First wins are always sweet, but it feels a little sweeter when your first win comes at home. Birch Run, Michigan’s Dan Leeck calls Dixie Motor Speedway home, and for the first time in his career the 2014 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion found victory lane on Friday night.
Leeck had finished second three times in his career, but had never been able to make his way into victory lane.
“Man I’m excited”, were the first words out of Leeck’s mouth when he pulled into victory lane. “I can’t thank my guys enough for giving me a car that was able to put me here tonight
“After getting the championship all I’ve wanted to do was win, we were always right there but were never able to get it done and what better of a place to do it other than Dixie.” Leeck told Speed51.com presented by JEGS.
Three-time ARCA/CRA Super Series champion Johnny VanDoorn not only made his first start of the 2015 season in any series, but also made his JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour debut on Friday. VanDoorn spends most of his time working for his company VanDoorn Development and as the crew chief for ARCA/CRA Super Series driver Hunter Baize. VanDoorn impressed from the time he rolled off of the trailer, turning the fastest lap in practice and also setting fast time in qualifying. VanDoorn started ninth in the field, but after suffering mechanical issues with his ride he was unable to finish the 100-lap shootout.
CRA Sportsman Series graduate Quinnton Bear started in the second row and kept his cool in the top-five until a late race charge put him second to Trevor Berry, who started on the pole and led the early portion of the race.
After the second and final caution came out on lap 73, Bear started on the high side of Berry, and after slight contact between the two drivers Bear came out with the lead. That was until Leeck, who was running strong in the fourth position, charged forward and took over the lead from Bear.
“From fourth I could tell they were racing hard up for the lead and they opened up a little hole and I knew that was my chance to go,” Leeck stated.
The crowd erupted in cheers when Leeck took over the lead; the grandstands were flooded with the local driver’s family and friends. While the laps wound down, Leeck held strongly to his lead over Bear.
Bear, the Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year leader, drove his car to second and that’s the position he would take home at the end of the night after a hard fought battle.
“We were going all out for the lead. I’m a rookie in the series and I am still learning how to drive a Late Model”, Bear explained. “We are just out here driving our butts off trying to win races, that’s all that was.”
The next race for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour is Friday, July 17 at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, IN.
-By Mikayla Kugler, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent - Twitter: @MikaylaKugler
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour 100 Unofficial Results
Dixie Motor Speedway (MI) - July 10, 2015