IN BRIEF: On Friday, Sunday River Resort in Newry, ME hosted Red Bull Frozen Rush, an unprecedented event in which eight drivers took 900-horsepower Pro 4 trucks to the ski slopes. After debuting his Pro 4 truck on the snow in a one-off demonstration run last year, Ricky Johnson earned the victory over longtime rival Johnny Greaves.
PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING RECAP: Six of eight drivers took to Sunday River for a Wednesday practice session, with Greaves and Rob MacCachren tops among them. MacCachren would do one better on Thursday, qualifying in the top seed by about a second over Bryce Menzies and Carl Renezeder. Johnson, widely expected to be a favorite of the event, spun during his time trial and fell to sixth on the speed charts, pairing him with Renezeder in the first round.
ELIMINATION RECAP: Drivers were split by 25 seconds at the launch, in order to give each competitor a fair opportunity at lapping the track. In the first round, MacCachren, Greaves, and Menzies advanced as expected, while the titanic clash between Johnson and Renezeder ended when the #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan spun on the second lap. The semifinals provided incredibly tense and close moments; Greaves and MacCachren tied on time, with a penalty to MacCachren the difference, while Johnson only beat teammate Menzies by .2 seconds.
FINALS RECAP: Menzies would face MacCachren in the third place race, holding on to the victory when a wide entry by the #21 Rockstar Energy/Makita Tools Ford in the final corner scrubbed off enough speed to derail the off-road legend’s podium bid. The winner-take-all finale was extended from two laps to four, and Greaves originally held the faster time; however, a five-second penalty to the #22 Monster Energy Toyota left Johnson the victor.
RESULTS: Full results from Friday’s Red Bull Frozen Rush, held at Sunday River Resort in Newry, ME:
- Quarterfinal 1: Rob MacCachren, #21 Rockstar Energy/Makita Tools Ford, def. Todd LeDuc, #7 Rockstar Energy/LoanMart Ford
- Quarterfinal 2: Johnny Greaves, #22 Monster Energy Toyota, def. Scott Douglas, #7 Amsoil Ford
- Quarterfinal 3: Ricky Johnson, #48 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford, def. Carl Renezeder, #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan
- Quarterfinal 4: Bryce Menzies, #70 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford, def. Greg Adler, #10 4 Wheel Parts Ford
- Semifinal 1: Johnny Greaves def. Rob MacCachren
- Semifinal 2: Ricky Johnson def. Bryce Menzies
- Trophy Race: Bryce Menzies def. Rob MacCachren
- Final: Ricky Johnson def. Johnny Greaves
QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Friday’s Red Bull Frozen Rush, held at Sunday River Resort in Newry, ME:
Ricky Johnson, #48 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford: “I’m ecstatic, but more than anything I’m really honored to be a part of something new. We’re in a society where guys are jumping out of hot air balloons at the edge of space—how many times do you get to be the first guy to do something? I’m the first one to win Frozen Rush. Last year I was the first one to drive a Pro 4 down a mountain of snow. To come back after hitting the wall yesterday and win today, I’m ecstatic. I don’t care what anyone says, you get any other kind of driver and you tell them that they’re having more fun than I am jumping a hundred feet and going 95 miles an hour down a ski slope, they’re lying.”
Bryce Menzies, #70 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford: “I’m actually really happy with the outcome of the event. I’m not a Pro 4 driver, I’m a Pro 2 driver so coming in I knew it was going to be a struggle. We went out and won our first heat race and went up against my teammate Ricky. I knew it was going to be hard, so I threw everything at it, and coming down to the finish I felt like I had him. I just blew the last turn and right then and there I knew I lost it. Then I went up against Rob MacCachren, who was the fastest pretty much all week. Once I beat him I thought we we’re doing pretty good—we got third, we got on the box. I’m just super pumped about this whole event, it went off so well. The fans, everybody that was here were cheering—I’m so happy about it. I have to thank to everybody who helps me out, Red Bull, KMC Wheels, BF Goodrich, and Discount Tire, a new sponsor of ours. It felt really good to come out here for the first event of the year and I look forward to the season coming up.”
Carl Renezeder, #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan: “It was a big learning curve for us—we only had limited lap time up there. Every time we got on the track the snow was different. I definitely had some strategies coming into the race, and we were really fast. I tried something through the gates that I thought would be faster and wasn’t. I realized that on ice if you don’t have the throttle—it’s not like dirt. It over rotated on me and I was just along for the ride. We learned a lot, so next time we come here we’ll be prepared. But it’s always great to drive my truck. I’ll do it anywhere—anywhere any time.”
FAST FACTS: A collection of facts about Red Bull Frozen Rush:
- The event originated in February 2013, when Ricky Johnson took his Pro 4 truck to Mount Snow in Vermont for a series of demonstration runs. This was the first time that Pro 4 trucks had ever competed against one another on the snow.
- The eight competing trucks were equipped with specially-designed studded tires by BF Goodrich, completely dissimilar to those run in the TORC Series and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. However, the summer tires were still on the trucks during service in the pit area; crews were not able to work on the trucks while equipped with the studded tires.
- Six of the eight trucks competing were Ford models, with Johnny Greaves’ Toyota and Carl Renezeder’s Nissan the lone exceptions. Greaves’ truck used the same type of engine that Toyota uses in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Bryce Menzies, normally a Pro 2 driver, rented a truck from fellow competitor Scott Douglas in order to compete in the event.
- Barring penalties, typical run times on the almost mile-long course ranged from 100 to 110 seconds. Before race day, Greaves’ 99.089-second practice run represented the fastest session of the week.
- Event finalists Ricky Johnson and Johnny Greaves have split the past three TORC Series Pro 4 championships. Johnson won the 2011 and 2012 titles, while Greaves earned last year’s championship.
Images via KMC Wheels