The 2011 Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL season opened May 28-29 at rain-drenched Red Bud MX in Buchanan, Mich. After TORC officials plowed roughly 12 inches of mud off the top of the track, defending Pro 4×4 champion Johnny Greaves grabbed an early lead with Traxxas driver Mark Jenkins and AMSOIL Super Team driver Scott Douglas close behind. Greaves relinquished the lead as he hit the infamous LaRocco’s Leap (redubbed L’il LaRocco for the TORC weekend) and beached his truck atop a berm of mud, allowing Jenkins and Douglas to take over the top spots. In a matter of moments, Douglas took control of the lead with Jenkins and Red Bull driver Ricky Johnson close behind.
A mud-caked Douglas led the field to the mandatory caution, and on the restart, Douglas and Johnson set the pace for the remainder of the race. While Douglas showcased his legendary speed, former motocross star Johnson used his track knowledge to make ease of the whoops section. Douglas, who won the Oakley Bomb award for setting the fastest lap time, pulled away on the final lap for the win. Johnson took second and Jenkins third.
The Pro 2wd class hit the track immediately following the Pro 4×4 podium celebration. Although the heavily rutted track took its toll on much of the field, Rob MacCachren took the lead while AMSOIL Super Team driver Mike Oberg found himself in a close battle for second with Scott Taylor. With just a few laps remaining, Taylor moved away from Oberg, but the AMSOIL driver kept pace to take the third-place podium.
In the Pro Light class, AMSOIL Super Team driver Brad Lovell started mid-pack and found enough lines on the tight, winding track to push into third. However, with just a few laps remaining, he had to pull off the track with a mechanical issue, likely due to the heavy contact with other racers. Rookie racer Sam Hubinette took the win, followed by CJ Greaves and Andrew Caddell in second and third respectively.
Patience is not a virtue often spoken of in racing circles. With the goal of getting to the finish line the fastest, patience is often pushed aside. Riding out front doesn’t happen overnight. Many times, especially in grassroots racing, it takes time to find success.
In 2009, Brad Lovell, an accomplished rock racer/crawler, was looking to build a short-course truck to race in the TORC Series. AMSOIL, a long-time supporter of Lovell that has witnessed his 95% podium rate firsthand, backed his new challenge.
Lovell never reached the podium in the TORC Pro Light class during the 2010 season. Many sponsors might have turned their backs on the team, but we all knew Brad had the ability to succeed in shortcourse and, in 2011, patience proved its potential. Lovell led the first race of the year and finished second in Crandon in June.