Christopher Polvoorde, the driver of the #94 STEEL-IT / General Tire / TIS Wheels Pro Lite, has a lot to be proud of after achieving a perfect season in the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League (LOMSCL) and finishing it out in spectacular fashion with a Crandon World Championship win. Polvoorde went for 8 races and earned 8 wins with the first 7 counted towards the 2019 LOMSCL Pro Lite Championship and the eighth race propping Christopher up in history as the 2019 Crandon Pro Lite World Champion.
Polvoorde has a genuine appreciation for the chance to compete and recognizes each of his achievements from this weekend holds significant value. “This weekend was one that I know I will never forget!” declared Christopher. “It was a dream of mine just to be here racing at Crandon. To have a truly perfect season, to win 8 straight races, winning a Midwest Championship, and taking the big World Championship race on Sunday, it just feels unreal! I feel so blessed with the team and support we have.”
Short course racing at Crandon International Raceway is un-rivaled in terms of status and prestige, often compared to the “Indy 500” of off-road. Being the 50th-anniversary celebration added to the glory exponentially. The event organizers pulled out all the stops and kicked it off with a huge Friday Night concert featuring megastar Kid Rock. The Labor Day weekend event saw festival size crowds accumulating as high as 75,000 attendees. All camping spots, available grandstand seating, and race pit locations had been sold out months in advance. Fans flocked to the sports hallowed grounds to relish in being part of the history-making event and were treated to something extraordinary. The sports very best showed up making the largest competitive field in history and a virtual who’s who of short course racing all celebrating a truly iconic event.
Christopher was one of the lucky few to participate in the big event, and he was seen as a major contender in the extra stacked field. Having seen success at the same track earlier this year during the “Brush Run”, Polvoorde was well equipped. He put in additional testing to continue his efforts to work towards the 2019 LOMSCL Championship aiming to win the last points race on Saturday.
“Coming into the weekend the pressure was already there,” admitted Christopher. “Having gone 6 for 6 on the season, the monkey was really on my back to see if I could finish it off and go 7 for 7. We are here to win and always plan for everything as much as possible.” Polvoorde Racing showed up early, business as usual. The pit setup was upfront and center to allow for maximum engagement & interaction with Crandon International Raceway’s super fan base.
“Of course, to kick it off Crandon style, we had to go hit the parade on Friday morning. It’s a pretty awesome experience running the trucks down the highway and then hanging around for the parade all morning with the fans.” Polvoorde had a booth set up, with his STEEL-IT Race Trucks on display, signing autographs for all the locals and out of towners.
The Pro Lite talent has been pretty stiff all season long, and this weekend saw extra heat come out from Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) west coast competitors that wanted to get in on the Crandon World Championship. Most notable were Cole Mamer, Brock Heger, and of course Ryan Beat, who like Polvoorde had committed to racing both the national series and the midwest series.
For both the practice and qualifying session, the #94 STEEL-IT Truck was sitting in the top 5. Christopher explained, “We ended up fifth fastest in qualifying. I was a little off my game, but I knew we would have a fast truck for the race. That set me up in the fifth gate for the land rush start.”
The key to success at Crandon is to get a good start and to come out of Turn 1 leading the pack. The “land rush start” is like nothing else and pretty much exclusive to Crandon. “Getting the holeshot is key,” Polvoorde shared in an interviewed featured during Red Bull Media’s live streaming event coverage. “It makes your life easier when you can see clean air. If you are in the back, it is just pure chaos, and you cannot see. You are just hoping you are not going to hit someone. When you are out front, you’ve got that clean air. It’s essential, and it puts you in the right mindset for the rest of the race.”
Christopher continued, “It is nerve-racking, just looking down the grass field, you get the chills. It is pretty insane. No matter how many times you do it, you will always be scared.“
Saturday’s Pro Lite event saw 23 trucks lined up at the STEEL-IT Starting Line with two full rows ready for a nine lap dash to the finish. At the drop of the Green Flag, Polvoorde got a great start with the world’s fastest Pro Lite drivers falling in behind.
Coming down Turn 1, it looked like Cole Mamer could peek ahead but by the time the trucks entered into view of the Crandon Grandstands, Polvoorde had taken the hole shot. From that point on, Mamer often challenged multiple times throughout the race, but Christopher was flawless, and the truck was perfect all the way to the win. “I was able to get a good start and get the holeshot. I kept my head down and had some close battles but got it done.”
Polvoorde’s victory featured a best lap of 1 Minute and 25.431 seconds giving him a perfect season with 7 race starts and 7 wins for the championship. Christopher’s after-race interview: “Coming into this race, I was so nervous. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever been this nervous. At the start, I was sitting there shaking. Coming out of Turn 1 in 1st place, I was trying to keep it under control. It was down to the wire. It’s insane. I got to give it up to my team. We put in so much work and to have a perfect season is just unreal.” An unbelievable championship series capped off with another race win was just the kicker for Polvoorde to get pumped up for one final challenge in hopes to pull off a perfect season.
Sunday’s World Championship Off-Road Races are all big-money events outside of points racing and for many, the only races that matter, specifically for the attached prestige. Crandon’s crowds swelled to the highest point of the weekend, and the Pro Lite event took center stage.
Polvoorde was awarded Gate 1 and the choice lane based on the prior race finish which ultimately set him up for his second win on the weekend and eight straight for the season. Christopher explained, “I got Gate 1 and was able to get the holeshot again as our General Tires hooked up. It was a wild race, but thankfully, I had a fast truck. It was a tough one as the track was getting torn up and the racing was as wild as it gets. I was running hard, and to make no mistakes was tough. After a few close calls, I was able to get settled in and begin to push out a gap over 2nd place. At that point, a red flag came out, which set up a one-lap dash for the finish. It was close and intense, but in the end, we pulled it off and went 8 for 8.”
Polvoorde continued, “Honestly, it just doesn’t seem real. I’m on cloud 9 right now. My team has worked so hard this past year, and to have a perfect season doesn’t seem real. To be the world champion and to do it at the 50th it will be something that my team and will never forget.”
An outstanding all-around effort was poured out by Christopher Polvoorde and his team to achieve the unthinkable. Racing at “The Big House” was just some kid’s dream who was new to historic and iconic motorsport. Now, Polvoorde, a Pro Lite World Champion, has made his mark and will forever be remembered as one of Crandon’s best off-road racers.
Christopher Polvoorde is supported by STEEL-IT Coatings, TIS Wheels, General Tire, King Shocks, Arma Sport, Brembo Brakes, Rigid Industries, Simpson, Rugged Radios, FK Rod Ends, Kicker Audio, Maxima Racing Oils, K&N Filters, Optima Batteries, Camburg Racing, Magnaflow, MPI Steering Wheels, VP Racing Fuels, ARP, Smart Whips and The Palms River Resort.”
Next on the schedule, Polvoorde will head back home to California to take on Round 7 & 8 of LOORRS titled the Rockstar Energy Golden State Off Road Nationals Presented by General Tire. The 2-day event will take place October 5th & 6th.