19-Year-Old Erik Jones; One Step Closer To $100,000 Payday After Winning The Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300CRA_admin
Final JEGS/CRA $100,000 Super Late Model Triple Crown Series Race; 44th Running of the Winchester 400 October 11th
Anderson, Indiana (Saturday, July 18 2015): After over a month off due to Mother Nature, the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS returned to action in a big way with round #2 of the JEGS/CRA $100,000 Super Late Model Triple Crown Series. The 43rd Running of the Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300 was on Saturday, July 18th. The fast 1/4 (0.250) mile high-banked paved oval of Anderson Speedway (IN) in Anderson, Indiana hosted the prestigious event that has been under the direction of Champion Racing Association (CRA) Powered by JEGS since the 2000 racing season.
The race itself has undergone various forms since the first ever race in 1973. Originally a 300 lap race before going to 400 laps all under the ASA National Tour days, it was 400 laps again under CRA and dropped down to 250 laps for a short time until the current revitalized format of 300 starting in 2008. In the 2015 version of the prestigious race, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overall and Rookie of the Year title contender, 19-year-old Erik Jones, took advantage of a weekend off from his NASCAR Schedule to continue his quest for a $100,000 payday in October. The late decision to race paid off in the form of another accolade to his already storied career with the win in the Redbud 300.
“This is pretty special; It’s only the second time I’ve run this race and I’ve never really ran well here at all, so getting a win here is definitely special,” The pilot of his family owned #4 Port City Racecars / Toyota Care / Toyota offered in victory lane. ““We talked about running this race last week while we were in Kentucky and on Sunday, we pulled the car literally out of a storage unit in North Carolina and put this thing together so I could come here to try and go after the $100,000 bonus. To be as good as we were and to give ourselves a shot at the win, then get the win, it’s pretty awesome. I definitely wanted to get this one knocked out, not only for the Triple Crown, but for the accolade of the Redbud itself.” Added the NASCAR Xfinity Series race winner from earlier in the year at Chicagoland Speedway (IL).
After EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier, Ross Kenseth drew an eight for an inversion; it would be the all-time career leader in starts within the ARCA/CRA Super Series, Rick Turner and rookie of the year title contender, Mark Lambert, the 2013 CRA Late Model Sportsman Series Champion, bringing the field to the green flag. Turner, who added to his all-time lead in career starts with 231, beat out Lambert to the first corner to take over the top spot as the rest of the field jockeyed for position behind him. Trouble ensured early for Kenseth, the 2012 Redbud 300 Winner as a flat tire caused him to spin and bring out the first caution flag of the evening.
On the restart, Brandon Oakley began applying pressure to Turner before taking over the lead on lap 27. For the next 98 laps, the Buckeye State driver would pace the field until another NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie title contender, Daniel Hemric drove past on lap 125. Hemric, the 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion, would lead the field into the Lap 150 break as he was trailed by 17-year-old Hunter Baize. 19-year-old Erik Jones, who started ninth, had quietly worked his way up to third as Oakley and Brett Robinson were the top five.
In a strategic move, Jack Smith, who was running 13th at the time of the break, made the decision to not take any tires on his machine. He was the only driver on the lead lap to do so and would inherit the lead on the restart ahead of the rest of the field who all took between two to a maximum of all four Hoosier Racing Tires allotted at the break. The move paid off initially for the Buckeye State veteran who was using the same car he raced with the night before in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race.
A pivotal moment came on lap 166 when Smith and Turner were coming down for the restart; Smith got a good jump on Turner as Oakley pulled up next to Turner coming to the green. Both drivers collided sending both cars careening into the turn one wall making heavy contact. Smith was already ahead of both drivers as Jones was able to duck underneath both competitors to and avoid the carnage. Both drivers were ok but done for the evening.
On the next restart, Smith’s crate-motored machine had Jones flanking him on the front row in the double file restart and on lap 167 Jones made his move out to the front of the pack. Over the remainder of the race, Smith tried every trick in his arsenal to get back past Jones despite the rapidly wearing tires he had under him. Jones, a two-time Snowball Derby winner, could never quite shake off the constant advances of Smith who applied consistent pressure to Jones over the next 130+ laps.
With under 10 laps to go, Smith made a another bold move, this time he went to the high side of turns one and two in an attempt to pass Jones only to feel his massively worn out tires give way and slide up the embankment. This forced Smith to dirt track his machine around the oval and he would lose valuable time and real estate to Jones who was then able to pull away. Smith’s tires finally gave out and he could never get back to Jones back bumper. Jones’ would see the checkered flag and claim his second ARCA/CRA Super Series win of 2015 and fourth of his career. All four of his victories have come in CRA signature events. The last two Winchester 400s, the Battle at Berlin 251 and now the Redbud 300.
In addition to his chance at $100K in October, Jones, already a five-time event winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, pocketed $10,000 for winning the Redbud 300 as well as the VanDoorn Racing Development Lap Leader award for the event. He led the last 134 laps of the race. Two of the steps towards the unprecedented payday are completed for the 19-year-old Byron, Michigan standout as the Battle at Berlin 251 winner in June added the Redbud 300 hardware to his trophy case.
