Winner at Charlotte & RedBud beats guys three times his age, propelling to the top of the o/a TORC Super Buggy points chase BUCHANAN, Mich. (June 5, 2012) –
Winner at Charlotte & RedBud beats guys three times his age, propelling to the top of the o/a TORC Super Buggy points chase
BUCHANAN, Mich. (June 5, 2012) – Already well known on the West Coast for his desert racing talents, fast-rising Traxxas TORC Series, presented by AMSOIL, superstar Mitchell DeJong (Traxxas/Red Bull) has put on quite the show at the first two rounds of the TORC Series in Charlotte and Buchanan, Mich., and has quickly endeared himself to the Eastern U.S.-based fans of short course off-road racing.
In winning TORC Series Super Buggy main events at both Charlotte Motor Speedway and RedBud MX, DeJong has shot out to the overall class points lead based on his two victories. And as you’ll read in the interview below, it hasn’t even been his top-of-the-podium efforts that have been most thrilling for TORC fans, rather his amazing driving efforts just to finish with all sorts of mechanical problems.
The TORC Series floated a few questions DeJong’s way following the RedBud MX event and here what he had to say …
TORC Series: Mitchell! You’ve got two Traxxas TORC Series weekends under your belt – four Super Buggy class races. What do you think of the TORC Series thus far?
Mitchell DeJong: I really love it! Everyone has been so friendly. TORC seems to care about the racers as well as the fans.
TORC Series: You won the TORC Series’ very first event of the season a Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Dirt Track. How cool was that?
Mitchell DeJong: It was a great opportunity and awesome experience to be racing on the same track where so many professional racers started their career.
TORC Series: This past weekend at RedBud MX in Michigan you suffered some bad luck in Saturday’s race – but were able to still pull off a podium despite flat rear tire. Talk about that race and how you were able to get on the box.
Mitchell DeJong: Well, the first thing that happened on Saturday, that most people don’t know was that when I went out to do the exhibition lap for opening ceremonies, I heard a clunking sound. My class was lined up in staging for the race because our race was second in the lineup. My dad checked everything over and discovered a CV problem. We rushed back to our pit where me and my dad changed the CV as fast as we could and raced back up to staging just in time for my race.
DeJong continued: I qualified first but they had a full inversion so I started in the back. I worked my way through the pack and was leading the race before the half way point. I knew my right rear tire was going down from contact earlier in the race. Knowing I was running BFGoodrich tires, I had confidence I could finish the race. Holding on to a podium position would be tougher on three tires, but that was my goal! I just stayed focused and tried to keep my momentum up through the corners. I fell back two spots because of it but was able to finish on the podium!
TORC Series: Sunday’s event at RedBud had you winning by a wide margin. But are we to understand you were suffering some engine troubles, possibly a gearbox, that had your Super Buggy running on only a couple gears? How tough was that?
Mitchell DeJong: Yes! I started 5th and was running strong until the mandatory caution. I had taken the lead before the yellow flag came out but after the restart, coming out of turn one, I shifted into 3rd gear but it popped out. I tried to put it back into 3rd and it just wouldn’t go. This is when I knew I didn’t have 3rd gear and I would have to win this race using only 2nd and 4th gear. I also realized I had a broken sway bar. This track was fun but it was also brutal and hard on equipment. After giving up the 1st position the day before because of a flat tire, I was not going to let that happen again. With the H-pattern shifter it wasn’t going to be easy shifting from 2nd to 4th and keep my RPMs up. I was able to hold on to the lead and bring my Traxxas, Red Bull, Menzies Super Buggy through the checkered in 1st!
TORC Series: So is it safe to say you’ve settled into things on the TORC Series? Are you comfortable with the Super Buggy class and feel you’re improving each time you get behind the wheel?
Mitchell DeJong: There is a lot more going on inside the super buggy than the other classes. We have a cutting brake for turning, a shifter, and floor clutch along with the brake and pedal. Practice and seat time is always good and I get more comfortable in the super buggy every time I drive it.
TORC Series: What goals did you set for yourself at the beginning of the TORC season? Do you feel you’ve reached those goals thus far?
Mitchell DeJong: I wanted to be running competitive times with the top two in the class my first time in the buggy. I did meet that goal but I’m always learning.
TORC Series: What’s been the coolest thing about racing the TORC Super Buggy class thus far this year?
Mitchell DeJong: The tracks.
TORC Series: Up next is Crandon – speeds like you’ve never seen in a short course off-road race. Are you pumped for Crandon?
Mitchell DeJong: Oh, yeah! I can’t wait to get out there on the track and see what Crandon is all about.
TORC Series: What do your buddies at school think of what you get to do on the weekends?
Mitchell DeJong: They all think it’s cool! Most of my friends now are racers too. Because we travel so much I am home schooled, so I meet up with friends on iracing.com and the go kart track.
TORC Series: You ride dirt bikes, skateboard, ski/snowboard – anything like that?
Mitchell DeJong: I do a little BMX riding for fun and go karting.
TORC Series: When you’re not racing, what are some other things you enjoy doing?
Mitchell DeJong: Traxxas RC Cars! I love to drive them, build them, and make jumps for them! I also like building up my gaming station.