18-Year-Old Chase Elliott Continues Adding To His Short Track Legacy; Scores Zaxby's SpeedFest 200 Victory
ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS Officially Begins 18th Year of Competition
Cordele, Georgia (Sunday, January 26, 2014): The premier traveling series within Champion Racing Association (CRA) Powered by JEGS, the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS kicked off their 18th season of competition with the traditional non-points season opener; the 10th Annual Zaxby's SpeedFest 2014 over the weekend of January 24-26th at the fast 4/10s (0.400) mile semi-banked paved oval of Watermelon Capital Speedway, located south of Macon and north of the Florida / Georgia state line in Cordele, Georgia.
The headlining event of the weekend; the SpeedFest 200 on Sunday, January 26th for the foremost template bodied Super Late Models touring series in the country would see a stellar 29-car field take the green and when all was said and done, 18-year-old Chase Elliott, who will make a run at the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year title, marked another notch on his short track legacy as the Dawsonville, Georgia star picked up his second SpeedFest victory of his career to add to his three Pro Late Model SpeedFest triumphs for an impressive five career wins in the event.
"That was a lot of fun out there. We're real happy to start the year off with a win that's for sure," Elliott stated in victory lane after his fifth career ARCA/CRA Super Series victory, "We didn't even decide to run this race until late this week and I'm glad we did. Really proud of the effort this weekend by everybody that helped out. That was some really hard short track racing for the win with Johnny (Sauter) there." He added.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star and home track favorite from near-by Unadilla, Georgia; David Ragan would start p1 due to the seven car inversion along-side fellow Georgian, Scotty Ellis. Ragan paced the field for the first nine laps before Elliott, who started fourth, grabbed the lead for the first time on lap 10. Ragan held onto second spot for the majority of the first half of the race before VDL Fuel Systems Fast Qualifier and New Track Record Holder; NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series star, Johnny Sauter got around Ragan on lap 87 and trailed Elliott going into the Lap 100 halfway break.
A thrilling battle for lead and eventual win began back on lap 107 when Sauter and Elliott both slipped past Bubba Pollard, who rolled the dice at the 10 minute halfway break by not taking on any new tires in exchange for track position and the lead. From there, the intense battle ensued between Elliott and Sauter as the two drivers touched several times during the thrilling fight when on lap 184, the two drivers collided one last time in turns three and four resulting in Sauter going around while Elliott continued on and eventually crossing the start/finish line first under the checkered flag.
"It was a tough race. Johnny's one of the best short track racers in the country. I felt we both raced each other really hard." Elliott continued while his Bill Elliott Motorsports Team led by his Father, long-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series Star and 1988 Champion, Bill Elliott continued celebrating their drivers' win. "I feel like if you ask him, he may or may not tell you it was my fault, but ultimately it was just a hard racing deal." He ended. In addition to the $7,000 check that comes with the victory, Elliott also took home the Dubz Thermal Products Lap Leader Award for leading the most laps (110) as well as the PitBoxes.com Halfway Leader Award.
Bringing home a second place finish would be Daniel Hemric, the 2013 Southern Super Series Champion in his #98 Jack Link's Beef Jerky / Ford. The 23-year-old (On Monday, January 27th) was hoping to give himself an early birthday present after grabbing second place with 15 laps to go and tried mounting a late charge at Elliott. But in the end, the 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion from Kannapolis, North Carolina, who started fifth, would settle for the runner-up position. He did pick up the Racing Electronics Second to None Award for his run.
Finishing an impressive third was Fort Kent, Maine's Austin Theriault as the driver of the #57 Mulkern Excavation / Toyota started the race in 11th and steadily progressed through the field and was running as high as second after the Elliott / Sauter exchange. Despite Hemric getting by for second, the 20-year-old (On January 23rd) was able to hang on for the final podium finishing position in third. A career high finish in 10 all-time ARCA/CRA Super Series starts for the driver who now resides in Cornelius, North Carolina.
