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Spinning Wheels: A New Era in Short Course

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (1); Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League (2-3)

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record on this, but I’ve got limitless optimism for the future of short course racing in America.

I’ve been gushing about the unification of the sport under the watchful eyes of Lucas Oil just about all year long. As late as things came together (relatively speaking), and as short as the schedule was compared to previous seasons, the new Midwest Short Course League was a hit. Combine that with the well-established and perennially successful Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in the southwest, and the days of the contentious regional divide that has split the sport for years appear to be numbered.

I’m not an insider on this stuff—I don’t know any more about the future of the sport than anybody else does right now. I haven’t been to any events since the merger, I haven’t spoken to any of the sport’s higher-ups about the future, and I don’t think I’ve seen short course trucks in person since the second Red Bull Frozen Rush at Sunday River, more than three and a half years ago.

But that’s not going to stop me from dreaming about all the possibilities for the sport right now. So let’s daydream a little, shall we?

Can you imagine what a true national schedule with all of the permanent facilities on the LOORRS and MSCL calendars would look like? Think about hitting Crandon and Glen Helen, Wild Horse Pass and Bark River, ERX and Estero Beach, all in the same season, with all of the same racers. The diversity of the courses, combined with the fan support from years of consistently strong events, makes for a tantalizing prospect.

Now, think about the shape a merged Pro 4 class would take. Take Greaves Motorsports’ father-son tandem of Johnny and CJ, mix in this year’s west coast front-runners RJ Anderson and Doug Mittag, and add top veterans like Ross Hoek, Scott Douglas, Adrian Cenni, and of course Kyle LeDuc. Then, think about all of the one-offs who ran at Crandon last weekend, and how tantalizing a full season against a field that deep might be for guys like Rob MacCachren and Bryce Menzies…

That’s not even touching a combined Pro 2 field yet, which might take a little more time now that each region is using a different formula. But the talent in the class across America is immense. MacCachren, Menzies, and Anderson have been known as dual-class drivers for a while now, and CJ Greaves made a surprise return to Pro 2 for the Crandon World Cup and went two for two in the World Championship and Amsoil Cup races.

Chad Hord, Keegan Kincaid, rookie Daely Pentico, and champion Mike Vanden Heuvel starred in MSCL this year, and LOORRS offers action sports legends like Jeremy McGrath and Brian Deegan, as well as young stars Jerett Brooks and Bradley Morris. That’s an all-star race right there.

The MSCL Pro Lite field was a bit short this year, but all five full-time drivers entered the season finale with a chance at the championship that Kyle Kleiman eventually claimed. Combine that with top LOORRS drivers like points leader Ryan Beat, Brandon Arthur, Christopher Polvoorde, and World Championship winner Brock Heger, and you’ve probably got a dozen drivers who can win on any given weekend.

I can’t even count all the drivers who would be competitive in a national UTV and buggy short course series without leaving out dozens of quality names.

In a racing landscape where most series are full of pay drivers, NASCAR’s defending champions just went under, and rallycross’ future is a complete unknown, few racing disciplines have more going for them right now than short course. I’ve got nothing but excitement for the coming years, and if you’re a fan of the sport, I think you should feel the same. And if you’re not a fan yet, I think you will be soon.

The views expressed in Spinning Wheels are those of the author and do not reflect the views of any other entity.

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