The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour saw a familiar face in victory lane when the Pro Late Model touring series visited Baer Field Motorsports Park for the second time on Sunday. Brian Campbell led the final 77 laps to score his second straight win at the Fort Wayne half-mile and extend his all-time mark for JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour wins.
After hounding Anderson Speedway winner Hunter Jack for several laps, the Wyoming, Michigan driver took the lead from Jack on a lap 23 restart and quickly checked out on the field. By the next caution on lap 76, Campbell had built up a four-plus second lead and left only the top six cars on the lead lap. No driver would pose a serious threat for the remainder of the race.
For Campbell, it was about staying smooth throughout the race while working through the field and then through lapped traffic.
“I just really tried to stay smooth and get to the lead,” Campbell told Speed51.com. “It really looked like I was all over Hunter (Jack), but I was just trying to get him to make a mistake. He did a good job and never made one. I was fortunate enough to take one on the restart and then just be smooth and mindful of lapped traffic after that.”
Sunday’s victory was Campbell’s third straight win at Baer Field in CRA competition, having won both JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour and ARCA/CRA Super Series races one year ago. After years of struggling at the track led to his first win there in 2011, his recent success at Baer Field has been a breath of fresh air for him.
“When I was young I came here and I was absolutely terrible, so I made it my little personal mission to be better here,” he said. “Many years here with never winning, always finishing second or third, we finally got one and kind of learned what I was doing wrong. To start off being terrible here, to eventually thinking I can even get around this place halfway okay is certainly good.”
Sunday’s win gives Campbell 10 career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour wins in only fifteen starts, having set the record previously held by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Hemric by winning at Lucas Oil Raceway last September. As the first driver to double-digit wins in the series, he feels honored being the winningest driver in the All-Stars Tour.
“Oh that’s cool, I didn’t even know that. I know JEGS has been around for a long time, and it’s certainly feels good to be an ambassador with ten wins.”
Anthony Danta set the track record in qualifying, but had to start at the tail after pulling out of impound to fix a mechanical issue. He quickly worked inside the top five early in the 100-lap feature and earned a JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour career-best second place finish after a late-race battle with Hunter Jack.
“Unfortunately, we broke a ring gear there in qualifying and had to start in the rear after getting it fixed,” he said. “We had a good car but anytime you give Brian Campbell a fifteen-car head start, it’s kind of hard to beat him. I thought we had something there on that last restart there but I was just a little too free off and we were pretty much matching him, he was a little bit better. We’ll go back to work. We made big gains and anytime you can run second to him, it’s not a bad day because he wins all the time all around the Midwest and wherever he goes.”
Jack settled for a third-place finish, while 2019 World Series of Asphalt Pro Late Model Champion Sammy Smith and 2014 series champion Dan Leeck rounded out the top five.
A replay of Sunday’s race can be seen via the on-demand pay-per-view broadcast of Crown Jewel Weekend at Baer Field Motorsports Park.
The next race for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars will be July 21 for the 6th Annual Masters of the Pros. For the second straight year, it will be held at a new facility as they make the trip to Memphis Motorsports Park for the second time in series history.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com