Before All the Glitz and Glamor

Before All the Glitz and Glamor

THE HISTORY OF SHORT COURSE RACING

Not all of the action is stopped once the checkered flag has flown.

Just notice how the fans’ applause follows the racers to the podium. While taking in the admiration of the fans, racers are quick to acknowledge their crew, family, and sponsors for placing them on the podium. Such is racing. And the same could be said for short course off-road racing history itself. Today one watches all the excitement of several classes of race cars from a grandstand or even from the comfort of one’s living room while taking in the action on TV. Just as the appreciative racer is on the podium, we also need to appreciate those that set in motion our beloved sport of short course off-road racing. In fact, it is our responsibility to recognize as many of those possible that helped bring our favorite motorsport to fruition. We have no way of mentioning all involved in producing this exciting form of motorsport, but just as it is necessary for a racer to appreciate his support, it is the fan’s duty to recognize those that gave us short course off-road racing.

Looking back one will note that stadium racing evolved from short course events. Short course racing came from off-road events dating back to the late 1940s, if not earlier. It is the transition of off-road racing closed course, two short courses, and eventually stadium racing that concern us. We are unable to mention every series that contributed to the history, but we can focus on the more prominent events.

When race fans walk through the gates at a professional off-road short course, or stadium event today, they are greeted by rows of aftermarket equipment suppliers and various food vendors. Having its roots in desert racing it has not always been this way. To witness off-road racing fans would have to drive hours and camp in some of the roughest conditions only to get a glimpse of the racing action as it passed by. Today, after taking in the midway extravaganza fans make their way to the grandstands and enjoy one of the best forms of racing known to man.

Many fans remember the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Championship Gran Prix MTEG and those a little older will remember the events held at Riverside Raceway. Although being the most notable of earlier events the credit for establishing the first recognized short course racing should go to off-road racer turned promoter Brian Chuchua.