Crandon International Off-Road Raceway Small town with big time racing (August 28, 2001)--For the past 32 years, the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway has been known as the `World Capital of Professional Off-Road Racing'. When the CORR...
Crandon International Off-Road Raceway
Small town with big time racing
(August 28, 2001)--For the past 32 years, the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway has been known as the `World Capital of Professional Off-Road Racing'. When the CORR EXXON Superflo Series returns to Crandon, Wis. for the BorgWarner World Championships September 1-2, the spotlight will be on the most popular off-road racing facility in the world.
The tradition of short course off-road racing in Crandon, Wis. began in 1970. That year, 47 drivers competed for $1,500 in front of a few hundred fans. During the 2000 season, the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway attracted 60,000 fans with more than $100,000 in purse money.
"We have been very fortunate to build a solid off-road racing fan base over the years," said CIORA President Cliff Flannery. "Each year, our loyal fans bring more friends and family with them to Crandon to watch the races."
Crandon is located in north-central Wisconsin, 100 miles northwest of Green Bay. The town of approximately 2,000 people lives off the racing at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway. For example, hotels and motels throughout the region are booked well in advance, airline flights are booked solid for the week before the race. Local grocers stock up on the needs and requirements of thousands of fans rolling into town.
"People love off-road racing in Crandon and they come out to support us. The races are a great boost for the economy in Crandon and the region," said Flannery. In fact, Flannery pointed out that one local restaurant does more business in the three days surrounding the annual BorgWarner World Championships than they do in the preceding eight months.
The increasing attendance figures at Crandon during the Championship Off-Road Racing events as well as their snocross events have helped bring in numerous sponsorship opportunities for national, regional and local businesses. Off-Road racing is the perfect environment for many companies to test their products in the extreme conditions.
"If you look around Crandon, you will see sponsor support fromand I will do this alphabeticallyBF Goodrich, BorgWarner, Chevrolet, Dynomax, Ford, Forest County Potawatomi, Goodyear, Miller Welders, Precision Gear, Rancho, Snap-On, Toyota, and TrailMaster. Championship Off-Road Racing adds EXXON Superflo Motor Oils, K & N Filters, GM Hydra-Matic Transmissions, American Racing Custom Wheels and Kumho Tires to the mix," said Flannery. "These are all major league players in automotive circles."
The popularity of racing in recent years has helped the growth of Crandon. "We are extremely fortunate to draw the largest live spectator crowd to witness the sport of off-road racing in the world," said Flannery.
Crandon's popularity in the state of Wisconsin is also on the rise. Miller Brewing had off-road racing listed as one of the top-ten events in the statealong with Green Bay Packer football and the Milwaukee Brewers. Miller Brewing, Co. started their relationship with the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway this year. This year, Miller has ran more than 2,400 radio ads throughout the State for Crandon, promoting the event three weeks before every race, said Flannery.
For all involved, including the various sponsors, Championship Off-Road Racing, the drivers, the fans and the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway, it is a win-win situation.
"We often say that conducting races of the magnitude at Crandon would be impossible without the support of our valued sponsors," said Flannery. "We think we are on the right track as many of them have been with us long-term over the past several years. We have the right mix of local, regional, and national sponsors that is working for us. We are indebted to sponsors such as Johnsonville Foods, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, KC Hilites and those previously mentioned for many consecutive years of support," he said.
With the increase in purse money in recent years, more off-road drivers from all over the nation are venturing to Crandon to test their skills against the best drivers on the most punishing short course off-road track. Each year, Crandon hosts the CORR EXXON Superflo Series, featuring the Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run in June, and the Labor Day weekend BorgWarner World Championships.
Two of the most lucrative off-road races in the world take place at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway as well. The Forest County Potawatomi Governor's Cup and the BorgWarner Shootout feature a competition between the Pro-4, Pro-2 and Sportsman 2 drivers in the CORR EXXON Superflo Series. Pro-4 champion Rob MacCachren is the two-time defending champion for the Governor's Cup as well as the BorgWarner World Championship.
One of the first drivers from the west was the legendary Walker Evans. W. Evans has three career Championship Off-Road Racing victories at Crandon since 1998 before retiring after the 2000 season.
"I guess the great Walker Evans said it best: `If you can win at Crandon, all the rest are easy,'" said Flannery.
What is the future plan for the 400-acre off-road racing facility in Wisconsin's heartland? According to Flannery, the track has an additional 200 acres that the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway Association, Inc. can use for the future. Flannery pointed out that several items need to be addressed, but financing such tasks is the issue. Improvements for the kitchens, expanding the 100,000 square-foot paved pit area for sponsor support as well as the expansion of the VIP skyboxes are just a few of the items that will be addressed in the future.
"One of our main projects is getting the International Off-Road Raceway Museum started. We have the registered name for the facility. Our idea is to bring in some of the great off-road race vehicles of all-time and put them on display for the fans," said Flannery.
Tickets for racing in Crandon are in high demand. The track is currently sold out in their adult camping area this year. For the BorgWarner World Championships, the track generally get an immediate 300 camping reservations in advance, according to the track Office Manager, Tiffany Landru. One camping site equals two to four people. When does the CIORA start preparing for the 2002 season? Tuesday, September 4the day after Labor Day.
For ticket information on the 2001 BorgWarner World Championships, please call 715-478-2222 or visit www.crandonoffroad.com.