RICKY JOHNSON WINS PRO 2WD CHAMPIONSHIP STEVE BARLOW RUNNERUP IN AMSOIL CUP RACE Crandon, Wisconsin-It all came down to the last race of the season. Ricky Johnson, leading points in the TRAXXAS TORC Series presented by AMSOIL...
RICKY JOHNSON WINS PRO 2WD CHAMPIONSHIP
STEVE BARLOW RUNNERUP IN AMSOIL CUP RACE
Crandon, Wisconsin-It all came down to the last race of the season. Ricky Johnson, leading points in the TRAXXAS TORC Series presented by AMSOIL had to finish in front of Rob MacCachren in the final race to win the championship and MacCachren is one of the toughest competitors in the business. After leading the points race early in the season, a series of driveline problems dropped Johnson back in the standings. The entire Barlow Motorsports Red Bull Bosch Power Tools team never gives up and Ricky came back with back-to-back victories at Route 99 Raceway in Chicago.
Johnson continued the streak with a decisive win in the Saturday round 11 race at the season finale weekend in Crandon, making it three-in-a-row. It didn't come easily, however, with Johnson commenting "I really had to work for that one" as he climbed out of the truck. Ricky started behind Rob MacCachren on the grid and was bounced back to third when Jeff Kincaid took over the lead in the opening lap chaos.
Johnson kept the pressure on running in third through the halfway point. Ricky advanced to second behind MacCachren on the lap after the mandatory competition yellow restart. One lap later he passed MacCachren for the lead and held him off all the way to the checkered flag. The win increased Johnson's lead to five points, but MacCachren was still within striking distance and anything can happen in the final race of the season.
With everything on the line, Johnson knew he couldn't let up and had to finish ahead of Rob MacCachren. The number 48 Red Bull Bosch Power Tools F- 150 rocketed out to a great start thanks to RoushYates power and settled into second behind a wide-open Dan Vanden Heuvel. Everything was falling into place and Johnson kept pressure on the leader waiting for an opportunity to pass. But then, just three laps into the race, Johnson detected a miss, with the engine losing power. Later he would learn that a lash cap had come off a valve due the relentless and brutal pounding these trucks take. Scott Taylor was able to sneak past Johnson as he sorted through his options.
The one thing Ricky knew was that he had to finish the race and ideally keep MacCachren behind him. Rob had his own problems in the first half of the race and had dropped back. After the mandatory yellow restart, though, Ricky heard on the radio that MacCachren was working his way back up through the field and charging. This was it, Johnson decided he had to push the truck to its limit and drive the wheels off it. Fortunately, RoushYates engines are not only powerful, but also tough and Johnson got around Taylor to regain second. Even on seven cylinders, Johnson's aggressive driving style allowed him to maintain second all the way to the finish. MacCachren finished fourth, giving Johnson a nine-point advantage and the 2010 TORC Series PRO 2WD championship.
Going into Crandon, BMS PRO 4X4 driver Steve Barlow was battling for third place with Scott Douglas in season points. Barlow launched to a great start in round 11, running up front in the opening laps with race leader Johnny Greaves. Steve held the position all the way to the mid-race competition yellow restart. Aggressive passing by Ricky Huseman and Scott Douglas on the restart lap moved Barlow back to fourth.
Huseman pushed past for second and Barlow went to work on Douglas for third. The pair was running within inches when both pitched their trucks sideways into the tight finish line turn. Douglas' truck blew-up mid-corner slowing rapidly and with nowhere to go, Steve clipped the rear of Douglas as he was sliding sending him into a 2-1/2 rotation roll. Upside-down hanging in the belts, all Steve could do was wait for the safety crew to flip him back over. Mark Jenkins truck was already over the wall just yards away, so Barlow wasn't back on his wheels until the race was all but over. The Douglas truck rolled across the finish line before bursting into flames, so he scored a position on Steve. It was a wild race that should have put Barlow in contention for third in season points.
In Sunday morning's round 12, Barlow had another great start, but took a big rock to the front end early in the race that caused serious damage. The freak blow smashed in the air cleaner, collapsing it on the carburetor and essentially suffocating the truck. The engine ingested a lot of dirt and debris as Steve limped back to the hot pit. Repairs were made and Steve got back out on the track, but there was no way to make up all the lost time.
This year BorgWarner retired the prized BorgWarner Cup after a seventeen year run. AMSOIL stepped up to continue the tradition and fill the void of one of the most prestigious awards in off-road racing history with the new ASMOIL Cup. The race challenges PRO 2WD trucks against PRO 4X4 trucks. Since the PRO 4X4s are slightly faster, the PRO 2WDs start 12 seconds ahead. That means for a PRO 4X4 like the number 83 Red Bull Bosch Power Tools truck driven by Steve Barlow to win, they must not only beat all their usual competition, but also pass every PRO 2WD truck before getting to the checkered flag. It's like trying to win two races in one.
Steve Barlow had his race face on for the inaugural AMSOIL Cup. Starting 17th out of 21 trucks, he had his work cut out to get to the front. Barlow had a good start, but was tangled up in contact in turn two that collected several trucks including Curt LeDuc and Johnny Greaves. Once clear of the mess, Steve was clearly on a mission, throwing the truck into every turn, literally "backing it in" when that was the fast line. By the second lap, Steve had passed nearly half the field into ninth place. The next few laps, Barlow picked off three more trucks and moved into sixth. Then fifth, and with four laps to go, Steve passed the remaining PRO 4X4s and PRO 2WDs into second behind Scott Douglas.
Steve Barlow ran down Scott Douglas and the pair ran nose-to-tail and often fender-to-fender in the closing laps. Douglas wasn't giving up and held position without making mistakes, limiting passing opportunities. The race was so close that Barlow pulled along side as the two trucks slid into the final corner and literally pushed Douglas across the finish line. The runner up finish earned Steve Barlow a $5,000 purse from AMSOIL. "We had what it takes to win today, the Barlow Motorsports crew put me in a great truck," commented Steve after the race. "There was no way around Scott in those last laps without taking him out. If we couldn't win it, I'm glad a fellow Kumho Tires teammate did. Kumho went one-two in the biggest race of the season, that's an impressive accomplishment considering the competition."
The first episode of the TORC Series race aired to rave reviews on the Discovery Channel HD Theater. Catch all the action every Thursday night at 8:00pm. This series takes off-road race coverage to a new level and shouldn't be missed.
-source: barlow motorsports