Crandon's event has been a learning experience on and off the track
CRANDON, Wisc. - It's the 40th anniversary of off-road racing here at Crandon International Raceway and you won't find a more enthusiastic crowd than the contingent of Southern Nevadans who have traveled 2,000 miles to be here for the Traxxas TORC series.
And during this wild gathering of both off-road equipment and fans, Southern Nevada 1600 racer Kenny Freeman had some interesting insight related to his first-ever trip to what is called the Super Bowl of off-road racing.
"After all, this is Wisconsin where times are good evven when they're actually not and people pull together for everything from removing snow for Packer games at Lambeau Field to making sure major off-road racing is presented.
"The track has no whoops but it's fun," said Freeman, who with his wife, Kerry, traveled the distance to compete here. "It really needs more whoops."
However, one thing about Crandon is clear. The community has jumped into the event not only as fans but as workers, too. Complete with a 1.5- mile track Crandon International Off Road Raceway has attracted the big boys of off-roading including Southern Nevada competitor Rob MacCachren, whose multi-faceted talents have long been evidenced by his ability to win in everything from a 1600 to a truck and most anything else he touches.
In fact, those who have been in Southern Nevada for quite some time will remember that MacCachren's talents even included that of a star high school basketball player before he left behind the hoops for auto racing. Since grabbing the steering wheel of off-road race cars, MacCachren has mounted a sparkling career.
MacCachren reportedly won his race which in itself is no surprise considering his talent. And at the same time, he was bringing even more respect to Southern Nevada off-road racers considering the immense talent that has invaded Crandon.
And in MacCachren and Freeman, Crandon has a pair of great representatives from Southern Nevada. And especially in Freeman's case, this particular trip has been not only competitive but also educational at the same time. MacCachren knew the territory and has been a kingpin while Freeman undoubtedly discovered new ideas that could be used with SNORE race event in the future.
"The whole town of Crandon is working the track," said Freeman. "And get this. Sara Lee Bread put up $100 contingency if you win and have a loaf of bread in the car at the finish."
Now that's creative marking and promotions at it's best in what might be considered no holds barred involvement.
The history of the track is also interesting to Freeman. In fact, perhaps one of the most interesting facet with Crandon is what probably started out as an idea was taken to the next step and turned into a fascinating extravaganza that has drawn some of the biggest names in off-road racing.
The peole here have attracted national attention including television coverage not to mention interest in both print and internet reporters from all over the nation.
"I'm told that the guys running the track are a club that bought a 400-acre farm just so they could put on an off-road race," explained Freeman. "They have growing pains and it reminds me a little of SNORE. But what really makes this work is that everyone gets into it. From the Jaycees to the butcher who gave away 50 pounds of steaks along with the involvement from Sara Lee, this is really an example of teamwork. I'll never forget it."
As far as the competition goes, Freeman had an interesting day Saturday.
"I had this great idea," laughed Freeman, whose efforts here have been complemented by the fact that he promotes SNORE while making sure fans and even track personnel are given shirts with the club's name on it. "I thought I could pick up two spots if I drove a little harder in the turn. The only problem was that it didn't work out since I did a 360 right in front of the crowd and ended up seventh."
The off-road extravaganza ends Sunday and you can bet that wherever Freeman finishes in the final standings, the trek across America won't be forgotten soon.
The Freeman trip has included wife, Kerry, and family pet, Maxie, a spirited Yorkshire that could almost be considered the mascot of SNORE events throughout the year. The trip has included some of the best fishing in the country not to mention scenery.
Truth be known, when you live in the desert you tend to forget that the landscape of trees, water and fields can serve as therapy.
And when you tie into that the beauty of Wisconsin, the combination creates memories that will last for a lifetime.
In fact, the auto racing enthusiast -- especially a stock car fan -- can usually spend a summer knowing that there is a short track even somewhere some time.
In fact, on this particular weekend, big-time stock car racing was in Wisconsin, too, as Carl Edwards rocketed to the Nationwide Series victory and long-time competitor Ron Hornaday charged to the NASCAR Camping World Series truck race at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis.
And now with the huge success of off-road racing, there's also another important element in the equation at the same time.