Greaves, Thomas Ace Weather Test In Antigo

June 10, 2024
Kilian Hamlin

Antigo, Wis. ~ The second weekend of racing for the 2024 AMSOIL Championship Off-Road season was delayed early due to overnight rains. Continued spurts of rain would make the tight track in Antigo, Wis., even more challenging as the day wore on, including an old-school mud race in Pro SxS.

But off-road is made for extreme conditions, and the sports best drivers went to work and proved that the show must go on. Race fans lined the grandstands to see close finishes and podium charges from deep in the field.

By the time the final checkered flag flew on day one in Antigo, past champions found redemption, and some newcomers found themselves in the middle of a winning streak.


Greaves Dialed In at Antigo

CJ Greaves built a new Pro 4 in the off-season and debuted it in Lena. Jimmy Henderson built a new truck in the off-season and debuted it this weekend in Antigo.

For Greaves, he fought through the first race gremlins three weeks ago. Henderson had to do the same on Saturday, but it was a flat tire that would take him out of the lead and benefit Greaves.

Henderson nailed the start and stretched past Adrian Cenni for the race lead. But a few laps later, Henderson pulled into the hot pit with a flat rear. That momentarily put Cenni into the race lead, but Greaves found an opening and slid past for the lead. He had the truck dialed in for Antigo and drove to his first win and podium.


“We had our hands full at Lena trying to get the bugs sorted out,” said Greaves. “We got them sorted out and the truck was lights out good.”

After the restart, Cenni spun, allowing Johnny Greaves to move into second. He and Kyle Chaney would battle it out for the runner-up spot. A pause by Greaves would collect Chaney, who could not refire in time, and recatch Greaves. It also opened the door for Kainan Baker to slot into third as he picked up his first career Pro 4 podium.


Thomas Tames Track, Pro 2 Field for Second Win

There wasn’t much track prep prior to Saturday’s Pro 2 race, but the old-school roughness kept the contest exciting.

Ricky Gutierrez showed the way around the Antigo track for the first seven laps and had a four-second lead on Mickey Thomas. But traction seemed to elude Gutierrez, and Thomas found the right lines and powered into the race lead. Gutierrez shortly pulled off the track, leaving Thomas unchallenged for his second win of the season.

“We took so much roost on at the beginning, and that roost was just gnarly,” said Thomas. “All of our coolers got plugged up with mud, and I was just trying to keep it cool, hit my marks, and not make too many mistakes. It was a brutal track out there with lots of holes.”

Round two winner Ryan Beat had his hands full in the runner-up spot, first holding off a challenge from Keegan Kincaid and then a Johnny Holtger as he drove to his second podium of the season. Holtger would run the fastest lap of the race and finish third.


Gibbs Garners Second Straight Pro Lite Win

There were a pair of rollovers on the first lap of Saturday’s Pro Lite race, but Trey Gibbs was out front and dealing with clean air as the young gun drove to his second straight win in round three.

With rain and clouds adding moisture to the track, Gibbs stayed out front from start to finish and used the clean air to find the optimal traction to easily get around the tight Antigo offering. It was Gibbs’s third podium of the season, locking him into the overall points lead.

Round one winner Johnny Holtger moved into the runner-up spot on lap eight, getting past Travis Milhausen, Jr., and driving to his third straight podium to start the season. Tyler Remmereid also snuck past Milhausen late to finish third.


Pro Spec Victory for Visser

Nick Visser has shown great talent in a class designed to showcase driver’s ability over equipment and technology. Visser has opened up the season with three straight podiums and now has been credited with two consecutive wins.

Chris Van Den Elzen went door-to-door with Visser throughout the contest before Visser put a late separation on the challenger. Dylan Parsons would finish third.

(Note: Chris Parrish led round three from start to finish but was given zero points following the day of racing).


Carlson Takes A Muddy Pro SxS Win

There was a slight pause in the Pro show on Saturday as the clouds turned open the spigot and dumped a healthy dose of water on the Antigo track. What was turning into a tacky, racy track quickly turned into a mud race.

Kainan Baker took advantage of the slimy conditions, jumping from sixth to the lead on the first lap. He would hold point for much of the race, but with all of the cars camouflaged by the thick mud, he might not have seen Andrew Carlson coming.

Carlson dropped back to ninth early in the race, but he was fearless in his pursuit to get back into contention over the second half of the race. He caught and passed Baker on lap ten and then pulled away from the field for his second win of the season.

Baker would cross the line second for the second straight race. Rodney VanEperen held off his son Owen VanEperen for third.


Greaves Returns to Form in Pro Stock SxS

In the offseason, CJ Greaves built three new race vehicles, including his Polaris entry into Pro Stock SxS. In Lena, he was off the mark in the season opener before finding solace in a fourth-place finish.

But Greaves is the defending class champion, and he made the proper adjustments in the three weeks between rounds two and three. On Saturday, Greaves jumped at the chance to nail down his first win of the season, going wire-to-wire for the win.

Round two winner Jeb Bootle found his groove late in the race and moved into second with two laps to go. Opening round winner, Owen VanEperen was a mainstay with the race’s frontrunners throughout, ultimately finishing in third.

Pro-AM SxS: The competition in Pro-AM SxS will heat up as the summer ramps up, but right now, no driver in the class may be as hot as David Gay.
After missing out on a podium finish in the season opener, Gay was wicked quick in round two and resilient in round three in Antigo. Gay started eighth but worked through early traffic to take the lead on lap three.

