Johnson and Menzies crush the competition
This past weekend marked the opening weekend for the 2012 TORC Short Course Off Road Racing season and TORC kicked off rounds 1 & 2 of the year at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As teams from across the country arrived throughout the week to set up their pits and check out the competition, Menzies Motorsports did just that plus set their goals high and win. It would be a weekend full of hard work and even harder racing and it started off with the first practice session.
Thursday afternoon was the first time the trucks took to the track and right away Bryce and Ricky were running some fast lap times but would have to wait till Friday for qualifying. Qualifying is key to many things besides just where you start the race. If you qualify fastest in your class you receive 2 points and for second fastest you receive 1 point. However the fastest qualifier may gain those points but it’s at a sacrifice because they then get inverted to the third row for the start of the race. The team still set their sites on that top spot and after qualifying times were announced it was apparent, Menzies Motorsports would yet again be the team to beat. Bryce and Ricky both earned their two points and qualified on the pole.
PRO 2 – Bryce Menzies
The lights of the dirt track stadium powered up as the sun started to set on Friday night and just as the dust settled from the Pro-Light race, it was time for the Menzies/Red Bull #1 Pro 2 of Bryce Menzies to put the pedal down. With fans watching from the stands and thousands watching live on Speed, Bryce was set on starting the year off with a win and putting on a good show for everyone. The motors of the trucks echoed throughout the stands as the trucks did their parade lap around the track, the pace truck pulled off and all fell silent as the crowd awaited the green flag. The drop of the flag had the fans up on their feet as the trucks came screaming across the front stretch jumping across the start/finish and into turn two. As the trucks came out of the sweeper, Bryce found himself going from 6th place up to 3rd and made his way to second as he came out of turn three. With the battle for 1st place made its way into turn four, Bryce was on the back tires of Jeff Kincaid patiently waiting for the chance to make a smooth pass. Just as the two trucks made the left turn back into the front stretch, it was Bryce who pulled out of the corner and into the lead. Menzies quickly pulled away from the rest of the pack and held the lead all the way to the mandatory yellow, as Kincaid, C. J. Greaves and Hord were all left to battle for 2nd place. As the race continued after the green dropped again, Bryce yet again pulled away and set the pace as the rest of the class, yet again tried to play catch up. With 2 laps to go till the checkered flag a minor mistake in turn 3 set the #1 truck spinning and before Bryce could correct his minor mistake he saw his lead position slip away as C.J. Greaves and Jeff Kincaid made their way to the front. Bryce straightened the truck out and now had to push his Dodge/Mopar powered truck and BFGoodrich tires as hard has he could to try and make his way back to the front with only a lap and a half to go. Without hesitation he passed Caddell and Oberg, made his way up to Hord who was holding 3rd place at the time and as the both came across the white flag, it was Bryce who took over third. With one lap to go Menzies caught up to Kincaid and continued pushing the Menzies/Red Bull truck but it would be that 3rd place position he would end up with. C.J. Greaves took home his first win in the Pro2 Class with Jeff Kincaid in 2nd and Bryce Menzies in 3rd.
Saturdays Pro2 race had Bryce starting in 4th on the second row. The young driver patiently worked his way threw the middle of the class and held second place by the half way caution. Menzies again pulled away from the rest of the trucks and ran a mistake free race and placed his #1 truck on the top of the podium. “This truck ran flawless. From my Fox Shox, BFG tires, KMC Wheels and everything in between, the truck did what it was built to do and I’m thrilled to be putting it on top opening weekend.” Said the ecstatic Bryce Menzies as he made his way to the top podium spot.
PRO 4 –Ricky Johnson
Pro 4’s would be the last class to race both Friday and Saturday night. Ricky started 4th on Friday night and 6th saturday, but that didn’t stop him from putting on a show. The 2011 champion was stuck in the middle of the pack for the first few laps but each night his patience paid off as he would come out front and lead the rest of the Pro 4’s to the mandatory caution. Ricky was starting off the season the same way hefinished it last year, by being the one to catch. As soon as Ricky made his way to the front, both nights saw the #1 Menzies Motorsports/Red Bull truck pull away and never look back. Saturday nights race brought misfortune to the truck of rival, Johnny Greaves and the anticipation for a repeat of last years chaotic battle was now left in the dust as Johnny pulled off the track. Ricky nearly escaped having to pull into the hot pits when at the half way point spotter, Charlie Schlieve announced over the radio that Johnson had a left rear tire that seemed low. As the trucks made their way around the track during the mandatory half way caution, the call was made to continue the race and not pull into the hot pit to change the tire. At the restart, Ricky gained his 3 second lead again and made sure to take it easy in the turns to make sure the tirelasted till the finish. With 2 laps to go a faint white smoke started trailing its way from Ricky’s truck and you could see that the tire was getting ready to give. The team watched on in anticipation for what would seem like the longest last lap of the weekend. Ricky confidently raced around the track with only 4 turns left till the checkered flag and the strongest tires in the sport, BFGoodrich, held on all the way to the end. At the podium everyone was in awe as they took notice of the tire and how Ricky managed to make that tire last all the way to the end. “These tires are the best and it really goes to show that they are the top tire in the sport of Off-Road Racing.” Said Ricky as people gathered around to look.
Along with the 3 wins Bryce Menzies took home 2 Oakley Bombs and Ricky Johnson 1 Oakley Bomb for running the fastest laps of the races. Menzies Motorsports have now set the pace for the year and are still the team to beat. The Menzies pit was again packed with excited fans waiting to talk to the top drivers of the weekend. “The Charlotte fans are one of a kind and again we had so much fun giving them the chance to meet the drivers and check out the trucks” said Bryce Menzies as a line of fans formed for his autograph after the race. Leaving Charlotte as the point leaders in both classes, they will now head to Antigo, Wisconsin and set up shop for the rest of the 2012 TORC season. “We know that we still have a long season of racing and this was a great way to start it out, but each race will bring new challenges and we just need to be sure we are ready to face whatever comes our way and that includes other teams now striving to take away our two number 1 plates.” Said team owner Steve Menzies. Up next for the team is Rounds 3&4 that will take place at the infamous motocross park, Red Bud, in Buchanan, Michigan. Make sure to follow Menzies Motorsports, Bryce Menzies and Ricky Johnson on all the social networking sites to stay updated throughout the season.