Despite a late race spin, Ragan's #77 Skuttle Tight / Ford would fight his way back into the top five and post a fourth place finish as the home time favorite made the partisan crowd on hand happy when he led the first nine laps of the race. Rounding out the top five was Kouts, Indiana driver, Jeff Cannon, as the Illiana Motor Speedway (IN) regular and former Track Champion at his home track, made the long trip from the Hoosier State worthwhile in his #33 Govert Auto Body / Chevrolet after starting 14th on the grid.
Ellis, who started on the outside of the front row, was able to hang on for a solid sixth place finish ahead of another NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series driver and also full-time ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards competitor, John Wes Townley who was seventh. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series veteran, Lee Tissot finished eighth in his ARCA/CRA Super Series debut with Kyle Grissom, the son of NASCAR veteran, Steve Grissom, grabbing ninth in his first series start. A third driver making his maiden start in the series, Garrett Campbell earned the Racing Electronics Hard-Charger Award and the C.V. Racing Products Hard-Charger Award by finishing off the top 10 after starting 26th.
The previous afternoon in VDL Fuel Systems Qualifying, Johnny Sauter picked up the bonus $500 by breaking the ARCA/CRA Super Series Track Record with an impressive 15.562, which averages out to 92.533mph. Sauter's record eclipsed the old mark by 0.047 seconds. The previous record was set back on January 28th, 2012 when David Ragan turned a 15.609.
The chase for the 2014 ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS Championship begins on Friday-Saturday, April 11-12th as the fast 1/2 (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Toledo Speedway, located south of the Michigan / Ohio state line in Toledo, Ohio will host the Border Wars 7-Up 150. The ARCA Midwest Tour will make the trip East and join the ARCA/CRA teams for the first of two combination races between the two Super Late Model tours sanctioned by ARCA.
For more information about all four touring series’within Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, please go to the series website at: www.cra-racing.comYou can also follow CRA on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ChampionRacingAssociation as well as Twitter at www.twitter.com/CRAracing Finally for more information about Toledo Speedway, the host facility for the first points race of the 18th season of ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS racing, go to the track website at: www.toledospeedway.com
16-Year-Old John Hunter Nemechek Wins First Career Late Model Race In The Chevrolet Performance 125
JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Starts Fourth Year of Competition with an Action-Packed Event
Cordele, Georgia (Sunday, January 26, 2014): The fourth season of racing for the predominant template bodied / crate motored traveling series in the country; the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance kicked off the 2014 racing season as part of the traditional non-points door opening weekend for Champion Racing Association (CRA) Powered by JEGS; the 10th annual Zaxby's SpeedFest 2014 with the running of the Chevrolet Performance 125 over the weekend of January 24-26th.
The fast 4/10s (0.400) mile semi-banked paved oval of Watermelon Capital Speedway, located south of Macon and north of the Florida / Georgia state line in Cordele, Georgia served as hosts as the JEGS/CRA event kicked off a beautiful Sunday afternoon of racing on January 26th. A strong 31-car field took the green flag and at the end of 125 laps, it would be 16-year-old John Hunter Nemechek standing in victory lane after winning not only his first career JEGS/CRA event, but the Mooresville, North Carolina driver scored his first ever win in a Late Model.
"Man this is awesome. We finally got one. I can't believe this, it's about time," The jubilant teenager remarked in victory lane after climbing out of his #8 Pellet Wood Grills / Chevrolet. "We've been trying so hard since I've started racing Late Models and it seemed like it was taking forever to get here. But man we made it. It was such an awesome day and I can't thank everyone enough." Nemechek added.
After qualifying fourth fastest the previous day in Luke Yoder Construction Qualifying, the inversion draw was the maximum of a 10 which placed Nemechek on the inside of the fourth row to start the 125-lap main. Patiently, he worked his way up into the top five and soon found himself on the back bumper of early race leader, pole-sitter, Hunter Robbins just 15 laps into the race. A caution on lap 22 bunched up the field and on the double file restart, Nemechek was able to inch out ahead of Robbins and officially took the lead on lap 29.
