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The Checkered Flag
July 13, 2005 Edition

 

GREEN FLAG
What A Weekend!

Topeka, Kan. ~ The only thing hotter than the 95 Kansas heat this past weekend was the AMSOIL Kumho Tires Super Team of Steve McCrossan (Pro 4), Dan Vanden Heuvel (Pro 2) and Mike Oberg (Sportsman 2). With a total of six podium finishes up for grabs at the Heartland Park Off Road Championships, the AMSOIL/Kumho Tires Super Team brought home five.

Sportsman-2 (Friday)

Under the lights at C.O.R.R.'s only nighttime race the AMSOIL/Kumho Tires Super Team showed their competitors what true champions are made of. When the green flag flew for round seven of Mike Oberg's Sportsman 2 race, the Eagle River, Wis.native powered his two-wheel drive Chevrolet into the lead and steadily pulled away from the pack. It wasn't until a yellow flag came out for a rolled over competitor that the rest of the field could get close to the #280 truck. After the incident was cleared, Oberg continued to lead until a competitor slipped by and stole the win. Oberg crossed the finish line in second and grabbed the Super Team's first podium of the weekend.

Pro-2 (Friday)

When the Pro 2 trucks came out Friday night for round seven of the CORR Series, no one knew they were about to witness CORR racing history and probably the most spectacular Pro 2 race ever staged.

At any given time throughout this year's Pro 2 CORR season Dan "The Flying Dutchman" Vanden Heuvel has been a powerful force to capture a Pro 2 win, and Friday night proved to be his mid-season wake-up call.

When Vanden Heuvel lined up with the other nine trucks on the starting line, no one was aware of the specially built Kumho Tires that he was about to use for the very first time. The new treads were developed by Kumho and had been a last minute venture to even out the traction issue between some of Kumho's rival tire companies. When the green flag dropped, it was apparent that Kumho engineers had done their homework. "The Dutchman" quickly powered his way into second on the tight, technical three-quarter mile clay track. With the top five trucks in a fierce battle for position Vanden Heuvel continued to press the leaders. On lap 10, he had to make a spectacular save to keep the truck on all four wheels. The move dropped him down to third, but he would move back up into second just three laps later. With his sights set on the race leader, he made a smooth pass into first place just after the halfway mark of the race. From there, the Appleton, Wis.native piloted the AMSOIL/Kumho Tires Chevy into a comfortable lead to capture the "Super Team's" first win.

"The new tires were a big part of why we won," said Vanden Heuvel. "It's great that Kumho stepped up big in the middle of the year like they did. The difference between these new tires and the old ones are like driving on blacktop to driving on snow and ice."

Pro-4 (Friday)

When Steve McCrossan pulled his the AMSOIL/Kumho Tires Chevrolet onto the track Friday night, the pressure was on to get a third Super Team truck onto the podium. The wily Canadian quickly moved into the second spot. As the race wore on, McCrossan's tires slowly began to lose traction, and he slipped back two positions before a competitor drove into his left rear tire, causing a flat. After a quick tire change he brought the four-wheel drive Chevy back to the track and finished the race in seventh, and his sights on a podium finish the next day.

Sportsman-2 (Saturday)

Round eight of the Sportsman 2 event couldn't have gotten much more exciting as Oberg went from second to eighth during the first few laps of the race. Oberg battled hard and fought his way through the field into third. As the race wore on, Oberg powered the race truck toward the front of the pack. The laps ran out, however, and he finished the race in third position, giving Oberg two-podium finishes for the weekend. The strong weekend also vaulted him into sixth place in the overall standings.

Pro-2 (Saturday)

As the Pro 2 field lined up under the lights for Saturday's event, "The Flying Dutchman" had to start in third due to CORR's rule that inverts the field based on the previous night's race results. When the green flag dropped, Vanden Heuvel once again capitalized on the improved traction to propel him into fourth. During the next eight laps, he maneuvered into third and started to gain on the leaders, while still dealing with lapped traffic. After moving into second, Vanden Heuvel had his sights set on the leader and was gaining ground until a lapped competitor and teammate of the front-runner blocked the Vanden Heuvel's #77, preventing him from capturing a second straight win. Taking the checkered in second place, the Dutchman moved into third in the overall standings and is only one point out of second place.

Pro-4 (Saturday)

When McCrossan's new Kumho Tires finally arrived at the track, no one could have been happier than the McCrossan Motor Sports crew.

"After watching Dan dominate the Pro 2 Class we had to have the new tires for Saturday's race," said McCrossan.

When the green flag came out for Saturday's Pro 4 race, everyone knew the new setup was the answer for the traction problems the team had been experiencing in past races. McCrossan shot into second, just inches behind the leader. Two laps later, he would find an opening and passed the front-runner. After a few laps of battling with the second place truck, McCrossan got caught in a huge rut and was forced back into second spot. Only one lap later, he moved alongside the leader in the front straight-away and made an unbelievable pass while flying over the huge jump into the backstretch. Little did he know that when he made the pass, his competitor got crossed up on the jump and landed on the rear bumper of McCrossan's Chevy. After the dust settled, the Toronto-native realized the incident had severed his brake lines and he was now racing with no brakes. Still in second, he managed to make his way around the tight twisting track using the transmission to slow the truck in the corners. As the race wore on McCrossan moved back to fourth spot but kept a steady pace and ran with the race leaders. When the second and third place trucks crashed while battling for position, McCrossan seized the moment and quickly maneuvered the AMSOIL/Kumho Tires truck into second. McCrossan would cross the finish line just a couple of truck lengths behind the leader.

