Crandon International Raceway hosted the third and fourth rounds of the Championship Off-Road Tour, and the six UTV classes brought 125 entries. The two Crandon CORT rounds made up the 28th annual Potawatomi Brush Run.
Early in Saturday’s Pro Mod SXS race, it looked like Can Am’s Kyle Chaney was going to cruise to a second straight win, but six laps in, Chaney was forced to pull off the track. That allowed a pair of Yamahas to battle it out for the win, and bragging rights at the dinner table.
Behind Chaney sat the father-son combination of Rodney and Owen VanEperen. The two were nose-to-tail as they tried to chase down the race leader. Each time around, Rodney kept his son in check, even though there was less than a car length of separation most of the time. In the end, the elder VanEperen took the win, with the kid finishing second, saying his dad ran a perfect race in the post-race interview.
“It didn’t feel perfect,” said Rodney VanEperen. “We chose a tire that was really grooved, but it really had tons of grip, and every corner we were hucking it in and sliding. I was on pins and needles the whole time out there.”
Round one winner Andrew Carlson (Polaris) put in another spirited run to the podium, finishing third. Brian Waszak secured another top five finish in fourth, with Robert Loire rounding out the top five.
HEGER HOLDS OFF GREAVES IN PRO STOCK UTVS
It’s going to be a season-long slugfest for Pro Stock SXS supremacy between CJ Greaves and Brock Heger. The two Yamaha-backed drivers came into Crandon 1-2 in points after they split the season opening weekend in Antigo. In Crandon, it was another close finish between the frontrunners, this time with Heger holding off a hard-charging Greaves for his second straight win.
Coming out of turn one, Heger and Greaves keeping track of one another in fourth and fifth. Two laps in, Greaves made a series of moves that moved him from third to first, but Heger was in tow, gaining second. For the next few laps, the pair would swap spots, but Greaves kept the lead at the finish line jump.
But Greaves found a couple of ruts that put him up on two wheels, and Heger got the lead. Greaves put in continuous attempts, picking different ways to get around Heger, who held CJ’s advances at bay. Every time Heger got a little breathing room, Greaves would close the gap. By the time the clock ran out, Heger had win number two, and Greaves was in second, less than a half-second back.
“I wanted to get CJ early and kinda let him tag along with me,” said Heger. “But he was up there for a little bit, then he pushed wide a little and I capitalized. My spotter told me he was one-car, two cars behind me the whole time.”
Johnny Holtger kept pushing through traffic as he worked his way up from a mid-pack start to finish third for an all-Yamaha podium. Jack LeTourneau (Pol) and Matt Wood (Yam) rounded out the top five.
OWEN GETS PRO MOD REVENGE ON SUNDAY
It took a few laps to get into the lead, but Rodney VanEperen made the move on lap three. Unlike the day before, Owen VanEperen was not immediately on his tail. That took a few more laps, but when the father-son tandem hooked up for the second straight day, it was like watching a rerun of Saturday’s race, with Owen trying everything to get the lead.
It took until the second to last turn, and a little bit of help, but the younger VanEperen finally got around his dad. The two headed into the gravel pit turn, where several lapped cars were working through the rutted up turn. Rodney went low while Owen stayed up high, using the lapped traffic as a pick. That was all Owen needed as he powered towards the final turn, held off the elder VanEperen at the line and picked up his first career Pro Mod win.
“I saw a bunch of lappers ahead, and he was going inside, and I knew I had to hold it on the outside,” said Owen VanEperen. “I wanted the win, and I wasn’t going to let him get it.”
Can Am’s Scott Lawrence worked his way through traffic to pick up his first podium of the year in third.
HEGER AND GREAVES BATTLE CONTINUES ON SUNDAY
Clean racing and the ability to get through traffic are hallmarks of both Pro Stock drivers, and both attributes were on display on Sunday. For the second straight day, both cars found themselves sitting around sixth, with a world of work ahead of them. Johnny Holtger had the hole shot and was starting to stretch out his lead.
But Greaves made the first few moves, quickly going from sixth to second. He’d spend the final two laps before the mandatory caution trying to get around Holtger, but was unable to make several attempts stick, which was important because Heger had finally shaken himself free from the pack and was right behind Greaves when the regroup was called.
The two would quickly get around Holtger on the restart, with Greaves in the lead. It would stay nose-to-tail for several laps as Heger continuously tried to find an inside opening to get around Greaves. The move finally paid off with two minutes to go on the clock. With only a few laps left, Greaves was unable to get around lapped traffic to challenge Heger for the win.
“I just thought I was going to hold him off in the beginning,” said Heger. “I was trying everything for those (early) laps I was behind him. Trying to draft him, trying to stay out the roost. Then I was able to get by him and (got through) the lapped traffic clean.”
CHAMP OFFROAD TOUR UTV RESULTS
Rd3: Crandon International Raceway, Crandon, WI
Pro Mod UTVs
1. Rodney VanEperen…Yam
2. Owen VanEperen…Yam
3. Andrew Carlson…Pol
4. Brian Waszak…Yam
5. Robert Loire…Pol
6. Andy Kleczka…C-A
7. Gray Ledbetter…Yam
8. Chance haugen…Pol
9. Gabe Johnson…C-A
10. Luke Stubbs…Yam
Pro Stock UTVs
1. Brock Heger…Yam
2. CJ Greaves…Yam
3. Jacob Rosales…Yam
4. Johnny Holtger…Yam
5. Jack LeTourneau…Pol
6. Matt Wood…Yam
7. Owen VanEperen…Yam
8. Matt Bohn…Pol
9. Jesse Klaus…Yam
10. Justin Tessmer…Yam
Rd4: Crandon International Raceway, Crandon, WI
Pro Mod UTVs
1. Owen VanEperen…Yam
2. Rodney VanEperen…Yam
3. Scottie Lawrence…C-A
4. Chance Haugen…Pol
5. Andrew Carlson…Pol
6. Elliott Burns…C-A
7. Gabe Johnson…C-A
8. Gray Ledbetter…Yam
9. Brian Joski…C-A
10. Jerry Smith…Yam
Pro Stock UTVs
1. Brock Heger…Yam
2. CJ Greaves…Yam
3. Johnny Holtger…Yam
4. Matt Wood…Yam
5. Scott Wasz…Yam
6. Blake Enloe…Yam
7. Jesse Klaus…Yam
8. RJ Lego…Yam
9. Josh Luketic…Yam
10. Owen VanEperen…Yam