSORR routinely launch their trucks well over 150' during race events, sometimes cresting the 200' mark, putting on a spectacular show for the thousands of fans on spectator hill. The crew at Bark River has been hosting races for over thirty-years, and it has become one of the nation's premier off-road racing facilities.
Round five started with Dave lined up second from the outside in the land rush start. At Bark River, this typically is a large disadvantage, as the start is angled to give competitors lower in points a better chance to get to turn one first. On this day however, the amazing power from the Wolverine Performance engine was channeled just about perfectly through those Toyo Open Country M/T's, and Dave pulled an amazing hole-shot in his Bendix® Brakes Chevrolet, clearing the entire pack by a full truck length into turn one. Dave battled with the Monster Energy truck of Keith Steele throughout lap one, eventually putting a small lead on him by the end of lap one. Dave continued to increase this lead on lap two. During lap two, Dave noticed an apparent loss of power, and a change in sound of the engine -- of all the things that could go wrong, a plug wire had come loose, and Dave now had his hands full as the rest of the pack started to run him down. Dave continued to battle, but the lack of power and poor running of the engine caused difficulty in cornering, and even in jump entry, as one lap saw disaster nearly strike with the Bendix Brakes truck landing hard on the nose off "The Hill", nearly rolling end -- for -- end, and tearing the entire front bumper and grill off the truck. Dave battled on, and still had a chance at a podium finish until the hood panel began to flip up and eliminate any visibility. By the checkers, Dave held the fourth position. A disappointment after a very strong start, but the team was ready to get the truck back in winning form for Sunday.
Sunday's start did not go as cleanly as Saturday's, and as often happens at Bark River, Dave was collected in a turn one incident, putting him in the seventh position early in the race. Dave quickly moved up to fifth within the first lap, and then continued to run consistent laps while trying to track down the leaders. The truck ran strong and with one lap remaining Dave made the pass on former class champion Dan Baudoux who had developed steering problems to get the Bendix Brakes/Toyo Tires Super Truck onto the podium in third place.
"Our goal is to hit the podium every race -- with at least five or six trucks in our class that can win in any race that is not easy..." commented driver Dave Waldvogel. He continued to say, "I'd like to thank our sponsors for their great support, as well as some of the other teams for helping us out. We needed an oil cooler after Saturday's incident, and Case Gunderson's crew over at RaceFab hooked us up. Then on Saturday night our welder went down, and we were able to borrow one from Mike VandenHeuvel to finish up and get ready for Sunday. All in all it was a tough weekend and I am proud of my crew for the great work they did to keep us on the podium."
Dave held onto the second place in the Super Stock Truck point standings, with the next race to be held on August 11-12 back here in Bark River.