Greaves, Thomas Top Trucks In Crandon

June 25, 2024
Kilian Hamlin

Crandon, Wis. ~ The weekend in Wisconsin’s Northwoods was marked by the unpredictable fury of heavy rains, which unexpectedly wiped out the qualifying and round five of AMSOIL Championship Off-Road’s annual spring trek to the Big House: Crandon International Raceway.

While it is true that racing in the rain and the mud would appeal to off-road’s top short-course racers, the two-plus inches of moisture mixed deep into the red clay of Crandon’s circuit, leaving it nearly untraceable and limited safety for Saturday’s tilt.

Despite the unexpected turn of events, the teams demonstrated their resilience and adaptability. The day off was not wasted, as it provided them with the opportunity to fine-tune their strategies and prepare for a full Sunday. The track, initially slippery, was transformed into a race-ready surface, ready to host the epic Forest County Potowatami Cup race.


Greaves Wins Third Straight Potawatomi Cup

The Forest County Potawatomi Cup race has witnessed some great finishes in its 31-year history. Sunday’s Pro 4 vs Pro 2 tilt was one of the best, with its winner extending his win streak to three straight.

The timing of the start between the Pro 2’s and Pro 4’s is not easy to calculate. Track condition, car counts, and lap times are considered, and on Sunday, the timing was nearly spot on.

Mickey Thomas, leading the Pro 2 field, was in a race against time. He quickly went to work, trying to put as much distance between himself and the rumbling Pro 4’s waiting on the start line. Thomas was at top speed when the Pro 4’s started, knowing that it was going to take a near-perfect race for the higher horse-powered trucks to gather the race leader.

CJ Greaves was on a mission. He and the rest of the Pro 4’s vaulted off the line and, within two laps, had reached the Pro 2 field. Greaves quickly worked the back markers but had to keep digging to get Thomas. That finally happened with less than two laps to go, as Thomas ped around the track with partial vision due to his fiberglass hood being torn apart. Just as the final lap started, Greaves was able to slide past Thomas before driving to his third straight Forest County Potawatomi Cup win.

“For a long time, I was marking myself with Mickey, and he was running really good laps, and I was still in the middle of the Pro 2’s,” said Greaves. “I said, ‘It’s going to be a battle right to the end.’ So, I just tried to hit all my marks, stay clean, and put on a good race at the end.”

Thomas was the top Pro 2 driver and finished second overall. Johnny Greaves drove his Pro 4 to third.


CJ Greaves Triumphs with His 101st Win

CJ Greaves hit a career milestone in Antigo two weeks ago by winning his 100th career Pro truck race. On Sunday, it took a while for number 101 to come into focus.

CJ and Johnny Greaves went door-to-door throughout the first half of the race, with Johnny getting an advantage he would hold through the mandatory caution. CJ slowed just before the mandatory caution, putting RJ Anderson into second.

As the race resumed, Anderson applied intense pressure on the leader, eventually taking over the top spot on lap seven. Johnny Greaves, who faced a setback when his truck stalled and had to be refired on the fly, dropped back to fourth. Adrian Cenni and CJ Greaves seized the opportunity, moving into second and third. However, Cenni’s spin coming out of the gravel pit allowed CJ to secure the second spot behind Anderson. With just two laps to go, Anderson’s pace faltered, possibly due to front-end damage. Seizing the moment, the eight-time Pro 4 champion CJ Greaves surged ahead, driving to his third consecutive win, despite the challenges he faced.

“We had a really fast truck right at the beginning but lost a plug wire or something right at the halfway point,” said Greaves. “Every lap, it would drop a cylinder and it would take three-quarters of a lap to get it back. It was just a matter of holding on kept digging.”

Johnny Greaves also got back around Anderson for his fourth straight podium. Anderson, who was making his season debut in Crandon, kept enough wheels spinning to finish third.


Thomas Tracks Down Beat In Pro 2 Win

The 2024 Pro 2 championship is serving up a thrilling dose of competition this season, particularly with the intense rivalry between Ryan Beat and Mickey Thomas.

