Elk River, Minn. June 2, 2016 – Intense spring storms dampened the Dirt Track at Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas, Texas, limiting practice and cancelling qualifying for the 2016 opening rounds of The Off-Road Championship (TORC) short-track series this past weekend. The hiccup in the schedule didn’t deter second year Pro-Light driver Andrew Carlson, who demonstrated all the right moves on the tight Texas clay track, finishing just off the podium day one, and having an almost certain day two podium finish cut short due to mechanical failure.
After a steep learning curve rookie season, the Carlson Moto team hit the lone star state armed with intensity and preparedness in all facets of their game. The crew was bolstered with an experienced Program Manger; the truck was rebuilt from its Atturo tires up; and Carlson was ready to put his heightened driving skills to the test.
With Friday’s opening round starting positions selected through random draw, Carlson found himself at the back of the pack. Extremely muddy track conditions emphasized driving focus and precision, and as the race unfolded Carlson effectively worked his way through the pack, eventually finding himself in a multi-lap battle for the final podium position. With laps winding down and passing opportunities rare, Carlson made one last charge at the line but came up just a few feet short (2/10ths of a second) of a third place finish.
“The truck was blazing fast,” said Andrew after the race. “I’m disappointed I couldn’t gain one more spot, but I’m really happy in how well the truck handled. It feels like I can stick it just about anywhere on the track and know it will hold the line.”
Day two brought dramatically different track conditions as the hot Texas sun shone down. Those improving conditions opened up limited practice but qualifying was once again nixed, this time an inverted field from the previous day comprised the Pro-Light starting grid. Positioned on the outside of row 2, Carlson made the most of it, hooking up off the start, quickly moving into second place and gaining ground. Then the unexpected struck as the rear differential let loose, cutting short Andrew’s first podium finish of the young season.
“The crew had the truck really charging,” said team owner and manager Chris Carlson. “Jesse (Heise, the team’s Program Manager) made all the right calls to get the truck set-up for the hardened track, and Andrew was closing fast on the leader. It’s a tough break but we know we can run at the front…we’ll have redemption on our minds when we head to Chicago.”
It’s in Chicago at the Route 66 Raceway (June 10-11) where TORC will host rounds 3 and 4, and the team will face a track similar to Texas. Until then the team will return to Minnesota and continue to test and tune as they set their sites on a podium finish.
As with all TORC events this season, both days of racing in Chicago will be available in streaming High Definition, with 2.5 hours of live racing found on their website www.torcseries.com. Full coverage begins both Friday and Saturday at 7:15pm CST. You can also catch tape-delayed, 90-minute condensed programming on Fox Sports 2; Round 3 will air June 23rd at 9pm CST, and Round 4 will broadcast June 30th also at 9pm CST.
Follow Carlson Moto throughout the season on their website www.carlsonmoto.com or on Facebook @CarlsonMoto or Twitter and Instagram. #CarlsonMoto