Saturday, March 2, 2024

AOE unveils unified regional short course programme

American Outdoor Events appears to have a blueprint for short course off-road racing. Two days after revealing the tentatively named AOE Pro Series for the Pro short course categories, the company unveiled on Thursday a counterpart for the Sportsman classes. Unlike the Pro Series that is a brand new championship, the Sportsman—or Regional as AOE’s nomenclature has dubbed it—version will be an umbrella encompassing the existing Great American Shortcourse, Midwest Off Road Racing, and MidAmerica Racing series.

Each of the three series compete in a select region, with GAS being the top West Coast championship, MORR supporting the Midwest-based Championship Off-Road, and MAO competing in Oklahoma and Missouri. AOE hopes to expand it to the East Coast by 2025.

The trio will maintain their usual regulations for 2024 before AOE introduces a more uniform rulebook the following year, though each region can make various tweaks for variety. This allows competitors in one series to dabble in either of the others without having to modify their vehicles too much.

Although sportsman racers do not have the same financial backing as their professional counterparts, thereby making nationwide competition impossible for most, the AOE series also plans to at least provide some help towards larger racing opportunities. To this end, the sanctioning body will offer driver media and sponsorship relations classes while Pro Series broadcaster Speed Sport will offer free livestreaming of every race.

GAS competitors will join the Pro Series’ to-be-determined season opener on the West Coast. MORR’s racers have the most support rounds which includes both Crandon International Raceway events, ERX Motor Park, and Bark River International Raceway, while MAO’s compete at MidAmerica Outdoors and Lucas Oil Speedway.

“Grassroots regional racing is the heart and soul of off-road motorsports,” said AOE owner Jason Robinett. “Families building cars together, coming to the track, spending time outdoors, and drivers getting seat time to develop their skills are critical to the long-term fun and success of short course racing on all levels.

“We are proud to continue evolving our support in the growth of Sportsman classes nationally the same way we have been growing regionally with our MAO Racing and MidAmerica Outdoors series the last four years.”

GAS was founded in 2021 and acquired by AOE two years later. The company also runs MAO Racing, which consists of a UTV and truck racing championship that primarily races at the AOE-owned MidAmerica Outdoors in Oklahoma along with Lucas Oil Speedway in Missouri.

AOE has been aggressive in expanding its off-road racing portfolio, which also includes Ultra4 USA, American SxS Takeover, and America Pro Rock Racing. Although Championship Off-Road is the top Midwestern short course series today, AOE announced the new Pro Series just two days after the COR season concluded at MAO. The Midwest also experienced a sportsman racing rift when IODA was formed as a breakaway from SODA in late 2022.

Further details of both the Pro and Regional series will be revealed at the Performance Racing Industry Show on 7 December.

2024 schedule

# Race Track Location Date Region
1 TBA TBA West Coast TBA GAS
2 Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run Crandon International Raceway Crandon, WI 21–24 June MOR
3 ERX Nationals ERX Motor Park Elk River, MN 12–14 July MORR
4 Bark River Nationals Bark River International Raceway Bark River, MI 16–18 August MOR
5 Polaris Crandon World Championships Crandon International Raceway Crandon, WI 30 August – 1 September MORR
6 TBA MidAmerica Outdoors Jay, OK 20–22 September MAO
7 Wheatland Nationals Lucas Oil Speedway Wheatland, MO 11–13 October MAO