ELK RIVER, Minn. – Keegan Keegan drove with patience and confidence and executed a third to first pass in the closing laps to win the TORC: The Off-Road Championship PRO 4 race on Saturday at ERX Motor Park.
The shot-in-the-arm win for Kincaid didn’t appear to be in the cards early as Johnny Greaves went from fourth to first in the opening lap and had the truck to beat. With only four points separating Johnny from his son C.J. for the PRO 4 championship, a win Saturday would have set him up perfectly for Sunday’s final race. As the racing heated up behind him, Johnny sent it with authority over the finish line jump, soaring in excess of 200-feet. The hard front-wheel impact was simply too much, as something broke in his truck and his day was done.
With his father out, C.J. Greaves found himself mashed between leader Scott Douglas and Kincaid in third. When Douglas lost second gear, the door opened for Kincaid, who executed a two-for-one pass for the lead. C.J. Greaves came close, but a mistake on the final lap gave Kincaid a four-truck cushion to take the win over C.J. Greaves and Douglas.
“It feels good just be able to race,” said Keegan, referring power steering issues he has battled throughout the season. “I was just trying to be patient. I knew those guys (Douglas and C.J. Greaves) would battle and they eventually opened the door for me.”
Unbridled intensity was the only way to describe the action in PRO 2, as Luke Johnson locked down the win and division championship amid a chorus of racers who all wanted to play the role of spoiler.
The biggest of those was undoubtedly Brad Lovell, who had been holding on to a slim mathematical chance of wrestling the championship away from Johnson, but only if everything played out in his favor.
Before Johnson could pop the cork on the celebratory champagne, he first had to overtake Lovell and then fend off the aggressiveness of Andrew Carlson and two-time ERX PRO 2 winner Mike Vanden Heuvel. Ironically, it would eventually be the go-for-it drive of Carlson that would open the door for Johnson to move into the lead for good.
Prior to the competition caution, Carlson had posted the fastest lap and was slotted directly behind Johnson on the restart with Lovell in the lead. Johnson and Carlson banged doors lap after lap, and Carlson briefly gained the advantage, but in a move for the lead, an air borne Carlson found himself in a Johnson and Lovell sandwich, cutting down his rear tire and ending his day. That was all it took for Johnson to finally find the front and clean running. Vanden Heuvel closely followed Johnson, leaving Lovell to battle Ruppel for third.
With just three laps to go, another full-course caution bunched up the field and gave everyone one last chance to spoil Luke’s championship bid. It didn’t happen. Johnson would cross the line with the win and the championship secured. Vanden Heuvel and Lovell rounded out the podium.
“I’m just overcome with emotion,” said a visually exhausted and beaming Johnson. “We had to fight for that one…it’s just a dream come true.”
Racing is often said to be a family sport, and no one knows that better than the Kleiman family, who watched brothers Cody and Kyle battle for the win and take the top two spots during the PRO Light race on Saturday.
It was Kyle who ended up claiming the victory and as a result he locked up the PRO Light championship.
“We had our ups and downs,” Kyle said after earning the title. “But we worked through them as a team and kept pushing forward. That’s what being a champion is about…being relentless no matter what you’re put through.”
Johnny Greaves didn’t go winless on Saturday, picking up a victory in the PRO Mod UTV class. In PRO Stock UTV, C.J. Greaves scored his 12th-straight victory to easily secure the class championship.