With Gay on a two-race winning streak, Jesse Greaves went to bed on Saturday night with his first podium of the season by finishing second. Ben Heiting was the day’s biggest mover, starting 17th before finishing third.


Bonacci’s Rolls to Second Straight Win

The talent in Pro Buggy runs deep, but Lorenzo Bonacci is currently rising above all challengers.

It hasn’t been easy for the Californian, who took home his round two win with a late race surge. On Saturday, Bonacci started fifth and once again had to work through some of the top drivers in the sport. Billy Buth led from the start, but on lap ten, Bonacci worked his way into position and passed Buth for the race lead and the win.

Buth, who won the opening round in Lena, would finish second. Jordan Bernloehr started outside the top five but moved into the final podium position on lap ten for his third straight podium of the year.


Super Stock Truck: Joe Maciosek had to endure some early bumping and grinding, but the defending class champion found his way into the lead in the second half of the race and drove to his second win of the season.

Ron Kosciesza continues his ascent up the leaderboard and the standings, finishing second. Nick Byng started 9th but finished strong, crossing the line in third and taking over the points lead.

Stock Truck: The Stock Truck class is proving early on that the championship will be wide open in 2024. After Saturday, there are three winners through the first three rounds.

Round three honors went to Nick Axelsen, who opened up the weekend by leading from start to finish. It was Axelsen’s first podium this year after opening up the season outside the top ten in the first two rounds.

Points leader Brian Peot chased down the Axelsen twice on Saturday but could not close the final gap, finishing .664 seconds behind the race winner. Kirk Graff finished third.

Sportsman SxS: After a night of rain, the Sportsman SxS class opened up the action and were welcomed with a morning mudder. Being out front and staying clean was vital, and Carter Nordrum took advantage.

Nordrum started on the front row, and once the green flag dropped, he darted to the front of the pack. He went wire-to-wire for his first win and podium of the season.

Behind the race winner, Sam Brazee earned his first podium of the year by finishing second. Riley Marquardt started sixth, having to deal with traffic and a mud-filled facemask. Marquardt was able to move into third on lap eight and held on for his best finish of the season.

1600 Single Buggy: Things were a bit hectic at the start of Saturday’s 1600 Single Buggy showdown, but Connor Schulz used it to his advantage on his way to his first win of the season.

Schulz started eighth and was able to sneak through the early chaos and into a podium spot behind race leaders John Fitzgerald and Michael Seefeldt. Fitzgerald was ahead at the halfway spot but gave ground to Seefeldt. Then, with three laps remaining, Schulz snuck past Fitzgerald and Seefeldt with a great inside move, holding on for the win and the points lead.

Seefeldt looked to have the runner-up spot, with Fitz in a close second. But Seefeldt put the car on its lid, moving Fitzgerald into second. Taylor Roloff also stayed clean early in the contest, moving from 13th to third for his season’s first podium.

1600 Light Buggy: The fourth race of the day looked like the track was beginning to dry out from the previous night’s rain, but the 1600 Light Buggies still spent most of the contest looking for traction.

Throughout the race’s second half, the leaders were widening their race lines into the heavy fluff, which moved several drivers in and out of the lead. In the final lap, points leader Connor Schulz found his way into the lead. Schulz started ninth and waited until the last lap to get around Eugene Reinke, Jr., picking up his fifth straight win going back to the 2023 season.

Dylan Rohloff followed Schulz through the mess, finishing second for his second straight podium finish. Early race leader Jake Schilleman earned his first podium of the year by finishing third.

570 SxS: Ellah Holtger is now on a winning streak after driving a complete race on Saturday to her second straight win. Holtger started fourth but took the lead on lap four before moving to a five-second victory.

Early race leader Logan Fritzinger finished second behind Holtger while holding off Draxton Szymik for the runner-up spot.

170/200 SxS: Drake Dreher is on a mission in the 170/200 SxS class this season. Dreher picked his third straight win on Saturday after taking over the lead on lap three. Brixton Writ was the top 200 SxS finisher in round three, crossing the line second overall. Ashton Dreher rounded out the podium in third.

Mod Kart: Gavin Plummer is a first-time winner in Mod Kart. Plummer mashed the throttle pedal to the floor and drove to a clean, wire-to-wire win.

Plummer was joined on the podium by first-time top-three finishers. Tristian Hinton locked down the runner-up spot, while Lincoln Mandsager went from seventh to third for the final rung on the podium.

Short Course Karts: Finley Holtger is in an early-season role in Short Course Karts. Holtger took home a second straight win on Saturday, backing up a two-podium weekend in Lena three weeks ago.

Ava Plummer started 13th on Saturday but ended the day second. Wesley Vande Voort began one spot behind Plummer in 14th and finished one place behind Plummer in third.

Youth SxS: Round one winner Ryker Remington bounced back for his second win of the season in Youth SxS. Remington started sixth but found his way into the race lead on lap two. He would hold off a hard-charging Hudson Houle at the end of the contest. Houle had a race-long showdown with Carter Jutila, finally moving into the runner-up spot with two laps remaining.

Up next for AMSOIL Championship Off-Road: The fourth round of racing will be held on June 9th at the Antigo Lions Roaring Raceway in Antigo, Wis.