|TORC 2013: Kleiman runs well on short track at TORC Route 66 Raceway|
After three hectic weeks of repair and preparation, the Ponsse/Kleiman PRO-Light was ready for the short track of Route 66 Raceway. Earlier in the year, the first year PRO-Light team had success at similar tracks at Dodge City and Eldora, and the Dirt Track @ Route 66 Raceway brought out the best in Mark Kleiman.
The road to get the #42 PRO-Light ready for the trip to Joliet, Illinois was slightly longer than usual. At the last round of racing at Crandon, Kleiman was involved in a Turn One incident that not only damaged the front and rear suspension, but actually bent the chassis. The team, especially Mark's son Cody, spent many along night getting the Ponsse PRO-Light back to racing shape for the Pep Boys "Battle in the Bowl."
The one-mile Jeff Nordstrom built race track used as much of the banked circle track as possible with his unique "Baja in a Bowl" layout. There were high speed sections, a handful of jumps, a table top, and a rhythm section that demanded every driver's complete attention.
Friday afternoon, the during the heat of the day, all the PRO teams had a three lap qualifying session. The Kleiman Off-Road Racing PRO-Light was timed tenth fastest out of seventeen competitors. Afterwards Kleiman and his team knew the truck could turn quicker laps emphasizing that the race isn't won in qualifying.
Friday's Round 9 action saw Kleiman get off to a solid start for the fifteen lap event. During much of the race, The #42 PRO-Light was locked into a great race with Randy Eller and CJ Greaves. The three racers put on a great show and in the end Mark Kleiman finished in fifth place. Afterwards Mark was all smiles and commented on the race: "That was some of the most fun racing I've had in a long time. Racing with Randy and CJ was incredible. I can't wait until tomorrow."
With the great run from Friday, the lineup for Saturday saw Mark Kleiman starting in the front row. When the race began, a couple of the front runners quickly went past. By lap three, Kleiman was running strong in fourth place. The racing was quite aggressive and there were several rollovers.
On lap five, the race was stopped to safely remove the trucks for one of many incidents. At the same time Kleiman's fresh air system for his helmet disconnected and he went in for a quick fix in the Hot Pit. During a red flag situation you cannot work on your vehicle, so once the wreck was cleared, the yellow flag came out, the helmet hose was reconnected, but now the #42 Ponsse/Kenda Tire was at the back of the fifteen truck field.
When racing resumed Kleiman worked his way back up to fifth place until when he was spun by another competitor. No harm no foul, so the #42 PRO-Light pressed on to finish the race in seventh place.
"Tonight we probably passed more trucks than anyone else. This truck is just awesome. I knew the intensity level would really pickup tonight and it's all a part of this type of racing. You have to expect it on these types of tracks. I just love it. I must thank everyone that came over to help get this truck ready after Crandon, especially my son Cody. He really put in a ton of time getting this truck back into shape."
"I also have to thank Gary's Collision who straightened the chassis, it was a big help. The crash at Crandon actually knocked an engine mount right out of the engine, leaving a 2" X 3" hole. With no spare engine we had no choice but to weld it back up. We really had a solid weekend and I'm looking forward to Red Bud."
The next race for Kleiman Off-Road Racing is August 10-11 at RED BUD MX in Buchanan, Michigan.
2013/07/30 | 21:47 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/REUSCHE