With a well-deserved rest ahead, the AMSOIL/Kumho Tires Super Team will be more than ready to dominate the podium again at Bark River Off Road Raceway in Bark River, Wis. on August 13 and 14.


The Leader Returns To Action

Cincinnati, Ohio ~ Terry Rinker has steered his AMSOIL/Rinker Racing boat to an impressive start in 2005. With wins in three of the first four races, Rinker holds a sizable lead in the 2005 ChampBoat Series. The 2003 champion will be back on the water this weekend as the ChampBoat Series moves to the Great Cincinnati Grand Prix event to start the second half of the season. The race will take part on the Ohio River on the Newport, Ky. side. More than 50 drivers from close to 20 states are expected in all three classes.


A Revved Up Rider

New Berlin, NY ~ Team AMSOIL/Chaparral/Honda's Kevin Windham is more than fired up to get back to the winner's circle this weekend. The Mississippi-native showed great determination and fury after getting dumped off his bike by James Stewart at the AMA Outdoor National two weeks ago in Buchanan, Mich. Windham, along with the AMSOIL 125cc team of Josh Grant, Billy Laninovich, Tommy Hahn and Juaqium Rodrigues, will be in upstate New York this Saturday and Sunday. The AMA brings its show to New Berlin, NY and the Unadilla Sports Complex.

On The Road Again

Solon Springs, Wis. ~ Brady Smith had a tiring Fourth of July holiday. The young late model driver from Solon Springs, Wis. hit the road for an unprecedented seven straight nights of racing, and eight of the first nine days of July were spent behind the wheel of his AMSOIL Chevy Monte Carlo.

Things have settled down a little bit for "The Deuce" this past week. Thursday, July 7, Smith headed to the UMP Summernationals event at the Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, Ind. He was able to qualify for the $6,000 to win feature, but finished the race in 12th.

Saturday moved the action east for the Brady Smith Racing Team. Smith brought the #2 car to the NARA-sanctioned event at the K-C Raceway in Chillicothe, Ohio. He was once again able to bring the car into the main event, where he finished in 13th.

Smith will be home this weekend at the Superior Speedway in Superior, Wis. on Friday night. He will then head two hours south to take part in the Saturday show at the Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. AMSOIL is the "Official Oil" of the Cedar Lake Speedway.


Come From Behind

Portland, Ind. ~ The "XPLEX" in Portland, Indiana was the site of latest professional event in the United Rockcrawling and Off-Road Challenge's (UROC) 2005 series. The sun was hot, the humidity was high and the courses were tough.

"They put together a great course for us," said Roger Lovell, spotter for team #232, AMSOIL/Lovell Rock Racing. "Every new obstacle brought on different challenges, and we all had to work hard to stay at the top of our game."

 

Day one of the competition proved to be difficult, as the Lovell brothers rolled over on their very first course of the day. Some skillful driving and a little luck landed the vehicle back on its tires and the team finished the course within the time limit. The excitement followed the Lovell brothers into to their second course of the day, a six-foot vertical stair step. Loose gravel at the top caused the front end to swing around, resulting in a pirouette on the tailgate of the vehicle, followed by another roll over. Miraculously, the vehicle again landed upright.

"I lost radio communication with Roger and, with only 40 seconds left on the clock, all I could do was go full throttle and try to finish before time ran out," said Brad Lovell, driver for team #232. "I think I pulled through the final set of gates with five seconds left."

Three more courses followed and, fortunately, these were met with much less excitement than the first two.

"We got our heads back in the game after the first two courses and, finally, by the third, we were able to really compete the way we should have been all along," said Roger. "We are grateful to have ended the day in third place."

 

After a rocky start on the first day of competition, the Lovell team went into day two with only three courses left, making it harder to gain ground on the competition. Every opportunity to bring the point-spread closer was taken, including a spotter-ride on the first course. The risk paid off, as Lovell Rock Racing scored a -17, bringing them well within site of second place.

 

Day two also presented Lovell Rock Racing with "The Wall", a vertical incline rumored to be three stories tall at a 75-degree angle.

"On an obstacle like this, there is really nothing the spotter can do from the ground to get that vehicle up and over," said Roger. "So I jumped in the passenger seat, strapped myself in and held my breath."

"The only real option is to just floor it," continues Brad. "Coming off the back side is the scary part. All you feel is the back end sliding, you can't see the ground and you've pretty much lost control of the vehicle by that point."

After all was said and done, the Lovells pulled out of day two with a hard-earned second place.

"Once again, we were neck and neck with Dean Bulloch and the On Track Krawler team," said Brad. "It all came down to the main event and Dean finished a course that no one else in the Modified class did. They gave us a run for our money, but they really deserve this win."

This second place finish puts Lovell Rock Racing in a tie with Rock Runner Racing for first place in the series. The final event of the series is scheduled for August 12-13 in Vernal, Utah.


AMSOIL Notes

  • Team AMSOIL continues to find the winners circle. The No Boundaries team and driver Colin Dorshimer had a strong weekend of racing their yellow modified Pro-Arena truck at the Special Events 4x4 Jamboree in Bloomsburg, Penn. Dorshimer won the event; marking the third straight year he has grabbed the checkered flag in Bloomsburg.
  • Talented amateur P.J. Osmer continues to dominate at local motocross tracks in California. Osmer had a solid weekend of racing in the final round of the CMA Summer Series in Hanford, Calif. In the 85cc class he took home a second place finish in his heat race and the main. He followed that up with wins in the 125cc heat race and main. The young rider than jumped on top of his 250cc and finished 5th in the heat race and 4th overall. Osmer was second overall in the 85cc class and won the 125cc class.