Kleimans cruise to off-road wins
BARK RIVER — It was a big weekend for the Kleiman family of Wilson as brothers Cody and Kyle each won a race in the Upper Peninsula Off-Road 100 at Bark River International Raceway.
Cody took Sunday’s Pro Light event and was runner-up to Kyle in Saturday’s TORC Series race in front of several thousand spectators.
“Now, I know what this actually feels like,” said Cody, who took the checkered flag for the first time in Pro Light on this sunny and seasonably cool day. “It’s an amazing feeling to do this in my hometown. Kyle wanted me to be the next one on top of the box. This is a pretty special feeling.”
Cody was followed by Chad Rayford and Shawn Morris of Loveland, Colo. in Sunday’s race.
Kyle, who was trying to make a move toward the front, experienced a bit of misfortune as the tie rod broke on his truck in the second lap. He had won five straight prior to Sunday.
“That was an unfortunate break for Kyle,” said his father Mark. “That’s the car God gave him and he was doing a great job weaving his way through traffic. I think in the back of his mind he wanted to beat the record (seven) by his dad. Kyle can absorb it. He’ll have more chances to break the record.”
Rayford led for 4 1/2 laps. Cody then passed him to became the leader at the competition yellow (flag).
Cody immediately took charge after ther restart continued to lengthen his lead through the remainder of the race.
“We didn’t have to tell Cody too many things (from the pits),” said Mark. “He ran a perfect race. The more relaxed he got, the faster he got.”
Rayford was also the early leader Saturday. Cody, however, took the lead in the second lap and Kyle moved into second in the third lap, much to the delight of the hometown crowd.
Kyle overtook Cody shortly before the competition yellow and continued to pull away after the restart.
“I try not to get caught up with following people,” said Kyle, the point standings leader. “It’s always a challenge when you’re following somebody. When the track is that soft (due to recent rainfall), you get a lot of ruts and mud gets into your face. You can’t see sometimes. My strategy for today was to go out and do what I do best. I’m just glad it ended how it did. This makes a statement for our program.”
Cody had similar thoughts on Saturday’s race.
“That was like a victory for me,” said Cody, who took over second place in the points standings. “To do it in front of the home crowd, that was special. The track was soft and it got rutted up. I almost didn’t finish because my fuel pressure was down. I just stayed consistent and ran hard. I think the crew did a fantastic job getting the track ready. I appreciate the efforts of everybody who put the race on.”
Chad Hord of Felch placed third in Saturday’s Pro 4-Wheel Drive event behind John and C.J. Greaves, a father-son combo from Abrams, Wis.
John took the checkered flag and C.J. was runner-up.
Hord weaved his way from back of the pack and moved up as high as second during the second half of the race, but was unable to hold off C.J.
On Sunday, Hord started in the front and maintained the lead until the seventh lap.
Then the first turn, Hord caught an edge and put his truck up on two wheels and eventually into the concrete barrier. Despite the mishap, Hord was able to salvage a fifth-place finish.
C.J. Greaves won the race, followed by Keegan Kincaid of Argonne, Wis., Scott Douglas of El Cajon, Calif. and John Greaves, who drove on a flat left rear tire for the final 2 1/2 laps.
Ashton Hord of Felch placed third in Saturday’s short kart cart race behind winner Easton Sleaper and runner-up Owen VanEperen.