Defending CRA Junior Late Model Series champion Chase Burda proved he is going to be a big factor in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour championship battle in 2020 in the season opener two weeks ago at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Burda now goes to Anderson Speedway Saturday for just his second start in a Pro Late Model.
While his finish at Lebanon was not indicative of his speed due to a broken rear end just before halfway in the 100-lap event, the Lapeer, Michigan driver showed he was consistently one of the fastest in a stout field of veterans throughout the weekend, qualifying fifth just behind eventual race winner Bubba Pollard and hanging around the top five during his time in the race.
His team’s speed at Lebanon surprised even himself, leaving him confident going into this weekend.
“It’s nice going into Anderson knowing we have a good car and that we’re capable of competing with the top-tier teams,” Burda told Speed51. “It’s definitely a confidence booster going into the weekend and the season.”
While the high-banked quarter-mile is a daunting task for every driver who pulls into the pits at Anderson, it’s the only track on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour schedule Burda has experience at. He won both Junior Late Model races at the track last year, with one of those wins earning him the inaugural series championship.
After a strong start to his rookie season with the All-Stars Tour, Burda couldn’t pick a better track to compete at.
“I was really good there last year and it’s just a fun track and a cool facility. I’m excited to get back in the car and go there this weekend.”
Last year’s CRA Junior Late Model season was Burda’s first time on asphalt since his Quarter Midget days, after spending the previous two years on dirt. During that time, he won multiple features and finished second in points in a Street Stock at Merritt Speedway (MI), while also competing in a Modified.
He dominated the first CRA Junior Late Model season one year ago, winning six of the eight races while finishing second in the other two events. While winning the CRA Junior LM championship, he was also crowned IMCA Rookie of the Year in the Eastern Region on the dirt.
Even with just a few races under his belt on asphalt, last year’s Junior Late Model experience helped him immensely for his JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour rookie run.
“I ran Quarter Midgets on asphalt, then I went straight to dirt for two years. There were only nine races or so, it wasn’t a lot but it definitely got me more used to the asphalt and made me feel more comfortable going into this year.
“It was probably one of my best accomplishments in my racing career,” he said about his championship. “It’s something I’m proud of and won’t forget.”
While his focus is on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour for 2020, Burda will continue to run a Modified on dirt in his home state of Michigan as his schedule allows. His main goal in the Pro Late Model has changed since his debut at Lebanon, after seeing they can compete with just about anyone who shows up to the track on any given race day.
“Going into last race at Lebanon we were just hoping to win the Rookie of the Year. Seeing what we can do now, our goal is to contend for the championship.”
Fans who are unable to make it to Anderson for Saturday’s JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race can see Burda take on the Midwest’s best Pro Late Model racers via a live PPV broadcast. Click here to purchase your video ticket today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo