It’s finally here: the defining weekend of the year in short course off-road racing is upon us, as the world’s greatest drivers descend upon Crandon International Raceway for the World Championship Off-Road Races. For more than half a century, The Big House has played host to some deep fields and exciting finishes, and this year’s Championship Off-Road season finale and World Championship rounds will be no exception.
Unlike most COR events, Labor Day weekend at Crandon is slightly different for the Pro divisions. They’ll only run for points on Saturday, while Sunday’s action is reserved for the independently sanctioned World Championship rounds. The Red Bull Crandon World Cup closes out the year of racing on Sunday afternoon, with Pro 4 and Pro 2 racers going head-to-head for bragging rights and big money on the line.
As always, Crandon will see some inflated fields beyond the norm of Midwest regulars, with Pro 4 one of the biggest beneficiaries. After giving it aa go in Pro 2 last year, Travis Pastrana will team up with Andrew Carlson in the AWD class this time around, while four-time 2021 Pro 2 race winner Keegan Kincaid will pull double duty in preparation for a full-time step back up next year. They’ll be among those looking to play spoiler as CJ Greaves aims to protect the 25-point championship lead he built over Kyle LeDuc with a sweep at Bark River International Raceway.
In Pro 2, Kincaid and the rest of the Midwest regulars will need to fight back against Jerett Brooks, winner of the final Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series class title, after he finally established himself as top dog with a 2-1 at Bark River. He enters the finale with 17 points in hand over Cory Winner and 25 over Kincaid, as he looks to win his second title in two years.
Rodney VanEperen wrestled the Pro Mod SXS championship lead away from Carlson with a strong performance at Bark River, and he carries a 17-point lead of his own into the final weekend of the year. But it’s not Carlson, but VanEperen’s son Owen, who now sits in second in his rookie season in the class.
Finally, Brock Heger will look to become the only driver to win the title in two Pro divisions this year, thanks to his utter dominance that allowed him to lock up the Pro Lite crown at Bark River and ability to avoid the pitfalls that hurt CJ Greaves last time out in Pro Stock SXS. A neck-and-neck battle between the duo, who had traded wins all year long, is now a 47-point gap thanks in part to a Greaves DNF and another Heger weekend sweep at Bark River.
It’ll be four full days of on-track action at Crandon, as the pro and sportsman classes are joined by both a full slate of Ultra4 competitors and even the return of Class 11 cars. Pro practice kicks off bright and early at 8:45AM on Thursday, with Friday’s traditional parade through downtown Crandon yielding to racing later in the afternoon, and full days of racing starting at 9AM on Saturday and 10AM on Sunday.
Images via Championship Off-Road