Crandon, WI – LoanMart racing headed to Crandon, Wisconsin for the World Championship with anticipation. Crandon is a unique event that kicks off with a parade down Lake Ave in the heart of the usually peaceful town. The clash of small town USA with state of the art unlimited race vehicles is a sight to see. Of course, any Crandon regular looks forward to watching the classix and limited truck classes that are a living testament on how the sport originated as well.
For LoanMart Racing it would be a chance to take in the Crandon experience and do battle with the Midwest’s finest. The LoanMart contingent consisted of Pro-2 racers Austin Kimbrell and Robby Woods and Prolite competitors RJ Anderson and Andrew Caddell.
LoanMart Prolite racers RJ Anderson and Andrew Caddell are no strangers to Crandon. Andrew was TORC Prolight Rookie of the Year in 2010 and in 2011, he won the Prolight Championship. Runner-up in the Championship and Rookie of the Year that same season was RJ Anderson. Andrew and RJ would both end up on the podium during the weekend. “We were running fifth on Saturday until the transmission started slipping,” said Andrew, “We were losing forward drive; we dropped all the way down to 18th. The crew stayed at the track working on the truck until 2am. They were up again at 7am putting the final touches on the truck. After testing we realized the torque converter was bad; they had to tear it all back down again. With the rain and such we still didn’t know the right combination but the team got it right.” On Sunday Andrew went from 18th to seventh by turn one. He ran a fast pace climbing all the way to third earning a trip to the podium.
RJ’s results were the exact opposite. He had a great race on Saturday landing in third place on the podium but had a freak crash on Sunday. “Rough way to end the weekend out here in Crandon,” said RJ, “I Ran a sticker for my teammate Turtle Foley that says I like turtles and ended up full turtle on the first lap. The first time I’ve ever rolled it all on my own and I did it big, bent the cage and couldn’t carry on. Thanks to LoanMart for letting me come to the big house for the biggest short course race of the year. I had a blast after my 3rd place on Saturday.”
For Austin Kimbrell it would be his first time ever at Crandon. Robby Woods had been there a few times to watch the race but never charged door to door at full speed into turn one during one of Crandon’s harrowing land rush starts until now. For the two their weekend started under water. One thing Crandon regulars know to expect is the constantly changing weather that usually includes some rain. Friday night was a wet one that resulted in a flooded pit row. The LoanMart pit was under a foot of water at one point but it never dampened their spirits.
On paper, Robby Woods had a terrible weekend. He lost an engine during Saturday’s race and could not make the starting line on Sunday. He came to Crandon to race but he had to save his good engine for his main obligation, racing in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. “We qualified the fastest out of our group but the way they ran the sessions was a little tilted,” said Robby.
The Pro-2 class was split into two groups; those in the top ten of series points and those outside. This put all the west coast racers in the same group. They then gave the points leaders the choice of order. Naturally, they chose to run the second session allowing the first group to clear the mud off the rain saturated track. This is not unheard of but it did give a huge advantage to the points leaders.
“We were caught outside going into turn one,” said Robby, “We dropped to 19th on the first lap but I started picking trucks off one by one. We were up to 8th when the engine let go.
We damaged the radiator core; probably from landing a jump. It caused us to lose all water pressure and I burned the engine down. It was a long haul to get there and we had to work lying in water because our pit was flooded but we learned a lot about what gear to run, how to set up the shocks and how to be fast right out of the box. It was a gnarly trip but I would not change a thing, it was a great experience.”
Kimbrell’s trip to Crandon was also much better than the stats show. He finished last on Saturday and worked his way through a lot of fender banging to finish 15th on Sunday. “We had Lake LoanMart in our pit,” said Austin, “Crandon was an amazing experience. Our best moment was when I was running in fourth place with two laps to go in the Amsoil Cup Race. We won’t know what happened until we tear it down but the motor blew.” The two LoanMart Pro-2 racers might have given it too much on the high-speed Crandon track but they never held back!
The team did what every racer and fan of short course hopes to do, they went to Crandon, the birthplace of short course racing. As Crandon slips into the rearview mirror they have to get busy. The next round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is only a few weeks away. On September 20-21 Fight Under the Lights presented by LoanMart is coming to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hopefully they will stay high and dry in Las Vegas.