With only 4 races left in the 2014 season, Johnny, CJ and the entire Monster Energy / Toyota / Maxxis Tire / FC Potawatomi / Method Race Wheels / MagnaFlow team headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to further establish their respective points leads. They left this past weekend’s races having pulled an incredible Pro2/Pro4 sweep at Bark River International Raceway as The Off Road Championship (TORC) series put rounds 9 and 10 in the books. The back-to-back wins helped the Greaves boys move further ahead in the points standings in the full size truck classes. CJ Greaves also landed a 2nd and 5th place finishes in Pro-Light.
The sprawling 1.6 mile long, high horsepower track offered up some very exciting races for the huge crowds that always show up at Bark River. Both visits to Bark River have produced successful outings for Johnny and CJ Greaves–it’s know wonder it is one of their favorite tracks on the TORC Series circuit.
Saturday’s races started with a bevy of sportsman class races that got the track heated up for the afternoon pro classes. CJ took to the track first in his number 33 Monster Energy Toyota Maxxis Tire Pro Light. CJ found himself marred in traffic early but by the second half of the race, began to make his way towards to the front. With the white flag being displayed, CJ was able to pick-off a couple more spots to land in 5th.
He quickly regained his composure and prepped for the highly competitive Pro 2WD race. With only 21 points separating him from the 2nd place Chad Hord, he knew he had to run a strong, smart race. He lined up on the front row beside Mike Jenkins. The two were side-by-side as the field headed for turn one. By the second turn, CJ was in the lead with Chad Hord behind him. CJ and Chad had a big lead from the rest of the field until a full course caution came out when Arie Luyendyk rolled hard and landed on his roof. The stoppage was a few laps shy of the competition caution. On the restart, CJ once again beat the field to turn one and that is where he remained until the competition caution. With Jeff Kincaid now in the mix, the stage was set for the second half of the race to heat up.
When the green flag flew, CJ fought-off a hard charging Chad Hord to maintain his lead. Kincaid moved up to challenge Hord for the second spot which gave CJ a momentary breather. Hord held off Kincaid and began to put pressure on CJ. With just a few laps remaining, Chad bicycled in the long Cemetery turn, breaking his momentum and allowing CJ to take his 7th Pro-2 win of the season–leading from wire-to-wire.
Johnny put down his spotter headset and climbed aboard his Pro 4×4 Toyota Tundra. 8 trucks were on the track, Johnny started from row 3 beside Scott Douglas. With tear-offs flyin’, he was able to maneuver through the roust blasting from the front running trucks and landed in 3rd as they emerged from the “S” turns to the short straightaway a the start/finish line. The running order was Douglas, Mike Jenkins and Johnny as they headed down the hill towards Cemetery turn.
Jenkins bobbled and Johnny made the pass in Cemetery turn and went to work on Scott Douglas. On the next lap, Johnny got a great run on Douglas and blew past him in Cemetery turn, apparently Johnny’s favorite place to pass. From that point it was all Johnny as he cruised on for the win.
Sunday’s racing action was fast, furious and brutal! CJ, up first in the Pro Light class, was determined to prove he had a strong truck and could run up front. Racing was fierce in this the largest pro field of trucks. CJ poured the coals to his Toyota and squeezed into 2nd following the holeshot, which was won by Keegan Kincaid. But CJ over rotated coming out of the front stretch turn and lost a spot. Just ahead of the competition caution, CJ made a great inside-out move on Brad Lovell at the exit of turn one to takeover 2nd place. Kincaid had a good lead so CJ awaited the competition caution to make his run for the lead.
On the restart, CJ made a power move on Keegan at the exit of turn one but couldn’t get around him. He kept the nose of his Monster Energy Toyota right in the roust of Kincaid’s machine and waited for the opportunity to make a pass. On the next lap, CJ made another inside-out move on the approach to turn one, and momentarily edged ahead. CJ was not carrying enough momentum and Kincaid pulled back ahead. CJ gave it one more shot in Cemetery turn and almost made the pass on the white flag lap. Greaves landed the 2nd place finish but had to quickly bailout of his truck as a small fire in the cockpit developed.
Eight trucks made up the field for the Pro 2WD class race. CJ, fresh off the win on Saturday, hoped to keep the momentum going and possibly pull off the sweep. He lined up on row 3 beside Chad Hord. When the cloud of dust settled from the mad dash to turn one, CJ was in 5th behind Hord.
On the next lap, CJ and Hord were both airborne off the new tabletop jump before the start/finish line. CJ and Chad made contact and Chad spun-out, sending him to the back of the pack. CJ continued on but was now in 4th place behind the leader, Jeff Kincaid, and the 3rd and 4th running Barlow and Johnson.
CJ made a smooth pass on Johnson in the Cemetery turn and does the same thing to Barlow on the next lap. The competition caution put CJ on the bumper of the front running Jeff Kincaid. On the restart, Barlow was able to get around CJ, but CJ quickly battled back to regain 2nd. While CJ was doing his best to catch up to Kincaid, Chad Hord made his way back into the top 3 after passing Barlow setting up a 3-way challenge for the win as the laps clicked off.
On the next to the last lap, Greaves was pressuring Kincaid who hooked a rut and bicycled. CJ took advantage and made the pass for the lead. Jeff didn’t give up though and it was a hard battle to hold him off. CJ’s Maxxis tires were hooking up and he was able to keep his Monster Energy Toyota in the lead to take the checkered, the win and the weekend sweep.
“I just tried to keep working hard out there and keep working on my lines,” said Greaves following the race. “My Toyota was strong and I just wanted to keep it in a position to win if the opportunity came.”
When asked about the incident with Hord early in the race, CJ said, “I got sideways in the air, I had my foot on the brake and was hoping that when I landed I wouldn’t get into Chad. Unfortunately we made some contact… I would never intentionally get into Chad. He always races me clean and I try to do the same for him.”
Johnny Greaves started on row 3 for the Pro 4×4 class race on Sunday beside Scott Douglas. This race turned out to be the truck that didn’t have a flat would win the race. Johnny was in 5th on lap one when the leader, Mark Jenkins developed a flat. He ducked inside of Mike Jenkins early to take over 3rd place. The top 3, Cenni, Douglas and Johnny, all went nose-to-tail around the track. Each taking shots at each other. In the second half of the race, Douglas also had a flat, while almost at the same time, Cenni bicycled in the Cemetery turn, which allowed Johnny to make a smooth pass for the lead. Then, Cenni had a right front tire go down too–leaving Johnny to take the checkered with no pressure. Cenni limped along and finished 2nd followed by just about the only truck left on the track without a flat, Mark Kvamme. With the back-to-back wins, Johnny Greaves has 6 wins so far this season and edged up to a 23 point lead over 2nd place Mark Jenkins.
Johnny and CJ Greaves will move a little West along I-90 to the PowerSports Complex at the Legendary Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, South Dakota. TORC will make its debut at this new track during the famous Bike Week in Sturgis on August 5th and 6th.
[From the TORC website] Rounds 11-12 will be held in Sturgis, S.D.–The Battle at the Chip: What could be better than a TORC Series race? A TORC Series race held during Bike Week in Sturgis! The sport heads to another brand-new track, this time at the Legendary Buffalo Chip during one of the rowdiest weeks in the US. In addition to the gathering of two-wheeled thunder, The Chip will host some of the top musical acts in the world that week, including the Zac Brown Band (Aug. 4), Motley Crue (Aug.5) and Florida Georgia Line (Aug. 6). This event is the total package.