Thomas entered the weekend with a slim lead over Beat in the points standings, thanks to four straight podiums and a win in round three. That win was sandwiched between a pair of wins for Beat in rounds two and four, and logic would dictate that Thomas was in line for his second win on Sunday.

Beat got the drop on Thomas off the land rush start, and the pair put on a hard-fought show through the first half of the race as Beat held off Thomas to the mid-race caution. There was little space between the two over the contest’s first half, which continued after the restart. Thomas was able to find a way around Beat for the lead before the pair pulled away from the rest of the 17-truck field. Out in front, Thomas inched away from Beat as he drove to his second win of the year.

“Just a really fun race with Ryan,” said Thomas. “Going back to Antigo, we’ve been having some really good battles. I hope we continue to do this all season. It’s going to be a fun one.”

While Beat could not reclose the gap, his fourth straight podium finish has him sitting nine points behind Thomas as the series heads to ERX in July. Zac Zakowski moved into third early in the race and kept a rowdy group of Pro 2’s in his roost as he drove to his second podium of the season in third.


Gibbs Stretches Win Streak to Four

Pro Lite can be an all-or-nothing class, but Trey Gibbs has been all-in to start the 2024 season.

Gibbs came into the weekend with three dominant wins on the short tracks of Antigo and Lena. He stretched his legs out on Crandon’s big track on Sunday. He got the lead over Tyler Remmereid early and pulled away from the door-to-door contact behind him to notch his fourth straight Pro Lite win.

“It never feels easy out there,” said Gibbs. “Four in a row. I haven’t done that in quite a long time, and it feels good to be doing it against these guys up here; they are heckuva drivers.”

Carson Parrish drove through a crowded field, moving from fifth to second for his second podium of the year. Remmereid moved into the final podium spot with two laps to go to earn his second podium finish in his past three races.


Parrish Wins Second Straight in Pro Spec

Christopher Parrish is starting to find his groove in the ultra-competitive Pro Spec class.

The round four winner had to make a late race pass to earn his first win in the class. In Crandon, he used straight speed to pick up his second straight win.

It wasn’t an easy win for Parrish, especially with Dylan Parsons and Nick Visser applying pressure throughout. Parsons held the lead in the middle of the contest and later partnered up with Visser to catch Parrish before battling it out for the runner-up spot.

Parsons would hold the advantage at the finish line over Visser, finishing second for his fourth podium of the year. Visser, the points leader, has not missed a podium this season.


Mason, Jr. Knocks Off Bonacci in Pro Buggy

Lorenzo Bonacci put a lockdown on the Pro Buggy class with three straight wins coming into Crandon. He was quick and technical on the tight tracks and fast and steady early in Sunday’s race.

Bonacci held point for the first nine laps, but Dave Mason, Jr. continued to reel in Bonacci, and with two laps to go, hefound his way around the points leader. Together, they would sprint to the finish, cross the line 1-2, with Mason earning his first win of the year.

Chaden Minder ran a steady race, finishing ahead of Billy Buth for third.


Chaney Holds Off Carlson in Pro SxS

Kyle Chaney used an early race pass to get around race leader Jeb Bootle and then held on to extensive pressure from Andrew Carlson to pick up his second win of the season.

Chaney snuck past Bootle on the second lap and looked to stretch out his lead over the deep field. But Carlson kept pushing through the pack and caught Chaney after the mandatory caution. They would be separated by less than a car length for much of the race before Chaney inched away on the final lap for his second win.

Points leader Carlson notched his fourth podium of the season in second. Owen VanEperen finished third for his second straight podium.


Greaves Returns to Form in Pro Stock SxS

The Pro Stock SxS race was a true test of skill and endurance, with the outcome hanging in the balance until the final turn, where the drivers had to demonstrate their ability to hold on through intense contact.

Owen VanEperen, CJ Greaves, and Jeb Bootle held leads throughout the contest, but the final tally would come down to the last few turns between a pair of Yamaha’s. Bootle held the advantage at the start of the final lap, but VanEperen was looking for an opening. The two went wheel-to-wheel through the final two turns and looked locked together as they hit the Polaris jump just before the final rotation. VanEperen was able to drive out of the tie-up and held a half-car lead as the pair spun across the finish line.

