Salem, IN – Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS will be heading South for CRA SpeedFest 2017 this weekend to kick off its 2017 racing season at beautiful Crisp Motorsports Park, the home of Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia. This will be the 13th straight year CRA has sanctioned the SpeedFest event. The USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida hosted the event from 2005 through 2008, it was contested at Lanier National Speedway in Brazelton, Georgia from 2009 through 2011 and has been at Watermelon Capital Speedway since the 2012 season.
CRA SpeedFest 2017 will once again consist of a 200 lap ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Model special non-points event and a 125 lap JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model special non-points event. The 200 ARCA/CRA Super Series event will be an eight tire max event and will count yellow flag laps up to lap 175. The 125 lap JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event will be a four tire only event and will count yellow flag laps up to lap 100. In addition, the SpeedFest 2017 will also feature a 20 lap Legend feature and a 15 lap Bandolero feature.
The 200 lap ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Model event will feature Controlled Cautions this year instead of the traditional halfway break. When a yellow comes out teams will have three laps to service their race car without losing laps or positions on pit road. Those cars will then line up behind the cars that did not pit at that yellow. Teams not getting out of the pits in the three laps will have to fall to the tail of the field and will risk losing laps in the first 175 laps of the event.
"We felt this change would add a lot more excitement to the event compared to just doing a halfway break,” remarked R.J. Scott, Managing Partner with CRA. “Several big late model events have successfully used the controlled cautions in recent years. Fortunately, we have used procedures similar to this type of controlled stops in the past. We expect more of CRA’s big events in 2017 will feature these procedures in an effort to make the races more exciting, yet not burden our race teams with the expense of having to bring in a pit crew for live pit stops.”
The event will see some of the best racers in the country competing in the 325 laps of late model feature racing action. Some of the top entries for this weekend’s events include former NASCAR competitor and two time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Erik Jones, NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers Brandon Jones and Spencer Gallagher, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and K & N Pro Series competitor Harrison Burton, 2016 event winner Bubba Pollard, 2016 Snowball Derby winner Christian Eckes, Brandon Setzer, Zane Smith, Casey Roderick, Jay Fogleman, Chris Dilbeck, Rapheal Lessard, Cole Williams, Stephen Nasse, Spencer Davis and Justin South.
There are currently 27 cars entered for the ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Model event and 27 cars entered for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model event.
The weekend will kick off with an open practice on Friday, pits will open at 9am with hauler parking. The track will be open for practice from 12noon until 6pm, with alternating 30 minutes sessions for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Models and the ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Models.
Pits will open on Saturday at 8:30am, practice will begin at 12noon. JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model Qualifying for the SpeedFest 125 will begin at 4:15pm. ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Model qualifying for the SpeedFest 200 will follow at 5pm.
Pits will open at 7am on Sunday. All haulers must be removed from inside the track by 9:30am. Spectator gates will open at 11am. There will be a Chapel Service at 11am. All the drivers competing in the CRA SpeedFest 2017 will be part of an on track autograph session beginning at 12noon, open to all the fans attending Sunday’s event. Driver’s introductions will begin at 1:00pm on Sunday. The racing will start off at 1:30pm with the Legends and Bandolero features, followed by the SpeedFest 125 for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Models, and then the SpeedFest 200 for the ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Models will hit the track for the final event of the afternoon.
For those fans who cannot attend, a live pay-per-view broadcast of all the CRA SpeedFest 2017 events will be available on Speed 51 TV. Order your pay-per-view ticket today by visiting Speed51.com.
Track and SpeedFest 2016 information, including purchasing advance tickets, can be found at www.crispmotorsportspark.com.
All information on CRA, including the 2017 rules, license forms and schedules can be found at www.cra-racing.com.
-CRA Racing Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo