Jack Smith Kicks Off Winchester 400 Weekend With JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Victory At Winchester SpeedwayCRA_admin
Dalton Armstrong Wins Drivers Championship while the #26 Bill Burba Motorsports Team claims Owners Title
Winchester, Indiana (Friday, October 9, 2015): The fifth anniversary 2015 racing season for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour will reach its conclusion with the crowning of the 2015 Tour Champion as well as the 2015 Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year on Friday, October 9th. In what has become tradition, the Winchester 100 Presented by JEGS.com for the premier template bodied / crate motored tour in the country will officially kick off the 44th Running of the Winchester 400 Race Weekend at the legendary 1/2 (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Winchester Speedway (IN) in Winchester, Indiana.
The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour has visited Winchester the most of any other track in the five-year history of the Tour with nine total races at the track located east of Muncie and west of the Indiana / Ohio state line. In the milestone 10th all-time event at the famed high-banks, veteran, Jack Smith, a former competitor in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ended the 2015 racing season on the highest of notes. The New Haven, Indiana veteran in his #28 Urbine Machine / The Brake Man / Ford led all 100 laps en route to his third straight JEGS/CRA triumph in the last three races he would enter. The 42-year-old would end the season by winning three of the last four JEGS/CRA races.
“This is a dream come true for me to run this good. Greg Urbine, U.B. Machine and everybody on this team have worked so hard and we’ve really hit on some things here lately. Everything we’ve done has just made this car come alive.” The emotional driver remarked in victory lane after his third triumph in the last four JEGS/CRA races. The only race in the last four he didn’t win was an event on September 19th at Springport Motor Speedway (MI) that he didn’t enter. “Right now it’s a dream. It turned so good; it’s just amazing how everything has worked out for me personally and for this entire team. To end the year like we have in this series is just wonderful all around.” He added.
As for the Drivers and Owners Points Championships, for the first time in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tours’ five-year history, the two titlists will come from different teams. By starting the 100-lap main, Dalton Armstrong clinched the 2015 JEGS/CRA Drivers Championship in his #4 Winfield Solutions / Ford while Travis Braden’s second place finish clinched the 2015 JEGS/CRA Owners Championship for the #26 Bill Burba Motorsports Team. After Mike Stacy started the first two events of the season, Braden, a Two-Time ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion finished the year in the #26 Platinum Express / Chevrolet.
“I’m really honored to give Scott Neal his second Drivers Championship in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. We’ve really had a good season. I just wish we could’ve swept both titles and give Scott his second Owners Championship also,” Offered the 21-year-old driver from near-by New Castle, Indiana. “This year has been really good with winning the Florida Speedweeks title in February and then getting two wins in JEGS/CRA plus the Drivers Championship. I can’t thank everyone with Scott Neal Racing for this opportunity these last two seasons. We’ve really grown together and it has shown this year.” He added.
“If you look at how good these guys were all year, they should have locked this championship up before we even got here,” Stated Braden, the 21-year-old driver from Wheeling, West Virginia who earlier in the year, back on July 24th, won in his first career start in the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) and would later back that finish up with a second place effort at Kentucky Speedway (KY) on September 26th. “We should have been able to start this race and got it done. That’s how competitive they were all year. I’m really thankful for Bill (Burba) and this entire team for thinking enough of me to put me in the seat this year.”
It would be Armstrong and 17-year-old Tristan Van Wieringen leading the field to the green flag to start the race, but it would be Smith, who started third, who made a bold move to the inside of both drivers coming out of turn two to grab the early race lead, which would be the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race award. Smith would immediately put some distance between himself and the rest of the field who were still jockeying for position in the opening laps of the race. As Smith continued to distance himself from the pack, Armstrong and Braden were locked in a battle of their own for each title they were chasing.
With every position determining the outcome of the 2015 Owners Points Championship, Armstrong, who had already clinched the Drivers Title by merely starting the race, was frantic in trying to put distance between himself and Braden, who started seventh after breaking the track record earlier in the day in Boyne Machine Company Qualifying. Those bonus points from Qualifying put Braden’s #26 team ahead of Armstrong’s #4 Scott Neal Racing entry by just six points going into the season finale. In the meantime, Smith continued to pace the field and would pick up the D.T.S. Drive Train Specialists Halfway Leader award.
As Armstrong began to fade, Braden worked his way past Armstrong and then up to the second position and soon would close the gap on Smith. As Braden stalked Smith for the win, Armstrong would fade back to as far as 10th before recovering and getting up to seventh. He needed two more positions to clinch the owner’s title, but would not be able to pass two more cars as Braden trailed Smith across the start/finish line when the checkered flag came out. Despite a second place finish for Braden, it was good enough to win the Owners Points Championship by 16 points.
Trevor Berry scored his third top five finish of the season in his #1 Extreme Indoor Kart Racing / Chevrolet as the Clio, Michigan competitor finished third. The 23-year-old competitor made limited appearances during the 2015 racing season and for his podium finish at the famed high-banks, he scored the FLUIDYNE High Performance Cool Under Pressure award.
By merely showing up on the property for the race weekend, 19-year-old Quinnton Bear was crowned the 2015 Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. The Avon, Indiana driver in his #94 Sparco / Chevrolet then went out and won his seventh VanDoorn Racing Development Rookie of the Race award with his fourth place showing. For Bear, it was also his sixth top five finish of the season and he would also claim the overall runner-up spot in the final JEGS/CRA Drivers Points Standings as well as third in the final Owners Points tallies. It was also announced earlier in the week that Bear would be driving the famed Port City Racecars House Car for the 2016 racing season and make a run at the Overall and Rookie title in the ARCA/CRA Super Series.
Outgoing 2014 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion, Dan Leeck completed the top five in his #12 Mr. Asphalt / Chevrolet as the Birch Run, Michigan driver has electrical issues in qualifying and would have to start from deep in the field in 23rd. The 25-year-old would then charge his way towards the front and earned both the Five Star Racecar Bodies Hard-Charger award as well as the first Great Lakes Tire / Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award after advancing 18 positions to complete the top five.
Colin Nickolai finished sixth in the final rundown as Armstrong would be shown seventh at the end of the race. Andy Bozell was shown in eighth ahead of Jaxson Jacobs who scored the second Great Lakes Tire / Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award with his 18th to ninth place effort. ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards regular, Bo LeMastus completed the top 10 after a spin just 10 laps into the race. LeMastus would score the Hedman Hedders Husler award by coming from the rear of the field to finish off the final top 10.
Earlier in the day in Boyne Machine Company Qualifying, Braden scored his first Fast Qualifier award of the season over a 25-car field as he broke the JEGS/CRA Track Record with an impressive 15.679 = 114.803mph. Braden’s mark eclipsed the old record by 0.052 seconds. The old JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Track Record in Eastern Indiana was previously held by Anderson Bowen who went a 15.731 back on October 12th, 2012.
The 2015 Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS Awards Banquet will officially close the 2015 racing season on Friday, January 8th, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown at Union Station in Indianapolis, Indiana. The gala event will honor the champions and top freshman as well as the top 10 teams in final 2015 points from the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour as well as the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS, the Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Series Powered by JEGS and the Stealth Trailers CRA Street Stock Series Powered by JEGS. In addition, the Lucas Oil Raceway Stock Car Series Presented by Visit Hendricks County Champions within the CRA Late Model Sportsman and CRA Street Stocks will also be honored throughout the night.
For more information about the 2015 CRA Awards Banquet as well as the fast approaching 2016 racing season within all four touring series’ of Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, go to the series website at: www.cra-racing.com You can also follow along on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ChampionRacingAssociation and on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/CRAracing.