What do you get when you let loose a bunch of—to quote C.J. Greaves—“ornery short course racers” at the mecca of short course racing? A lot of drama, of course.
The Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run weekend at Crandon International Raceway was only the second round of the 2023 Championship Off-Road season, but both days provided plenty of chaos before culminating in the non-points Brush Run battle between Pro 2 and Pro 4. Greaves had an up-and-down weekend in a far cry from his dominant opener at Antigo two weeks prior, but wrapped up the Brush Run with his second straight victory.
After winning five of six races in Antigo across three classes, Greaves only won once on Saturday in Pro Stock SxS, and a sweep was ruled out when his Sunday was cut short by an engine failure. He was a non-factor in Pro Turbo SxS, where fellow Pro 4 drivers Andrew Carlson and Kyle Chaney were the stars of the show as they split the two wins. Pro 4 saw the reigning champion engage in a pair of dramatic battles with Jimmy Henderson; after losing out on Saturday, Greaves initially held off Henderson to win on Sunday before he was penalised three positions for forcing Henderson into the banking multiple times in a particularly hard duel for the win.
The damage from their battles disabled Greaves’ #33 truck for the Brush Run, prompting him to get into his father Johnny Greaves‘ #22 for the race. The #22 is being piloted by Pro Lite Saturday winner Kyle Greaves to start the season while Johnny recovers from his injuries in Antigo, but Kyle did not race in the Brush Run and as such turned the truck over to his cousin.
While aided by the head start given to them, the Pro 2s impressed in the Brush Run as John Holtger dominated the first half and Greaves tried to navigate through the order. Greaves caught Holtger before mechanical problems forced the latter to retire. Other victims of the race included Ricky Gutierrez, who led at the start before going off course and surrendering the lead to Holtger; Cole Mamer, who rolled over after entering a corner with too much speed; and Jay Schaefer, whose Pro 2 caught fire.
Henderson followed Greaves, but spun in the closing lap and was passed by the Pro 2 trucks of Mickey Thomas and Dave Mason Jr. Having a pair of Pro 2s on the podium provided a solid rebound for the class, which had dominated the Brush Run by winning four of the last six runnings but was locked out of the top three in 2022.
“We gambled on a new tyre that run to see if we could get the truck a little more where we wanted it and it paid off,” said Greaves. He was the first to win back-to-back Brush Runs since Johnny in 2017 and 2018.
Neither of the weekend’s COR Pro 2 winners, Keegan Kincaid and Ryan Beat, competed in the Brush Run. Kincaid finally snapped his dry spell by taking Race #1 for his first win since the Crandon season finale in 2021, but opted to skip the second due to track conditions.
Sunday was plagued by rain, which forced the itinerary to be condensed such as removing podium ceremonies and running the shorter track configuration. The sportsman classes—already the youngest and most inexperienced compared to the professional divisions—were particularly affected as they were the first to race in the mud, though others remained poised like Colin Schulz who joined his brother Connor Schulz in splitting the 1600 Light Buggy races, and Hunter VanZile who notched his maiden Mod Kart triumph.
Even in drier conditions, things were inauspicious for those like Michael Meister, who won Pro Buggy on Saturday but suffered a flat rear tyre the next day. Jeb Bootle had a chaotic pair of Sunday drives after his tyre went down in Pro Stock SxS followed by bicycling his Pro Turbo SxS, causing the car to briefly land on its side before getting back on his wheels.
Bootle was not the only driver with a Pro Skater-like move in the weekend. On Saturday, Dave Van Den Elzen‘s Pro Buggy race ended in the first corner when he drove into the outside K-rail, sending his car onto the rail and grinding along it. Race #1 of the 1600 Light Buggy also began with a massive wreck in turn one that involved half the grid.
Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run results
|Dave Mason Jr.
|Pro Turbo SxS
|Pro Stock SxS
|Pro Am SxS
|Super Stock Truck
|1600 Single Buggy
|Short Course Kart
|1600 Light Buggy