Joe Sylvester Motorsports News Update
Contributed by Joe Sylvester
The month of June was definitely a crazy busy one for Joe Sylvester Motorsports (JSM.) After a month long break from our races in Charlotte, NC, we headed back up north to Bark River, MI for rounds five and six of the TORC (The Off-Road Championship Series). Bark River International Raceway is one of the most notorious tracks in short course off-road racing and boasts some of the most dedicated fans in the sport.
This weekend of racing would be my first time on one of the big tracks in the TORC and it also marked the debut of the UTV class in the TORC. On Friday we only had about four laps of practice on this challenging track but, we managed to qualify 15th, putting the number eight Rogue Racing, Rigid Industries LED Lighting, UTV mid pack for the start of the race.
As with all the races in the Prolite Class, this one was full of thrills, spills and carnage. When the dust settled, we were able to get the Cooper Tire truck to a 10th place finish overall, making for our 4th top 10 finish of our rookie season. Qualifying on Sunday set us up for a 12th place start for the race that afternoon.
Once again, after a hard fought battle, the FK Rod Ends, Lincoln Electric– backed truck came out with a season best 6th place finish. This was very exciting for me and my crew as we have been working very hard all season and learning a lot our first year in the TORC. Every weekend we get a little closer to that coveted podium finish. Our results in rounds five and six at Bark River International Raceway would move us up to 7th place in overall season points.
The debut of the UTV class in the TORC was well accepted by the fans and I have no doubt that one day UTV will become a very large class in the TORC series. I was able to win the first heat race and power my Mosites Motorsports, HMF Racing, Pyrotect Racing Safety Equipment, ISP Seats and Can Am Maverick to a 3rd place finish in the feature on Saturday
June 28th and 29th came up very quickly for us as we traveled a little further west to the Big House, Crandon International Raceway, in Crandon, WI. I was very excited to be racing here knowing the history behind this track and it’s claim to fame in the sport of short course off-road racing.
I first need to thank Keith Stamper of Related Fab for opening up his shop to us the weeks prior to the race, so that we could prep the trucks for the Spring Brush Run race in Crandon. This track is super fast and gets beat up very quickly with close to 25 Prolites on the track.
Qualifying set us up in 12th place to start the race in the famous “Land Rush” start. For anyone not familiar with this start, it is both exciting and very dangerous as all 23 trucks start in a row similar to a motocross style start. The trucks charge at Turn one at full speed between 80-100 m.p.h. and then make an off cambered, blind, right hand turn. If turn one at Crandon doesn’t get your heart pumping, you need to check your pulse!
Saturday was a rough day for us as we struggled with the truck. On about the second lap, my throttle return spring fell off my carburetor and every time I had to let off the throttle, I had to put my foot under the pedal and pull it back towards me. As the race continued and we were running somewhere around the top 10, my transmission temperature kept climbing and the trans started slipping more and more as we dropped back a few positions. Finally, the transmission had enough and I had to limp the truck into the hot pits where we waited about three laps. I finished the race by pretty much coasting across the finish line.
With the help of ATD Transmissions Designs and Dynamic Converters, we got a fresh transmission and torque converter put in the truck and we borrowed a new transmission cooler from fellow competitor Travis Dinsmore. Travis and I have a fierce rivalry on the track and have been battling each other for points all season, but when off the track, we are friends and want to help each other be on top of our game so that we can duke it out on the track to the best of our ability.
Thanks to my crew, we stayed up till 2am getting the Rogue Racing prolite back together for round eight on Sunday. With the truck feeling solid in qualifying, we again would start in the 12th position. After the start, we moved up quickly to about 10th position but a crash from another racer on the first lap would force a red flag restart. The second time around was not so kind to the bright red and black Rigid Industries LED Lighting truck.
I knew turn one was going to be a crapshoot and a lot of guys would be over aggressive. My plan was to do the opposite of how I normally drive and be cautious and patient. My plan going into turn one was to make sure we got through cleanly and could then start advancing our position on the track.
That plan was quickly brought to an end about half way through turn one. I was collected in a huge full speed pile up with about five or six other trucks. The crash was unavoidable for us and very sadly ruined our chances for a top position at the Brush Run. That is off-road racing though, it is unpredictable, fast paced and things can change in the blink of an eye.
For the second weekend in a row, we would put the number eight Mosites Motorsports Can Am Maverick up on the podium with two second place finishes. My FCR suspension was working great and HMF pipes were giving us that little extra power down the long straights. Thanks to my ISP seat and Pyrotect safety gear, my comfort level in this new machine was on high. The track was very high speed and the changes USAC made to the track made for some exciting racing for the fans in Crandon.
With a heavily damaged truck, we are back in our shop in Ohio using the best welding equipment in the world from Lincoln Electric making all the necessary repairs and changes to the truck so that rounds nine and ten at Bark River are successful for our team.
Once again I’d like to thank all the great marketing partners we have this season that are standing behind us pushing us a little closer towards victory lane every race: Rigid Industries LED Lighting, Cooper Tire, Rogue Racing, Lincoln Welders, Amsoil, Prodigy Shocks by Pure Performance, K&N Filters, Komar Plumbing, Sylvester Construction, Br4ss Premium Men’s Essentials, Pyrotect Racing, Fragola, FK Rod Ends, NGK, GOPRO, Mosites Motorsports, Oakley, Ripped Vinyl, Driven Steering Wheels, Capital Powder Coating, Clevite Engine Parts, Mahle, Universal Technical Institute, ISP Seats, and Fiberwerx.
Until next time,
–Joe Sylvester –