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 look at the drivers to watch in the five Pro classes that carried over from TORC last year—stay tuned on Thursday and Friday for a look at names to watch in the other 10 classes that will compete over the weekend:
Pro 4: CJ Greaves
Like father, like son: the Greaves name remains the most hallowed in the midwest when it comes to short course racing, and while father Johnny remains a weekly threat for the win, CJ already boasts three straight Pro 4WD championships at only 23 years old. In fact, he took both the Pro 4WD and Pro 2WD titles in both 2015 and 2016 before shedding the latter in favor of Pro Stock UTV, which he also went on to dominate. Greaves placed first, fourth, and first in three TORC-sanctioned truck rounds here in 2017.
Pro 2: Keegan Kincaid
With last year’s Pro 2WD champion Luke Johnson and Brush Run winner Brad Lovell not on the entry list, Kincaid leads the largest Pro truck entry coming into Crandon. The Wisconsin native was third in class last year with two wins and 11 podiums, and took finishes of third, second, and fourth in the three TORC-sanctioned Pro 4WD rounds held here last year. Stepping back to 2WD, he’ll have to contend with a field of experienced racers that includes Chad Hord, Eric Ruppel, and Mark Peterson.
Pro Light: Kyle Kleiman
The Kleiman brothers went 1-2 in Pro Light last season, but it was Kyle who took the championship by 43 points over brother Cody. With nine wins and 10 podiums in all, Kleiman swept the wins in all three TORC-sanctioned rounds at Crandon on the way to the championship. He’ll have to defend that title against a number of last year’s top drivers, though, as Cam Reimers and Chad Rayford return to the class at Crandon, and Zack Szymik moves up from Pro Mod UTV to join the party.
Pro Mod UTV: Rodney VanEperen
Sure, he may have lost the Pro Mod UTV championship to Kyle Chaney, who is also on this weekend’s entry list, by eight points. But VanEperen absolutely owned the field at Crandon last year: he swept the Brush Run, and took finishes of second and first on Labor Day weekend. The win came in the all-important Crandon World Cup, the most prestigious round of short course off-road racing all year, netting him a $5,000 cash bonus and bragging rights coming into the 2018 season.
Pro Stock UTV: Zach Martin
With all due respect to CJ Greaves, who won dual championships in Pro 4WD and Pro Stock UTV last year, Martin was the closest challenger to Greaves for most of the year with eight podiums and no finishes outside of the top five. He finally took his first win in the season finale at ERX, the cherry on top of an impressive season that also saw him take his first steps into the Pro Light category. The Georgia native will focus on UTV in hopes that it might give him an edge over the class-hopping Greaves.