We say it every year, Nascar has Daytona, Indy Car has the Indy 500, Desert Racing has the Baja 1000, and Short Course has Crandon.
With everything going on in the world this year Crandon showed even more that it is the mecca of short course racing and always will be. The staff at Crandon have been working around the clock leading up to their big Labor Day World Championship weekend making sure that it would happen. It was only a few weeks ago that they got the word all was good and the event could go on as planned, and it took even less then that for all the camping spots to be sold out.
In these times we need normalcy and having a race like Crandon go on with full fans is just what the motorsports world needed. Travis Pastrana who was racing Crandon for the first time said, “This is the first race I’ve been to where it feels normal again.”
The weekend started out as it always does in downtown Crandon for the yearly parade and fan fest where all the race cars line up in the streets and fans get to interact with their favorite drivers. At high noon teams jump in their cars and parade back to the track where racing for the weekend got started. With all the uncertainty in motorsports right now it was a welcoming site to see the town of Crandon filled with race cars and adoring fans.
The Crandon World Championship races held on Sunday don’t have any season points. The only thing at stake is bragging rights that you beat the best short course drivers in the world and a lot of money. For the Pro 2 and Pro 4 races in the morning the winner received a brand new 2020 Polaris RZR Turbo, Prolite winner got $5000 cash, and Pro Buggy, Pro Mod SXS, Pro Stock SXS got $4000. The Ultra 4 winner got $7500 cash and even the Mod Karts got in on the money run with the winner getting $1000. For the cup race with Pro 4 vs. Pro 2 the winner got $30,000. In all with cash and prizes Crandon gave out over $150,000 this weekend.
If you’ve lived under a rock the last 50 years let us explain the Pro 2 vs. Pro 4 cup race real quick. The Pro 2 trucks line up in front of the Pro 4 trucks and get a predetermined head start down the track. Every year its different, it all depends on lap times from the previous days but typically the Pro 4’s get the green flag when the Pro 2’s are almost halfway around the track. From then its an all out battle for the Pro 4’s to catch up and then pass all the Pro 2’s before the checkered flag. Its the most intense short course race you’ll ever see and this year there were 29 trucks battling it out which is the most we’ve had in a very long time.
For this years race the Pro 2’s left the back stretch and made their way into the famous turn one and Corry Winner would escape the carnage and grab the hole shot where he would hold on to the lead for 6 impressive laps with Rob MacCachren and Doug Mittag hot on his tail. Rob Mac would finally get around Winner on the seventh lap to take over the lead but it was short lived as a flat tire would slow him down. Mittag who also got around Winner would take over the lead but all the while behind them the Pro 4’s were on the hunt.
Lap after lap Kyle Leduc was pushing through the field methodically working his way past the Pro 2’s. After winning in Pro 4 earlier that day and also the day prior Leduc looked to be unstoppable after passing Mittag as the final Pro 2 in his way. As luck would have it though after taking over the lead Leduc would suffer a power steering fire in the back stretch forcing him to pull over.
Mittag would regain the lead and begin pushing as hard as he could but now had last years winner RJ Anderson hot on his tail. Only two turns later RJ passed Mittag for the lead and with only two laps remaining any chance of a Pro 2 winning was left to RJ making a mistake or breaking down, but it just wasn’t in the cards and RJ would become a back to back Crandon World Cup Champion.
Mittag held strong and finished in second place putting on an amazing effort for the race. The battle for third behind them was just as exciting as the battle for the lead. Ryan Beat who pieced together a motor after blowing two engines in a weekend and running on seven cylinders worked his way up to third place after starting mid pack. It was an impressive run and it looked like he would grab the final podium spot for the cup race but Cole Mamer, driving a Pro 4 for the first time had other ideas.
The young gun also worked his way through the pack and on the last lap gained three positions to put himself in a spot to fight for third place. Going into the final turn on the final lap Mamer and Beat were side by side and with two other tires rotating in the dirt Mamer was able to over take Beat for third place.
With the win RJ becomes one of the few people to win back to back cup races and is $30,000 richer because of it. Starting out in Trophy Karts years ago and moving his way up the ladder year after year RJ has proven that he is one of the most elite drivers in the sport.