At the minimum, the 2011 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion will take home a $10,000 bonus for winning two of the three Triple Crown Series races. If Jones doesn’t win the 44th Running of the Winchester 400, a race where he will enter as the Two-Time Defending Race Winner of, he’ll have at least a five figure payday waiting for him for winning the first two events as well as the 2015 JEGS/CRA $100,000 Super Late Model Triple Crown Series Championship. The historic 1/2 (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana will host the prestigious Winchester 400 Race Weekend on October 9-11th culminating with the 400 that Sunday afternoon.
Smith fought valiantly in his #28 Urbine Machine / Ford crate motored machine before settling for second, a career high showing for the 42-year-old driver from Clyde, Ohio. The former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitor, who finished fifth the night before in the Anderson 100 Presented by JEGS.com in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour portion of the weekend didn’t head back to the Buckeye State empty-handed. He scored the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race award for his bold decision to not change any tires at the break. In addition, he also collected the C.V. Products Hard-Charger award as well as the first Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award for his impressive 15th to second place run.
Senneker Performance Rookie of the Race, 17-year-old Hunter Baize completed the podium finishers of the Redbud 300 in his #13 Mountaineer Firewood / Ford. The Bremen, Kentucky driver also gained valuable ground on Overall and Rookie of the Year point’s leader, 16-year-old Grant Quinlan in the chase for both titles. Baize cut Quinlan’s lead in both standings from 12 markers to just four. Baize, who would also receive the FLUIDYNE High Performance Cool Under Pressure award, is the only freshman so far in 2015 to score an event win when he went to victory lane in the ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of the Chicagoland Showdown at Illiana Motor Speedway (IN) on Memorial Day Monday, May 26th.
Hemric was making his first start behind the wheel of the Richie Wauters Motorsports owned #5 First Community Bank / Ford count with a solid fourth place run after leading the field into the lap 150 break. The 24-year-old from Kannapolis, North Carolina did pick up the Hedman Hedders Husler award and would also come into the race as the Defending Redbud 300 winner. The former Legends Million winner is also the 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion.
Completing the top five would be 2014 Southern Super Series Champion, Bubba Pollard who would finish fifth in his #26 F.K. Rod Ends / Chevrolet. The Senoia, Georgia standout has already pocketed $60,000+ for two big wins with trips out to the West Coast at Kern County Motorsports Park (CA) and at Evergreen Speedway (WA) earlier in the year. The 28-year-old competitor has been competing all over the country during the 2015 racing season while not concentrating on anywhere in particular. He is expected to return to ARCA/CRA competition for the Winchester 400 in October.
Trent Snyder, a three-time winner at Anderson Speedway in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, finished sixth and scored the second Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award while Quinlan maintained his points lead with a seventh place showing. Veteran Eddie Van Meter, who the night before won the Anderson 100 Presented by JEGS.com in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour portion of the weekend and won the ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Anderson back on April 26th, finished eighth this time around. Brett Robinson finished a solid ninth as 18-year-old Paul Shafer Jr., rounded out the top 10.
In EDCO Welding Qualifying held earlier in the afternoon, Kenseth out-timed the 24-car field with a 12.111 around the fast 1/4 mile. His lap measured out to 74.313mph. The ARCA/CRA Super Series Track Record still belongs to 2005 ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion, Jeff Lane who, back on August 9th, 2008, almost seven years ago, turned an 11.922 around the fast 1/4 mile.
The cars and stars of the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS won’t have much time to reflect on the 300 laps they just completed as just six days later, the ARCA/CRA contingent will head south to the immaculate 0.686 mile progressively banked paved oval of Lucas Oil Raceway (IN). The Circle City 100 Presented by Greg Hubler Chevrolet will mark the series 24th all-time appearance at the speed plant located west of Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana.
Three-Time Series Champion, Scott Hantz, Two-Time Series Titlist, Brian Ross and Canadian Legend, Junior Hanley are in a three-way tie for the lead in career wins at LOR with three apiece. Brian Campbell and Kenny Tweedy have two wins each while Daniel Hemric is the most recent winner having collected the coveted boxing gloves for winning the 2014 CRA Fall Brawl. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star, Kyle Busch won this event in 2014 after a thrilling dual with John Hunter Nemechek that saw Busch beat Nemechek at the line by just 0.024 seconds, the closest finish in ARCA/CRA history.
Reigning Two-Time Series Champion, Travis Braden as well as 2007 Series Champion, Chris Gabehart and 2005 Series Champion, Jeff Lane all have one victory apiece. Ross Kenseth, Kyle Benjamin, Kenzie Ruston, Evan Jackson and Fred Campbell also have one win each as well. This event will be the first of two appearances by the ARCA/CRA Super Series at LOR as the second event will be the 2015 CRA Fall Brawl on September 26-27th.
For more information about the rest of the 2015 racing season within all four touring series’ of Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, go to the series website located at: www.cra-racing.com You can also follow along with all of CRA’s touring series’ on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ChampionRacingAssociation and on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/CRAracing Finally, for more information about Lucas Oil Raceway, the host track for what is now the seventh race of the year for the ARCA/CRA Super Series, go to the track website at: www.lucasoilraceway.com
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.