Eagle River, MI (July 15, 2009) – After a heroic runner-up finish at the Chairman’s Cup race in Crandon, Oberg Motorsports hoped that was the finish that would turn the season around. All season long Mike Oberg and his #80 AMSOIL Kumho Tire Chevy has shown the speed to be among the front-runners of TORC PRO-2WD division, just the final result has not reflected the team’s effort. The question on all the Superteam Superfans minds; Would Oberg finish on the podium for the 15,000 off-road crazed fans in attendance?
Rounds Seven and Eight of the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL were held at the legendary Bark River Off-Road Raceway in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, a favorite of Oberg Motorsports thanks to its natural terrain and big elevation changes. This year TORC’s front man Ricky Johnson, and the Bark River Lions Club worked together to create a more challenging and safer racetrack. The landing area was widening on the hill jump, the hot pits were moved in front of the spectators, the PROs had a rolling start, a rhythm section was added, corners were banked or bermed to create multiple lines, and some of the jump were built taller. All in all these changes were welcomed by most of the racers, including Mike Oberg.
The track was still lightning fast, yet it offered technical sections that really made driver think as they entered those sections. The track was part Baja, part Supercross.
Once again the race results for both Round 7 and Round 8 in Bark River did not reflect the team’s performance. Both days the gray and black Chevy finished in ninth place.
During Saturday’s Round 7, the AMSOIL Kumho Chevy was running in third place at the mandatory caution, getting ready for the final push up the podium, when the leader jumped the restart, and the dust immediately got so bad you the drivers couldn’t see the trucks in front or next to them. By the time Mike could see again much of the fifteen-truck field flew by.
Round 8 on Sunday, was more of the same, racers pushing and banging heading into the first turn, while others seemed to be driving with their spotter. There seemed to be a greater sense of urgency than in previous rounds of racing. Ultimately this lead to more damaged and bent race equipment than ever before. Mike fell victim of some of the pushing and shoving, while the continually blocking of slower trucks made moving up through the field hazardous at best.
At the midpoint of the season, Mike Oberg is eighth overall in the TORC PRO-2WD Championship.
“My guys had our truck really set up for the new changes at the track,” remarked Mike Oberg. “It great to see how popular PRO-2WD has become. The size of the race grid is awesome, but there has to be away to ensure that the drivers belong at this high level of competition. You need to race out here with a plan. Sure the race is only fifteen minutes long, but with a mandatory caution you don’t need to slam your way through the field in the very first turn. If there’s a faster truck coming up behind you and you know how well he runs, let him go by, don’t continually throw blocks lap after lap. All this does its tear up very expensive equipment. Hopefully TORC and USAC review what’s been happening and get a handle on the situation.”
Oberg Motorsports has a month off before the TORC series resumes August 8-9 back in Bark River, Michigan. Then the TORC Tour has one more stop in Crandon for the 40th Anniversary Celebration on Labor Day weekend, before heading west. The final two stops on the TORC Championship Trail are San Diego at the end of September, and season Finale in Las Vegas at the end of October.
“The extra time off will allow us to fine tune our ’09 Stamper race truck,” noted Mike Oberg. “We started the season with our truck from last year, and planned to put the ’09 into action as we started the swing through the Midwest. The truck still needs someadjustments, but it’s real close to where we want it as far as chassis and suspension setup. You know there’s still plenty of racing left to shake up the standings, and I know we will be the team to watch in the second half.”
Next Race: August 8-9, Bark River, Michigan.
You can watch all the TORC Round 8 action on ESPN2, Saturday July 18, 11:30am eastern.
Oberg Motorsports thanks all its marketing and product partners including:
Raceline Oil Pumps
J & H Transmission,
Peterson Fluid Systems,
Stewart Warner, Fox Racing Shox,
Walker Evans Racing,
Oberg Motorsports has marketing opportunities available for the remainder of this season, and the upcoming 2010 race season. For more information please contact Mark “Gilly” Gilhausen, [email protected]
Race Report – Mike Reusche, MTG – www.mt-graphics.com