Rounds 5 and 6 of the TORC Off-Road Racing Series was held at the heart of motorsports, the Charlotte Motor Speedway -- a historic track and definitely a fan favorite. So it was no surprise that Menzies Motorsports was stoked to be in Charlotte as they battled temperature highs of 115 degrees and experienced some of the best racing they’ve ever seen.
It was the Pro Lights who were the first to take to the dirt. Luke Johnson in the Menzies/Red Bull #14 Pro Light started in 10th, but as soon as the race got underway he quickly and smoothly started picking off drivers and making his way towards the front.
“Every time I get out there and race I learn something new, which is what this sport is all about. I have the best people supporting me and there to give me advice along the way,” said Luke. After the mandatory yellow Luke charged hard to battle with the top guys in the class but unfortunately things would not go his way and Luke found himself out of the race with issues to his truck.
Pro Light crew chief, Ian Beaman, quickly got to work on the truck as soon as the race was over and before race time on Saturday, Luke was ready to hit the track one last time. Luke ran a solid race and put in some of his fastest lap times. He eventually came across the finish line in 5th place and now stands 9th in the points standing.
After finishing second place in Round 3, Bryce Menzies was ready to come back more than ever. As soon as the race started and spotters called out the green flag, it was Bryce who came around turn one in first place -- and from then on -- he never looked back. Behind Bryce were nine trucks, who were all battling to catch up to the leader and before the mandatory yellow was called Bryce was leading over second place by more than 10 seconds.
The trucks gathered back up for the halfway point restart, and once again, it was Bryce who came around the backstretch in the lead. Bryce fought hard to keep the lead, but the truck gave out and was towed off track due to mechanical problems.
“You never know what is going to happen in short course racing and that is how tonight panned out. I was leading 20 of the 22-lap race and I fought hard to get that truck to the finish but it had other plans,” Bryce explained.
The next day’s races had everyone in the stands up on their feet. It wasn’t long after the race was underway that Bryce was again pulling away from everyone. By the mandatory yellow Bryce had a 12-car length lead on second place and held that lead all the way to the checkered flag. Round 6 in Charlotte marked the first TORC win for Bryce and along with that win, he lead on all 20 laps. Bryce Lead 40 laps of the weekend’s 42 laps in the PRO 2WD class and let everyone know that he is here to battle for that championship. He now stands 2nd in points right behind Rob MacCachren.
Fridays PRO 4x4 practice had some of the best PRO 4 drivers, but it was #48 Menzies/Red Bull Ricky Johnson who had the fastest lap in both practice and qualifying. Ricky calmly waited for his spotter to call out the last green flag of Friday night and before the fans knew it seven trucks were charging their way around the course hoping to come out of turn one in the number one spot, but it was the of Ricky who would lead the race all the way to the finish.
Ricky was untouchable Friday night’s race and the only person happier then Ricky was Pro 4x4 Crew Chief Mike Krahling who put his heart and soul into seeing this truck make it to the number one spot.
As the last race of Round 6 was staging, the Menzies team gathered to watch in anticipation to see if Ricky could pull off another win. Starting second to last, Ricky had to make sure he was smart about making his way to the front, which is just what he did. The green flag took to the air one last time Saturday night in Charlotte and Ricky found himself making clean passes and worked his way up to first place before the halfway mark of the 20-lap race.
The race got underway with Ricky still leading and as they came closer to the finish white smoke began pouring out of the #48 truck. Before Ricky knew it a battle ensued between Ricky and second place Johnny Greaves. The back-and-forth battle had the stands in an uproar of excitement.
As both drivers flew through the air into Turn 4, Ricky found himself landing on top of the #22 truck of Johnny Greaves who had just taken over first place. With one more lap to go it was Johnny who passed the finish first but right on his bumper was Ricky who made sure to give Johnny and the fans one race that will be talked about for years to come. “Love me or hate me, that was a hell of a race,” said Johnson.
Menzies Motorsports walked away with two wins this past weekend in Charlotte but on top of those two wins they also took home three Bomb Awards which are given to the drivers who had the fastest lap in their class. Both Ricky Johnson and Bryce Menzies now are tied with two each.
“I couldn’t be prouder right now of Bryce, Ricky, Luke and the entire team. We did what we came here to do. We love Charlotte and we are excited to come back here next year and give the fans another race to talk about,” said team owner Steve Menzies, as he looked at the fans who lined the Menzies/Red Bull pit after Saturday’s races.
Fans cheered in excitement as Pro 2 Crew Chief Chris Faulkner started cutting up the fiberglass body to the winning truck so that fans could take home a piece a history. Next up for Menzies Motorsports are rounds 7&8 of TORC at Bark River where they will continue to battle for the championships.
Follow Red Bull on Twitter for more news, updates and exclusive info.