The inaugural season of the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League kicks off this weekend at Crandon International Raceway with the 25th Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run. The first of two weekends of racing for the series at Crandon this year, it’s the only venue that will host multiple events on the LOMSCL calendar, as well as a fitting host for the first round of unified short course racing in the US.
With the shift from TORC to LOMSCL this offseason, the entry lists will see some significant changes from what fans in the midwest have seen so far this year. Today, we focus on the drivers in the kart and buggy classes—come back on Friday for a look at names to watch in the remaining Sportsman classes:
Super Buggy: Mark Steinhardt
Michael Meister may have won the championship and two of the four rounds here last year, but Steinhardt was the most consistent Super Buggy driver at Crandon in 2017. At June’s Brush Run, he placed second and third; on Labor Day weekend, he flipped those results in the World Championship. Just eight points shy of Meister for the championship last year, there’s absolutely no doubt that Steinhardt comes into this weekend with something to prove.
1600 Buggy: Bruce Fraley
Last year’s 1600 championship came down to a tiebreaker on wins, with Fraley’s five victories enough to top Tony Keepers’ three. While Keepers swept the Brush Run last year, one of nine drivers to sweep their class in this event, Fraley was right behind him on both days with a pair of second place finishes. In addition, the Las Vegas native added second and fourth place results at the World Championship event in the fall. Expect Fraley to be a threat to climb on top of the box at least once this weekend.
1600 Light Buggy: Greg Stingle
The only driver to win multiple rounds at Crandon last year, Stingle was actually fairly up and down in his results at the Big House. Finishing 13th on Saturday at the Brush Run and 25th on day one of the World Championship, he rebounded with victories in both second round races. But despite 1-2-1 finishes in the final three rounds of the 2017 season, that 25th place run helped Jake Nelson preserve a five-point advantage in the championship. Two more wins for Stingle might help tell a different story in 2018.
Mod Kart: Easton Sleaper
Five of the top six driver’s from last year’s Short Course Kart standings move into the Mod Kart class for 2018, including Sleaper, who won the title by 22 points over Owen VanEperen. Sleaper finished third, ninth, third, and second in four Crandon starts last season, but also won seven races overall—including both rounds at Bark River and three out of four at ERX Motor Park. With VanEperen, one of four Short Course Kart winners here last year, due to challenge him in Mod Kart, can Sleaper earn a victory?
Short Course Kart: Aiden Wandahsega
With most of last year’s Short Course Kart heavy hitters moving on to Mod Kart, the 2018 season is wide open in the class. Of the returning drivers, though, only one managed to take a podium at Crandon: Wandahsega, who capped off a partial 2018 campaign with a third place result in the second leg of the World Championship. While fellow 2017 racers Troy Johnson, Michael Funk, and Kennedy Marquardt all look to take the Crandon podiums that eluded them last year, Wandahsega has a leg up.