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Championship Off-Road Race Preview: Dirt City

Championship Off-Road takes on the newest and most technical track on its 2022 schedule this weekend, as Lena, Wisconsin’s Dirt City Motorplex plays host to Rounds 7 and 8 of the campaign. What Dirt City lacks in history, though, it’ll make up for in challenges, as drivers work to find places to pass in just the third visit to the track in COR history.

Halfway into the season, the championship favorites in most of the top Pro classes have put on some distance. CJ Greaves has a 33-point advantage over his father Johnny in the Pro 4 class after a double podium weekend last time out at ERX Motor Park, but Brock Heger still has the younger Greaves’ number in Pro Stock SXS, holding a 35-point advantage in that class. The biggest exception is the still-growing Pro Spec class, where Nick Visser and Gray Leadbetter are tied with 297 points coming into Dirt City.

Nonetheless, title races like the Pro 2 chase were turned on their head in Dirt City last year, and this year’s landscape remains close enough to have the same happen. Cory Winner’s two victories and consistency have him 16 points over perennial contender Jerett Brooks, but Ricky Gutierrez is just one point out of second and Kyle Kleiman and Mickey Thomas are also still within shouting distance. Likewise, Kyle Greaves has extended a 14-point lead over Heger in the Pro Lite class, but an unlucky weekend could allow Heger, Trey Gibbs, and even Carson Parrish to get back in the fight.

The Pro Turbo SXS class has seen its own battle between sheer firepower on wins and consistency. Kyle Chaney has three victories in hand, but a DNF in the opening round from Antigo has him eight points adrift of Owen VanEperen for the top spot. New Zealand’s Hamish Kelsey has been one of the top rookies across any pro COR division, sitting third in the standings and 11 points out of the lead, while former class champion Rodney VanEperen also remains well within striking distance of his son with five more rounds to work with.

Last year’s Dirt City event saw both Pro 4 and Pro 2 run both of their races on Sunday thanks to heavy Saturday rain. The weekend was full of storylines, ranging from Johnny Greaves’ 100th career Pro 4 victory to points lead changes in both Pro 2 and Pro Stock SXS. But only Heger—and only in his Pro Lite—was able to sweep both races on the weekend, perhaps foreshadowing the challenges ahead for each division.

Racing from Dirt City kicks off on Saturday at 10AM and Sunday at 9AM with the Sportsman divisions, while the Pro classes will go green at 4PM and 3PM on the respective days. As always, the action will stream live on FloRacing before airing on the CBS Sports Network in the coming months. Following Dirt City, Championship Off-Road returns to Bark River International Raceway on August 13 and 14.

Image via Championship Off-Road

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.