Morris Steps up at Route 66
Rounds 7&8 Race Recap
Route 66 Speedway in Joliet, Il was the one track on the 2012 TORC schedule that made Shawn Morris worry the most. With a history of spectacular crashes and even having a jump named after him, going into Rounds 7 and 8, Morris was determined to not let the track beat him.
When the Flying Dutchman Off Road team arrived to Joliet on Tuesday, it was apparent this year would be very different. Rumors buzzed around the pits that the track underwent major changes. Curiosity in tow, the team check it out for themselves before even unloading the race truck.
“The track is 100% different from last year,” stated crew chief Mikey VandenHeuvel. “The infield is much more technical. This year speed won’t be the concern. This is a driver’s track.”
Wednesday gave the teams a three hour open practice window. With so much practice time, the crew was able to make many fine adjustments to the suspension and track bars for optimum handling on the tight infield sections.
Overnight the rains fell and made the track a bit of a mess for early Thursday. TORC made the decision to cancel the final practice session and combine it with the qualifying laps in the afternoon. Morris qualified in 7th out of 17 trucks, just out of the six car inversion.
After qualifying Morris headed over to the Chicagoland NASCAR track to be apart of Fan Fest. “It was awesome to get to take my Pro Light out on the NASCAR track. The fans were blown away by all the off-road trucks. It was great to expose them to what we do and invite them over to the dirt track.”
As the sun set Thursday night, the ProLight field of 17 trucks took to the track and went green flag racing. Starting in 7th, Morris swapped positions mid pack for most of the race and finished in 7th. The top six would be inverted for Friday’s race on live SPEED, so Morris would have to start in 7th again.
In front of a packed crowd and millions watching on live SPEED, the green flag flew on Round 8 Friday night. Going into the first turn, Morris took the high line around the stock car oval and threw the truck in hard, passing a number of trucks. One by one he picked off his competitors until the mandatory competition caution. Just after going back racing Morris was passed by Greaves, but held position at 4th.
“I was so happy to be running towards the front. There was a lot of malay and chaos in the back so it was good to be able to stay out of all that.”
With three laps remaining another truck rolled causing a full course caution. TORC announced there would be a green-white-checker finish to the race. When the race went back green, Morris passed Greaves on the infield and pulled away. With all of the TV cameras rolling Morris crossed the finish line in 3rd.
“It’s an absolute dream to be out here racing with these guys and get a podium. To do it on Live national SPEED is even better.” explained an excited Morris. “My MAXXIS tires were perfect on this track. This Chevy motor ran strong and fast all night. I gotta thank all my sponsors and crew who worked so hard to get he here tonight.”
With Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2012 TORC season in the books, Flying Dutchman Off Road would like to thank all their sponsors for the continued support. Up next for the team are Round 9 and 10 in the upper peninsula of Michigan at the iconic Bark River International Raceway on August 11th-12th.