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NHRA’s Antron Brown and Steve Torrence are hooked after their first off-road race

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If NHRA Top Fuel drivers Antron Brown and Steve Torrence are still a little bit sore in the saddle going into this weekend’s NHRA Gatornationals, there’s a good reason.

Brown and Torrence – they competed under the “Chocolate and Creme Race Team” moniker devised by Brown – took part in last Saturday’s Mint 400 off-road race in Primm, Nevada.

There’s good news and bad news on how their maiden off-road racing effort went.

NHRA Top Fuel drivers Steve Torrence, left, and Antron Brown are ready to go off-road racing again.

The good news: Brown completed the whole 117-mile first lap of the three-lap event with no problem.

“Woo, that was a rough one,” Brown said after completing his lap. “A to the B made it, though. I’m praying for Steve, he doesn’t know what’s ahead of him. That’s some rough stuff out there.”

Now the bad news: as it turned out, Torrence had problems when he took his turn behind the wheel of the Polaris RZR off-road buggy. Torrence got 13 miles into his 117-mile lap when the steering broke.

Steve and his co-driver were able to limp the car 16 miles into Pit B where they fixed the steering and sent Torrence back on his way.

Unfortunately, the steering broke again – and gave up the ghost for the remainder of the event – at the 58 mile marker.

“What an awesome experience,” Torrence said afterward. “It was a damn good time.”

While it was the first time either Brown or Torrence competed in an off-road race, it won’t be the last. Both drivers are ready to do it again later this year.

“Round 2 is going to happen this year,” Torrence said. “I’m hooked. The meat hooks are in me for off-road racing.”

Said Brown, “It beats you down, way down. But, I’m coming back. I’m going to get meaner and leaner. We’re going to do some more testing. We had good speed. I need to work on my corners a little bit better. They were way better at the end, for sure. I know what to expect now.”

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Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.