Greaves Duo Kicks-off 2017 Season at Chicagoland with Wins in Pro 4, UTV Team Takes Home 3 Podiums.
Chicago, IL (May 17, 2017) — Greaves Motorsports kicked-off its 2017 TORC Series season this past weekend in the rich, cornfield soil of the “Dirt-O” at Chicagoland’s Route 66 track. The Greaves Duo rolled into the windy city with a different look due to TORC Series rule changes and the addition of a UTV racing team. TORC changed the Pro2 rules during the off season effectively taking CJ out of the Pro2 competition and the chance to defend his 2016 championship. CJ Greaves was also sporting a new Monster Energy’s Mutant Super Soda Pro4 themed truck. Johnny came looking to enhance his legendary career while at the same time, directing the multi-vehicle program. The 2017 season also introduced a new UTV racing team comprised of CJ Greaves in the Monster Energy Yamaha Racing/Maxxis Tire/Yamalube YXZ 1000R #933 and Jake Lunderby in the Yamalube/Maxxis Tire Pro Stock UTV class and Rodney VanEperen in the PowerSports1/Maxxis Tire #845 Pro Modified UTV class. All are part of the Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, Monster Energy, Graves Motorsports, FoxShox, Maxxis Tire, Method Race Wheels, Yamalube, Impact Racing, Victory Signs, UTV partnership
“Toyota and TRD have supported us from the beginning and we weren’t about to change motor companies to accommodate this new rule,” said Johnny Greaves about the TORC motor rule change. “We are just going to concentrate on our UTV and Pro4 programs and have a great time racing.”
Round 1 saw CJ taking his first win in the Pro Stock UTV class as well as teammate Rodney VanEperen in the Mod class for a Yamaha sweep. CJ followed-up his UTV win with a Pro4 checkered flag, edging his dad out who claimed second while nursing a late race right rear flat. Jake Lunderby suffered mechanical issues and had to drop out of the Pro UTV race after completing 11 laps of the 16 lap race. In round 2, CJ dominated the Pro Stock UTV and put his Monster Energy Yamaha on the top podium spot once again. Jake ran a solid race and improved to finish 9th. Rod VanEperen was running up front in the Pro Mod class when a broken throttle sidelined him just after the mid-race competition caution. Johnny lead from wire to wire in the Pro4 to add another win to his long list of career highlights. CJ had a flat and luckily was able to get it changed during the competition caution. He made a great comeback but ran out of time and took the 3rd spot on the podium behind Keegan Kincaid.
Rain soaked the track Friday night but racing weather was perfect on Saturday for the season opener. The first vehicles take the brunt of a water soaked track by race prep crews which adds another obstacle to racing. Also, the addition of a make or break “joker lane” which racers were required to take at least once in the race added as much as a 25 second differential to the racing dynamic.
The Pro Stock UTV’s were up first. CJ Greaves started last due to a motor change with teammate Jake Lunderby lining up on row 5 of the 20 vehicle field. CJ quickly began to work his way through the field. By the competition caution, he had worked his way into the 2nd place position. Jake was running strong and made it up to the 9th position before a mechanical problem took him out of the race having completed 11 laps of the 16 lap race.
When the green flag flew to restart the second half of the race, CJ immediately took the joker lane. As the field reshuffled, CJ emerged as the leader with 3 laps to go. He held on to take his first win of the season by a more than 3 second margin over fellow Yamaha racer Kenny Masch.
“Man I just have to give a great big shout out to my crew for this one,” said Greaves in the post race interview. “They changed the motor out after practice and used one of my practice motors which performed great. So hats off to those guys!”
Pro Mod UTV’s took to the track next with Rodney VanEperen rolling off his PowerSports1.com #845 from the front row in the 2-by-2 start. The race was plagued by cautions–the first one coming on lap 2. When racing resumed, Rodney was in 2nd and having an intense battle with Treavis Poyner who was running up front. The 2 exchanged leads a couple of times on lap 2 before Poyner lost control at the exit of the hairpin infield turn. Rod was able to avoid a collision and took the lead which he held through another full course caution and the competition caution.
