ERX Sets New Attendance Record After Two Incredible Days of Professional Off-Road Truck Racing Capped with Elk River’s Own, Andrew Carlson, Winning the Biggest Race of the Weekend
Elk River, Minn. July 15, 2019 – The 4th Annual ERX Off-Road National sent fans home smiling as Elk River’s own Andrew Carlson capped the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League event with a huge victory in the sport’s premier class. The win put the record crowd on its feet and further established professional off-road racing at ERX Motor Park in Elk River as a must-attend event for motorsports enthusiasts throughout the region.
When track owners Chris Carlson and Todd Plaisted decided to bring the unique form of off-road racing to Minnesota, they knew it would take time for fans to discover the same passion they had developed. However, if this past weekend is any indication, (where a record number of fans, campers, vendors and racers descended upon the 400-acre facility) the event will undoubtedly continue to grow.
“We want to create a full weekend experience,” said Chris Carlson. “Crandon (Wisconsin) is where this sport was born, and they attract a lot of fans. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re growing and this past weekend was amazing.”
Carlson was also quick to point out that ERX is different from many other motorsports facilities. “We’re all family,” Carlson said as he looked out at a hillside of fans. “Everyone here, from our staff, our volunteers, our racers and especially the fans…we want everyone to feel like ERX is home to them. We want to be the place where families come first…it’s something we’re very proud of.”
The racing, which takes place on a one-mile track that follows the natural rolling terrain of the area, was action-packed, but no race was more exciting or more fulfilling for local fans and track owners than Saturday’s main event. The PRO 4 class is the premier class in short course off-road racing. Featuring all-wheel drive, 900-horsepower trucks, it’s a class that has been convincingly dominated by the Wisconsin father/son duo of Johnny and CJ Greaves. It’s also the class where Elk River native Andrew Carlson, son of Chris Carlson, is racing full-time for the first time.
After a pair of mechanicals on Friday cut expectations short, Saturday’s PRO 4 finale was Andrew’s run for redemption. It was a nail-biter from start to finish, but Andrew moved into the lead with some gutsy passing, and then held off a hard-charging CJ Greaves in the closing laps for his first career PRO 4 win.
“To win here, in front of my friends and family…knowing how much hard work so many people put into making this event happen... I couldn’t be happier or more proud. I had tears in my eyes when I crossed the finish line.” said Andrew.
Carlson wasn’t the only racer who brought fans to their feet. PRO Light drivers Christopher Polvoorde and Ryan Beat made the trek from California to compete at ERX, and they put on a clinic, besting the field and finishing first and second respectively both days. In PRO 2 Truck, Kyle Kleiman notched not only his first victory in the class, knocking off favorites Keegan Kincaid, Cory Winner, and Andrew Carlson; he did so back-to-back, sweeping PRO 2 for the weekend. The double top-of-the-box finish moved Kyle within 3-points of current championship leader, Keegan Kincaid.
Not to be outdone, the PRO Side-x-Side classes were packed with racers, totaling more than 50 entries. In PRO Stock it was CJ Greaves besting the field both days; while in PRO Modified it was Kyle Chaney with the weekend sweep – increasing his championship lead over Rodney VanEperen to 51-points.
While many fans come for the main event PRO Truck and Side-by-Side racing, many others are there to cheer on the Sportsman classes. Featuring regional drivers and their families, perhaps no other attribute of short-course off-road racing better exemplifies the passion and connectedness of the fans and its competitors.
Already, ERX Motor Park staff are making plans for next year’s race, and if comments from fans and racers alike on their eagerness to return is any indication, it will undoubtedly be even bigger.