Salem, IN. (October 25, 2018) – 18 year old Plainfield, Indiana native Mason Keller took a huge step in his racing career for the 2018 season, by committing to run with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance for the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Year Award and for the series Championship. By finishing 11th in the series Season Championship event on October 13th at Winchester Speedway, Keller claimed the 2018 DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Year Award and finished second in the Chase for the Championship in his first full season of racing a late model.
“I’m very humbled to have won the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Year Award this season,” remarked Keller. “We set our goal at the beginning of the season to do our best running every race and turning as many laps as possible. We had some success the last two years down at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks,and ran a couple of series races in 2017, we hoped to use that experience to be competitive with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour.”
The former Lawrence Towing CRA Street Stocks competitor was competitive right out of the box picking up seventh place finishes at Birch Run Speedway and at Bristol Motor Speedway. Keller was involved in an accident in the Masters of the Pro’s 200 at Birch Run, but bounced back from that to get a third places finish at Salem Speedway. Keller got a tenth place finish at Baer Field Motorsports Park. Keller fought an ill handling car to a sixth place finish at Auto City Speedway, but struggled at the next event with a 14th place finish at Berlin Raceway.
Mason and his team had made the Chase for the Championship and knew with the first Chase race at Owosso Speedway being cancelled because of weather, they needed to have a good finish at Winchester Speedway on Labor Day Weekend. Keller looked like he would have to settle for a second place finish until Jack Dossey III had a right front tire go down on lap 71, giving the lead to Keller, who cruised to his first series win and locked himself into the Championship event.
Handling issues resulted in Keller getting a respectable ninth place finish in the series Fall Brawl event at Lucas Oil Raceway. Keller went into the series Championship event hoping to make series history, by becoming the first driver to win both the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Year Award and the points Championship. Power steering issues kept Keller from being as competitive as he wanted to be in the Championship event, but Keller hung on to get an 11th place finish, but came up one spot short in his quest for the Championship to Jack Dossey III.
Keller added, “Once I saw we had a chance at rookie of the year and a possibility of a championship we really buckled down in the garage and testing before each race. Unfortunately we didn’t come out with the overall championship but we accomplished way more than we set out to do this year. As far as 2019 goes I’m not 100 percent sure on our decision. If the funding is there I would really love to run the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour and get another shot at the championship. If it doesn’t work out that way we might catch some of the bigger races around here just to get some experience and exposure. I want to thank my dad and my whole crew for their hard work all season. I’d like to thank my sponsors Dailey’s Used Car Sales, Gedek Trailer Sales, PGG, Stagger Pros, and DG Performance.”
At the 2018 CRA Awards Banquet on January 11th, Keller will receive a $1000 cash bonus and a CROSLEY Radio JukeBox Trophy from DGR-CROSLEY, the Official Racing Driver Development Team of CRA. Keller 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, Joes Racing Products, Day Racing Products and Earl’s.
Keller was the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Race Award winner a series leading six times in 2018. Tyler Hufford finished second in the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Year Award standings and was one of the Chase for the Championship drivers, he was the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Race Award winner two times. Nathan Bertino finished third in DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Year Award standings and was the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Race Award winner also two times.
More information on all the CRA series is available at www.cra-racing.com.