Champions and Competitors Honored During CRA Awards Ceremony

Champion Racing Association celebrated its competitors and champions Friday evening.

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Friday night, Champion Racing Association (CRA) hosted their annual season Awards Ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of their Champions and supporters throughout the year. As part of the celebration, specialty awards were handed out alongside the standard Championship Points battle awards. Plus, special prize drawings, door prizes, and other dignitaries were recognized.

The night began by recognizing the accomplishments of the CRA Street Stocks Powered by JEGS teams with awards presented by Hoosier Tire Midwest Representative, Irish Saunders. A total of 85 different drivers were on track with the Street Stocks in 2023 which saw a diverse schedule of 11 events with seven different drivers claiming victories on the tour. The first to be recognized was the team of Danny Acrey. They finished 7th in this year’s CRA Street Stock standings, and are a longtime team owner in the series, with three top-fives in just six starts. Also recognized was the driver who took 5th in this year’s standings. A Bowling Green, KY driver racing with the series for a second year in-a-row, claiming a win at Anderson and two other top tens in a part-time season, Cole Baxter.

This year’s points runner-up in the CRA Street Stocks has been racing full-time with the series since 2015. The Indianapolis, Indiana driver was able to show great consistency, finishing no worse than 8th all season and taking 5 top-five finishes. Finishing as runner-up in the standings for a third time in his career, Andrew Teepe. Celebrating as champion in 2023 after racing with the series full-time for a second straight year, building on a strong 2022 season, the Greenfield, IN driver came back for an outstanding 2023. Collecting two wins at Anderson plus a Winchester win on championship weekend, taking his first career CRA Street Stock powered by JEGS point championship, Dalton Conner.

Baxter received even more awards as the night went on as well. In his first full-time season with CRA in 2023, Baxter was awarded the Rookie of the Year Honors and the Sunoco Sportsman of the Year award as voted on by CRA officials.

Next on the lineup card was the Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman, with awards being handed out by Vore’s Welding & Steel’s own, Steve Vore. Year 18 for the Vore's Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Powered by JEGS had eight events, and this year, seven different drivers found victory lane. This season, once again, saw nearly 60 competitors from all over the Midwest compete at the series events. The diverse schedule had four different racetracks on the 2023 campaign. The first award handed out went to 9th-place point finisher Kent Carson. With a top ten at Anderson Speedway among his four starts.

Taking 8th in this year’s points is a driver who has been racing with multiple CRA series for over a decade. Grabbing a season-best 3rd place finish at Anderson, from Muncie, IN, JP Crabtree. Racing in his first season of Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman competition, this Owensboro, KY driver had a solid season with four top tens in seven starts, good enough for 5th in points, Glynn Neal. Jumping to fourth in the Championship Points with Hudson, Indiana’s, Cassten Everidge. After racing with the series full-time for the last four seasons, Everidge had top-five point runs in each of those years. With a win at Salem and a 2nd place finish at Anderson in 2023.

Onto the podium for 2023, Our 3rd place point finisher ran full-time with the series for a second year in-a-row. The year started a little slow but picked up in the middle with podium finishes at Salem and Anderson. Racing with us from Holland, OH, Greg Stilwell, Jr. Coming back for a second season in-a-row, taking runner-up in the standings with another solid season, taking one top five with six top tens in eight races. Finishing 2nd in the standings, Fisherville, Kentucky’s, Logan Huckeba.

Our 2023-point champion picked up a feature win at Anderson and a total of four top-five finishes to claim the top position. The Xenia, OH driver was solid all season long, never finishing outside of the top ten. The 2023 Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Powered by JEGS champion is Caleb Reschar.

Glynn Neal was later honored as the 2023 Rookie of the Year for the CRA LMS. Meanwhile, Greg Stilwell, Jr was voted as the 2023 Sunoco Race Fuel Sportsman of the Year.

