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Carl Renezeder Crandon Interview - Sensory Overload

Crandon: Renezeder Delivers Hat Trick, Vanden Heuvel and LeDuc Double

Todd KahoPhotographer, Writer

2003CORR Pro-4 ChampTeam LucasCarl RenezederThose of us fortunate enough to have experienced the heyday of the short-course off-road races at Riverside International Raceway at least have a basis for comparison. Unless you've done Crandon, you just can't believe what takes place twice a year in this normally sleepy town in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

Riverside had nothing on Crandon, except maybe the fact that it was closer to civilization, which is also probably the reason it is now a housing tract. Crandon International Raceway is situated on 400 acres of scenic rolling countryside that provides an ideal natural-terrain off-road race track. The track's history dates back 34 seasons, to the first Brush Run held in 1970. Today, Crandon Raceway is one of the few dedicated off-road racing facilities in the country and draws more spectators than any other off-road race.

Labor Day weekend a record crowd was treated to perfect weather and incredible racing. Crandon hosts two major off-road race weekends each year-the Spring Brush Run and the Labor Day weekend Borg-Warner World Championship Off-Road Races. In addition to a full schedule of Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) Pro and Sportsman divisions, Labor Day weekend hosts the $100,000 Borg-Warner Shootout, a free-for-all manufacturer's challenge with one of the largest purses in off-road racing.

Carl Renezeder found the Crandon combination in his Lucas Oil Chevy, winning CORR Pro-4 points races on both Saturday and Sunday. After qualifying on the pole, Renezeder then made it a perfect sweep by also winning the Borg-Warner Shootout. When you're on a roll

In Pro-2, Dan Vanden Heuvel doubled with wins on both Saturday and Sunday, and Scott Taylor clinched his fifth straight Pro-2 championship. With 24 trucks battling for ProLite points, Kyle LeDuc in the Skyjacker Ranger earned the respect of Crandon race fans by winning on both Saturday and Sunday.

Crandon isn't just for professional racers. In addition to CORR Sportsman, Stock, and three buggy classes, they also run Formula 4x4, Enduro, Classix, and the perennial favorite Good Ol' Boys cars. Fans were also treated to Xtreme Thunderfest on Friday night with monster trucks and TNT Figure-8 stock car racing featuring Stinger class cars.

There is truly something for everyone at Crandon. After a weekend of high-speed action, you'll leave the Northwoods on sensory overload.

10 Questions for Carl RenezederQ What are the biggest challenges of running a two-truck team (and being the owner)? Discuss the positives and negatives, if there are any.

A As a driver, conditioning is very important. I have a rigorous training schedule that includes swimming, running, cycling, and weight training, which keeps me physically fit. The other challenge of driving two trucks back to back is both trucks need to be driven completely different since one is four-wheel drive and the other two-wheel drive. I have to be very focused when I change from one truck to the other because they brake, turn, steer, set, and accelerate very differently. As an owner I need to focus on the business side, making all the decisions relative to running a successful business; i.e., manpower, logistics, marketing, product development, and so on. But the biggest challenge, or shall I say focus, is making sure we have competitive race trucks, and making sure we give our sponsors more than they expect. We do this by not only winning races but also by promoting their products that we represent.

Q How did you get into off-road racing? What was the initial draw?

AI began racing motorcycles at a young age and was always attracted to speed. I first began racing in the desert about 13 years ago in a Porsche-powered Class One unlimited buggy and eventually moved to the premiere Trophy Truck class.

Q Do you ever see your self competing in any other form of racing? If so, what kind and what would make you want to do that?

A I have always been interested in rally racing. I have my eye on the SCCA series as well as the Craftsman Nastruck series.

Q How did you first get involved with Lucas Oil products? How long have you had that relationship?

A I was first introduced to Lucas Oil by Mike Leslie, who had raced with them in previous years. I have raced with the company for the last five years.

Q What products do you use in your trucks? How would you compare Lucas Oil products to other comparable products? How have the products helped you become successful?

A I use Lucas Oil products in all of my vehicles including the race trucks because it is the best product on the market. Lucas Oil gets my race trucks to the finish line.

Q Discuss the relationship with Lucas Oil. How would you rate them as a sponsor? How does it affect you that they are the series sponsor of CORR?

A I feel Lucas Oil takes a personal approach as far as getting involved with the teams they sponsor and utilizing these programs in their marketing efforts of their products. They are not a sponsor that is just going to write a check and see what happens. The team at Lucas Oil is very sophisticated and understands the value racing has to helping their company grow. This is great for any race team that is fortunate enough to be involved with Lucas Oil. CORR is very fortunate to have Lucas Oil as the title sponsor for those reasons. Lucas Oil will expose CORR to a diverse audience because of their involvement with many other forms of racing and through the cross marketing they do.

Q How important are corporate sponsors to off-road racing? Why?

A Corporate sponsorship is the life support of all racing these days, therefore it is critical to off-road racing as well.

Q What goals have you set for yourself in both racing and life in general? How will you accomplish those goals? Do you give yourself a timeline for your goals?

A My goal in racing is to accomplish three things: First, to win as many races as is possible; next is to represent my sponsors professionally and to offer them more than they expect; and last is to help expose off-road racing to a higher level.

QWhat are your greatest accomplishments in racing?A Winning: 1994 Baja 1000, 2003 Borg-Warner, 2003 Pro-4 Championship.

Q What are your plans for the next few years in terms of racing? How are you going to defend the Pro-4 championship? And how are you going to win the Pro-2 championship?

A Continue to develop race trucks, making them even faster and more competitive. To have the attitude that we can win every time we pull up to the starting line. If we can finish every race under full power in both trucks in 2004 we will win both championships.