Rodney VanEperen Wins TORC Pro Mod UTV Opener
2017 TORC Off-Road Championship Round 1 Pro UTV Race Report

Joliet, IL (05/14/2017) – Rodney VanEperen and CJ Greaves won the opening round of the TORC Off Road Championship presented by AMSOIL UTV season during the Chicagoland Slam at the Dirt Track at Route 66 Raceway. VanEperen held of a charging Kyle Chaney to win the Pro Modified race and CJ Greaves drove from last to first in the Pro Stock race. Both were driving Yamahas fielded by Greaves Motorsports.

TORC Racing Pro SxS Podium

TORC Pro Mod SxS / UTV Podium (left to right)
Kyle Chaney (2nd), Rodney VanEperen (1st), Tim Farr (3rd)

More than 90 cars were entered in the UTV portion of the event that was held on the dirt oval and infield at the suburban Chicago facility. The races were scheduled for 16 laps with a mandatory competition caution on lap eight. The track featured a very TT like layout with several whoops sections, a tabletop and jumps. The circuit featured a Joker Lane that allowed racers to short-cut the infield section on one lap after the competition caution.

The track was heavily watered before each event, forcing competitors to find a happy medium in their car setups. Moreover, they had to find the dry spots early to stay in contention and then have the fortitude to drive hard as the track dried.

Treavis Poynter TORC Pro UTV Racing

Defending TORC Pro Mod Champion, Bikeman Performance’s Treavis Poynter, was the fastest qualifer & grabbed the pole position with Rodney VanEperen in chase

In the Pro Modified race, Bikeman Racing’s Treavis Poynter was the fastest qualifier in his Polaris RZR, which earned him the pole position and allowed him to take the early lead at the start before the defending Pro Modified champion spun and a mechanical issue took him out of contention. With Poynter having issues, VanEperen took the lead and began checking out. The race was halted with two laps to go for a crash along the frontstretch that resulted in a long delay. VanEperen brake checked Tim Farr’s Can-Am X3 on the restart, but another caution froze the field for the final green-white-checkered restart.

Rodney VanEperen TORC Pro UTV Racing

Yamaha’s Rodney VanEperen took over the lead when Treavis Poynter spun out

As the green flag waved, VanEperen held the lead with Farr in tow. Farr’s machine began to overheat, allowing Chaney to take second and the race was on. As they went into the infield, Chaney and VanEperen battled nose to tail. Chaney took the inside line on the final turn and VanEperen just won the drag race to the finish, taking the win by just .04 of a second. Tim Farr finished third, in a Can-Am Maverick X3. Zac Zakowski was fourth on a Yamaha, followed by Michael Gilliland II.

Rodney VanEperen TORC Pro UTV Racing

Rodney VanEperen edged out Kyle Chaney for the win by nearly a photo finish after a great battle for the lead to end the race

“During the red flag, I started thinking about things too much about making mistakes and that’s when you make mistakes,” said VanEperen , “but that was an awesome finish. We need good competition. It’s going to be exciting racing all year and that’s what is going to bring more people to the sport.”

Rodney VanEperen TORC Pro UTV Racing

Yamaha’s Rodney VanEperen Wins TORC Pro Mod UTV

VanEperen raced in the Pro 2 truck class last season, finishing fourth in points. He joined the Greaves team this year to help promote his Yamaha dealership in Appleton, WI.

“I have a Yamaha Dealership named Powersports One, and it made more sense for me to be in a UTV,” said VanEperen . “We’re going to go back, work on some things and hopefully repeat tomorrow.”

Kyle Chaney, a regular in GNCC competition, nabbed the podium with bold moves at the end of the race in his Can-Am X3. The pressure he put on VanEperen at the end of the event led to the exciting photo finish.

Kyle Chaney TORC Pro UTV Racing

Kyle Chaney is racing his Can-Am Maverick X3 in the TORC Series

“I went for the pass on the last corner and it was nose to nose at the finish line,” said Chaney. “My Can-Am worked great and CT Race Worx built me a good car. During practice I thought the track was horrible. In qualifying, it got better and when the water evaporated out of the track for the race, it was great.”

Kyle Chaney TORC Pro UTV Racing

Kyle Chaney nearly pulled off the win in the TORC Pro UTV debut after battling Rodney VanEperen to the checkered flag

Farr, also a GNCC veteran, was charging hard when he could, but the tune on his Can-Am’s engine was a little too extreme as he experienced overheating issues throughout the race. The cautions and the red flag helped cool his ride, but he was still doing whatever he could on the final two laps to secure the podium.

