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CORR Nissan Off Road Nationals:
Chula Vista, CA (Sept. 22-24, 2006)

 

 

Do you love watching fast-paced auto racing, live and in-person? Canít get enough door-to-door, fender bending, flying-through-the-air action as the competitors claw and scrape their way to the checkered flag? Then todayís AutoMatters column is especially for you!

 
CORR Off Road Racing

CORR stands for Championship Off Road Racing. I just came back from my second CORR event -- the Nissan Off Road Nationals, which were held at the Chula Vista International Off Road Raceway. This sprawling complex is ideally suited to short course, off road racing.


Spectators can get very close to the action

The elevation changes help make the course challenging for competitors and exciting for the spectators. Itís also really easy to see from the grandstands.

This is great entertainment and about as rough and tumble as four-wheeled motorsports gets. Furthermore the weather was picture perfect, and the parking was nearby and plentiful. What more could a racing fan ask for?

 
    
Buggies mixing it up on-track                                Too close for comfort

Short course, off road racing is ideally suited to action photography because most of the track can be seen from just about everywhere. All that is needed is a camera with a fairly long telephoto lens. Follow the action through the viewfinder and soon youíll probably find yourself stepping back for cover. I did more than once in the course of taking about 700 pictures!

 

 
Trucks compete in several classes

The trucks compete in several exciting classes, including full size four wheel drive and two wheel drive, as well as light duty, two wheel drive. Depending upon the class, horsepower ranges from 300 to 800. These are all seriously fast and loud, and they rarely seem to have all four tires on the ground at once.

 
The buggies are fan favorites

Besides pickup trucks, there are also races for buggies. Offering plenty of wheel travel to negotiate the jumps and rough terrain, their horsepower ranges from 60-70 to 140-200, again depending upon class. The more powerful buggies have more up and down wheel travel.

 


Kids race too, in kid-sized trucks

This is a family sport. While I was here I watched two races just for kids aged 8 to 16. They competed with each other in scaled down race trucks. Make no mistake, these are not toys. Their brave young drivers caught some serious air as their proud parents and friends cheered them on.

 
Quick release body panels over a rugged cage

While from a distance the trucks look like somewhat modified pickups, look behind their easily removed fiberglass skins and youíll see rugged, cage-like structures that protect both the occupants and the mechanical components. Thatís how they can bang, roll and flip, yet still be able to come back soon and race again. They are specially designed for that purpose. As a result, you will see plenty of exciting action on the track. This is a contact sport!

 
Re-grading the track between heats

The racing is hard on the track, too. Every so often the drivers have to stop racing to allow the skilled, efficient track workers to do some serious re-grading.

  
Deanne Vernengo (#333) gets the full experience in her first CORR race

Current stars of the sport include Johnny Greaves, Carl Renezeder, Jeff Kincaid, Gary Nierop and Jeffrey Knupp, but this is not just for men. Other drivers include Cissy Baldwin, Rhonda Konitzer, Krissy Sullivan and Lisa Grint. Yes, women race too and from what Iíve seen theyíre every bit as daring and competitive as the men.

  
Fireworks entertained the crowds

The entertainment included spectacular daytime fireworks.

CORR supports our troops. 4,000 reserved seating tickets were donated to Southern California military bases.

 
SPEED provided TV coverage

If you have not been to one of these events in person yet, you can see them on TV on the SPEED channel. The events begin airing in early November.

 
Remote controlled eye-in-the-sky

One camera was mounted on a motorized, wheeled contraption and then suspended directly over the racing action, where it sped back and forth along a cable. I canít wait to see the shots that no live camera operator could safely shoot. Trust me, I tried but soon ran for cover when a wayward racer blasted down the side road where I was positioned with my camera. I wonder if that piece of the action will make it to TV?


A busy Saturday night preparing for more racing on Sunday

Have you ever been to a big time car race where you couldnít get anywhere near the cars and the drivers in the pits? Thatís certainly not the case in CORR. There are plenty of team members who are more than willing to talk about what they do. I spoke with several team members as they worked well into Saturday night, getting ready for the next dayís races.

  
Night falls on Chula Vista International Off-Road Raceway

This three day CORR off road racing event is long gone but more are on the way. To find out when and where, visit the CORR Web site at www.corracing.com. I can hardly wait until CORR returns here, to sunny Southern California. Go. Youíll have a great time. I sure did!

 

As always, please share your stories and send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com. Enjoy the archives and more at www.AutoMatters.net. Drive safely and do join me again next time.

Copyright © 2006 Jan R. Wagner Ė #211 AutoMatters 

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