PRIMM, Nev. – The SNORE 250 will be presented for the 40th year here Saturday and the race’s first winner will be there to serve as the grand marshal while recalling his many years in the sport.
Fritiz Kroyer, a legendary member of off-road racing who won the 1970 SNORE 250 before taking a pair of wins in the Mint 400 in 1971-72 driving an unlimited buggy, remembers the first Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts event since it started out on a sour note.
“I remember that I rolled the car only a few hundred yards from the starting line right in front of fans who had gathered,” recalls the 66-year-old native of Copenhagen, Denmark. “We were running side-by-side and made a hard right hand turn to get out of the gravel pit. I rolled it and fortunately, it landed on its wheels.
“I was so embarrassed. The wheels were wobbling and all I was interested in doing was getting out of sight. The team owner was down the road and I pulled in to fix up the car. We got it fixed and I won the race.”
The popular Kroyer now works with his son Kevin, who is partners with hotel owner Michael Gaughan in Kroyer Racing Engines at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“You really have to be on the ball all of the time in off-road racing,” Kroyer says now. “In oval racing, it’s the same turns over and over again, but there are so many challenges in off-road racing.”
KJ Howe, the former race director of the Mint 400, has vivid memories about Kroyer.
“I raced in the Mint in 1971 and 1972 and Fritz went by me so fast that I suddenly realized that I had better learn a little more about off-road racing because it sure was different from the sports car racing that I was used to,” said Howe. “Fritz had an unbelievable ability to read the terrain and find the proper line through the rough areas so that he could go faster than anyone else.
“Plus, he was able to keep a car together until the end. He knew how to finish and that is the name of the game in off-road racing. He once told me that you have to first finish before you can finish first” which was a term later uttered to me by Parnelli Jones.”
Howe said he became close friends with Kroyer, who prepared the Mint-sponsored unlimited two-seater from about 1975-1982.
“Fritz had a company named Race Prep in the San Fernando Valley,” said Howe. “He knew suspensions, transmissions, shock setup and he had an outstanding reputation for preparing an off-road racing car. He prepared cars for a lot of off-road racers and was really respected for his ability to build and maintain race cars.”
Howe said Kroyer once did the stunt driving for a movie and jumped over the Berlin Wall.
“He had to go to Germany and they made him jump over a wall that was supposed to be the Berlin Wall,” said Howe. "He did stunt driving as well as racing while also prepping cars. He raced stadium races and the long-distance races like Baja so that just goes to show how versatile he was.”
The SNORE 250 will begin and end behind Buffalo Bills and will include 60-mile laps with competition in 17 classes.
The event kicks off Friday with pre-run registration beginning at 9 a.m. Registration is scheduled from 4:30-8:45 p.m. in the Conference Center at Terrible’s Resort and Casino with a driver’s meeting set to begin at 7 p.m.
The race is set to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday. The race is based on an eight-hour time limit. Among the top competitors scheduled to race are TJ Flores, Tom Koch and Pat Dean in Class 1; Bekki Wik, Michael Hanson and Cortney Whipple in Class 10; Kenny Freeman, Aaron Hawley, Rob MacCachren and Derek Bradley in 1-2 1600; Clint Braun in Class 18 and Raul Solano in Class 5-1600.
Other top competitors include Rob MacCahren in Class 16 and T.J. Flores in Class 1.
Sunday’s awards breakfast is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. in the Terrible’s Conference Center. The annual Make-A-Wish Ride will follow from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. behind the Primm Outlet Center. The event provides rides in off-road equipment to youngsters who are fighting life-threatening illnesses.
Braun leads the 2009 SNORE points standings with 2,741 points followed by Stock Bug drivers Robert Johnson (2657) and Felipe Neri Sanchez (2,653); 5/1600 competitor Patrick Dailey (2,612) and Class 10 driver Michael Hanson (2,576).
Further information may be found at www.snoreracing.net.