This weekend, Ricky Carmichael returns to racing at RedBud, but this time on four wheels, as he will be racing in The Off-Road Championship (TORC).
Carmichael’s no stranger to racing four wheels, though, as he's raced NASCAR, including the truck series, for a number of years since retiring from motorcycle racing, but it will be his first time racing off-road in the TORC PRO Lite class. Carmichael will be competing against fellow motocross legend and veteran four-wheel off-road racer Rick Johnson and Superbike racer Larry Pegram at RedBud.
Below is an interview with Carmichael generated by TORC…
RC, you're no stranger to truck racing. Do you see your inaugural venture into the TORC Series as the ultimate combination of your NASCAR Truck Series racing and pro motocross?
Yes, I really do. I have had some offers to do these before, but I have always been busy and consumed with other projects that didn't allow me to try it. So when this opportunity came a few weeks ago and I was free I thought, why not? And so I'm pumped and thankful and do think it the perfect crossover from trucks in NASCAR and moto.
Talk a bit about how your background in motocross might help you in terms of line selection, corner setup and identifying passing area – at speed - in racing the Monster Energy/Traxxas/Oakley PRO Lite truck at your old stomping grounds at RedBud.
Well, I think there's a lot that crosses over from moto to off-road racing. First thing is that it's the simple fact of racing and no matter what form of racing it might be it still is the same concept. I think another thing that makes it similar to moto is that the track and dirt is always changing after every lap and you’re always searching for the best lines and traction possible.
Dirt, elevation change and, in particular - jumps and berms - are going to drastically set the TORC-style racing apart from NASCAR Trucks. That said, how do you feel your experience behind the wheel of a NASCAR truck will help you – if any - at RedBud?
I'm not sure how much racing the NASCAR Truck Series will help me in the TORC PRO Lites because it’s totally different. I anticipate starts, restarts and being bumper-to-bumper to be similar, but other than that I can't see much similarity. But you know I could be totally wrong.
Coming to RedBud to race the TORC PRO Lites is no doubt going to bring out some additional fans to the race. The fans at RedBud no doubt list you as one of their all-time favorites. Talk a bit about what the fans at RedBud have meant to you over your motocross career.
This decision was easy for me because of the history that I have at RedBud, regardless if it was on two wheels. I really like the Ritchie's (RedBud owners Amy and Tim). They do a fantastic job and the fans at RedBud are phenomenal.
You've won more often than not at RedBud. Understanding this, given your drive and high expectations of yourself in anything competitive, have you set any goals in terms of results in your first TORC effort?
I have had a ton of success on two wheels at RedBud, no doubt. But let there be no mistake about it; I will be racing something entirely new to me against a bunch of great drivers that I have respect for. With that said, I want to go there with the expectations to have fun and just simply improve every time I drive the truck. I have no clue as to tell you what place I will get, all I want to do is, like I said, improve every time I’m out there - learn, watch all the other great drivers, spend time with the fans and have a damn good time.
Sage advice for any new driver no doubt. Lastly, if RJ starts in with the trash talk, do you point to the record books and your nine wins at RedBud (seven in the 250 class, two in the 125s) to RJ's four RedBud wins?
RJ? RJ who? Ha-ha. It’ll be pretty easy for him to talk trash on me with how accomplished he is in off-road racing so I can take it.