Bryce Menzies, Ricky Johnson and Luke Johnson all Walk Away With Podium Finishes at TORC Bark River
Menzies Motorsports Bark River Race Report
08.17.11 The Menzies Motorsports team set up camp in Bark River, MI ready to pick up right where they left off in Charlotte, with some more wins. Friday morning started out with practice for all classes and after the Pro Lights, Pro 2s and Pro 4s were off the track it was the Menzies team that had some of the fastest lap times. Practice lead right into qualifying where once again the Menzies Motorsports drivers would set the pace. Bryce and Ricky both qualified 1st for Saturdays race and Luke was not far behind and would be starting 3rd.
With solid practice and qualifying giving Luke the extra confidence he needed going into Saturdays race, teammates and fans were on their feet as the pace truck pulled off the track and the Pro Lights went full speed into the green flag. Luke found himself coming out of turn one behindmore trucks then going into it, but he quickly found his lines and right away started to make up those lost positions. After the mandatory yellow Luke was battling for third place with 2010 Champion Casey Currie. Johnson and Currie both were fighting hard but it was Luke that came out with the third place finish as he passed Casey with only a few laps to go and held his ground all the way to the end. "I'm so excited to be up here. We've worked awful long and hard to make this happen, so it's about time," said Luke Johnson. "My dad (Ricky Johnson) was about to cry when I got out of the truck ... he was so proud of me."
Sundays Pro Light race had a different plan for Luke as the race got underway the #14 Pro Light was making his way up towards the frontwhen he came over the back Red Bull jump and landed with a flat tire. Luke quickly pulled into the hot pits to get the flat changed and made his way back around the track to catch the group in time for the mandatory yellow. Luke started coming up from the back and made his way to the middle where he crossed the checkered flag, only to be told after the finish that he was a lap down.
Bryce Menzies who is quickly building a big fan base in the TORC series was the fastest truck during practice and qualifying and started on the pole for Saturdays race next to Marty Hart. As crew chief Chris Faulkner called out the green flag, Bryce was battling to take the first place position away from Marty by turn 2. The trucks were pushing speeds of 90 as Bryce waited for Hart tomake just one little mistake so he could take the lead. It wasnt till after the Mandatory yellow that Bryce was flying over Marty and taking the lead. Fans cheered as Bryce pulled away from Hart, took his lead straight to the top of the podium for his 2nd win in a row and also walked away with his 3rd Oakley Bomb Award for fastest lap. "We qualified 1st and started up front, but Marty got out ahead of us," said Menzies of the holeshot-pulling Hart. "We pulled a little ballsy move to get out front of him and were able to close up the points with Rob.
Pro 2s round 8 had the bleachers and grass hill filled with fans waiting to see if Bryce would be able to pull off another win. Starting in the back after the invert Bryce knew he would have to drive a clean race and stick to his lines in order to make his way back up to the front. The #7 Menzies/Red Bull truck was proving its strength as Bryce quickly made his way to 3rd position and was soon battling to not only take over second place but gain the lead. As Marty Hart and Chad Hord battled out front theysoon found themselves coming to a quick stop as contact was made and they were both tangled up right in the middle of cemetery turn. Spotter Charlie Schlieve quickly called out for Bryce to take the inside line but it was to late and the #7 truck had made contact with Hart and Hord. After Bryce was turned around and started going again it was clear that there was significant damage to the truck. Bryce made his way to the hot pit where his crew quickly went to work trying to fix the damage and get Bryce back out on the track, but as luck would have it Bryce was not able to finish the race.
As the 8 Pro 4 trucks followed the pace truck around the track to the green for round 7 Ricky was starting first next to Scott Douglas. It wasnt before long that Ricky Johnson and Johnny Greaves were racing for the lead position. Ricky held his lines till the mandatory yellow and on the restart would be next Greaves. Both trucks soared over the Red Bull jump but as Ricky landed you could see smoke coming from the rear of the truck. He continued to battle with Johnny for a few more turns before pulling off of the track due to a broken shock.
Starting round 8 in the back, everyone knew that this would be the race to watch. Fans lined the fence to cheer for their favorite driver and boo at the competition. Once again by the end of lap one Ricky had passed over half of the class and had made his way to 3rd place where he battled to catch up to leader Scott Douglas and second place Johnny Greaves. The restart flag dropped and Douglas was in the hot pits, which brought therace down to the wire between Johnson and Greaves. As Johnson raced behind Greaves he knew that at any moment Johnny could make a mistake and give theposition away. It wasnt until the last turn of the last lap where Ricky and Johnny went for the same line and Johnny ended up facing the wall, not onlygiving away first place but wasnt able to get his truck to the finish. Ricky crossed the finished line in first place with the Jenkins brothers right behind him. "I honestly didn't think I took him (Greaves) out. I thought he was going to be right there with me at the finish line," said Johnson on the podium.
Bryce will hope to continue his battle with injured driver Rob MacCachren in Crandon. We know Rob is hurt, but coming into Crandon he his going to be coming in swinging and I am looking forward to picking up where we left off. Said Bryce Menzies. Next up for the Menzies Motorsports team is Crandon where they will race 3 rounds and also compete in the Challenge Cup where Pro 2s will go head to head with Pro 4s to see who can come out on top. For all the latest photos, videos and apparel be sure to check out www.menziesmotorsports.com