A field of 30 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Models descended on Birch Run Speedway (MI) Sunday to warm up for the Masters of the Pros later this season. However, a field full of challengers had a challenging time getting started, giving winner Brian Campbell an easy path from his 17th starting position to victory lane in the season opener.
Campbell struggled in qualifying, but was able to take advantage of two early red flags amongst several cautions to quickly move through the field. No driver was safe from the early mayhem, with Johnny VanDoorn involved in two separate incidents. Carson Hocevar lost two laps after losing a tire, something he was never fully able to recover from. 2017 champion Jack Dossey III lost a tire in qualifying, spun twice in the feature, and eventually fell four laps down due to a flat tire. Michael Clancy Jr, another championship contender from last year, collided with Harold Fair Jr. while battling for second, taking them both out of the race.
Campbell summed the race up in one word to Speed51.com: “Survival.” But he was more disappointed he didn’t get a chance to race the favorites ahead of the Masters of the Pros.
“I was looking forward to racing (VanDoorn) and Carson (Hocevar), I know those are the two guys we’ll be racing here on June 8,” Campbell said. “Little disappointed we didn’t get to race them, see how our car was against them. My car looks like a ping-pong ball, couldn’t make the right moves at all the first 13 laps. Fortunate we have all the fenders on it and the wheels are pointing the right direction.”
Sunday’s Dixie 100 served as a warmup to one of the biggest Pro Late Model races in the country, the Masters of the Pros on Friday, June 8. The event will be 200 laps this year at Birch Run, moving from I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, MO. Drivers put a focus on this warm-up race thanks to the race paying $10,000 to win, plus bonuses, and a green jacket.
Campbell knows what he needs to focus on for the next event, saying he might need a bit more time at Birch Run before the big race.
“We know the car is good. I don’t want to come from 17th again so I have to figure out qualifying,” he admitted. “Every time I come here, I qualify terrible and race all the way to the front, sometimes win, sometimes second or third. It’s like this every time, so it’s not a new thing for me. Probably will need to come back here and do some testing. Probably cost me some money, some tires or something.”
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Sunday’s race by clicking here.
Before the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour returns to Birch Run on June 8, the series will head to Bristol Motor Speedway for the U.S. Short Track Nationals, joining Super Late Models, Late Model Stock Cars, Modifieds, Street Stocks, and Compacts for the three-day show starting May 18.
-By Patrick Hahe, Great Lakes Region Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour 100 Unofficial Results
Birch Run Speedway (MI) – April 29, 2018
|15||20||Jack Dossey III|
|16||81F||Harold Fair Jr|
|17||5||Michael Clancy Jr|