Jason Atkinson Has Career Night During Winchester 400 Weekend With Dual ChampionshipsCRA_admin
CRA Late Model Sportsman Series part of 44th Running of the Winchester 400 Weekend
Winchester, Indiana (Saturday, October 10, 2015): The quest for the 2015 Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Series Powered by JEGS Championship came to a close during the prestigious 44th Running of the Winchester 400 Weekend on Friday-Saturday, October 9-10th. The Winchester 50 was at the famed 1/2 (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Winchester Speedway (IN), located east of Muncie and west of the Indiana / Ohio state line in Winchester, Indiana. The 36th all-time appearance at the legendary high-banks would see a driver end the night on the highest of highs after clinching not one, but two CRA Championships on the same night.
At the end of 50 laps at the famed Eastern Indiana speed plant, New Castle, Indiana veteran, Jason Atkinson emerged victorious for his all-time career leading 16th career victory and for the 38-year-old driver; it was the biggest of them all. The standout driver of his #7 Oak Motors / Safe Towing / Ford would go to victory lane for the second time in 2015 in his CRA Late Model Sportsman, but it was the biggest win of his career as his triumph would also clinch that long sought after first career CRA Late Model Sportsman Series Championship. Atkinson would beat out 2014 Series Champion, Greg Van Alst for the championship, whose bid to repeat at titlist ended with an 18th place finish in the race. Then later in the evening, he would complete the career night with his second straight CRA Street Stock Series Championship.
“We’ve waited so long for this to happen. I just can’t believe this is finally happening. We’ve had so many years of bad luck and something going wrong that would take a title away from us. But this time, man we got it, we’re the champions finally.” The emotional driver relayed to the appreciative and partisan crowd on hand who gave him a standing ovation as he climbed out of the car after his biggest win of his career. “I have to thank my wife, my kids, my crew, everybody for always believing that this would happen for us and now it has.” Atkinson stated.
After Allstar Performance Fast Qualifier, Shawn Amor pulled a seven for an inversion; it would be Chad Richardson and former Two-Time Series Champion (2011 & 2006), Keith Sterkowitz, who was making his first appearance in the series since winning this event in 2013, leading the massive 31-car field to Chief Starter, Brian Duncan’s green flag. Sterkowitz shot out to the early lead before Atkinson emerged from his third starting spot and began trailing Sterkowitz around the famed 1/2 mile. Atkinson made his move for the lead on lap 13, earning the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race award as he would try to pull away only to have Amor work his way up and get up to Atkinson’s back bumper in second.
Amor would make the pass for the lead on lap 24 and began pulling away from the pack. The pivotal moment of the race came on lap 36 when Amor got tangled up with lapped traffic and pounded the turn two wall triggering a massive pile-up which blocked the race track. Amor was ok, but done for the night. This gave the lead back to Atkinson who would have World Stock Car Festival winner, Danny Trent on his back bumper. Trent tried every trick in his arsenal to get past Atkinson, but Atkinson’s destiny was finally fulfilled as he took the checkered flag and the long coveted championship.
Trent settled for second in his #14 Greystone Concrete / Chevrolet. The 42-year-old driver started behind Atkinson in fifth and followed his fellow competitor towards the front before briefly fading. The Martinsville, Indiana veteran did recover and made a run at Atkinson, but would end up second. He didn’t leave empty handed though as Trent picked up the Racing Electronics Second To None award. Sterkowitz finished third in his #17 Midnight Blue Towing / Chevrolet as the Cedar Lake, Indiana driver led the first 12 laps of the event before the 44-year-old competitor would lose the lead on lap 13. He stayed in the top five the rest of the race though and was rewarded with the final podium finishing spot.
Former Series Champion (2007), Billy Hutson finished in fourth in his #00 Triple Threat Carburetors / Chevrolet after starting from the 11th position. For the Fort Wayne, Indiana veteran, the 33-year-old driver was making his first appearance of the season. Jon Beach completed the top five in his #1 Extreme Indoor Kart Racing / Chevrolet. The Watervliet, Michigan competitor had a busy Winchester 400 race weekend as the 25-year-old competed in three different divisions utilizing one car and making the needed changes to compete not only in the CRA Late Model Sportsman Series, but also the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour and later in the 400 itself with the ARCA/CRA Super Series.
2008 Series Champion & Rookie of the Year, Tony Dager made his first appearance since the 2013 season and came away with a sixth place finish as Brandon Barcus scored a seventh place effort. 15-year-old Hunter Jack advanced a whopping 23 spots to score the Racing Electronics Hard-Charger award as well as the first Van Hoy Oil First Timer bonus as he started shotgun on the field in 31st and worked his way through the pack to finish in eighth spot. Bret Miles Jr., was ninth as Jason Timmerman completed the top 10. Chris Shannon and Clifford Wayne would collect the last two Van Hoy Oil First Timers bonuses with their 15th and 26th place finishes respectively.
Based on his 11th place finish, Columbus, Ohio driver, Matthew Parsons would leave Winchester Speedway with the 2015 CRA Late Model Sportsman Series Rookie of the Year award. The 30-year-old driver of his #27 Ohio State Pallets / Ford would beat out fellow freshman, Tony Brutti, who finished right behind Parsons in the race, by 18 markers. Parsons would also finish fifth overall in the final standings.
Earlier in the day in Allstar Performance Qualifying, Amor out-timed an impressive 33 cars on the property with a 16.818 which measures out to 107.028mph. The night before on Friday, October 9th, the traditional New Stars 25 kicked off the weekend and it would be 15-year-old Hunter Jack thoroughly dominating the 25-lap main from his P1 starting spot. The Auburn, Indiana teenager in his #41 Auburn Concrete & Masonry / Chevrolet led all 25 laps and was never seriously challenged en route to his first career CRA sanctioned victory. Cory Setser finished second ahead of Josh Cave as Shawn Bonar and Steve Stacy completed the top five. Jason Timmerman was the Allstar Performance Fast Qualifier in the special non-points event with a 17.444 = 103.187mph.
While the CRA point’s portion of the 2015 racing season decided, there is still one more Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Series Powered by JEGS event and it’s at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) on Sunday, October 18th. The Budweiser King of the Track Championship Sunday will serve as the LOR Stock Car Series Presented by Visit Hendricks County Championship events for both the CRA Late Model Sportsman Series and the CRA Street Stock Series.
In 15 all-time CRA Late Model Sportsman Series events held in the Circle City, including four in 2015, Jason Atkinson (Once in 2015) leads the way with four total checkered flags while Terry Fisher Jr., (Twice in 2015) has three total trips to victory lane and Damon Ecoff has won twice. Shawn Amor also has won this season for his one triumph while Mark Lambert, Derrick Griffin, Gabe Cerny, Trey Craig, and Billy Van Meter have all won in previous appearances at the Brownsburg, Indiana speed plant.
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 Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Series Powered by JEGS as well as the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS, the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance 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. Finally for more information about Lucas Oil Raceway, the host track for the final CRA sanctioned race of the 2015 racing season, go to the track website at: www.lucasoilraceway.com.