A Graduation Present was the Spark that Led to Championship Dreams and the Creation of the Newest TORC Series Racing Facility in Elk River, Minnesota
Elk River, Minn. (June 8, 2017) – For Andrew Carlson, the path to TORC: The Off-Road Championship presented by AMSOIL is one grounded in family traditions. Passion for racing runs deep in the Carlson family, but it was the value of family itself that started Andrew Carlson on his TORC Series journey and dreams of one day winning a championship in North America’s most prestigious off-road, short-course racing series.
An accomplished professional snocross racer in North America’s biggest national snowmobile racing association, Andrew was familiar with competition and winning, having won countless races since he first started racing at age 4. But it was a high school graduation present from his parents Chris and Deb that ultimately set Andrew on his path towards off-road truck racing.
“My parents allowed me to pick one place I wanted go on a family vacation when I graduated from high school,” Andrew recalls. “It could be anywhere; and I wanted to go see a big-time race. I eventually picked a TORC Series race in Bark River, Michigan. We rented a motorhome and everyone thought it was the coolest thing we’d ever seen.”
The Carlson family was so enamored with TORC Series racing they attended the Crandon, Wisconsin race soon after. Not long after, Andrew began following and watching off-road truck racing at every opportunity.
“At the time, I didn’t really consider racing trucks, but I started to follow it more and more,” said Andrew. “It was my favorite thing to do…I’d watch every video and race I could online, and soon I knew all the drivers, all the tracks, and it became a passion for me.”
That passion and the introduction of a side-by-side UTV class to the TORC Series led Andrew to his first TORC Series race as a participant. Later that same season, through a series of mutual friendships and the chance opportunity to race a back-up truck, Andrew found himself behind the wheel of a PRO Light truck at Crandon, the TORC Series most famed track.
“I had never turned a lap before that race,” Andrew remembered, “but I had a blast and my Dad was becoming as hooked on TORC as I was.”
Fast forward to 2017, and the Carlson family, along with business partner Todd Plaisted, have become integral players in the TORC Series. Their Elk River, Minnesota based racing facility, ERX Motor Park, will be home to two of the seven stops of the 2017 TORC Series tour. And Andrew, who announced his retirement from snocross racing this spring, has set his sights on a PRO Light championship, after earning several podium finishes and his first win last season.
“I think it (off-road truck racing) has come a lot more naturally than we expected,” said Andrew. “In snocross I was more of a calculated racer…I liked the set-up and the technical attributes of the track. In TORC that plays a big role. But I also think I’m more aggressive than other guys because of my snocross background.”
For now, Carlson has found a home in the dirt, and if he has it his way, he won’t be leaving any time soon.
“I don’t have aspirations of racing NASCAR or anything like that. I like to jump. I like it when a track is always changing and things are getting rough…I want to win in TORC and I want to do it for a long time.”
Perhaps more importantly, the Carlson family continues to enjoy time together. And for Andrew, that togetherness is better than winning. “How many 24-year-olds do you know that spend nearly all their summer weekends hanging out with their family? I’m so fortunate and I know if I didn’t have that connection with my family and friends I don’t think I’d be racing…to me that’s the part I enjoy most.”
TORC Series Twin Cities Takedown – June 10-11
The TORC Series Twin Cities Takedown at ERX will feature two-full days of professional off-road racing action; Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11 at ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota. The sprawling 400-acre facility features on-site camping, premium viewing areas of the natural terrain, one-mile track, and family-friendly pricing with single day passes just $25 and children 11 and under free. For tickets, camping reservations, schedule of events, and more information visit erxmotorpark.com/off-road.
TORC: The Off-Road Championship is the nation’s homegrown short-course racing series. Built by drivers—TORC roots run deep, hosting world champions and descendants from all off-road disciplines. What started nearly a decade ago with a crew of dedicated drivers has evolved into a multigenerational sport of two-wheel and four-wheel drive trophy trucks, and UTV racing. TORC seeks to preserve the spirit of short-course racing by working with the finest tracks throughout America’s heartland and hosting some of the sport’s most competitive teams. Buckle up, because when you hear the engines rumble and witness a pack of trucks flying through the air, fighting for the inside line and taking the TORC National Championship, you’ll be hooked for life. Learn more at torcseries.com.