As racers began to take the joker lane, the field jumbled-up until it was all sorted out in the next few laps. When that happened, Rodney surfaced as the leader followed by Tim Farr. On lap 13, Kyle Chaney took 2nd and applied a lot of pressure to VanEp’s Yamaha until a red flag flew to stop the race with only 2 laps to go. After a long stoppage due to track repair, the stage was set for a 2 lap shootout between Rodney and Chaney.
On the final lap and the final turn, Chaney made a desperation move to the inside of VanEperen’s machine, making slight contact. VanEp held his line as the two charged towards the finish line with Chaney having a slight advantage. Rodney kept his foot in the gas and managed to edge ahead just at the checkered flag for a photo finish in an exciting end of the race.
“Yes there were plenty of nerves going on there at the end of that race,” said VanEperen. “I was more concerned about not making a mistake than racing–I’ve got to learn from that and just run my race.”
A 7 truck Pro4 field lined up for final race of the day. CJ Greaves and Keegan Kincaid were on the front row with Johnny Greaves and Scott Douglas on row 2. CJ and Johnny were nose to tail on lap one, but a full course caution resulted in a complete restart of the race. On the restart, Johnny took his Monster Energy/Maxxis Tire Toyota to the lead with CJ in his Monster Energy Mutant/Maxxis Tire Toyota right on his tail in 2nd only to have another full course caution after barely 1 complete lap. The rest of the race was classic father son battle with the two going door-to-door and trading leads before the competition caution at the end of lap 9.
On the first lap following the competition caution, CJ took the joker lane and ended up in the lead. With 4 laps to go, Johnny suffered a left rear flat. CJ Greaves took the win followed by Johnny, who was able to nurse his truck to the finish line on the inner liner for 2nd followed by Kincaid in 3rd.
20 UTV’s lined up for the Pro Stock race for beautiful Sunday afternoon racing in Chicago. CJ Greaves started on the front row and took a quick lead. Yamaha’s held the top 4 positions through the first half of the race. Following the competition caution, CJ stretched his #933 Monster Energy/Yamaha Racing/ Maxxis Tire/ Yamalube YXZ 1000R UTV to a 5 second lead which he carried to the finish line for the win.
Jake Lunderby improved his position after the competition caution by taking the joker lane. He ended up 9th and put in a solid performance.
With Johnny Greaves spotting for him, Rodney VanE started the Pro Mod UTV class from row 3. By lap 5, he was doing battle in the 2nd place position which he held through the competition caution. On lap 9, bad luck struck the PowerSports1.com owner in the way of a broken throttle taking him out of the contest.
In Pro4 action, Johnny and CJ lined up side-by-side on row 3 for the rolling start. Johnny shot out to the lead before turn one. CJ, who did not get a great start, was behind Scott Douglas in 4th. Just before the competition caution, CJ had made his way around Douglas but suffered a right front flat in the process. Fortunately, it happened on the lap leading up to the competition caution, allowing him to duck into the hotpit for a quick tire change and able to rejoin the field on the lead lap before racing resumed.
Johnny checked out to a comfortable lead while CJ worked his way back through the field. He pass Douglas again and, after using the joker lane, landed in 3rd behind Keegan Kincaid. CJ and Keegan battled nose to tail through the remaining laps with Keegan prevailing to claim the runner-up spot on the podium. Johnny took his first win of the season and CJ landed the 3rd place spot.
“This was a much better start to the season than last year, so I am pleased with a win and a 3rd place for sure,” said CJ after the race.
Greaves Motorsports will head North to Elk River, Minnesota and the ERX Motorpark for the next stop on the TORC schedule. The Twin Cities Takedown will take place on June 10-11th. You can watch all the action LIVE on TORC’s YouTube channel.