The ARCA/CRA Super Series concluded the first Chase for the Championship this past weekend on the high-banks of Winchester Speedway (IN). Four drivers went into the weekend all with an equal shot at the championship and the driver who finished the highest would take home the title.
Logan Runyon rolled into Winchester, Indiana with two titles he wanted to add to his resume; A championship and Rookie of the Year. Runyon found himself up against some of the toughest competitors in the country for the championship including Dalton Armstrong, Johnny VanDoorn, and Wes Griffith. Runyon was also in a close battle with fellow youngster Hunter Jack for the ROY title.
After 400 laps, Runyon found himself the highest finisher of the championship contenders, which sealed the title with his sixth-place finish in the crown jewel race. It was a race full of ups and downs for all the competitors but Runyon credits his teams “never give up” attitude for putting themselves in championship contention.
“We were really consistent all season long and I think that’s what put us in the position to be able to race for this championship. It’s really awesome that we are able to compete as underdogs and our team really deserves this,” Runyon told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Runyon said that the Chase for the Championship format was one of the toughest situations to be in, because one mechanical failure could mean the difference in finishing second or being a champion. In a time like that the last thing a driver wants is to lose the title to a mechanical failure that may have been able to be caught prior.
“The work that the guys put in at the shop to make sure that we didn’t show up to the track and have the issues that a lot of our competitors had was the biggest thing for us this year,” Runyon said. “We had bad luck at two or three of the races that weren’t our doing. They were just things that were out of our control and weren’t from lack of being prepared or maintaining the car.”
The new Chase for the Championship format for the ARCA/CRA Super Series got mixed reviews at the beginning of the year when it was announced. This weekend the tension and action were at their peak as drivers in all divisions laid it all on the line creating great racing across the board.
“I know some people don’t like it and don’t think that we should be following what NASCAR is doing but I think it made it more exciting for the fans to come into the final race and there be four competitors that could all win the championship as opposed to in recent years where the championship was locked up before the season actually ended," Runyon commented.
Runyon was one of those competitors who ruled in favor of this new format and felt that without it, he may not have had a chance at this title.
“From a competitor’s standpoint I really liked it. With it being our rookie season if it was the old format I don’t think we would have had a shot at it because it took us four or five races to really mesh with the team and me to learn the engine package and tires from what I am used to running on. “
The celebration was an emotional one as the team celebrated their championship on the front stretch of Winchester Speedway Sunday night. Runyon and his team proved that they were the little team that could as they pulled the underdog story of the season capturing the super late model championship.
“This gave new teams or underfunded teams a chance to really be there at the end of the season and have a chance at this championship versus the big teams and we just happen to be one of the teams there at the end.”
Story by: Hannah Newhouse - Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
Photo by: Speed51.com