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Ram triumphant in inaugural TORC season

by Bill Cawthon on

It was an amazing first season for Mopar and Ram in the Traxxas TORC (The Off-Road Championship) Series that ended Sunday, October 16, at Cycle Ranch MX in Floresville, Texas.

Ricky Johnson (PRO 4), Bryce Menzies (PRO 2) and RJ Anderson (PRO Light) each picked up victories, while Johnson, Menzies and Andrew Caddell were crowned champions. Ram trucks earned the PRO 2 and PRO Light Manufacturers’ titles. Johnson and Menzies also received the Oakley Bomb Award for the fastest laps.

“Mopar and Ram simply dominated the inaugural TORC season, with 27 wins and all three championships during our 2011 campaign,” said Pietro Gorlier, Mopar CEO. “We more than doubled the amount of wins recorded by the next-closest manufacturer. Congratulations to Ricky Johnson, Bryce Menzies and Andrew Caddell on bringing home championships for Mopar and Ram.

“From the drop of the first green flag at RedBud back in May to the final checkered flag this weekend, Mopar and Ram dominated the playing field in TORC. Both brands set the bar for performance in the series all year long and exceeded all expectations. Our success showcased the superior performance of Mopar power and Ram under the extreme conditions of the off-road. It was a remarkable season, and all of us at Mopar are proud of the drivers who represented us in the TORC series.”

“Everyone on the Ram Truck team is proud of the job our drivers did this year,” said Fred Diaz, Ram CEO. “To go from being the new kid on the block to being the PRO 2 and PRO Light Manufacturers’ Champion in our first season shows what happens when you put the best drivers in the best trucks. We applaud every Ram Truck driver who earned a podium this year, and give a standing ovation to Ram’s Pro Light Drivers Champion Andrew Caddell, PRO 2 Champion Bryce Menzies and PRO 4 Champion Ricky Johnson.”

Ricky Johnson completed his PRO 4 weekend sweep in his Red Bull Mopar Ram. Starting from the sixth position, he quickly moved up to fourth and battled rival Johnny Greaves for third. The pair had a great duel for the lead on the seventh lap, with Johnson taking the top spot. The multi-time AMA champion was out front on the eighth lap when the mandatory competition caution flew. He led on the restart and began to pull away from the pack. Johnson pace the remaining distance and record his sixth win of the season, clinching the PRO 4 title.

“It was an amazing weekend, and season for that matter,” said Johnson. “We fought our way back. We had some DNF’s (did not finish) and shortcomings earlier this year and everyone kept pushing me and stuck behind me. With Bryce Menzies, my teammate, winning the title in PRO 2 yesterday, I didn’t want to let anyone down today. It’s great to win a title for Red Bull, Ram, Mopar and everyone that helps us out. The best off-road racers in the world compete in the TORC Series, so it means a lot to win this championship.”

Bryce Menzies had already won the PRO 2 championship with a Saturday win, but he went ahead and made it two-for-two in PRO 2. Like Johnson, Menzies started sixth in his Red Bull Mopar Ram. He used a strong start to power his way into the top-three on the opening, took the lead on the second lap and never looked back, leading the rest of the 16-lap contest to pick up his series-best seventh win of the season. Rob MacCachren drove his Mopar Ram to a runner-up finish, after starting in the seventh position.

“We had a great season with this Red Bull Ram with Mopar power,” said. Menzies. “We had some battles throughout the year and it feels great to bring home a championship for my entire team. The crew works hard day in and day out and gave me some a great truck each and every race. To win today was the perfect way to cap off the season.”

RJ Anderson, Saturday’s runner-up PRO Light, launched his Walker Evans Racing Ram from the fifth position. After a spirited battle with C.J. Greaves for the lead, Anderson pulled away on the last three laps, earning his third win of the season. He wrapped up the weekend with a runner-up finish in the special non-point Traxxas PRO Light Cup race.

“To end the season on a high note is fantastic,” said Anderson. “The last four races this year have been great. With three wins and a second, I think we showed that we are contenders. I had a big learning curve earlier in the year and everything paid off down the stretch and the performance of this Mopar-powered Ram was amazing.”

Andrew Caddell was officially crowned the PRO Light champion on Sunday, following a season that saw him pick up four wins and 10 podium finishes, including nine straight at one point in his Mopar Ram. Samuel Hübinette finished his rookie TORC season with four wins and seven podium finishes in his Mopar Ram, to secure the fourth position in points.

“It was a great season,” said Caddell. “We came out this year and our goal was to win the title and we were able to do that. We had plenty of power with the Mopar engine under the hood and the Ram Truck ran great all year. To win a championship in my second full year in off-road racing feels really good. We have a great team here at Jenkins Brothers Racing and have all the tools to compete at this level.”

Each of the three champions in the PRO divisions will be feted at the annual USAC Night of Champions on December 9 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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