The third annual ERX Off-Road National presented by Polaris RZR sees the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League return to action after a successful, albeit weather-affected, debut event in Crandon. The second race in series history will see a switch in venue to ERX Motor Park in Minnesota, with a number of regional classes making the trip after skipping this round last year. Here’s a look at the drivers to keep an eye on in the truck and kart classes—stay tuned for the side-by-side and buggy drivers tomorrow:
Pro 4: Johnny Greaves
We’ll get to son CJ later this week, but Johnny’s got some unfinished business in points-paying Pro 4 action right now. He won the weekend-closing faceoff between the Pro 4s and Pro 2s at Crandon last month, but the elder Greaves lost the win to his son in the one Pro 4 race that got off after making a rare mistake. There’s no doubt that he’ll be looking for revenge this weekend.
Pro 2: Mike Vanden Heuvel
Winners in each of the top five classes of Midwest Short Course competition at Crandon also won at ERX last year. Vanden Heuvel, whose aggressive driving to hold off Chad Hord for the Pro 2 victory last month put on quite a show, was able to sweep the weekend at ERX last season—his only two victories in what turned out to be an abbreviated four-race season.
Pro Lite: Cory McClenathan
Kyle Kleiman enters the weekend off both a weekend sweep at Crandon and dual victories at ERX last year, but he may not be the most interesting name on the entry list. That honor belongs to McClenathan, a longtime NHRA Top Fuel competitor with dozens of victories who first made the jump (literally) into off-road racing in 2015. He’ll be making his season debut in the Pro Lite class this weekend.
Mod Kart: Easton Sleaper
Last year’s Short Course Kart champion was one of a number of drivers to move into the new Mod Kart class for 2018, but Sleaper only completed two of the eight laps in the lone Crandon race. He’ll be looking to renew the rivalry with Crandon winner Owen VanEperen, the only driver on the lead lap there.
Short Course Kart: Troy Johnson
After finishing eighth in last year’s championship with a single podium, Johnson took his first victory in the first Short Course Kart race of the season by holding off the returning Aiden Wandahsega by just under two seconds. He’ll aim for a repeat performance at ERX, where he finished 10th twice last year.
Super Stock Truck: Joey Maciosek
Last year’s second race winner in the spring Crandon round backed that up with another victory in 2018, splitting the weekend with Nick Visser. Maciosek, the runner-up in last year’s Super Stock Truck championship, will shoot for a similar performance at ERX to last year’s first and second place runs.
Formula 4X4: Alex Hinze
Debuting in the class last year, Hinze finished ninth and fourth in his first two race rounds at Crandon. It took him only four starts to take his first victory, though, as he split the two wins on offer at Crandon this spring. Formula 4X4 is a new class to ERX for this year, meaning it’ll be a wide open weekend.