SHEHEEN: First-Time Trips To Crandon & Boone

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Ralph Sheheen Mug
Ralph Sheheen

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — The Crandon World Championship Off Road Races might be the best deal for motorsports fans.

The most prestigious event in short-course off-road racing takes place in the small northern Wisconsin town of Crandon.

I attended the traditional Labor Day weekend event for the first time and the spectacular Crandon Int’l Raceway facility is impressive. Used only eight days a year, the track and grounds are manicured and maintained better than many big-time motorsports venues.

The race track staff works under the leadership of track president Cliff Flanders, while Marty Fiolka handles promotions and marketing. Both do a tremendous job in keeping the show moving and providing a very hospitable environment for the thousands of fans who pack the hillsides.

What really stood out was the affordability of the weekend. You can camp for the entire weekend for as little as $50. A full weekend race ticket to watch all on-track activity over four days, which includes 30 races, could be had for as little as $45.

Multiple classes, ranging from side-by-sides to the fire-breathing Pro 4 trucks, kept the fans cheering loudly. The land rush to the blind downhill first corner is as exciting as any opening lap in motorsports.

As you lay out your racing calendar for next year, consider the Crandon World Championship Off Road Races on Labor Day weekend. It’s great racing at a spectacular facility with affordable prices. I’ll see you there!

– Another great event we had the opportunity to experience for the first time was the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals. Iowa’s Boone Speedway is the site for this legendary week of racing. It’s a third-mile, banked dirt oval, which provided some of the best racing we have seen in a long time.

Almost 900 race cars in multiple classes were in the pit area. As soon as one race was over, the next group was already rolling on to the track. The constant five-wide racing was thrilling and the track never deteriorated.

IMCA President Brett Root and his officials did a masterful job of keeping the show running smoothly, while Boone Speedway promoter Robert “Lawty” Lawson and his track crew impressed with some of the best dirt-track maintenance we’ve ever seen.

Several days of persistent rain forced two nights of racing to be run in a single day with 119 races taking place during the all-day program.

The six-day event, originally scheduled to conclude on Saturday night, wrapped up late on Sunday afternoon. It was an outstanding effort by the IMCA and Boone Speedway staffs.

All the action was taped for a series of “SPEED SPORT on MAVTV” shows that will begin airing on Thanksgiving night.

– Mike Nichols’ blue mid-’80s IMCA Monte Carlo might be the baddest race car you’ve never heard of, and Nichols is a pretty good wheelman. He won his ninth IMCA Stock Car title this year and four track championships, bringing his career total to 42. Nichols has won 561 IMCA stock car races and more than 300 of those came in the Chevy Monte Carlo he raced this season.

– With the holidays quickly approaching, lots of motorsports-themed books have been showing up at our SPEED SPORT offices. One that we were really were looking forward to reading was John Andretti’s life story as told to renowned racing author Jade Gurss. They made a fantastic team when it came to telling Andretti’s story. This book, “Racer: John Andretti” did not disappoint.

Andretti was one of the most versatile and immensely talented racers of the modern era, driving sprint cars, midgets, stock cars, Indy cars, sports cars and Top Fuel dragsters.

Having frequently bench raced with Andretti, I can tell you he was also a great storyteller. This book is full of tales about his famous racing family, his godfather A.J. Foyt and driving for Richard Petty.

It also chronicles the challenges he endured during his brave fight with colon cancer, which eventually claimed his life this past January. The book is a great read and is available from Octane Press at octanepress.com.

– Peter Higham has added another decade to his wonderful series “Formula 1: Car By Car.”

This installment covers the 1950s, an era that saw amazing machines from the powerful factories of Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Vanwall and Ferrari with drivers such as Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio.

It’s the perfect gift for the F-1 fan on your shopping list. “Formula 1: Car By Car 1950-59” can be ordered from Evropublishing.com.