Polaris Taps Heger, Weiland, MacCachren For Full Factory Race Team
If you’re a fan of Netflix’ series Drive To Survive show that documents the world of Formula One racing you will se similarities with Polaris’ new in house desert factory race effort. This is shaping up to be the biggest factory effort in off-road racing since Ivan Stewart, Toyota and Cal Well’s PPI race team left the sport 20 years ago. In short, Polaris is building race cars from the ground up in house, with the goal of beating all of the competition (ie Can-Am’s Maverick X3). Three cars will be campaigned at the biggest off-road races of 2023 except the Mint 400 and KOH. While we don’t yet know who will be navigating for the three top drivers, if the team is smart, it will be engineers that know every inch of the car so diagnostics and repairs can be made quickly as they arrive. Having a manager like Ryan Thomas involved, we are confident the team has all of its I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Furthermore, we wouldn’t be surprised, if the team enters extra parts cars at some of the bigger races to shadow the principle racers making sure they get to the finish line. We would be happy to have that position.
Polaris’ Factory Racing season will kick off at the San Felipe 250 on March 28-April 2, followed by the Baja 400 from May 31-June 4, Vegas to Reno on August 16-20, the Baja 500 on September 12-17, and the Baja 1000 on November 13-18. Full details and information about the purpose-built Polaris Factory Racing UTV will be released right here on March 15.
BF Goodrich Tires
Fox Racing Apparel
Esslinger Engineering Inc.
Polaris Engineered Lubricants
Engineering: Polaris Off Road
The development of the three purpose-built vehicles was led by Polaris Off-Road Racing
Technical Director Robert Wilmot, overseeing a team of Polaris off-road engineers for
whom racing and racecraft isn’t merely a job, it’s a personal passion. For these
engineers, the development of a purpose-built factory racing UTV is literally a dream
come true. Alongside Wilmot, the Polaris engineering team will assist in the progression
of the program from standpoint of ongoing race vehicle testing and development.
Driver: Austin Weiland
The former can-Am driver Weiland has always had a passion for racing, transitioning through the youth ranks of karts, oval dwarf cars and eventually moving into short course off-road racing. He has
been competing full-time in the Best in the Desert and SCORE series in the Production
Turbo class, with notable wins in the 2021 Vegas to Reno, 2022 King of the Hammers
Desert Challenge and 2022 Baja 400, 500 and 1000 wins.
Driver: Brock Heger
Coming over from Yamaha and emerging as the next big name in off-road racing, Heger has excelled in every discipline of racing with over 100 wins and 200 podiums to his name. Most recently, Heger has raced in Pro-Lite short course trucks and Production UTVs in the Champ Off Road series,
earning championships in both classes as well as competing full time in the SCORE
Trophy Truck Spec class.
Driver: Cayden MacCachren
A third-generation racer from one of the most iconic families in off-road racing history,
MacCachren, will pilot the the team’s third vehicle. The offspring of off-road royalty, it’s
no surprise that MacCachren followed in his father Rob’s footsteps to become a
championship racer. In just four short years, he has collected as many year-end
championships, along with multiple race wins at varying levels of the sport all in Polaris vehicles.
Team Principals: Craig Scanlon & Travis Clarke
The team will be run by long-time off-road racing veterans and team principals Craig
Scanlon and Travis Clarke, a duo that packs two decades of combined off-road racing
experience. The two have formed SCI (Scanlon Clarke Industries) as the program
management arm of the Polaris Factory Racing team.
Formerly an executive for Polaris Off Road, Scanlon has been a driving force in the
industry on and off the race course. In addition to his work for Polaris, Scanlon dove
headfirst into his passion for off-road racing by creating Scanlon Motorsports Group, a
professional racing program where he also served as driver, claiming his first UTV Pro
Class victory at the 2019 Baja 500.
