Champions Crowned Labor Day Weekend In Crandon
The 2022 AMSOIL Championship Off-Road season came to an end this past weekend in Crandon where champions were crowned.
Championship weekend has come to a close, and with it the end of the 2022 AMSOIL Championship Off-Road season.
Class champion was crowned at Crandon International Raceway over the weekend and with the exception of Super Stock Truck, every class came down to the final day of racing. That brought a drama filled day as every start, turn and lap mattered across 17 classes.
When the sun set on the 2022 season, some of the sports best shined the brightest in front of a sold-out crowd at the Big House.
Back-to-Back for CJ Greaves
CJ Greaves’ plan for Saturday’s Pro 4 finale was simple: stay clean early, see where Kyle LeDuc was sitting, and go from there. He stayed clear of trouble (racing as far back as ninth) for the first few laps, saw that LeDuc was near the front of the pack battling with Cole Mamer, and then went from there.
LeDuc trailed Mamer for three laps before he took over the lead on lap four. He led at the midway point and looked to be in line for his fourth win of the season. But with the clock nearly out of time, he fell off his winning pace as he fought something mechanical inside the truck.
That put Andrew Carlson in front with three laps to go, and CJ Greaves into second. But on the final lap, Carlson suffered a rear flat tire, and Greaves pounced into the lead. He took the last lap at speed, but it served a dual purpose: his class leading sixth win and his seventh Pro 4 championship.
“First things first, we had to go out there and make sure we got clean laps to score our points,” said Greaves. “After that I just kept playing it cool. I know these Pro 4 classes are crazy and sometimes it’s down to the end of who’s surviving. I just kept taking the (spots) as they came to me and after the halfway, I’m like, “you know, we actually got a shot to be up there with these guys”. The next thing you know, another one falls out and then Kyle falls out, and then it was just Andrew and I. He’s running good so I’m just going to settle in here and he goes across the finish, and he falls out. I don’t think you could script that any better than what just happened.”
With the rough track taking its toll, that opened the door for Kyle Chaney and Scottie Lawrence to both get on the podium for the first time this season. For Lawrence, who ran with the race leaders for most of the race, his runner-up finish behind Greaves marked his first career Pro 4 podium. For Chaney, his third place finish capped off a season that saw him finish seventh overall.
As for the points leader, he only missed two podiums all season long and never finished outside of the top five. LeDuc, who started the day 30 points back, kept his stranglehold on second place thanks to three wins and seven podiums. Johnny Greaves continued to add to his exceptional career, winning once and grabbing five podiums for third overall.
Thomas Takes Victory, Brooks Best in Pro 2
One driver on Saturday’s Pro 2 podium picked up his class leading fifth win of the season. Another went through the entire 2022 campaign without picking up a win but found the podium seven times. Only one of them was crowned class champion.
Mickey Thomas has been extremely fast all season long. But he has been missing consistency. He entered Crandon third overall, sitting 22 points behind leader Jerett Brooks and 20 back from Cory Winner. He got into the title hunt thanks to those wins, including number four in Bark River two weeks ago. But he never made the podium outside of the races.
For Brooks, he just missed out on wins in Antigo and Dirt City, but his consistency separated him from the rest of the talented Pro 2 field this season. He was always running near the front, picking up extra bonus points with regularity by leading, or being in second, when the race’s mandatory caution came out.
Make no mistake, Mickey Thomas was ridiculously fast in Crandon on Saturday. He got out front so cleanly that he finished the race in what the announcers called a “show-room quality” truck, sans the caked on mud the rest of the field fought through, Thomas was so quick at the Big House that his times compared to the heavily horse powered Pro 4’s. He led from start-to-finish, never really being challenged on his way to win number five.
“That hole shot is so important and these Maxxis tires hooked up so awesome off the start,” said Thomas. “That gave us a great hole shot and from there, I just had to hit my marks. We led flag-to-flag, and the truck is still perfectly clean. We can pretty much wipe her down and go race tomorrow. We put in so much work and to come out to Crandon and win means so much to me.”
