Adding the finishing touch to a record-shattering year, the annual Race Track Business Conference was the historic location of National Speedway Directory awarding Crandon International Raceway with the prestigious “Outstanding Facility of the Year” award for 2022. The announcement took place in Indianapolis as part of last week’s Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show.
Presented by the SPEED SPORT media platforms, the award marks the first time in history that an off-road facility has earned the honor. The previous award winners were the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2013), NCM Motorsports Park (2014), Daytona International Speedway (2015), Charlotte Motor Speedway (2016), Gateway Motorsports Park (2017), Knoxville Raceway (2018), M1 Concourse (2019) and Autobahn Country Club in 2021.
“We are pleased to honor Crandon International Raceway for being the epicenter of short course off-road racing,” said National Speedway Directory’s Tim Frost. “Their unique relationship with the community makes it a major destination for racers and fans each Labor Day weekend.”
The annual Race Track Business Conference is hosted by the National Speedway Directory and provides a platform for industry leaders to collaborate, analyze, and conceptualize around the business of motorsports. The PRI show is the world’s largest auto racing trade show, and connects manufacturers of racing products and technology with the distribution channels of retailers, builders, distributers, and teams.
“This award recognizes excellence in the production and promotion of top-tier racing events in the country, and in recent years Crandon International Raceway has earned its place as one of the very best facilities in America,” added Turn 3 Media CEO Joe Tripp. “Any location that can consistently build on a 53-year legacy of hosting the largest off-road race of its kind in the world deserves that recognition.”
The announcement at last week’s PRI show represents the finishing touch to a record-shattering year at Crandon. With the support of a growing list of corporate partners, media outlets, fans, race series and competitors, the long-term strategy for growth instituted in 2015 has continued to cement the facility’s iconic reputation and a healthy future moving into the 2023 season.
At the heart of Crandon’s long-term success is working with sanctioning groups and sponsors to ensure the finest off-road racing in the world takes place in front of the track’s loyal fan base. Close racing via a wide variety of Pro and Sportsman off-road classes (top) and investment in unifying the sport’s premiere Pro categories (above) resulted in record crowds and competitor fields in 2022.
By almost every measure Crandon International Raceway’s 2022 season provided major milestones in the track’s storied 53-year history. Attendance at both June’s 29th Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run and 53rd Polaris Crandon World Championships/Red Bull World Cup continued a recent trend of hosting record numbers of spectators. With strong support from the AMSOIL Champ Off-Road Series, the Ultra4 USA series and Volkswagen Class 11 group, overall racer participation in two events also enjoyed record participation.
Despite the expansion of fan and racer space in Camp Crandon, for the first time in track history all sites for the 2022 Polaris World Championships were sold out, with spectator camping selling out seven weeks in advance.
Also significant was a greatly expanded live streaming and cable television package for 2022 that included coverage on FloSports and CBS Sports (Champ Off-Road), plus Crandon-produced programming available on MAVTV, SPEED SPORT, RACER, Race-Dezert and CrandonOffRoad.com. In fact, Labor Day weekend’s Polaris World Championship and Red Bull Cup Sunday produced a record total of 26 hours of professionally produced live-streaming (including the 53rd Lucas Oil Labor Day Parade) plus and an additional 11 hours of network cable television via CBS Sports and MAVTV.
With an eye clearly on the future, 2022 also featured the track erecting a massive new Lucas Oil Tech Shed building to better service racers and their teams. Crandon also finalized a long-term partnership with the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF), allowing the race track to build the very first official annex of the prestigious organization. In the coming years Crandon will convert its iconic Lucas Oil Barn into an interactive museum focusing on the colorful history of short course off-road racing and its legendary home, Crandon International Raceway.
A mixture of rich tradition, constant improvement and a corporate-friendly atmosphere, Crandon International Raceway’s recipe for success has also attracted a growing number of top-tier partnerships with Red Bull, Polaris, Lucas Oil, MAVTV and many others. Another key is the record broadcast and live-streaming programming offered to fans on a wide variety of cable and online platforms.
Another innovative Crandon-led initiative will be the 2023 debut of a new vintage historic short course racing association. Modeled after the highly successful and popular vintage sports car and desert racing, the first date for the new vintage short course group will take place June 24-26, 2023 in association with the 30th anniversary Forest County Potawatomi Crandon Brush Run event.
Always looking toward the future, track ownership led by owner Cliff Flannery and the Flannery has finalized long-term agreements with the revamped Ultra4 USA group to bring rock racing to Crandon for years to come, as well as working on new upgrades to the facility to improve the fan and racer experience well into the next decade.
“On behalf of the entire staff and management here at Crandon, we wish to thank everyone involved in blessing us with this incredible honor,” concluded Cliff Flannery. “Our goal is not just to be the greatest off-road race track in the business, but one of the best motorsports venues anywhere. This award is proof that all the hard work and investment back into the sport and our facility is paying off. There is no better way to cap off a record 2022 year and set the stage for even more next season.”