From there, it was all Nemechek despite a series of caution flags that nullified his chances on numerous occasions late in the race. The Tar Heel State teenager, the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran, Joe Nemechek, was up to the task on each ensuing restart and would hold off a series of late charges from 15-year-old Spencer Davis to score his first career win in his first ever JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour start. In previous seasons, Nemechek had made several appearances in the premier series within CRA; the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS, but this event was his first JEGS/CRA try.
"We had a really good car all weekend long. Both cars actually were really good Friday and Saturday and that made this a really fun and relaxing weekend," Nemechek continued during his post-race celebration surrounded by his NEMCO Motorsports Team, family and friends. "Just so happy to finally have this monkey off of our backs. We've been working so hard since I started running full-bodied cars and we finally got one. Great way to start the new year." He ended. In addition to a $4,000 payday, Nemechek also collected the PitBoxes.com Halfway Leader Award for leading at lap 63.
Davis, who started 13th, gave Nemechek all he could handle in the late stages of the 125-lap race, but would settle for second in his #129 OvernightWraps.com / Ford. The Dawsonville, Georgia teenager, who won a Pro Late Models Feature the previous weekend at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) during the Pete Orr Memorial, part of the Florida Triple Crown Series, was making only his second ever appearance in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour as his previous showing was a fourth place effort at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) back on July 26th, 2013. Davis earned the Racing Electronics Second to None Award for his run.
Rounding out the podium was Headland, Alabama native, Korey Ruble as the Two-Time Defending Viper Pro Late Model Series Champion at South Alabama Speedway (AL) worked his way through the field from his 17th starting spot and challenged Davis late in his #66 Gay's Logging / Ford, but the 28-year-old would settle for a third place showing. Ruble has made three career appearances in JEGS/CRA competition, all at Watermelon Capital Speedway during each of the past three SpeedFest's and has garnered finishes of sixth (2012), fourth (2013) and now a third in this years' version.
14-year-old J.J. Haley, one of the expected contenders for the 2014 Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year title in his #99 Braun Ability / Chevrolet, took advantage of the non-points race in Georgia to gather seat time and the Winamac, Indiana teenager, a CRA Late Model Sportsman Series graduate, came away with an impressive fourth place finish after starting 15th. Veteran Dwayne Buggay rounded out the top five in his #45 America's Auto Auction / Ford as the Canton, Georgia native started on the outside of the front row next to Robbins and has challenged early for the lead.
A second son of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, 13-year-old Harrison Burton, whose Father is Jeff Burton, came away with a solid sixth place effort after starting 11th while Robbins, who led the first 28 laps of the 125-lap main, finished seventh over VDL Fuel Systems Fast Qualifier, Jeff Cannon who came away with an eighth place showing drawing a 10 for an inversion.
Outlaw Super Late Models standout in the Great Lakes region of the country, Terry Senneker Jr., finished ninth in his JEGS/CRA debut picking up the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race of the Award in the process after coming back from two laps down while 13-year-old Christopher Tullis, who started shotgun on the field in 31st, earned the Racing Electronics Hard-Charger Award by completing the top 10.
The Luke Yoder Construction Fast Qualifier Award went to Kouts, Indiana traveler, Jeff Cannon who turned in a 15.930 the previous afternoon over the 35-car field and collected a bonus $400 for his efforts. The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Track Record at Watermelon Capital Speedway is a 15.839, which equals out to 90.915mph and was set by Three-Time JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour SpeedFest Winner, Chase Elliott back on January 28th, 2012.
The cars and stars of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance will begin their quest for the 2014 Championship on Saturday-Sunday, May 3-4th as the fast 3/8s (0.375) mile semi-banked paved oval of Springport Motor Speedway, located north of Jackson and south of Lansing in Springport, Michigan serves as hosts of the Cabin Fever 100 Presented by JEGS.com.
For more information about all four touring series’within Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, please go to the series website at: www.cra-racing.comYou can also follow CRA on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ChampionRacingAssociation as well as Twitter at www.twitter.com/CRAracing Finally for more information about Springport Motor Speedway, the host facility for the first points race of the Fourth season of JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance racing, go to the track website at: www.springportmotorspeedway.com