Meanwhile, Brooks was no slouch on Saturday. He started outside of the top five, but quickly found his way through traffic. While his goal was to win, he also had to keep his truck in front of Cory Winner’s by one spot to wrap up the championship. Brooks put forth the pressure when he needed it, but he settled into third behind a quick Doug Mittag. Despite missing the top step, Brooks once again showed his consistency and grabbed the title that eluded him on the same track one year ago.
“Man, we fought through that low last year and talk about fighting through adversity,” said Brooks. “To come back here and back that up, what a hell of a run. It’s a lot of work racing here and coming over from the West Coast. It really wrings you out, so to top this it off with a championship, that’s the way to do it.”
With only two points separating them coming into the weekend, Winner needed to finish ahead of Brooks to grab the title. But he had to continuously work through traffic, only moving into the top five over the final laps.
For Mittag, his runner-up finish on Saturday was his third trip to the podium this year. The round eight winner finished the season with a pair of podiums and wrapped up 2022 fourth in points.
Kyle Greaves Powers to Win, Championship in Pro Lite
Entering Crandon, no championship was as close as Pro Lite. Kyle Greaves led defending class champion Brock Heger by a single point. And thanks to a great weekend in Bark River, Trey Gibbs inserted himself into the mix, sitting just two points behind Heger.
That meant it was important to get an early start and keep the truck together while holding off a pair of hungry contenders.
Greaves hit the green flag off the start clean and led the Pro Lite field through Crandon’s famed first turn. He held off an early charge from Heger to lead at the halfway mark. That allowed him to pick up an extra point on Heger and two on Gibbs (fourth).
Not much changed after the restart. As the laps ticked away, Greaves inched away from Heger and found himself breathing clean air as he powered to the win and the Pro Lite championship.
“It was a hell of a season to race against Brock and Gibbs, and all the other guys, I mean, everybody is so fast now, and we just had to up our program this year,” said Greaves. “We put everything we could possibly do into this thing and just make the truck fast.”
Heger was equally as quick on Saturday but came up just short in the title chase. His second place finish was his eighth of the season, which included three wins.
Christopher Polvoorde has raced only three races in 2022, and all three have been podium finishes at Crandon. Polvoorde crossed the finish line just behind Heger in third. Gibbs championship chase ended after he slowed with a flat tire while running fourth, but he was still able to hold down third overall.
Chaney Captures Win as Kelsey Crowned Champ
Pro Turbo SXS rookie Hamish Kelsey’s overall lead took a big hit in Bark River two weeks ago. He entered Crandon with a 17-point lead, but he would need to finish well and hope that Kyle Chaney wasn’t inline to sweep the season at Crandon.
Chaney did all he could to win the 2022 title on Saturday. The Can-AM driver took the hole shot and a lead that he would never relinquish. Chaney, who won both rounds at Crandon in June, drove the only clean car around the track on Saturday. It marked his fourth win of the season.
Robert Loire was also searching for his fourth win of the season, but the Polaris driver wasn’t able to track down Chaney, finishing second and moving into third overall on the season.
Can-AM’s Jason Weller went toe-to-toe with Polaris’ Ronnie Anderson for the final podium spot. Weller edged out Anderson by only 3/10ths of a second for third.
In the championship standings, Kelsey needed to finish better than seventh on Saturday. With a handful of fast cars behind him, Kelsey took care of business by finishing a nail-biting sixth giving the New Zealand native the championship.
Greaves Earns Fourth Win as Heger Defends Title
PRO STOCK SXS: Brock Heger and CJ Greaves entered the final Pro Stock SXS race of the season separated by 22 points. Heger, the defending champion, sat out front in points and wins (6), but Greaves has been finding late season success, winning two of the last three coming into Crandon.
Saturday, Heger hit the hole shot of the limited land rush start, but Greaves and Dallas Nord slotted in right behind the points leader. Three laps in, Greaves was able to gain enough traction to get around Heger. It looked like Greaves was going to sail to his fourth win of the year, but Heger kept charging and caught the race leader on the final turns. Greaves was able to hold the preferred line coming through the final turn to pick up the win.