Onto the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance, 2023 marked the 13th year for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. This year, over 60 different teams hit the track over the course of an 11-event schedule. Back for a third season of competition was a Rochester Hills, MI driver who claimed three top fives in six races. Taking his best finish with the series, a third at Owosso Speedway, Kevin Cremonesi earned 5th in the points. Our 4th place finisher has been dabbling part-time with the series over the last few years. This season, the Hicksville, OH competitor ran a majority of the races claiming a season’s best 5th at Salem. Driver of the No.15, Brian Demland.

Yet another Michigan driver found himself 3rd in this year’s points. Highlighted by 5th place finishes at Winchester and Birch Run, from Richmond, MI, Evan Varney. A battle between brothers for podium spots was one to watch down the stretch in this year’s standings. While brother Evan took third, his older brother got the family bragging rights with the second-place point finish. Taking a season’s best 3rd at Salem and garnering five top ten finishes, from Richmond, MI Brandon Varney.

That brings us to this year’s champion, a driver who has been racing with the series since 2020. This year, the 18-year-old driver carried his momentum from a season-opening win at Birch Run on to win events at Owosso, and both at Winchester. With an impressive 8 top 5’s in 10 starts, the 2023 JEGS CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance Champion, Chase Burda.

Evan Varney was called back to the podium to collect his JEGS Tour Rookie of the Year honors. The Sunoco Race Fuels Sportsman of the Year went to Brian Demland.

It was the 27th year for the ASA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS, a tour that sanctions some of the biggest Super Late Model races in the country. In 2023, 10 Super Series-sanctioned races highlighted the schedule. In the final standings, 2 countries and six different states were represented in the top ten. The 10th-place competitor ran in half of the point races during the 2023 racing season. The Sellersburg, IN made the most of his opportunities, taking second at Salem and fourth at Winchester. Welcome driver of car #15, Jordon Riddick.

Moving on to 7th place, we see a driver who is a full-time Late Model Sportsman competitor but also made a handful of Super Series starts. Grabbing 8th at Salem Speedway and ninth at Labor Day Winchester, taking seventh in points Cassten Everidge. This year’s point champion in the JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour nearly claimed the double, taking 2nd in ASA/CRA Super Series points. With a fourth at Salem, a second at Labor Day Winchester, and an impressive 3rd at Toledo, from Columbiaville, MI, Chase Burda.

The 2023 ASA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS champion is a relative newcomer to the scene when it comes to Super Late Model racing. Despite this, the Seekonk, MA driver made a huge splash this past year with not only a CRA championship but a Southern Super Series championship and two wins on the ASA STARS National Tour. Taking wins at Salem and at the Winchester 400, your 2023 ASA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS point champion, Gio Ruggiero and team Wilson Motorsports.

Ruggiero was also honored as the 2023 Rookie of the Year for the Super Series, while Chase Burda was called upon as the Sportsman of the Year.

The final set of awards for the evening were the Klotz Lubricant Darrell Teal Memorial Dedication Awards, for teams and individuals who have displayed outstanding dedication to our sport and series. For the ASA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS, Chase Burda Motorsports Team Owner, Rob Burda. The JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour presented by Chevrolet Performance Dedication Award was given to Varney Racing Team Owner, Bob Varney. A true team effort was recognized for the Vore’s CRA LMS powered by JEGS Dedication Award, which went to Huckeba Racing. Finally, the CRA Street Stocks powered by JEGS Dedication Award went to Team Owner, Danny Acrey.

The night concluded with a word from Hoosier Tire’s Irish Saunders as he discussed the new ST Series tires which will debut during the Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up Speedfest at Crisp Motorsports Park on Saturday, January 20th. Then, Series Director, Scott Menlen spoke on the challenges and learning environment of the first season, and the excitement and progress heading into 2024.

The next event for Champion Racing Association is the Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up Speedfest at Crisp Motorsports Park on Saturday, January 20th. Advanced tickets are available online at www.TrackEnterprises.com. Fans who can’t make the trip can catch it live on RacingAmerica.tv.

For more information on Champion Racing Association, log onto www.CRA-Racing.com. Find CRA: Champion Racing Association on Facebook and follow @CRARacing on X.

-Champion Racing Association Release
-Photo credit: Becca Hiser

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