CRANDON, Wis. — For the off-road racing community Labor Day weekend in the legendary and picturesque Northwoods of Crandon, Wis. is every bit as extraordinary and special as late February in Daytona Beach, Fla. is to the NASCAR world.
Hungry and determined, 17-year-old Pro Lite driver Madix “Madman” Bailey of the Riverside, Calif.-based Stronghold Motorsports / Lucas Oil team, recognizes the magnitude of his first start in the most anticipated and prestigious race of the year — the 52nd Polaris Crandon World Championships this weekend.
Bailey has surveyed and scrutinized trucks roaring around the famous Crandon track many times as a fan. This year the talented, up-and-coming driver is relishing an opportunity to compete.
“It’s something I have looked forward to my entire life,” said Bailey, who enters the final Championship Off-Road race ranked No. 4 in the Pro Lite standings. “Crandon is a truly amazing place and the atmosphere is like nothing else.”
Bailey knows there would be no more fulfilling end to the season than to go out atop the podium at Crandon. The winner of three out of four Great American Short Course races this season, Bailey knows he’s got the skillset, grit and drive to make his dream a reality.
“I love it when my family gets to come watch me race,” said Bailey, the aspiring motorsports engineering student. “It adds extra pressure but it also helps push me.”
Bailey had an opportunity to run the Crandon track with the Champ Series in late June. He values the beneficial experience on the Northern Wisconsin soil, but knows the changes to the track combined with the rumble of tens of thousands of fans will make for a very different environment.
“It’s about staying calm and focused,” Bailey said. “From what I gathered in testing the track is pretty much the same, but there is a new lip out there that was really bucking the truck.”
Through five races, Bailey has excelled in the Championship Off-Road series in his premier season, collecting three podium finishes, with one second and two thirds.
After finishing No. 3 in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series last season and being named Rookie of the Year, Bailey is pleased with the momentum his team was able to carry over to the Midwest.
“We have had some ups and downs, but it has been mostly positive. Our biggest setback came in Lena (Wis., Dirt City Motorplex) when I rolled the truck in the rain race,” said Bailey, who sees very little rain on the West Coast. “Other than that, I feel like the team has really done a great job in a new series.”
Proud father and accomplished off-road driver Brandon Bailey fondly recalls the first time he took his son to Crandon.
“He was only 6 or 7 and even at that age he knew it was a spectacle,” Brandon Bailey said. “To have a Bailey racing in the Crandon World Championships means a lot. We are really excited.”
For additional coverage from Crandon, visit our friends at dirtsportsworld.com.