On Friday night, champions were crowned and the 2017 season was celebrated at the Champion Racing Association Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis. The first-ever Chase format produced wild racing on Winchester 400 weekend, and first-time champions were crowned in three of the four series.
Cambridge, Ohio’s Logan Runyon was named 2017 ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion and Rookie of the Year. The former Columbus Speedway and Kil-Kare Raceway regular set off on the 2017 campaign looking to gain experience. His runs improved throughout the season, finishing with two top-fives and nine top-tens, with a season best third-place run at his home track of Kil-Kare. He finished sixth in the Winchester 400, which was good enough to bring home the 2017 ARCA/CRA Super Series Championship. Dalton Armstrong, Johnny VanDoorn, and Wes Griffith Jr. finished second through fourth in series points. For the second year in a row, Armstrong was named the ARCA/CRA Super Series Most Popular Driver Presented by Speed51.com.
2016 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Rookie of the Year Jack Dossey III won the championship in his second full season behind the wheel of a Pro Late Model. Although the Indianapolis native was unable to visit Victory Lane, he was a model of consistency throughout 2017, finishing outside the top ten just once and completing all but one lap. His best finish was second, matching it at Salem, Lebanon, and Owosso. He survived several cautions and a power outage on the backstretch at the championship event in Winchester to finish third, ahead of other Chase drivers Austin Kunert, Michael Clancy Jr, and Rookie of the Year Carson Hocevar, who led the Tour with three wins. Dossey was also named the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Most Popular Driver for the second year in a row.
The Late Model Sportsman was the only series that did not crown a first-time champion, as Fort Wayne, Indiana’s KC Spillers was able to win the series title for the first time since 2012. Spillers missed a race during the season, but used the Chase format to his advantage to lock himself into Winchester. While the other Chase contenders ran into trouble during the championship race at Winchester, Spillers made an exciting last lap pass to win his only race of 2017 and a second series title over Jason Neal, RJ Norton, and Tony Brutti. Neal was named Rookie of the Year and CRA Late Model Sportsman Most Popular Driver.
The CRA Street Stocks saw more drivers compete in the class than in any other CRA-sanctioned series. In the end, it was Knightsown, Indiana’s Colby Lane becoming the first-ever second generation champion in CRA, after father Jeff Lane won the 2005 ARCA/CRA Super Series Championship and 2011 CRA Street Stock Champion. Like Spillers, Colby Lane’s only win on the season came in the most important race of the season, the championship race at Winchester in a great battle with fellow Chasers JJ Schaefer, Thomas Skiles, and Andrew Teepe. Tory Lutz was named Street Stock Rookie of the Year while Teepe was named Most Popular Driver.
The 2018 Season for the Champion Racing Association begins in just a couple weeks at SpeedFest for the ARCA/CRA Super Series and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. You will be able to watch both events live on Speed51.com. The season for the CRA Street Stocks and CRA Late Model Sportsman will start at Lucas Oil Raceway on March 25th for Cabin Fever.
-By Koty Geyer, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com