If there was one theme that wove through last weekend’s 43rd Annual Bark River Off Road Rumble in the U.P., it was the law of averages. Drivers who succeeded early in the season tended to find trouble on Saturday and Sunday at Bark River International Raceway, and drivers who had been struggling began to finally get a break.
Defending Pro 4 and Pro Stock SXS champion C.J. Greaves was the clearest example of that. After losing the points leads in both classes in an ill-fated run last month at ERX Motor Park, Greaves returned to the top step of the Pro 4 podium on Saturday afternoon ahead of father Johnny and Andrew Carlson. Then, on Sunday, he took his third Pro Stock SXS victory, before falling just 0.445 seconds short of a Pro 4 sweep as Johnny won on Sunday.
In Pro 2, Mike Vanden Heuvel took his third win of the season on Saturday, while Keegan Kincaid finally took his first podium of the year in his new truck after struggles at both Crandon and ERX. Vanden Heuvel wouldn’t be able to pull off the sweep after a first-lap spin on Sunday, but fought his way back to third, while Kincaid got past Chad Hord in the second half of the race to finally take his first victory. The Kleiman brothers split the Pro Lite rounds, with Cody winning on Saturday and Kyle on top on Sunday.
In fact, first-second combos were the best that most top drivers could ask for during the weekend. Aside from both Greaves drivers in Pro 4 and Kincaid in Pro 2, Rodney VanEperen and Kyle Chaney traded first and second in the two Pro Mod SXS rounds, as did Don Demeny and Jordon Fellenz in Super Stock Truck. Michael Hester went first and second in Super Buggy on Saturday and Sunday, while Gabe Johnson did the opposite in Sportsman Stock SXS.
Meanwhile, a number of top drivers in various classes saw things go against them during the weekend, from the late-race wreck in 1600 Buggy that ended Tony Keepers’ perfect season bid on Saturday to incoming Super Buggy points leader Michael Meister’s DNF on Sunday. First-time 2018 winners included Mark Steinhardt in Super Buggy, Bruce Fraley and Paul Hayward in 1600 Buggy, and Kenny Masch in Pro Stock SXS.
The 2018 Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League season wraps up on Labor Day weekend with the 49th World Championship Off-Road Races and 3rd Annual Crandon World Cup/Amsoil Cup at Crandon International Raceway, the only venue to host multiple events on this year’s calendar. The inaugural MSCL championships will be handed out on Saturday, while Sunday’s World Cup rounds will see the world’s best short course racers involved in a shootout for bragging rights atop the sport. As always, the action from the 2018 MSCL finale and Crandon World Cup events can be streamed live on LucasOilRacing.tv on September 1 and 2.