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Casey Currie at the 2016 Off Road Championship Series at the AMSOIL Cup at Crandon

2016 Crandon International

Sep 072016

Crandon International Off-Road Raceway, the Big House, brings of images of short course racing’s most historic moments. While the town of Crandon, Wisconsin is your picturesque and sleepy town, for one week The Off-Road Championship wakes up the town with off road racing excitement. For Monster Energy the weekend caps off an amazing year that CJ and Johnny Greaves had in Pro 4WD, CJ’s near dominance in Pro 2WD, and brings in  a pair of “out of towners” with Casey Currie and Kyle LeDuc for the Crandon World Championships and Amsoil Cup. It all ends with CJ Greaves taking home both the Pro 2WD and Pro 4WD championships to cement the name Greaves as the dominate family in TORC.

If you don’t recognize the name Crandon, you probably haven’t been watching the most exciting motorsport in recent history. The thirteenth and final round of the TORC Series takes place in the Mid-Western town of Crandon, Wisconsin and is one of the fastest tracks these drivers race at. “Crandon’s the bad boy of off-road and everyone wants to be a part of it,” reported CJ Greaves to TORC, “Crandon brings in everyone because it’s just plain fast – you’re doing 100 miles per hour through Turn One, sideways.” It has enough of a legend that drivers from other series come out to compete. Monster Energy Drivers Casey Currie and Kyle LeDuc, who both normally compete in LOORRS, come out to Crandon to try and earn their own legacies at the track that’s been The Big House for forty-seven years..

The Final Round of the 2016 TORC Season

The Pro Championships start the weekend with the Atturo Tire Pro Light class. While this class normally sees up to 15 trucks at any given round, Crandon brought out every Pro Light truck in the country with a large, 20-truck field. Casey Currie in the Monster Energy Jeep Wrangler Pro Light would start the field in the number seventeen position. While that would normally be a huge disadvantage with a rolling start, we get to see the first unique feature of Crandon: the Land Rush start.


Much like Monster Energy Supercross Series, the drivers all line up across the starting area. One by one, each driver gives a thumbs-up to “Cowboy” as he runs down the line to see if they are all ready. He then gives his approval to the starting box and the drivers will have a 15-second period before

 they start. Once that green is waived the trucks rush down into Turn One and are hitting nearly 100-MPH by the time they get there and the track narrows up before then. If you don’t get into position, you’ll be shoved into it or rolling onto your roof. That’s just how Crandon starts.


By the time he exited Turn One, Casey Currie had moved up to the Top 10 using his motocross starting skills to their fullest. By the time he reached the official start/finish line he was in the Top 5. Currie was making the most of these nine laps Pro Light runs on this long course and would stay there through most of the race. After the competition caution, Cam Reimers spun in Turn Two allowing Currie to drive by him and take fourth place, the position he would finish at The Big House for 2016.


In Pro 2WD, CJ Greaves in the Monster Energy Toyota had taken home the championship at the previous round at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Moto Speedway in North Carolina. So a win at Crandon would have been icing on the cake. Instead of qualifying, the drivers in Pro 2WD are lined up by points and then the Top Six are inverted meaning CJ Greaves would be starting in the sixth spot for the land rush and in the middle of the thirteen truck field. While carnage took out nearly half the field just after Turn One, CJ had picked up spots to start the first lap in third place.


The first laps were very muddy for the Pro 2WD field as they watered down the track, but Greaves was fighting with Nick Tyree but was able to get past him and hold it going into lap three. CJ would with four laps to go; he would make contact with the wall after going a little wide just pass the start

 finish line. It wouldn’t be enough to drop him back and he would hold it until the end of the race. While CJ took home second at Crandon, he had the bigger prize handed to him with the TORC Pro 2WD Championship.


Pro 4WD had a three-way fight for the Championship at Crandon with CJ and Johnny Greaves fighting it out along with Scott Douglas. Just like Pro 2WD, the drivers are lined up by points and then inverted by the top six. This meant that CJ and Johnny would be right in the middle of the thirteen truck land rush. The wild start for Johnny required him to use all of his off-road experience in the Monster Energy Toyota but he was able to pull off the hole-shot and take the lead into Turn One. CJ, meanwhile, was pushed back into fifth place and would start climbing up on lap two. Lap by lap, CJ would catch his dad one position at a time. With six laps to go, just before the competition caution, CJ made his way to second place by taking Keegan Kincaid on the outside of Turn Two.