Tim Farr TORC Pro UTV Racing

JB Racing’s Tim Farr held off Kyle Chaney for most of the race before dropping to third place in the final laps, which he held to the checkered

“I knew I was holding up Kyle, so I just tried to keep doing good laps,” said Farr, who will be contesting the entire TORC season. “I tried to push it those last two laps and the gauge went to full hot. So I’m glad to finish on the podium. I knew Kyle was going to get me, but I just wanted to hang with those guys. The track is so different from the start to the finish because it starts out super wet and then it was really hooking up at the end. So it’s really hard to set up for that. You have to drive consistently and stay out of trouble.”

Zakowski had engine trouble in qualifying and was eighth for the start. Despite starting in the middle of the field, Zakowski drove his new Yamaha to a fourth-place finish. Zakowski is also a GNCC veteran.

Zac Zakowski TORC Pro UTV Racing

Another GNCC Racer is making the switch to the TORC Series with Zac Zakowski joining the mix for 2017 & he made an impressive showing in the 4th spot at Round One

“This is completely new,” said Zakowski. “We were in Can-Ams for years and now we’re in a stick shift Yamaha. It’s going great and I never want to switch. This track is really tough, tight and technical, so it was similar to GNCC without the trees. It dried up at the end and got really tacky. I was laughing that three guys in the top three were from GNCC.”

In the TORC Pro Stock UTV race, Greaves had issues in practice and qualifying. So his team threw everything at the car, including a new engine for the race. Despite having to start at the back of the field, Greaves found the dry lines on the track and passed everyone, taking the lead in Joker Lane from Ken Masch on the final lap to net the win. Masch was second, ahead of Zach Martin. All three were driving Yamahas. Scott Wasz was fourth, ahead of the Bikeman Polaris of Jason Luburgh.

TORC Racing Pro SxS Podium

TORC Pro Mod SxS / UTV Podium (left to right)
Ken Masch (2nd), CJ Greaves (1st), Zach Martin (3rd)

“We busted our butts, took an old engine out of another car that we knew ran well, but we had to start at the back,” said Greaves. “The track was really wet and slick. We just worked out the dry lines and that’s what did it; I was just finding the dry lines. They brought in a ton of dirt and put in some impressive jumps.”

CJ Greaves TORC Pro UTV Racing

Yamaha’s CJ Greaves battled his way from last place to the front of the pack to take the win in the TORC Pro Stock UTV class

Greaves was happy with Yamaha YXZ 1000’s competitiveness during the race. The marque is quickly becoming the one to beat in short-course competition.

CJ Greaves TORC Pro UTV Racing

Monster Energy’s CJ Greaves celebrating the TORC Pro UTV Opener

“All three cars on the podium are Yamahas with Maxxis Tires, so these are definitely the cars to beat in short course,” said Greaves. “Now we have to do a little more work and bring it out the desert and some of the other events.”

Masch qualified on the pole and drew a zero on the invert to start first. He held the lead for most of the race, but a cautious pace in the Joker Lane handed Greaves the lead on the final lap.

Ken Masch TORC Pro UTV Racing

Ken Masch held the Pro Stock lead for the majority of the race before dropping to 2nd place in the final laps

“The track was a sloppy mess at the start and I played it a little too cautious,” said Masch. “Coming into the Joker Lane, I took it a little too easy. It was unknown territory for me, and CJ, he never lets off. I’m a little disappointed, because I know what we’re capable of.”

Martin made the trip from Georgia to make his third TORC start here. After a slow start, he used the Joker Lane to his advantage to gain three spots and finish third.

Zac Martin TORC Pro UTV Racing

Zach Martin rounded out the TORC Pro Stock UTV Top Three

“I made an error at the start and came out fifth,” explained Martin. “We battled it out with the top five cars. We transferred a few spots here and there and the Joker lap worked out in our favor this time. It’s a use-or-lose thing. You get to take a hot lap around the oval. There is some strategy and also some luck in it, but it worked out well for us.”

Luburgh had a tough start, but utilized the Joker Lane early to move through the field. Though he finished fifth, he knows his Bikeman team is up to the challenge this year. Luburgh is competing in both Pro Stock and Pro Modified this year after finishing second last year in the Pro Stock championship.

Jason Luburgh TORC Pro UTV Racing

Bikeman Performance’s Jason Luburgh rounded out the top five

“It was a rough start and it was hard to see early,” said Luburgh. “The Joker lap helped me a lot. I worked my way up to fifth. There is a lot of talent this year and both classes are a lot tougher. They separated the classes this year so I thought it would be cool to run both. We just have to be extra prepared.”

The event was part of a doubleheader weekend with round two scheduled for Sunday at Route 66.

TORC Series