Crandon, WI: After a longer-than-usual offseason thanks to changes in the sanctioning body for Midwest short course racing, Conrad Motorsports returned to racing at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway for the 25th Annual Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run races on June 16th & 17th. Cody Conrad is back with a sharp new truck body for his second full season in PRO 2, and 11-year old Hope Conrad is entering her third year in the short course karts division. 8-year-old Faith Conrad is making the team a trio this year, joining her sister and making her racing debut in the karts.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature once again left her mark on the Spring Crandon race, as heavy rains through Friday forced the cancellation of all practices and qualifying. Rain continued into Saturday morning, causing a delay to opening ceremonies. Racing was finally able to begin and several sportsman classes did vintage battle on the extremely muddy track.
A modified Sunday program had the karts scheduled to race twice, with the first race coming bright and early in the morning. Faith and Hope started the race one behind the other in rows two and three, respectively. The green flag flew and the stacked 16-kart field took off.
The Crandon mud was thick and punishing, as only one race had come before to help develop a racing line. Despite the tough conditions, Faith finished in the top half of competitors and brought home an 8th place finish. In a one-lap green-to-checkered shootout, Hope came across the line in 5th (unofficially) in a photo finish. This turned out to be the only Kart race of the weekend, as the threat of rain later in the day forced the cancellation of the second run.
The midday on Sunday was hot and sunny, and conditions improved by the time Cody and the PRO 2s took to the track around 1PM. Because qualifying had to be cancelled, a random draw determined starting positions for the race. Luck was not on Cody’s side and he was given the 14th starting position out of a stacked 15-truck field.
Not to be deterred by the unfortunate starting spot, Cody powered his way off the famous landrush start and boldy dove into Turn One. When the field crossed the finish line for the official start of the race, Cody had already passed half the field and settled into 7th place!
Cody ran a smart race early on and was there to take advantage of rookie drivers making mistakes in front of him. The #43 of Bob Brand and #36 of Daely Pentico each spun out directly in front of Conrad, but he was able to avoid the carnage and skillfully take over the positions when presented with the opportunity.
Cody settled into a pack of the top 5 trucks, which separated themselves from the rest of the field. Lap after lap went by and Cody remained right on the back bumper of the leaders, showing the power of his STEEL-IT-backed PRO 2. But before the midway point of the race, some steam was visible coming from the back of the truck. The radiator had shaken loose and the truck lost water pressure. Cody had just laid down his fastest two laps but had to pull off the track shortly after the Competition Caution.
The Conrad team immediately got to work inspecting and repairing the truck with hopes of entering the PRO 2 vs PRO 4 shootout known as the Forest County Potawatomi Community Cup Challenge later on in the day. But with the seriousness of the radiator issue and time restrictions, only a temporary solution could be utilized. The team did what they could and hoped for the best!
Once again, Cody piloted the truck with the intelligence of a racing veteran, avoiding considerable Lap 1 carnage and emerging in 7th place overall through lap one. He ran strong and consistent, keeping up with the pack and making his way up to 6th in just a couple laps. A full-course caution for a rollover brought both classes of trucks together, but the radiator issue was once again causing temperatures to rise, and he pulled off at about the midway point of the race in order to save his equipment.
Even though his day was shortened, Cody had plenty of time to get acquainted with his new Kenda tires:
"The new Kenda R/T KR601 is an unbelievably well designed tire - it had an incredible amount of traction even with the mud we had this weekend. With no grooving necessary and the ability to buy this tire off the shelf and put it on the race track, Kenda has once again out done themselves!"
Though the weather quashed much of the scheduled track time and kept everyone guessing all weekend long, the Conrad Motorsports team and drivers did themselves proud with respectable performances all around. Cody showed off tremendous speed and driving ability and could quite possibly have had a podium finish if not for the radiator troubles. And with a new engine on its way for the PRO 2, the sky's the limit for this young team!