Salem, IN -- 16 year old Walkerton, Indiana native Jaden Cretacci took a huge step in his racing career for the 2019 season, by committing to run with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance for the series 2019 Rookie of the Year Award and for the series Championship. By finishing 9th in the series Season Championship event on October 12th at Winchester Speedway, Cretacci claimed the 2019 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Rookie of the Year Award and finished sixth in the Chase for the Championship in his first full season of racing a late model.
“I'm very excited to be the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour 2019 Rookie of the Year,” remarked Cretacci. “It was a tough season to maintain the rookie points lead. I did not think I was going to be able to hang on with some unfortunate mechanical issues we experienced toward the end of the season. Racing with a CRA Series is quite a challenge, there is a lot of drivers that race with us that have a lot of experience. All in all, a good group of competitors.”
The 2019 season would be a huge learning curve for Cretacci but help from former two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion Brian Ross would help with the learning process, especially since the former Mini-Cup racer had never raced on any of the tracks the series competes on. Cretacci season started off shaky with a 19th place DNF finish at Birch Run Speedway after being involved in an accident and a DNF 14th place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway after handling problems.
Things turned around for Cretacci at Anderson Speedway, were he came from his 18th place starting position to finish in 10th place. Cretacci finished 11th at Baer Field Motorsports Park and 14th at the very fast Memphis International Speedway against a stacked field of very talented competitors and qualified for the series 2019 Chase for the Championship.
Bad luck struck at the Battle at Berlin 251 as Cretacci’s day ended in practice after breaking a rear end, damaging his chances to compete for the series Championship, but he was still in the running for the series Rookie of the Year Award.
Cretacci and his team bounced back in a big way on Labor Day Weekend at Winchester Speedway were Cretacci was one of the fastest cars in the series practice sessions. Cretacci would finish in eighth place in that event on the lead lap. Cretacci would finish in 11th at the Fall Brawl event at Lucas Oil Raceway, keeping him atop the series rookie points heading into the season Championship event at Winchester Speedway were his ninth place finish clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.
Cretacci ended up with 548 adjusted points in the series Rookie of the Year standings, with Canadian rookie Tyler MacKenzie in second with 522. Cretacci was the highest finishing rookie in seven of the series nine-point events in 2019. In all Cretacci picked up four top ten finishes in his rookie season.
Cretacci added, “I'd like to thank my sponsors, Community Wide Credit Union, Preferred Warranties, and R & B Car Company. Also, a huge thanks to my crew Brian Ross, Harl Shafer, Grandpa, Lonnie Jimmerson, my Dad and family. Without all of their help racing would not be possible. I would also like to thank CRA for having such a great series for us to run, and JEGS for helping make this series possible. As of right now, our plans for the 2020 season is to float between both the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour and the ARCA/CRA Super series.”
At the 2019 CRA Awards Banquet on January 3rd, Cretacci will receive a race ready carburetor from VDL Fuel Systems as well as contingency product awards from AP Racing, Holley, Port City Racecars, Howe Racing, Fluidyne, BrakeOMeter and Day Racing Products.
More information on all the CRA series is available at www.cra-racing.com.
-CRA Press Release and Photo