|TORC 2014: Ross Hoek gets first PRO-4x4 Podium - third place in round 8|
The effort that Ross Hoek Motorsports has put forward competing in the premier division of short-course off-road racing is nothing short of herculean. The privateer PRO-4x4 racer entered his sophomore TORC season with one goal in mind, finish on the podium. Last weekend at the most storied short-course venue in North America, Ross Hoek stood on the final step of the podium after finishing Round Eight in third place.
The race festivities didn't begin until early Saturday morning as Friday morning rain cancelled all scheduled practice on the 1.7 mile long track known as "The Big House." This left Hoek and his team guessing at the chassis set-up on the #10 PRO-4x4. Fortunately the land rush start can minimize the importance of qualifying as long as your truck leaves strong off the line.
Nitto Tire Toyota floundered on the Land Rush start and Ross struggled to get comfortable in the truck. Regardless the Lower Michigan native pressed on to complete all nine laps taking the checkered flag in fifth place.
Overnight the team, now with some good track feedback from the afternoon race, made several adjustments to the PRO-4x4. The next morning Hoek and his crew were confident that the race truck would be much more competitive.
The changes with the truck did work as #10 PRO-4x4 was visibly running quicker. Ross Hoek was much more aggressive with his approach to the race. By the third lap Hoek was running fourth, keeping ahead of Mike Jenkins and within striking distance of the Round 7 winner Mark Jenkins. The great race pace continued after the mandatory caution as Ross Hoek moved up to third place on lap seven. The closing laps saw a great finish as Hoek took the checkered flag in third place just one second behind second place.
"Finally this day has come," note Ross Hoek. "I have said many times that the driver has to catch up to the potential of this Greaves built race truck. Today I think I closed the gap. I have to thank Johnny Greaves for not only making me a great deal on this truck, but for all the help since we entered PRO-4."
"I also have to thank Ricky Johnson for all his coaching and advice on how drive a PRO-4, as well as how to race a PRO-4. Thanks goes out to my crew, as this is a continual learning experience and they have always stayed positive and have kept me on the track race after race. Of course I have to thank my wife Cathy for all her support through all of this as well."
There was one more race on schedule, the $30,000 Forest County Potawatomi Community Cup. The event combines the PRO-4x4 and PRO-2WD race trucks for an all-out ten lap sprint. Ross Hoek entered the event for the first time in the PRO-4x4 Division and if nothing else, the time on the track would allow the STACK data logger to gather useful information that will keep the race truck competitive when the TORC series returns for the Labor Day Weekend World Championships.
The Cup is very exciting to watch and somewhat stressful for the driver. With that being said, Ross Hoek completed all ten laps to finish ninth overall. The next race will be in Bark River, Michigan (USA) July 19-20, 2014.
2014/07/03 | 17:56 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/REUSCHE