TORC Rounds 5&6 at Crandon International Raceway
“The taste of defeat has a richness of experience all its own.”
The 2012 year has been full of highs for the Menzies Motorsports Team. After winning 3 championships in 2011, Bryce won the 2012 Baja 500 just weeks ago and has also won 2 of his 4 TORC races while team mate Ricky has been unstoppable and has continued his sweep since last years 2 final rounds to this years previous rounds, he raced his way to 6 wins in a row in the Menzies Built Pro4. So far in the Short Course season in the TORC Series, things seemed to be going smooth going into this weekends races.
Crandon International Raceway, located in Central Wisconsin, would be holding TORC’s rounds 5&6 as well as their annual Cup Race on Sunday afternoon. Teams began arriving to the track throughout the week to prepare for 3 days of action. Not only were the teams setting up their pits, fans from Wisconsin and the surrounding states made their way into the grounds and set up camp in the open grass to watch all the action and mud packed races that took place.
Friday started out with Ricky and Bryce running a few practice laps around the 1.4 mile long track. “The track was challenging and fast. Muddy and dusty. We had it all but no luck.” Said Pro4 Driver, Ricky Johnson. Both drivers had some changes that they wanted to make on their trucks to see if they could improve their lap times for qualifying. Friday afternoon, after all practice runs and qualifying took place, Ricky, Bryce and the crew sat down as they looked over the results and discussed what it is that they thought was still slowing them down. Ricky qualified 2nd in Pro4 and Bryce 6th in Pro2, but with a land rush start, they still would be starting one line,door to door with the rest of the field.
Early Saturday morning the teams arrived to the track and opened up their pits for fans to meet the drivers, sign autographs and takepictures with the trucks. As the sportsman races were going on, the Menziesteam had one thing on their radar, the weather. Right as the Pro classes were supposed to go to staging, the clouds poured down rain and continued for over 30 minutes. After the Pro-lights finished round 5, caked in mud and almost unrecognizable, a meeting was held with the Pro2 and Pro4 drivers along with USAC/TORC officials and the decision was made to cancel the rest of the day’s races. Round 5 will be made up Friday of the Fall Crandon Races.
Both Pro2 and Pro4 races ended the same for round 6 as well as the cup race and it would be a first in a long time where the entire team and drivers would walk away from the track wondering where they went wrong this weekend. No excuses were made orblame placed on anyone, just a team that knew they needed to go back to thedrawing board before the next Crandon race in September.
Ricky was killing it in his race where he came out of turn 1 leading and would even battle with “rival” Johnny Greaves after the mandatory yellow. Leading almost the entire race, Ricky jumped across the finish with the white flag waving and as the truck landed, all power was lost. Numerous attempts to get the truck back under power failed to succeed and Ricky saw first place slip away as he pulled to the side of the course with only a half of a lap to go. “This weekend was bitter sweet for me as a driver and also Menzies Motorsports. We set fast lap and won the Oakley bomb award but an alternator went out on the last lap so we had to surrender thelead.” Said Ricky.
Pro2’s would be next, but after a horrific crash in turn 1, where Barlow and Zipperer foundthemselves intertwining, going over the safety rail and down the hill onto the backside of the course, would put the race under red flag for almost an hour. The remaining drivers lined back up for a restart. Reaching speeds over 100mph, Bryce battled out of turn one and into turn 2 in 4th place. Menzies, Hord and McCachren were all trying to make their way to the front. After the mandatory yellow, contact was made between Menzies and McCachren that wouldcause damage to the front of the #1 Pro2 and immediately ended Bryce’s race.
After both races ended in, well they ended in failure. The team decided they would get right back to work on both trucks so they can get out on the track for one last chance at a podium and an attempt to win the annual Forest County Potawatomi Chairman’s Cup. Pro2’s and Pro4’s lined up in staging where they would be starting just seconds apart from the other class. The green flag dropped and immediately both drivers realized that the cards were not in their favor as they competed with 11 other trucks for the win. Ricky again, was having mechanical issues and headed back to the pit so he could watch the remainder of the race from the stands. Bryce was making his way towards the front when the truck was pushed out of its line and got turned around; Bryce came out of the incident in last. Eventually Brycemade the decision to also pull off and let the leaders finish out the race. “ Once we got spun out I ran a couple more laps to see if the changes to the truckwere better. After that we pulled off the track so we didn’t put more time on the truck.” Said Bryce after the Cup Race.
As the races ended and fans made their way to their camps to clean up and head home, the Menzies team did the same. Despite the hand they were dealt this weekend, the team worked together through it all and at the end of the night they found themselves all sitting around together as a team and reminiscing about the positive things that happened this weekend. “This is the worst race weekend in the history of Menzies Motorsports. We learned a lot as a team and it is no longer the Pro2 guys and the Pro4 guys, it was one solid team working together to get these drivers to the top. Despite the weekends results, that makes me proud.” Said Team Owner, Steve Menzies