The Championship Off-Road racing series made its return to Crandon International Off-Road Raceway to finish out their season and crown their champions.
What was originally scheduled for late June had to be rescheduled due to everything going on with Covid-19, so the folks at COR and Crandon moved the event to September 25-27 which would now be their final race of the year.
With the time off in the summer the team at Crandon decided to invest in installing professional high quality lighting all around the track so that for the first time the Pro classes could race under the lights on Saturday night.
Like usual the weather is very unpredictable out in the midwest and even more so this time of the year. Friday practice would have to be canceled because of the track getting almost 2” of rain the night before. Saturday morning when qualifying was scheduled was also canceled due to the racers taking a vote. COR kept the track open to anyone who wanted to get some practice in however only a few teams decided to do so to avoid having to clean up the mess after. The track crew worked hard packing down the mud to give the racers a track before racing started Saturday afternoon and after the sportsman races the track, even though only one lane was in pretty good condition for racing under the lights.
With the track the way it was, it was very important to grab the hole shot as it was very hard to make clean passes on the course. If you blew a corner or went wide to try and get around someone you would end up in deep mud. Your best best was to wait for the driver in front of you to make a mistake.
In the three truck classes no championship was locked up yet so it made Saturday nights races very crucial. In Prolite Kyle Greaves has been having a stellar year winning five races and going into the weekend had a 16 points lead, but in Saturdays race he was forced to pull over on the very first lap giving John Holtger the chance to gain some ground on Greaves. Holtger would end up finishing second behind Zach Symik putting the championship in anyones pocket going into Sunday.
For the final round for Holtger to win the championship everything had to go right and thats exactly what happened. Early in the race Greaves was forced to pull off giving Holtger an opening who would eventually win the race and giving the teenager the Prolite championship showing that consistency wins championships.
In Pro 2 Kyle Kleiman and Keegan Kincaid have been swapping the points lead all year long, and it was hometown favorite Kincaid who took over the lead going into the weekend by a mere 6 points. While Mickey Thomas checked out on Saturday a big battle was going on behind him, Kincaid held with the front pack for the early part of the race but eventually would fall back behind Kleiman and Ryan Beat who were battling hard for the final two podium spots. Kleiman would finish second for the night two spots ahead of Kincaid bringing the point chase to only two points meaning it was whoever finished ahead of each other would take the championship on Sunday.
On Sunday Kleiman took over the lead early on lap two and never looked back grabbing his first Pro 2 win in Crandon. Kincaid wasn’t far behind but would finish third not being able to get around Mickey Thomas giving Kleiman a 7 point advantage and taking home the Pro 2 championship.
Kyle Leduc was shooting for his seventh Pro 4 title this weekend and going into the final two rounds had a fairly comfortable lead. Saturday nights race was one of the better Pro 4 races we’ve seen in a long time with some great battles and passes on a track surrounded by mud. Leduc would play it safe off the green flag as to not get mixed up off the start and began to slowly pick off his prey. By lap six of sixteen Leduc had moved his way up to third place with CJ and Johnny Greaves leading the way. A few laps later he would pass CJ and with just a few laps to go get around Johnny to take the win.
With the win Leduc would just have to start the race on Sunday to clinch his seventh Pro 4 championship in one of the largest Pro 4 fields short course has seen in a while. CJ would end up winning the race on Sunday but it was too little too late as Leduc was crowned champion.
Sunday also saw the Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run Cup race where once again the Pro 2 and Pro 4 trucks battled each other. For the labor day Crandon World Cup race the gap the Pro 2’s were given was pretty spot on with the Pro 4’s catching the Pro 2 midway through and RJ Anderson getting around Mittag with two laps to go. The gap for this race was much larger as the Pro 4’s weren’t given the green flag until the lead Pro 2’s were already crossing the finish line on their first lap.
The Pro 4’s would have a tough time getting around the Pro 2’s when they eventually got them on a track that also was dryer then the day before till had sections where it was only a truck width across. Andrew Carlson and Leduc started working their way through the Pro 2’s with CJ behind them with Carlson looking like he found an extra gear holding off the Pro 4 champ for the majority of the race. Leduc would find his way around Carlson but the top three Pro 4’s where all on each others bumpers and they set their sights on the two final Pro 2’s ahead of them.
Even with about 4 laps to go the gap that Kyle Kleiman and Ryan Beat had on the Pro 4’s looked to be way too much and after Leduc’s truck shut off in Cowboys Corner causing Carlson and CJ to get caught in the mix as well there was no way Kleiman would be caught. Beat would finish behind Kleiman followed by Cory Winner who got around the pack of Pro 4’s to take home the final podium spot giving the Pro 2 trucks the full podium which we haven’t seen in a very long time.
Photos by HighRev Photography