With the competition caution, the trucks were lined back up nose to tail with CJ and Johnny one and two. Johnny tried to pull away from his son, but CJ wasn’t going to let the old man get away. Going into each turn, CJ would have the drive into the corner but Johnny would have the better run coming off. It would be this way for every lap until the final lap. At the Amsoil finish line, Johnny Greaves took the win with only 0.088 of a second between himself and CJ. While Johnny took the track win it was CJ taking home the Pro 4WD Championship by only four-points.

The Crandon World Championships and the Amsoil Cup

The second day of the weekend brought out the big events that everyone was looking for: The Crandon World Championships and the Amsoil Cup. The World Championships is a track awarded race that is sanctioned by TORC. It brings short course off-road drivers from all over the nation and from other sanctions like the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. That’s the series that Monster Energy Driver Kyle LeDuc normally runs in Pro4 but The Big House brings them all home.


The first race for the World Championships was Pro 4WD. Here, it was Monster Energy drivers Kyle LeDuc along with CJ and Johnny Greaves taking on the best Pro 4WD drivers in the nation. LeDuc had the inside start and got a great jump on the entire field while CJ and Johnny were just behind him before Turn One. Just in front Johnny, four drivers were involved in an incident and brought out a caution. A rare thing in short course racing since the drivers only have 8 laps in a race. Because of the time it would take to clean up the course, the drivers were stopped. About twenty-minutes later, the drivers were back rolling for the restart Kyle LeDuc would take the green with CJ in fourth and Johnny in ninth.


CJ would see some bumping before the start of lap two to take second place and lining up LeDuc while Johnny battled with Scott Douglas and Kincaid. Johnny would put a wild pass on both Douglas and Kincaid but the slide would cost him and put him back into ninth before the competition caution. Trouble would further find the Monster Energy drivers of LeDuc and Greaves after the competition caution. LeDuc’s truck lost the engine with four laps to go, giving the lead to CJ who would hold it until the finish. Johnny would make contact with the wall with three to go while he was in fifth place. The contact caused his truck to roll end on end and land with the truck in the middle of the wall. This brought out the red flag once again but Johnny was alright. After 15-minutes of stoppage, the trucks resumed and CJ checked out to take his second World Championship win of the day. He had also taken the Pro Stock UTV World Championship earlier.


The second race for the Monster Energy Drivers in the Crandon World Championships was Pro 2WD and CJ Greaves would start second to the inside of the land rush start. Greaves would slot in to second place by Turn One. From the start to the competition caution, Keegan Kincaid would lead until the start of green laps at Lap Five. Kincaid’s truck lost power and CJ passed him. Greaves would hold the lead until the checkered flag taking the Pro 2WD World Championship and his third of the day. If anything, this does more than just cement the Greaves name as the off-road family, it shows that CJ Greaves may be quickly becoming the best driver in off-road today.


The Amsoil Cup is possibly the most unique race in short course. It’s the only time that 2WD and 4WD trucks will race against each other. The start is staggered with Pro 2WD starting first then Pro 4WD and while you may think running all four wheels would mean an easy win for them, Pro 2WD trucks have won several times in the past. However, CJ and Johnny had to decide who would race what or if Johnny would have to sit out the big race since his truck was done for the weekend. If he did, it would be the first one of his career. However, before the start, Johnny elected to sit out as he hadn’t driven a Pro 2WD in years. Kyle LeDuc was able to get his truck running once again but it only lasted two laps after a tire puncture would force him into the pits and out of the running. CJ Greaves, despite his amazing performance earlier, had a fight for his second place finish with getting through the entire Pro 2WD field. By the closing laps it was a fight between him and Pro 2WD trucks driven by Sheldon Creed and Doug Fortin until the finish line. CJ was able to take second place for Pro 4WD from Fortin’s 2WD by just a bumper or 0.048-second. The win went to Pro 2WD driver Keegan Kincaid.


Overall, it was an amazing weekend for all of the Monster Energy Short Course drivers, but especially so for CJ Greaves. He took home five championships with his three Crandon World Championships, the TORC Pro 2WD Championship, and the TORC Pro 4WD Championship. LeDuc, Johnny Greaves, and Casey Currie still put on a show to wow the fans at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway and the weekend was anything but forgetful. For now, The Big House has closed its doors and awarded its champions but 2017 isn’t far around the corner. Much like the dirt they race on, the season will be unpredictable from round to round but that’s what makes off-road and short course so much fun. Wouldn’t you agree?