2014 TORC champions crowned in Crandon (SPOILER)

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Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of this weekend’s TORC: The Off-Road Championship season finale at Crandon, Wisconsin. NBCSN will air the races this Saturday, Sept. 6, at 3:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

Johnny Greaves (PRO 4), son C.J. Greaves (PRO 2), and Jerett Brooks (PRO Light) are your 2014 TORC: The Off-Road Championship class champions following a rain-marred “Keys To The Big House” season finale at Crandon, Wisconsin.

Heavy rains hit the Crandon Off-Road International Raceway on Friday night, and with more weather issues on Saturday, TORC shifted the PRO races to Sunday and altered the schedule. Since the teams were to also participate in the AMSOIL Cup event at the end of the day, PRO Light would run two rounds while PRO 2 and 4 would each run a single race worth double points.

C.J. Greaves earned the PRO Light win in Race 1, with Doug Mittag in second and Brooks in third. With that, C.J. eliminated Mittag from the title hunt, but still needed to win Race 2 and have Brooks finish 13th or worse in order to take the crown.

That did not happen, as Brooks clinched the PRO Light championship with a third-place finish behind second-place C.J. and first-time PRO Light winner Shawn Morris.

Between the PRO Light races was the PRO 4 event, which had Johnny Greaves come in needing a finish of ninth or better to win the class title even if his closest points pursuer, Mark Jenkins, took the checkered flag.

But Jenkins was forced to pull out during the race with mechanical issues, leaving Johnny to try and clinch the championship in style. Kyle LeDuc had other ideas, though, and a late pass of Johnny enabled him to pick up the race win ahead of Johnny in 2nd and C.J. Greaves in 3rd.

C.J. then claimed the PRO 2 title with a second-place finish behind winner Chad Hord. The runner-up meant that C.J. would make history as the first TORC driver ever to earn a podium spot in all three PRO classes on the same day.

LeDuc bagged his second win in Crandon by taking the AMSOIL Cup race ahead of Johnny Greaves and R.J. Anderson. However, the race was marred by a bad accident involving Mark Kvamme.

Kvamme was transported to a local hospital, but an update from TORC this morning said that he has since been released after sustaining multiple injuries. We certainly wish him a speedy recovery.

Ferrari, Mercedes launch 2018 F1 cars

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The title combatants from the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season both launched their 2018 challengers earlier on Thursday, with Scuderia Ferrari revealing the SF71H and Mercedes AMG Petronas revealing the W09.

For Ferrari, the SF71H represents an evolution of last year’s SF70H, which helped produce Ferrari’s best season in several years.

They presented a strong challenge to Mercedes for the championship, even leading the way at various points, with Sebastian Vettel recording five wins along the way. But, mechanical failures and crashes hampered their efforts late in the season, and they settled for second in the driver’s championship (with Vettel) and the constructor’s championship.

Entering 2018, the team is emphasizing the importance of building momentum with every race to ultimately secure their first constructor’s crown since 2008 and their first driver’s crown since 2007.

“There are no challenges actually. There are no challenges in the plural. There is just one challenge, which is the final challenge,” asserted team principal Maurizio Arrivabene. So that’s work that you build and you don’t build that work in one or two races. We’ve seen over the last few years, in the last championships, that you work race by race, and you always try to do the best you can.”

Technical director Mattia Binotto detailed some of the updates on the 2018 car, such as an new power unit and new suspension designs in anticipation of new tire constructions.

“We worked a lot on the power unit, we worked on its reliability and performance. We worked on the packaging, on suspensions in the rear axle because there will be new tires the following season, so we also tried to design the car to accommodate the new tires,” he explained.

Binotto added, “In regards to aerodynamics, we maintained our concept of having the inlets on the radiators, and everybody’s copying that, but we tried to make an additional step forward and what we showed today is not the same element of last year, but it is something more developed.”

Mercedes, meanwhile, will look to take it’s fifth consecutive driver’s and constructor’s championships with the W09. The team even took the car to the track for its launch, conducting a filming day at Silverstone Circuit.

“It is always a very exciting time because what has been designed is coming together and coming alive,”  team principal Toto Wolff said during the launch.

Despite facing challenges with last year’s car, the W08, the team elected to follow a similar design concept with the aerodynamics to improve on the car’s strengths while simultaneously addressing its weak points.

“We like some of the character traits from our diva,” Wolf quipped. “The W08 was the fastest car on the grid, scoring the highest number of pole positions and winning the most races last year. So we were careful not to lose the car’s many strengths just to overcome the difficulties.”

Both Ferrari and Mercedes are expected to slug it out again for the 2018 driver’s and constructor’s championships.

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