The Short-course Off-road Drivers Association (SODA) was a household name from the 1970s to 1990s as the premier location for short course competition. Despite its history, it disappeared for three decades before the brand was revived in 2021 by Willie Freshour, a stock truck racer who serves as its president. Ahead of the second race of the 2022 season on Saturday at Gravity Park USA, The Checkered Flag received the opportunity to speak to Freshour about the series.
Freshour was initially not keen on organising races since being a driver, father, and owner of a welding company in Wisconsin was already more than enough on his plate. A phone call to Gravity Park owner Bob Schneider about races at the track turned on him when Schneider suggested he hold one himself: “Anytime anybody puts a race on, an off-road race, if it’s not more than a day’s drive, I always try to make it and support the track and the race. When I called him, he’s like, ‘Well, whatever you want to do,’ and I said, ‘No, I don’t want to put on races,’ and he’s like, ‘I know you’d be good at it.’ I said, ‘Well, maybe, but I’m a racer and I already own technically two businesses.’ I’m like, ‘I’m a busy guy and I have a young family,’ and he’s like, ‘Why don’t you just throw a special?’
“I told him I would if two of my friends that were very experienced would help me, and I called them up, they said they would. So I told Bob I would, and within like a week, they both quit, and I ended up restoring SODA.”
The opportunity to bring back the SODA identity came after Freshour noticed the rights to the long dormant name, complete with its archives and some equipment, were available.
“We made all the phone calls and found out we could acquire the name for our short series and then late in the series, we found out the tech trailer still existed and it was at a farm for twenty-three years,” he recalled. “It had all the tech equipment in it and plenty of mice. So our blue tech trailer is actually the original SODA tech trailer from the eighties and nineties with all the equipment and tools in it.