Labor Day weekend at Crandon has always been referred to as the Super Bowl of short-course off-road racing: three days of exciting racing at one of the most talked-about and fastest off-road tracks in the country. Crandon International Off-Road Raceway in Crandon, Wisconsin, is where short-course racing took off. For 48 years, legends in the sport have been behind the wheel here.
Friday always kicks off with a big parade through town. Race trucks line the street with drivers signing autographs for fans. The party moves to the track for Friday afternoon sportsman races. Saturday, the The Off-Road Championship (TORC) series runs a points race as part of their season. All of this builds excitement for the racing action everyone has been waiting for on Sunday: the World Championships, an independent, West Coast versus East Coast showdown with a $200,000 purse in the mix. This is where the drivers put it all on the line.
Carl Renezeder, sponsored by Lucas Oil, has not been on the track in Crandon in over 10 years due to sponsor conflicts, but his former nickname is “Crandon Carl.” Carl is retiring from racing at the end of the year. Bryce Menzies didn’t race last year due to an injury while making a world-record jump. Johnny and CJ Greaves, along with Keegan Kincaid, call Crandon one of their home tracks and have that “home-court” advantage. West-coaster Kyle LeDuc has always been a tough contender at Crandon. Pro-Lite driver Ryan Beat came from out west to participate in the showdown, which proved very successful as he won the Pro-Lite cup race. There was a clear wealth of talent on the track at Crandon.
The last race of the day was the Amsoil Cup, which pitted Pro-2 against Pro-4. All eyes were on Menzies, who cleaned house during Pro-2 and Pro-4 races. Unfortunately, Carl Renezeder elected not to participate in the Amsoil Cup due to a crash suffered during the Pro-4 race earlier in the day. As the green flag flew in front of a record 50,000 or so fans, the trucks shot out from the famous Turn 1. First Pro-2. Seconds later Pro-4. Menzies grabbed the Pro-4 holeshot and never looked back. Menzies started picking the Pro-2s off one by one, and it wasn’t long before he passed Andrew Carlson, who was leading the Pro-2 field. At one point LeDuc looked as if he was going to pass Menzies but was held off. Menzies had no brakes the last couple laps and tapped his driving skills to maintain the lead, wide open!
When it was all said and done, Menzies took the checkered flag and was named the 2017 World Cup Champion, something he has dreamed about his entire career. Another chapter added to the Crandon history books. You can bet we will be back next year for the next chapter, Labor Day 2018, when the boys come back to town and let it all hang out!