In addition to experience racing and winning in off-road cars himself, Clarke brings a
wealth of experience in racing business and athlete management. Well established as
one of the sport’s premier sports marketing executives through his work with
Wasserman Media Group, Clarke’s client list includes some of the sport’s more renown
drivers. He’s also been a key player in the ongoing evolution of King of the Hammers,
driving critical sponsor support, instrumental to the overall progression of the premier
U.S.-based off-road event. Outside of the off-road world Clarke has been responsible for
establishing some of the top teams in Supercross/Motorcross, NASCAR and the rally
racing community, including RCH, Two Two Motorsports, Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing
Division and Pastrana Waltrip Racing.
General Manager: Ryan Thomas
Off-road industry veteran Thomas will oversee the team’s day-to-day operations and
manage driver and sponsor relations as the team’s General Manager. Thomas has spent
his lifetime on both the business and racing sides of the industry initially working for his
family business , Chenoweth Racing Products, which developed some of the most
successful cars in off-road racing history. Most recently, he was President of
Ultra4Racing and prior to that spent ten years as Director of Wide Open Baja in Cabo
San Lucas. Thomas also packs serious racing credentials from his days as a top-tier
driver, with five Baja 1000 titles to his name.
Operations Director: Adam Arsenault
To manage the team’s state-of-the-art 10,000 sq. ft. race shop in San Diego, Calif., the
team tapped Adam Arsenault, who will serve as Operations Director. Since 2010,
Arsenault, a Marine veteran himself, has owned and operated Broadsword Racing, an
off-road team of active-duty military, veterans, and first responders. Arsenault brings
the team a wealth of operational management skills learned throughout his 20-year
military career in the Marines Special Operations Division, including mission planning,
tactical communication, and navigation. In his role, he will manage the vehicle fleet,
oversee the race parts inventory and develop and manage the race volunteer roster.
Crew Chief: Johnny Nelson
Former off-road racing co-driver Johnny Nelson will operate as the team’s Crew Chief.
After winning multiple Baja 500 and Baja 1000s as a co-driver, Nelson shifted gears to
the technical side as a mechanic, where he was voted SCORE Mechanic of the Year, an
award he has won multiple times. In his role, Nelson will collaborate alongside Polaris
engineering, manage the senior and junior mechanics, and develop and execute pre-run
and race-day strategy.
The team will have three Senior and three Junior Mechanics to ensure the vehicles are
race ready for each event. They will also be responsible for maintaining the shop, chase
trucks, trailers, and pit equipment.
More from the Polaris press release:
This new Polaris Factory Racing team will enjoy invaluable sponsorship support from a lineup of
top brands that share the same commitment to premium quality and elite performance.
Sponsors include Rockford Fosgate, Synchrony, Progressive Insurance, and GoPro. In addition,
the team enjoys support from a who’s who lineup of performance brands with long-histories in
off-road racing that will provide critical products and technical support, including Fox Racing for
vehicle livery and team apparel design, Fox Shocks for its industry-leading, semi-active Live
Valve suspension technology, Polaris Engineered Lubricants, Rigid Lighting, BFGoodrich Tires
and Method Race Wheels.
Backed by nearly 70 years of innovation, Polaris is not only responsible for literally inventing
the performance side-by-side category, it also has a long and storied history of winning at the
highest levels of off-road racing, so it simply makes sense that we’d be driving the industry
forward yet again with the first, full-fledged UTV class factory racing program,” said Reid
Wilson, Vice President, Polaris Off Road Recreation. & Racing is integral to everything we do,
driving performance innovations that inspire the products we bring to showroom floors –
ultimately pushing the industry forward and advancing the consumer side-by-side market.
We are absolutely chomping at the bit to now showcase Polaris’s engineering prowess and
ingenuity through our new Polaris Factory Racing team.
While the brand-new RZR race machine takes center stage, Polaris hand-picked its team of
highly trained off-road racing specialists and emerging young racing phenoms. Team operations
will be based in Vista, Calif. Amongst the Polaris Factory Racing team’s 12 full-time employees
are more than 150 years of combined off-road experience, expertise and proven champions.
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