Creating a national series

The history of Short Course racing once again altered course. The year 2018 will be remembered when Short Course Off-Road Racing was united into one major racing series. What brought about the historic event was the announcement that three major Midwest racing venues had withdrew from TORC The Off Road Championship. Soon after it was announced another announcement stated that Lucas Oil partnered with the same three tracks; Bark River, Crandon International Raceway and ERX Motor Park, with a four weekend race schedule.

The original withdraw notification came by a CRANDON, Wisconsin release March 5, 2018. Citing the need to ensure the future of short-course off-road racing in the American Midwest, Crandon International Raceway, Bark River and ERX Motor Park today announced their immediate withdrawal from The Off Road Racing Championship (TORC Series).

The partnership between Lucas Oil and the Midwest racetracks was a long time in coming. In the beginning the Crandon WI Jaycees started a Baja style off-road race titled the Brush Run 101. By 1984 the event had morphed into short course with it’s main event held at Crandon International Raceway. The sanctioning body then was SODA, Short Course Off-Road Drivers Association. Then in 1996 Marty Reid formed Championship Off-Road Racing CORR. Reid had a TV package which swayed the drivers to leave SODA and race in the new series. Reid would later sell CORR to Jim Baldwin who moved the series to the west coast (more on CORR later. ) So after CORR the Midwest series was racing under the title World Series of Off-Road Racing WSORR. Next the series would be run by The Off-Road Championship TORC sponsored by TRAXXAS. In 2010 the United States Auto Club USAC became the sanctioning body. Ownership was yet again to pass in 2013 when The Armory, a Southern California advertising and production company, bought rights to TORC. Then in 2015 it was announced that TORC was purchased by Mountain Sports International, Inc. MSI. TORC is still owned by MSI but with their main tracks partnering with Lucas Oil   they sent out a release on Match 23 2018 stating, Unfortunately, TORC: The Off-Road Championship will not hold events in 2018. We will, however, continue to evaluate future opportunities for TORC. We remain grateful to our drivers, partners, and fans for their support and wish everyone a great racing season. So as you see the Midwest series has been under many different hands.

So, I mentioned CORR. In 2005 Jim Baldwin, a Southern California developer and off-road racer, saw the potential in CORR and bought the series from Marty Reid. Baldwin got short course racing maximum exposure with live TV broadcast on both SPEED and NBC. However, If you will remember back in 2008 the economy was upended causing serious doubt as to the future of Short Course racing. Then in a press release from CORR stated: “Championship Off-road Racing has made the difficult decision to cancel the Primm, Nevada race on October 25th and 26th. The current credit crisis had made it very difficult to cover CORR’s costs.” This would lead to the end of CORR.

Tony Vanillo, former Technical Director for CORR, announced he had secured Lucas Oil as a sponsor and was putting on a six race Lucas Oil American Off-Road Series LAORS for 2009. Before Vanillo could get organized Lucas Oil Products announced they had finalized an agreement with Tony and Sherry Vanillo to acquire complete ownership of the newly formed American Off-road Series. The series would be renamed the “Lucas Oil Off-road Racing Series LOORS” (later LOORRS).

So since 2009 the two main series were LOORRS and TORC. During the turmoil of the recession the promoters and many major sponsors met to discuss the future. During the meeting the sponsors let it be known the best thing to do would be to combine the series to concentrate advertising dollars. Those having financial investments were not willing to give up their investments to the other nor did they form a partnership. So since 2009 the two major series have competed for sponsor dollars.

In a recent release from LOORRS “Lucas Oil Executive Vice President Bob Patison all of us in the short course world have worked tirelessly over the past 10 years to promote the sport and help it to reach its full potential. “This expansion is not only exciting for all sides, but it also incorporates big events at proven venues. The objective is to create one viable national touring series for the PRO categories in the next year or two, but we also want to address the economic realities of short course racing by examining a blended rules package and lowering operating costs in the near future.”

“We are working to finalize all of the preliminary plans,” stated Ritchie Lewis of Lucas Oil. “This all came about very quickly and with a tremendous amount of welcomed cooperation between Lucas Oil, Crandon, Bark River and ERX. From the moment we were notified, our team has worked tirelessly to ensure that we do our part in keeping short course racing alive and well in the Midwest. We are excited to work with the Sportsman and Pro teams in a manner that does not prevent anyone from racing. We want every short course competitor in the country to feel welcome and come out and support these tracks and have a good time while racing under the Lucas Oil banner.”

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