Elk River, Minn. May 16, 2017 – Nimble and quick… those words define the weekend performance of Andrew Carlson in the opening rounds of TORC: The Off-Road Championship series at the Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. Armed with a truck on point and confident skills, Carlson streaked to a podium finish and exited the weekend just four points out of the Pro Light Championship lead.
Speed and the 151 AMSOIL, Atturo Tires truck driven by Carlson were synonymous throughout the weekend as Andrew set the fastest lap-time during Friday’s practice. He then went on to post the fastest lap time five-out-of-six times as he ripped the track during the double-header race weekend.
“Our Crew Chief, Jesse, had the truck absolutely dialed,” Carlson said after his second-place podium finish on Sunday. “It allowed me to go out and just run my race.”
Picking the right line was key during Saturday’s Round 1 final where a strong second-place qualifying effort put Andrew mid-pack at the inverted start. The pent-up energy and jitters from a long off-season was on display as drivers bumped and banged their way around the “kinked” raceway. The aggressive driving mixed with a wet and rutted track made for some treacherous conditions and limited ideal line choice for everyone. While Carlson utilized his driving savvy to inch closer to the front of the pack, an aggressive move in the corner upended the 151 Polaris PMC Pro-Light truck, sending it on its lid. After a full-field caution and restart, Andrew battled from the back of the field to finish fifth, salvaging critical championship points.
The strong finish on Saturday allowed Carlson to start in the front row of Sunday’s Pro Light final. After the field of drivers sorted themselves out during the opening lap, Carlson and last year’s championship runner-up Kyle Kleiman pulled away from the pack. With Kleiman in the lead, Carlson closed the gap several times during the race, but chose consistency and racing smarts over going for bust.
“I had a few opportunities to try to put a pass on Kyle,” Carlson said, “but I didn’t want to throw away a good finish and the (championship) points on a track where a wreck was a real possibility.”
The result was a satisfying second place finish on Sunday and strong, early season positioning in the year-end championship chase.
“Our goal for Chicago was to get on the box, verify our set-up, and position the team for a strong showing in rounds three and four at our home track,” said Crew Chief Jesse Heise. “I’d say it was mission accomplished.”
The “home track” is ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota, where the TORC Series will makes its next stop, June 10-11. The track made its TORC Series debut last season to rave reviews from racers and fans alike, and it’s where Carlson notched his first career Pro-Light win. The mile-long track is carved into the natural terrain of the 400-acre park, which this season will host TORC Series races in June and September. Tickets for the June Twin Cities Takedown are on sale now at https://erxmotorpark.com/off-road/.
You can relive Andrew’s drive to the podium in Chicago via on-demand streaming-video found at the official TORC Series website www.torcseries.com
Follow the Carlson Moto Team throughout the season on their website www.carlsonmoto.com or on Facebook @CarlsonMoto or Twitter #CarlsonMoto