|TORC 2014: It's All in the Family at Bark River - Kleiman Racing team report|
After racing on both sides of North America during the first two weekends of the "TORC Series presented by AMSOIL", it was time for Kleiman Off-Road Racing to experience some good old fashion "home cooking" as the family Kleiman prepared to race literally in their backyard in Bark River, Michigan (USA). The two PRO-Light truck team fought off adversity as both trucks moved up in the points standings.
The 1.4 mile long track can really jump up and surprise a driver thanks to its large hills and constantly changing corners. Most racers don't realize that they hit speeds that are as fast as and sometimes faster than the track in Crandon.
The Saturday morning qualifying session saw the Ponsse/Rotochopper/Kenda Tire PRO-Light trucks qualify right in the middle of the twenty-three truck starting grid. Kyle Kleiman was twelfth quickest in the three lap timed session as Mark Kleiman was just a couple tenths back in thirteenth. With the two trucks starting next to each other it meant the team would be racing each other as well as the other racers right from the start.
The ten lap Round 5 race saw Mark Kleiman have his best race of the season with a sixth place finish. The first half of the race Kyle was running right behind dad until lap 4 when the #48 Pro-Light began to swap ends coming out of Turn One.
Kyle looked like he saved the truck from spinning out, but in the process he ended up in the muddy ditch that runs across the track. Quickly the U.P. Stump Jumpers pulled the truck out of the ditch without losing a lap. Now Kyle was able to catch up to the back of the pack thanks to the mandatory caution, but was running the eighteenth position.
When green flag racing resume Kyle was on a mission. The final four laps saw the #48 PRO-Light pass ten trucks to finish a respectable eighth place. Back at in the pit area, both trucks needed some cosmetic work as well as some fine tuning of the suspension, which is the norm after most PRO-Light races.
The next morning Kyle's older brother Cody jumped in behind wheel of the #48 Ponsse PRO-Light as Mark looked improve on his Saturday finish in the #42 racer. Before the racing could begin, there was the TORC Opening Ceremonies that honor all past, current, and future citizens that serve our country. At the conclusion of ceremonies Mark's sixteen year old daughter Kyndra, sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
Thanks to the previous day's finish both trucks started a few spots closer to the front. As like in past races, the aggression between the twenty-one competitors goes up a couple levels in the second race of the weekend. The Round 6 action was exactly that. Both of the Ponsse trucks were running well, but throughout the race both drivers seemed to move and down the running order. In the end Mark finish a solid seventh place while Cody had to settle for eleventh.
"My finishes should have been better," noted Mark Kleiman. "Keeping your focus is very important if you want to finish well. I know I have it in me, but sometimes I think my wallet gets caught between the gas pedal and floor. Regardless I'm so proud of my family, we work hard together during the week and play even harder on the weekends."
"I had to back off a bit today because I didn't turn on the fans right away," commented Cody Kleiman. "I didn't want to overheat the motor, so I short shifted to keep the temperatures down. All I know my brother and I are blessed to have the opportunity to race with dad."
"Yesterday I had fun in the truck," commented Kyle Kleiman. "I saved the truck from looping then before I realized it, I was headed for the muck in the ditch. I really thought my day was done, but the Stump Jumpers got me out so quick I stayed on the lead lap. It's great racing in front of our family and friends here in Bark River."
Currently Mark Kleiman in his second season of PRO-Light competition, is fourteenth in the TORC PRO-Light Championship standings which is only five points out of the tenth position. While the rookie team of Cody and Kyle Kleiman is just a few points behind their dad in sixteenth.
2014/06/23 | 21:59 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/REUSCHE