Eagle River, WI (September 20, 2011) – After a great second place finish during Round 10 at Crandon, Mike Oberg and his #80 AMSOIL BFGoodrich Tires Chevy were looking for continued success at The Dirt Track at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. With only ten days to prepare for the midweek event, Oberg Motorsports brought both of his PRO-2WD trucks ensure nothing could prevent the team from competing in both rounds of racing. The luxury of a back-up race truck became a necessity as the team soon found out.
This was the second consecutive year that Route 66 Raceway hosted a TORC event at the half-mile dirt track. The TORC track crew built a real technical track that tested a short-course race truck’s suspension, tires, and power plant. Then TORC officials determined that the PRO-2WD truck would make seventeen laps before the checkered flag would be waved, so each round of racing would also test each driver’s ability to manage their equipment. The actual layout of the track was near three quarters of a mile in length consisting of a variety of jumps and tabletops, along with a mogul field and a lengthy rhythm section.
On Wednesday afternoon, rain fell once again at a TORC event, disrupting the scheduled practice sessions. Eventually the rain subsided, but now the late afternoon qualifying session would also serve as the only practice session for all the race teams. This meant any changes to the race trucks before the night’s racing would go untested. Oberg Motorsports relied on their notes from the similar track at Charlotte to set their truck up for the evening’s race. This approach to qualifying put the #80 Chevy sixth on the starting grid. Looking for better traction crew chief Corey Lambert made a quick sway bar and gear change just before opening ceremonies.
The Wednesday night race, the Round 4 make-up, saw the #80 AMSOIL Chevy run a very consistent first half of the race. When the field went back to racing after the mandatory caution, Mike Oberg began to make a challenge for a podium finish. For several laps, Mike’s Lap times were some of the quickest in the race. By lap fifteen, the AMSOIL Chevy was in fourth place, looking for a way around the third place truck of Brendan Gaughan. Then with less than two laps to go, the ring and pinion broke. Somehow Mike was able to ride out the final lap and half at a reduced pace to finish in fifth place.
The next morning Corey and the team went to work replacing the ring and pinion as well as performing the usual between race prep work. Then as the team was ready to take the truck out for staging, disaster struck, the starter broke. Without enough time to change the starter, the team quickly prepared their back-up truck. Somehow Mike was able to suit up just in time for driver introductions. Thursday’s Round 11 race was extremely important as the SPEED Channel was broadcasting the race live, as part of its extended coverage of NASCAR Chase Week at Chicagoland Speedway.
Instead of starting on the front row, thanks to TORC’s inversion, Mike Oberg had to start at the back of the field due to running his back-up truck.
When the seventeen lap race began, Mike took a conservative approach to the race making sure how the truck reacted to the track. As his lap times began to improve, the truck began pulling to one side. Then at the fastest point on the track, the right front wheel hub exploded, nearly putting the AMSOIL BFG Chevy into the wall. Somehow Mike kept the truck upright and eventually limped back to the pits.
Officially Mike Oberg finished eighth.
“You know we really a great run going on Wednesday,” remarked Mike Oberg. “I really thought we had a shot at Brendan for the final podium spot, but the rear gear didn’t make it to the end. Then we really had our hands full just getting to the starting line for Round 11. When it came time to fire up the truck, you could hear the binding in the starter. Where that thing is located makes it a hard job to replace. So hats off to my guys for getting our back-up race ready in a matter of minutes. We didn’t quite have the gearing we wanted and the suspension set-up was a little off, but we made the best of it. Unfortunately a front hub broke, and it took all I had to keep the truck off the wall and rolling over. It could have been a real mess.”
The final race of the 2011 Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL is October 15-16 in San Antonio, Texas.
The first of eighteen episodes of the Velocity (Discovery Channel’s HD Theatre) docu-drama; TORC: The Off Road Championship will be broadcast on September 21 at 6pm EST.
Mike Oberg Motorsports would to thank his partners, including:
AMSOIL – BFGoodrich Tires – King Shocks – J & H Transmission – Peterson Fluid Systems – Raceline – MSD Ignition – Mastercraft Safety – Stewart Warner Performance
For more information about Mike Oberg Motorsports please email Mike Oberg @ firstname.lastname@example.org