First of Two ARCA/CRA Super Series races in Four days in the Great Lakes State begins at Kalamazoo Speedway
Kalamazoo, Michigan (Wednesday, August 12, 2015): For the second year in a row, the premier tour within Champion Racing Association (CRA) Powered by JEGS was a part of one of the most prestigious midweek special events in the country. The ARCA/CRA Super Series was once again a part of Kalamazoo Klash XXIII at the fast 3/8s (0.375) mile high-banked paved oval of Kalamazoo Speedway (MI) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The ARCA/CRA Super Series Template Super Late Models shared the stage with their Outlaw Bodied counterparts and race in the Boyne Machine Company 125.
This event was the fifth all-time appearance at the immaculate Southwest Michigan facility. In front of a standing room only, sold out crowd in Southwest Michigan and at the end of 125 laps it would be 2013 Rookie of the Year, Ali Kern standing in victory lane $5,000 richer after taking the lead with eight laps to go. The Fremont, Ohio driver then sailed off to her first career ARCA/CRA Super Series victory becoming just the second woman in the series’ 19-year history to do so. She joins Kenzie Ruston, who won at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) on October 2nd, 2011 and fourth woman overall in CRA history within all four CRA touring series’ to see the checkered flag first.
“This feels amazing. Everybody just works so hard. It’s just unreal still. I don’t know if I’ve really processed anything yet. It’s amazing that everybody’s work has finally paid off and we’ve got the result that we’ve deserved.” The elated driver of the #4 Crown Battery / Scott Neal Racing / Ford stated in victory lane after climbing from the car to the roar of the overflow standing room only crowd on hand. “It was just determination, not willing to quit. I don’t think this has sunk in and probably won’t for a couple of days. We knew we had a good car and we knew this right here was only a matter of time. We’ve been concentrating on a limited number of events this year and tonight it paid off.” She added.
Veteran Tim DeVos and 18-year-old John Hunter Nemechek led the field to Chief Starter, Scott Menlen’s green flag to start the Boyne Machine Company 125. Nemechek darted out in front and would pace the field for the first 33 laps which would go green. A parade of caution flags would bunch the field up with Nemechek holding the inside lane while Kern, who started fourth, had worked her way up to second and began trailing Nemechek around the 3/8s mile high-banked paved oval. Several times, Kern let the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star know she was there, but Nemechek held his ground as the laps continued to click off.
Soon, Overall and Rookie points’ leader, 16-year-old Grant Quinlan made his presence felt after battling with Kern for the second spot. Once Quinlan got to the runner-up position, he set his sights on Nemechek and the battle was on for the lead. On a restart working on lap 117, Quinlan fought his way ahead of Nemechek to lead only to see his lead go away after continued contact between him and Nemechek resulted in Quinlan spinning coming out of turn four and Nemechek pitting with heavy cosmetic damage.
This gave the lead to 19-year-old Quinnton Bear, the current Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year point’s leader in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. Bear, who was utilizing his JEGS/CRA legal machine, would have Kern flanking his outside on the lap 118 restart and Kern would take full advantage of the engine discrepancy to shoot out into the lead. Two more cautions would fly including the last one, which set up a green-white-checkered finish. On that final green flag, Kern made no mistake as she would get out ahead of Bear, earning the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race award and fight off a last ditch effort by Bear to go to victory lane. Kern also earned a $300 bonus in product certificates from event sponsor, Sweet Manufacturing.
Bear, who was making his second start of the year in the ARCA/CRA Super Series and third overall of his career, scored an impressive career high second place finish in his #94 Buzze Racing / Chevrolet. The Avon, Indiana driver collected the FLUIDYNE High Performance Cool Under Pressure award after starting ninth and working his way into the top five just prior to the midway point of the race. Bear would stand his ground for the remainder of the event by staying within the top five for the rest of the race. Bear has plans of running the full ARCA/CRA schedule in 2016 and is scheduled to make at least two more appearances in 2015 in order to retain his rookie eligibility for next season.
Former Two-Time Kalamazoo Speedway Track Champion, Phil Bozell also brought his JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour legal machine and would bring home the Hedman Hedders Husler award with his 14th to third place run in his #104 R.C. Sales & Leasing / Chevrolet. The 32-year-old former Kalamazoo Klash winner in the Outlaw Super Late Models and Template Super Late Models, which was before the template portion of the Klash became a CRA sanctioned event, was making his 12th career ARCA/CRA start and the Portage, Michigan standout, known more for his Outlaw Super Late Model accolades, brought home a career high finish as the last driver on the podium.
Grand Rapids, Michigan driver, Chris Koslek earned the C.V. Racing Products Hard-Charger award as well as the first Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award with his 16th to fourth place run. The 28-year-old driver of the #23 West Michigan Tool & Industrial Supply / Chevrolet has made two ARCA/CRA starts during the 2015 racing season and both events have resulted in two top four showings. His other appearance was a second place run in the Battle at Berlin 251 on June 16th at his home track of Berlin Raceway (MI).
Quinlan recovered from his incident with Nemechek with eight laps to go to post a fifth place effort in his #28 International Tool & Mold / Chevrolet. The Harrison, Michigan teenager would also manage to maintain his point’s leads in both the Overall and Senneker Performance Rookie of the Year title chases. The 16-year-old did also pick up his fourth Senneker Performance Rookie of the Race award in addition to his first career EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier award which he earned earlier in the day.
Despite his vision being impaired due to his hood flying up and covering the windshield on the final restart, 17-year-old rookie Hunter Baize did manage to bring home a sixth place finish to keep pace with Quinlan in both the Overall and Rookie battles. A third rookie, Mark Lambert tied a season high seventh place finish and also won the second Hoosier Racing Tire Performance award. 2014 Rookie of the Year, Wes Griffith Jr., was eighth as veteran Eddie Van Meter overcame a series of pit stops and a midrace caution flag to finish ninth. Rookie, Matt Hall would tie a season high finish of a 10th to complete the top 10 in the final rundown.
Nemechek did manage to score the VanDoorn Racing Development Lap Leader award for leading the first 116 laps while 18-year-old Paul Shafer Jr., collected the VanDoorn Racing Development Fastest Practice Lap award. Earlier in the afternoon in EDCO Welding Qualifying, Quinlan won his first career Fast Qualifier award with a 12.749. His lap measured out to 105.891mph. The ARCA/CRA Super Series Track Record remains in the hands of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star, Kyle Busch as back on August 13th, 2014 he turned in a 12.527.
The ARCA/CRA Super Series teams will have just a couple of days to regroup before traveling east across the Great Lakes State for their yearly visit to the fast 1/4 (0.250) mile high-banked paved oval of Flat Rock Speedway, located south of Detroit in Flat Rock, Michigan for the 7-Up 125. Two-Time Reigning ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion, Travis Braden won in the last appearance at the southeastern Michigan speed plant in 2014 while three-time series champion, Scott Hantz scored the victory in the first two appearances by CRA at the facility in 2013 and 2012.
For more information about the remainder of the 2015 racing season within all four touring series’ of Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, go to the series website located at: www.cra-racing.com You can also follow along with all of CRA’s touring series’ on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ChampionRacingAssociation and on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/CRAracing Finally, for more information about Flat Rock Speedway, the host track for the ninth race of the season for the ARCA/CRA Super Series, go to the track website at: www.flatrockspeedway.com
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.