Nord, meanwhile, had his hands full with Owen VanEperen for much of the race. VanEperen was able to move past Nord with four laps remaining and in turn grabbed his seventh podium of the year.
Greaves was unable to cut deep enough into Heger’s overall points lead. It marks back-to-back titles for Heger, who powered his Yamaha to the title in 2021.
Van Den Elzen Gets Pro Spec Victory, Leadbetter Leads Championship
Four trucks built to spec will create an extremely tight points race over 12 rounds of racing.
The Pro Spec class showcased its growth, and competitiveness, all season long. Less than 40 points separated the four driver’s, and there was a tie at the top heading into the final round on Saturday.
Chris Van Den Elzen has found success throughout his rookie season in a truck, but the former buggy racer was fast again on Saturday. He led wire-to-wire for his fourth win of the year.
Behind him, Nick Visser slowed just before the mandatory caution, leaving Gray Leadbetter and Easton Sleaper to spar for the final podium spot. Sleaper was able to make the move into second with three laps remaining. He made a late run on Van Den Elzen but ran out of time before finishing on the box for the second time this season.
With Visser slowing, Leadbetter just needed to finish the race to take home the title. Leadbetter would edge out Visser by a single point.
World Championship Saturday
SUPER BUGGY: There is no better way to win a season championship than by winning the last race of the season. It’s even better to win the title on the last lap of the year.
Mark Steinhardt needed to win and have Michael Meister find enough trouble to knock him down the field. Steinhardt was in control for the majority of the race on Saturday and it looked like he was going to win his 13th World Championship ring. But Meister didn’t let him get away and was in position to take the lead with only two laps remaining to take home his fifth race of the season. Larry Job would finish third.
Meister’s win helped him clinch the 2022 Super Buggy season championship, finishing 17-points ahead of Steinhardt. Billy Buth finished third overall.
PRO AM SXS: Tyson Marquardt held the point from the get-go of the Pro AM SXS race on Saturday and put together his best race of the season to pick up his first class win in 2022.
Marquardt’s win was as clean as any win race fans saw over the weekend, but there was a lot of attrition throughout the race behind him. Round six winner Derek Liebergen led a three-way battle for the runner-up spot and was able to cross the line ahead of Logan Christensen and Jake Jorgenson. Christensen was able to hold off Jorgenson at the line for the final podium spot.
Points leader Colin Kernz led Bill Berger by five points coming into Saturday’s action. He was one spot ahead of Berger when Berger was knocked out of the race. That removed the pressure on Kernz, who finished 12th, but well ahead of Berger, for the championship. Matt Boerschinger finished third overall, just three points ahead of Jorgenson.
SUPER STOCK TRUCK: Braden Beauchamp was on his way to a win in Bark River, but a cut tire cut his first career win short. No such issues presented themselves to Beauchamp who grabbed the hole shot, crept away from the contact and ran to his first win.
Nick Byng didn’t let him get away easily, however. Byng pushed Beauchamp to the end, finishing 8/10ths of a second behind the race winner in second. Ben Holtger rounded out the podium in third.
Kyle Cooper needed to finish tenth or better to secure the championship. He finished fourth on Saturday, with Byng in second and Holtger third overall.
SHORT COURSE KARTS: Saturday’s World Championship Short Course Kart race was a nail biter right down to the final laps. For Wesley Vande Voort, he was finally able to break through with his first win of the season.
It took until the final laps of 2022 for Vande Voort to secure his first win, but he was able to jump from third to first with two laps to go for the victory. Lincoln Mandsager led early but ran second for most of the race and his runner-up finish marked his first podium finish this season. Trent Beauchamp also reached the podium for the first time after making a last turn pass for third.
As for the Short Course Kart championship, the math got very tight at the end of the race. That’s because points leader Carter Zahara pulled off to the side of the track with four laps remaining, finishing 17th. That gave Gavin Plummer an opportunity to close the gap. According to the Champ standings, Plummer’s seventh place finish left him two points short of the title, giving Zahara the 2022 championship.
SPORTSMAN SXS: Attrition played a large role in both the outcome of Saturday’s Sportsman SXS race and the class championship chase.
