One of the biggest questions coming into the ERX Off-Road National, the inaugural round of Championship Off-Road competition at ERX Motor Park, was how Kyle LeDuc would slot in against a full field of Pro 4 trucks, including a fleet of midwest short course regulars.
With two perfect days, he answered the question pretty thoroughly.
LeDuc topped the speed charts in practice and qualifying, turned the fastest lap, and won both races during the weekend, scoring his 100th and 101st career Pro 4 wins on a track he’d never driven before. Last year’s Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series champion was one of multiple drivers who made the switch to COR this year, as LOORRS phased out the class entirely for 2020. Johnny Greaves and hometown favorite Andrew Carlson completed the podium on Friday, while Carlson moved up a spot on Saturday, keeping ahead of third-place finisher and last year’s midwest champion CJ Greaves.
Sweeps were the name of the game throughout much of the weekend. CJ Greaves’ Pro 4 title defense may not have gotten off to a winning start, but his move into Pro Mod SXS proved fruitful with back-to-back wins over defending champion Kyle Chaney. Meanwhile, Greaves’ cousin Kyle proved himself ready to take the mantle in Pro Lite with back-to-back wins over Carson Parrish, the latter coming with a last-lap pass.
Pro Stock SXS proved to be one of the most exciting fights of the weekend over both days, as the field was plenty deep with 25 entries and the front-runners proved to be evenly matched. CJ Greaves swept the SXS action on Friday after Jeremy Houle failed post-race tech inspection, promoting Robert Loire into second and Jason Luburgh onto the podium behind him. On Saturday, it was Loire’s Polaris RZR atop the podium, with Houle redeeming himself with a second place in his Textron and Greaves holding strong in third in his Yamaha.
But while it’s not quite the size of the SXS grid, the Pro 2 class may be just as compelling to watch this year. Last year’s top two drivers, Keegan Kincaid and Kyle Kleiman, each stood on the podium twice, splitting the race wins to kick off the year. Mickey Thomas fought from fifth to second behind Kincaid on Friday’s podium, while Ricky Gutierrez earned his first Pro 2 podium on Saturday in third.
After the second sanctioning body change in three years for short course racing in the midwest, Championship Off-Road took control with a successful event. ERX was able to accommodate fans with social distancing protocols in place, while fans who weren’t able to attend were able to watch the racing with two full days of live streaming. Replays will be available online in the coming days.
Other Friday and Saturday class winners from ERX were as follows:
- Pro Buggy: Michael Hester, Mark Steinhardt
- 1600 Buggy: Billy Buth, Dylan Parsons
- 1600 Light Buggy: Colin Schulz, Jake Nelson
- Super Stock Truck: Nick Byng, Joe Maciosek
- Stock Truck: Eric Senkowski, Diesel Shanak
- Formula 4×4: Danny Beauchamp, Danny Beauchamp
- Classix: Aaron Konitzer, Aaron Konitzer
- Sportsman SXS: Tim Christensen, Dylan Marquardt
- 170 SXS: Kody Krantz, Carson Greco
- Short Course Kart: Ava Lawrence, Andy Johnson
- Mod Kart: Sam Marquardt, Sam Marquardt
The Championship Off-Road season resumes on July 25-26 at Dirt City Motorplex, with the facility’s first-ever national event after hosting sportsman competition last year.
Images via Championship Off-Road