Johnny, Marty, CJ Podium at Route 66 Raceway, Johnny Clings to Narrow Points Lead, CJ Clinches Back-to-Back Super Buggy Championship!
Photo Courtesy of Mike Roth - http://johnnygreaves.us1.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=15cf2044426f600115bd9bbd1&id=4081a61eb3&e=0af0b23007.Abrams, WI (Sept 19, 2011)—The Off Road Championship headed to the Route 66 Raceway at Chicagoland Speedway, in Joliet, IL for a rare midweek race on September 14th and 15th. The Wednesday evening race was streamed live on USAC's USTREAM channel while the Thursday race was broadcast live on SPEED TV.
CJ strapped into his Pro Light truck first on Wednesday evening for the under the lights race. CJ found himself in the lead early, but problems by Casey Currie stopped the race. When the green flag flew once again, CJ powered ahead to maintain his lead for the next 4 or 5 laps with RJ Anderson on his bumper in 2nd and Brad Lovell in 3rd feeling pressure from Sam Hubinette. Anderson got a run on CJ and passed him heading into the back stretch. Greaves and Anderson pulled away from the field and CJ wisely backed off to save his truck for the second half of the race. Lovell would eventually role his truck as did Hubinette just as he crossed the start/finish line to take the mandatory caution at the midway point. Andrew Caddell got a great restart and pushed past CJ to take over 2nd. The top 3 ran bumper to bumper until the end of the race. CJ and Caddell went side-by-side but Caddell prevailed. On the white flag lap, Shawn Morris had a vicious role-over bringing out a full-course caution. At first it looked like it would be a green/white restart, but USAC changed it to a yellow/checkered flag—ending the race in the order prior to the caution—RJ Anderson, followed by Caddell, and CJ landing his 3rd podium of the year.
Marty Hart lined up on the 3rd row for the Pro2 race. He was able to push his way up to 3rd when several of the front runners tangled up on the back stretch on the first lap--including Rob MacCachren, Jeff Kincaid and Mikey Vanden Heuvel. Marty worked his way around Chad Hord and set his sights on Bryce Menzies. Bryce slowed on the back stretch with some type of mechanical problem and Marty shot ahead to the lead which he held through the competition caution. With MacCachren and Taylor out of the race and Bryce Menzies limping around, there were only 7 trucks left in the race in the closing laps.
On the restart, Marty held his lead. Meanwhile, Jeff Kincaid passed Hord for 2nd. One lap after the restart, Mike Oberg got into Hord who rolled hard and landed on his roof, bringing out a full-course caution and putting the last of the top 3 points leaders out of the race. When racing resumed, Marty worked hard to stay in the lead, but Jeff Kincaid was able to pass him in the air at the infield tabletop jump. Marty Hart took the checkered flag in 2nd for his highest position of the year.
The Pro-4's were up next. Johnny Greaves came into rounds 11 and 12 clinging to a narrow 15 point lead. With only 4 races left in the 2011 TORC series season, each race put the championship on the line. The points leaders started on the front row with Johnny on the outside and Ricky Johnson on the inside. When the green flag flew, Johnny went to the lead. But, the race was called back by USAC for a false start. This time, RJ beat the field to turn one for the lead followed by Johnny, then Adrian Cennie. The top 3 pulled away from the other trucks but kept a safe distance between each other. On about lap 5, Johnny hit the tabletop jump and landed hard, dislodging his hood. Driving blind, he had to pull into the hot pit for the crew to quickly pull the hood off. At the competition caution, Greaves pulled into the hot pit a second time to remove more dangling Boatec fiberglass from his vision.
On the restart, Mark Jenkins jumped the green flag twice. Once racing finally got underway, Johnny began to work his way back to the front. With 3 laps to go, Johnny squeezed his Monster Energy Toyota between the 3rd and 4th place running Scott Douglas and Steve Barlow to take over 3rd place where he finished the race. Johnny also earned his Oakley Bomb Award for the fastest lap.
The Pro Lights rolled off first on Thursday night with CJ starting his Traxxas/ Monster Energy/ Maxxis/ Oakley/Toyota in the 5th position and moved up one spot before the competition caution. CJ was looking great in the second half of the race. He maneuvered around the 2nd and 3rd place vehicles to battle RJ Anderson for the lead which CJ was able to take with about 4 laps to go in the race. But RJ was able to win it back. With a couple of laps left, CJ made an inside move on Anderson to go for the lead. When he did, he clipped one of the tractor tire barriers and rolled his truck. Fortunately he landed on all-4's. The impact however broke a spindle and he had to limp to the finish line—winding up a disappointing 9th.
In the Pro-2 class, Marty Hart was looking great at the beginning of the race. After having started 6th, he worked his way up into the top 3 leading up to the midway caution. Not willing to settle for 3rd, Marty stuck the nose of his Monster Energy/ ReadyLift/ GearUp2Go.com/ Maxxis Tire and Toyota on the outside of Chad Hord to challenge for 2nd. When he did, he clipped the wall which damaged his steering. He continued on in the race and finished an impressive 5th, despite his ill handling truck.
The Pro-4 race was a classic battle between Johnny and Ricky Johnson—reminiscent of the battles he used to have with fellow Monster Energy racer, Rick Huseman. Johnny confessed he played it a little too safe at first. He lead a good portion of the race but RJ was able to make as pass on Johnny after he, like Marty, developed some steering issues. Johnny took his red plated number 22 to the runner up podium position and maintained his points lead in the process—but by a narrow 4 point margin, setting up a showdown for the championship on the final race weekend at Cycle Ranch in San Antonio, TX.
Greaves racing didn't have any time to rest. They headed to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the final Sportsman race of the season for CJ in the Super Buggy class. CJ hoped to wrap up his bid for a back-to-back championship in only his second year racing. He did that with flying colors by going 3-for-3 for Traxxas/ Monster Energy/Maxxis/Oakley. He actually clinched the championship by taking the green flag in the 2nd race. The 3 victories were icing on the cake—he finished all but one race on the podium this season—and clinched by a whopping 64 points.
The Traxxas TORC Series will wrap up its season on October 15-16 at Cycle Ranch near San Antonio, Texas. It should prove to be a very exciting weekend with Johnny shooting for another off-road championship to his legendary racing career.