Final Rounds Perfect Tribute to Rick and Jeff HusemanPosted in News on September 30, 2013
Author: Bink Designs Photos: Bink Designs
The Traxxas TORC series headed west to Primm, Nevada to crown their champions and pay tribute to the memories of brothers Rick and Jeff Huseman who were tragically lost in 2011. Every time Rick or Jeff Huseman hit the track, they went all out. TORC series racers would have to do the same if they were going to take home a championship on the tricky Primm racecourse.
The Primm track was built in 2007 for the CORR series. It features huge jumps, a punishing whoop section and crazy high-banked turns. The Huseman brothers knew the track well. At that first race in 2007, Rick had a bad wreck in his Fabtech Pro-4 doing two full end- over- end flips in mid-air before landing hard on his wheels. Ironically, Jeff wrecked too in the same whoop section in his Prolite truck. The following year they did much better; Jeff finished 11th and sixth. Rick was sixth in on Saturday and took the victory on Sunday.
Since the departure of the CORR series, the track has seen some abuse and suffered from neglect but its bones remain the same. The track was last groomed when the 2013 TORC season kicked off in Primm at the Combine Cup race in March. Track crews had to reverse months of abuse from fierce winds, torrential rains and a few desert races that used parts of the track. Deep ruts had been cut into it by the desert cars when it was covered in mud from the heavy rains. The ruts were then baked hard as concrete by the desert sun. To add to the track crew’s challenge, no matter how much water they put on the track, it has a tendency to return to the loose desert soil it was made from after several laps. As the race wears on, holes emerge that can throw a driver off line or cause them to catch a rut and crash. The weekend had several spectacular crashes; some caused by the track, some by broken parts and others by drivers who just pushed too hard.
Mike Oberg was one of the racers who had spectacular crashes. “Right at the tip of the jump I felt something like what the heck was that,” says Mike, “It twisted me so sideways I knew it wasn’t going to end up on the wheels; I just started rolling.” The retaining nut that holds the rear hub on broke. “I had Johnson and Cook right on my tail. If they got caught up in my roll, it would have been real ugly. It was a rough one, I really didn’t like it.” Jesse Jones and Jesse Johnson both had bad wrecks during the weekend. “Yesterday in qualifying I ended up going for a wild ride off the RedBull jump,” said Johnson, “I stuck the nose, flipped a couple of times, landed on top of Jimmy Stephenson. I hurt the truck pretty bad and banged my legs up on the dash; I’m just glad to be walking today.” The Primm track can bite even the best drivers. Several got up on two wheels but pulled it back down before they went all the way over.
Going into the race weekend the only championship already decided was Luke Johnson’s Pro Buggy title; the Pro Buggies were not racing at Primm. The remainder of the championship titles were up for grabs and the TORC series regulars were not the only drivers competing. Several racers from the Lucas Oil Series showed up to pay tribute to the Huseman’s and to try for a share of the prize money offered. The Pro light race on Friday was won by Sheldon Creed with Jarrett Brooks in second and Kyle Hart in third; all Lucas Oil racers. It was a concern by some that the west coast drivers might impact some of the tight points battles but aside from Friday’s Pro light podium, they did not play a major factor. For the most part, the results showed the top positions were mostly taken by the TORC regulars.
On Saturday, defending champ Brad Lovell took the Pro light victory followed by Bradley Morris and Kyle Hart. “I got a good start and I never looked back,” said Brad, “I didn’t see another Prolight out there racing. I just focused on what was ahead of me. I put the truck in the right spot, the truck was handling great and JT was telling me where the other guys were, everything just came together.” Brad ended up third in championship points and topped the weekend off with one more trip to the top of the podium winning the Pro light Traxxas Cup. Brad was quick to give thanks to Dan Huseman who put in so much work getting Brad’s truck up to speed at the beginning of the season. The championship was won by Keegan Kincaid who has a ways to go if he wants to match his father Jeff Kincaid’s seven titles but he is off to a great start. He edged out CJ Greaves who finished second.
With Pro light now settled, it was time for Pro-2 and Pro-4 to be decided. In Pro-2, Bryce Menzies came into the final rounds with six wins on the season and a slight lead over Rob MacCachren in the standings. It looked promising for Bryce but he still had to finish both races. Bryce would battle with CJ Greaves in both rounds with CJ coming out on top winning back-to-back. CJ might have dominated the weekend but Bryce’s third place on Friday and second place on Saturday were enough to lock up his third Pro-2 championship in a row. “It just shows how dedicated our team is and how hard we fought,” said Bryce, “We went at this year a little differently, we just went out to win every single race and it paid off in the end. My hats off to my team, they worked long, long hours and my guys are really dedicated to what we do. It shows the kind of passion that we have for what we do. My Dad puts a lot of time and effort into this so it means the world; to three-peat is unbelievable. It’s hard enough just to win one of these and to win three championships is just unbelievable. We are going to come back strong next year. We have a new truck and we’re going to hope to find some more speed and go win number four.”
Pro-4 racer Johnny Greaves led Ricky Johnson by a mere three points heading into the final weekend. Ricky was looking to take another consecutive championship like his teammate Bryce Menzies but Johnny had his own plan. Just like his son CJ, Johnny went out and took back-to-back wins; a dominating performance by the Johnny G Motorsports team. His effort earned him his sixth Pro-4 championship. “I found some good lines out there,” said Johnny, “You know one lap you would hit a good one and the next you would hit a hole. You really had to be patient going through the turns to avoid the holes because the holes can make or break your day. The track is fun to drive but man, the corners are so gnarly. The holes are just huge and they’re everywhere. You can’t see coming into turn four or the sweeper because of the dust and the sun in your eyes. It’s definitely a challenge but it’s so fun. We’ve had some great races here and I’m glad to be back.”
With the championships decided it was time to “Run it for Rick.” The Peak Cup in memory of Rick Huseman would pit the pro-2’s and Pro-4’s together for a no holds barred race to honor Rick. Rick’s number 36 is the inspiration for the $36,000 dollars in prize money that goes to the winner. There are no points on the line, no trucks to repair for the following rounds and no black flags. Many who witnessed last year’s race were hoping for a repeat showdown between Ricky Johnson and Kyle LeDuc. The two had one of the most intense dog fights ever witnessed; trading paint and the lead in almost every corner.