It was VanEperen’s second win of the season, and he stays atop the points lead. Round two winner Bootle held on for his fourth straight podium. Jake Kosmecki got past Greaves late in the race for his second podium finish of the year.

Pro-AM SxS: Time was running out on David Gay’s chance to win his fourth straight Pro-AM SxS race on Sunday.

With less than a minute left on the clock, Gay sat behind race leader Jesse Greaves, but he found another gear over the final laps and got around with a lap and a half remaining. Greaves was unable to return the favor, and Gay drove to his fourth straight win.

With Greaves in second, Jacob Blemke finished third with his second podium of the year.

Sportsman SxS: Trent Peetz became the first two-time winner in Sportsman SxS this season.

Peetz cut the gap on overall points leader Tyler Wusterbarth, who finished second and will hold a 14-point advantage heading to ERX. Ben Berger, who sits third overall, picked up his first podium finish of the season by running third on Sunday.


Stock Truck: The Stock Truck class took on Yomen’s work on Saturday, opening up the day of racing and knocking off a couple of layers of leftover mud. But they also put together a great race as Scott Boulanger held off Tyler Hoffman for the win, the fifth different winner in the class this season.
Boulanger was driving for Brian Peot, who was unable to race on Sunday. Boulanger’s win kept the Peot’s points lead intact after five rounds. Round four winner Tyler Mullins finished third behind Hoffman.

Super Stock Truck: Cory Holtger grabbed the hole shot of Sunday’s Super Stock Truck final, leading the large field through turn one.

Holtger held the lead through the mandatory caution, but the regroup allowed Braden Beauchamp to pressure the race leader. One lap after the restart, Beauchamp took the lead away from Holtger, but the pair would battle it out for the remaining laps as Beauchamp edged out Holtger at the line for his second win of the season.

Brad Barglind made a last-lap pass to earn his first trip to the podium in 2024.


1600 Light Buggy: Connor Schulz is proving that patience pays off as the points leader made another late surge to pick up his fifth straight win.
Schultz only led three laps in two races in Antigo, and he only led two on Sunday, making a late pass on Evan Hockers for the win. It was Hocker’s best finish since the opening round, but his second marks his second straight podium. Dylan Rohloff finished third.

1600 Single Buggy: In Antigo, round one winner John Fitzgerald has been extremely close in his quest to pick up his second win of the season. Fitzgerald led both races late before Connor Schulz took both wins on the last laps. But on Sunday in Crandon, Fitzgerald wouldn’t let his late-race lead slip away. He held off a speedy Michael Seefeldt by half a second for the win.

Seefeldt took home his fourth podium of the season, pressuring Fitzgerald through the final turns. Sean Springseth earned his second podium finish of the season, crossing the line ahead of Taylor Rohloff for third

570 SxS: Logan Fritzinger went wire-to-wire in Sunday’s 570 SxS contest, picking up his first win of the season and third podium overall.

Rounds two and three winner Ellah Holtger was a close second behind Fritzinger, finishing 3/10ths of a second behind the race winner. Jack Betts earned his third podium of the season by finishing third.

170/200 SxS: Ashton Dreher broke through with his first win of the season in Antigo and now has a two-race win streak after taking home the victory in Crandon on Sunday.

Dreher took the lead over Drake Dreher on lap three and went the distance for his second win of the season. Drake earned his fourth podium of the season in second, and Axel Dreher earned his first podium of the season, finishing third.

Mod Kart: The racing was tight to start the Mod Kart race on Sunday, but Avery Hemmer put the right pedal to the floor and pulled away from the field for her third win of the season.

Race Visser had his best season finish, holding off a crowd to finish second. Triston Hinton was in the mix throughout the contest and edged out Reed LeDuc for third.

Youth SxS: Hudson Houle hasn’t missed a podium in Youth SxS and is now a two-time winner after Sunday’s effort.

Houle led every lap for his second win. He got the lead on the start and stretched out to a big win and a points lead. Libby Nelson moved past Bryce Powers with two laps remaining for her season’s first podium. Powers held off Ryker Remington for third.

Up next for AMSOIL Championship Off-Road: The (now) sixth and seventh rounds of racing will be held on July 12-13 at ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minn.