It all came down to the last race of the season. Ricky Johnson, leading points in the TRAXXAS TORC Series presented by AMSOIL had to finish in front of Rob MacCachren in the final race to win the championship and MacCachren is one of the toughest competitors in the business.
After leading the points race early in the season, a series of driveline problems dropped Johnson back in the standings. The entire Barlow Motorsports Red Bull Bosch Power Tools team never gives up, however, and Ricky came through with back-to-back victories at Route 99 Raceway in Chicago.
Johnson continued the streak with a decisive win in Saturday’s round 11 race at the season finale weekend in Crandon, Wisconsin, making it three in a row. It didn’t come easily, however, with Johnson commenting “I really had to work for that one” as he climbed out of the truck. Ricky started behind Rob MacCachren on the grid and was bounced back to third when Jeff Kincaid took over the lead in the opening lap chaos.
Johnson kept the pressure on, running in third through the halfway point. Ricky advanced to second behind MacCachren on the lap after the mandatory competition yellow restart. One lap later he passed MacCachren for the lead and held him off all the way to the checkered flag.
The win increased Johnson’s lead to five points, but MacCachren was still within striking distance and anything can happen in the final race of the season.
With everything on the line, Johnson knew he couldn’t let up and had to finish ahead of MacCachren. He rocketed out to a great start and settled into second behind a wide-open Dan Vanden Heuvel. Everything was falling into place; Johnson kept pressure on the leader, waiting for an opportunity to pass.
But just three laps into the race, Johnson detected a miss, with the engine losing power. Later he would learn that a lash cap had come off of a valve, due to the relentless and brutal pounding these trucks take. Scott Taylor was able to sneak past Johnson as he sorted through his options.
The one thing Ricky knew was that he had to finish the race and ideally keep MacCachren behind him. Rob had his own problems in the first half of the race and had dropped back. After the mandatory yellow restart, though, Ricky heard on the radio that MacCachren was working his way back up through the field and charging. This was it, Johnson decided - he had to push the truck to its limit and drive the wheels off it.
Fortunately, Johnson got around Taylor to regain second. Even on seven cylinders, Johnson’s aggressive driving style allowed him to maintain second all the way to the finish. MacCachren finished fourth, giving Johnson a nine-point advantage and the 2010 TORC Series PRO 2WD championship.