Matt Vanderheyden led the first half of the race, but Friday night winner Cody Jones took over the top spot after the mandatory restart and stretched out his lead to pick up the World Championship win. Lucas Houle put immense pressure on Vanderheyden and was able to get around after Vanderheyden rolled on the final lap. Houle would finish just ahead of Jacob Blemke, who crossed the line in third.
Ben Berger came into Saturday with the points lead and had to finish 16th or better to take the title. But he found himself on his side and out of the race. That moved Blemke into a four point lead over Berger, giving Blemke the 2022 Sportsman SXS title. Berger would retain second place, ahead of Riley Marquardt in third.
1600 SINGLE BUGGY: Michael Seefeldt took the lead on the first lap and never looked back as he raced to his first 1600 Single Buggy win of the year.
Seefeldt didn’t miss a beat on Saturday, holding off all challengers and a late race restart for the victory. John Fitzgerald made it four straight trips to the podium after working into the runner-up spot on lap three. 2021 class champion Dylan Parsons had to work through some early traffic before settling into the third position halfway through the race.
Fitzgerald’s championship efforts were near completion after Friday night, but his second place finish capped a season that saw “Fitz” land on the podium 11 times in 12 races. Parsons finished second, and Seefeldt third.
STOCK TRUCK: Kyle Ambroziak did everything in his power to keep Cory Holtger behind him and pick up his first career Stock Truck win on Saturday. But Holger has found a way to win most of his races in 2022 and he was able to get around Ambroziak with two turns left for the victory.
It marked Holtger’s eighth win of the season. Ambroziak finished as the runner-up for the second time in three races to close the season out. Diesel Shanak was right behind Ambroziak in third.
Holtger, who locked up the Stock Truck title on Friday night, put a bow on a great season by winning the final four rounds. 2021 champion Shanak finished second and TJ Ewert was third overall.
1600 LIGHT BUGGY: It was a wet start to the day for the 1600 Light Buggy field, as mother nature dumped some extra moisture on the Crandon track. Like most of the season, points leader Colin Schulz didn’t let the elements bother him as he went wire-to-wire for his sixth win of the season.
Jake Schilleman and Greg Stingle had a great, race-long battle for the runner-up spot, with Schilleman holding on to the position at the line.
For the season, Schulz secured the 1600 Light Buggy title, thanks to three straight wins to close out the season. Stingle finished second and Taylor Roloff was third.
170 SXS: The largest field of the weekend was the 33 car 170 SXS race on Saturday. With the large field, it was a first-time winner who ruled the day.
Ashley Bohn took over the lead on the second lap and had to hold off a hard-charging Liam Peterson at the line for her first win, and first podium in 2022. Peterson trailed Bohn at the line by 1/10th of a second. Raymond Deininger picked up his third straight podium by finishing third.
Wyatt Olson’s fourth place finish on Saturday secured the season championship.
MOD KART: Michael Funk picked up his second Crandon World Championship ring on Saturday with his third straight win. Funk steered clear of any issues on the first lap and powered to victory lane.
Chase Moeller tried to chase down Funk, before finishing second. Avery Hemmer made it on the box (third) for the first time this season.
Moeller was also looking to catch Porter Inglese for the overall title, but Inglese took care of business on Saturday, finishing tenth to earn the Mod Kart title.
570 SXS: Corbyn Wassenberg did everything he could to hold off Ellah Holtger for the 570 SXS win, but Holtger found some second-half speed to pick up the win. It marked Holtger’s first class win of the season.
Wassenberg also found himself in a race-long battle with Dylan Rohloff. It was Rohloff who would sneak past with four laps remaining for the runner-up spot, finishing just ahead of Wassenberg.
Ryker Remington and Ethan Dresel came into the final day of racing just two points apart for the 570 SXS championship. Dresel needed to beat Remington by two spots, a feat he accomplished as Dresel finished fourth and Remington was sixth. Rohloff was third overall.
Championship Off-Road wants to congratulate all of its 2022 Champions and thank them for their spectacular racing and sportsmanship season.