It’s finally time for the oldest, and most iconic, weekend in short course off-road racing.
The 49th Crandon World Championship Off-Road Races are this weekend, as the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League closes out its inaugural season with the biggest event of them all. As a year of change closes out for the midwest and its many classes of competition, there’s plenty of hope for the future as fans look forward to what this year’s unification will mean for the sport over the long term.
But before we get there, we have a number of champions to crown this weekend, as Friday and Saturday’s rounds determine who will take home the trophies in everything from karts to the premier Pro 4s.
We start with the Pro truck classes, where no championship leader has an advantage of greater than nine points. That lead belongs to Johnny Greaves, who aims to finally reclaim a Pro 4 title after his son CJ has exerted his dominance on the class in the midwest for the past few years. In Pro 2, it’s three-time race winner Mike Vanden Heuvel who holds the eight-point advantage over impressive class rookie Daely Pentico.
The Pro Lite class, though, may come down to a winner-take-all battle. Cory Winner doesn’t just hold a one-point advantage in the championship, he’s also got three drivers tied for second behind him: Chad Rayford, Cam Reimers, and 2017 class champion Kyle Kleiman. The Kleiman brothers have won five of this year’s six races, with Kyle earning three and Cody taking two; Cody sits four points back of Winner in fifth overall.
The gaps are a little larger in the Pro UTVs, as Rodney VanEperen’s two wins and six podiums have him 22 points ahead of Elliott Burns for the Pro Mod SXS lead. Meanwhile, early-season consistency and two victories have given Ryan Mulder a 15-point advantage in Pro Stock SXS. In both classes, the defending champions—Kyle Chaney in Pro Mod and CJ Greaves in Pro Stock—sit third, but will likely need a little help to defend their titles.
Elsewhere in the paddock, some championships are much closer than others going into the final race weekend of the season. Michael Meister’s three wins have him 19 points ahead of Mark Steinhardt for the Super Buggy lead, Jordon Fellenz is 21 ahead of Diesel Shanak in Stock Truck, and Ben Passa leads Nathan Hughes by 22 in Formula 4×4. Tony Keepers’ 41-point advantage in 1600 Buggy is as large as it gets, though, after he won the first four rounds out of the six held so far.
But there are plenty of single-digit differentials to pay attention to as well. The three-point spread between Nick Visser, Jaime Kleikamp, and Joey Maciosek, the top three drivers in Super Stock Truck, will produce an exceptional championship battle. Aaron Konitzer only leads Fay Statezny by two points in Parsons Classix racing, and Gabe Johnson’s nine-point advantage over Kyle Greaves in Sportsman Stock SXS suggests a down-to-the-wire championship battle.
The action kicks off at Crandon on Friday and continues throughout the weekend. Fans can head to LucasOilRacing.tv on Saturday at 1:50PM ET/10:50AM PT for full coverage of this year’s Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League season finale. Stay tuned for a separate preview for Sunday’s Crandon World Cup/Amsoil Cup coming later this week!