Marne, MI – Kyle Crump has vastly improved his stock over the last two racing seasons, winning multiple prestigious Super Late Model events throughout the Midwest. The SRL National “Sip Shine Battle at Berlin 250” will see the Brighton, MI driver seek his second victory in a row in the $30,000-to-win affair at Berlin Raceway. A win on August 10th would add another gem to his suddenly growing resume.
The 2021 campaign was a breakout season for the now 26-year-old racer. He had a “Kalamazoo Klash Template 100” victory in 2019 at Kalamazoo Speedway (MI), and a CRA All-Star Tour win in 2017, but no other milestone wins in Late Models. That changed with a triumph in the “Redbud 400” at Anderson Speedway (IN). He followed the accomplishment up with a win in the “Battle at Berlin 150” just over a month later. It was almost a dream come true for Crump.
“Winning the “Battle at Berlin” in 2021 was very special to me”, Crump recalled. “I had grown up watching that event as a fan every year, just hoping to be a part of it one day. Getting the opportunity to race it was amazing. Then, to be able to win in 2021 was sort of unreal. Coming off the “Redbud 400” victory and following it up with the “Battle at Berlin”, really boosted my confidence and my teams, that we truly belong competing at the bigger events.”
With his new confidence, Crump busted off another win with the JEGS CRA All-Star Tour in the “CRA Fall Brawl JEGS.com 100” at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN). He competed his 2021 ARCA CRA Super Series season third in the championship standings. 2022 found Crump in Victory Lane at the season opening “Icebreaker 75” at Berlin Raceway. He followed it up with a JEGS CRA All-Star Tour win at Birch Run Speedway (MI) in his Crosstown Motorsports ride. June 4th found Crump back in Victory Lane again in the ARCA CRA Super Series at the “Laurel Highlands 150”, at Jennerstown Speedway (PA).
Crump entered the “Money in the Bank 150” on a roll, with high hopes of another win in the all-star field of 33 Super Late Models. He had a quick car, winning final practice in his Stan and Judi Rosen Super Late Model. He qualified second, but earned a seventh-place start in the feature, after the invert. At the end of 150 laps, he landed sixth, when a change in rear stagger slowed his advancement.
“The “Money in the Bank” was bittersweet this year”, Crump explained. “We went in knowing we had a great car, because of the win I had earlier this year at Berlin. However, Berlin was very one groove that day, and track position was key with the tight level of competition. I had to start seventh with the invert, and we never really overcame it. We showed really good speed after we took tires, but our rear stagger blew up tremendously ruining our race. That being said, I know we have a very good car, and if we can have that same speed, I see no reason why we can't be competing for the win (at the Battle at Berlin 250).”
It didn’t take Crump long to bounce back, from what many would consider a solid finish at Berlin. His next start found him in Victory Lane again, this time at Flat Rock Speedway (MI) in the “VanDoorn Racing Development 125” for the ARCA CRA Super Series. At Birch Run Speedway (MI), he qualified quickest. Opting to start at the rear for bonus money, he drove through the field to finish third. The driver, who calls his home track Owosso Speedway (MI), will compete in several big events before the “Battle at Berlin 250”, but is looking forward to his return to a facility he considers to be the premiere venue in the region.
“Berlin's facility is unmatched when it comes to the Midwest in my opinion. I love everything they do for the fans and drivers. I'll always try to support them when I have the opportunity to. The racetrack itself, I have a love/hate relationship with. You can be good one week and terrible the next, but that's why it's known as one of the toughest tracks on the circuit,” Crump surmised.
Combine a marque event with a marque facility and you have the “Sip Shine Battle at Berlin 250”. Crump enjoys competing in events of this nature, as it challenges the team and acts as a benchmark for their program. His approach to these events is similar to other races he attends, with one small exception.
“I love competing in the marque events, it really shows how well you stack up against the best talent in short track pavement racing”, Crump relayed. “I don't shift my mentality around, other than trying to make sure I stay a bit calmer at the start of the races, being that they are so long, and a lot can happen.”
The “Money in the Bank 150” was the first time the Michigan driver competed in a marque event with the SRL National. In the first year for the series, expanded from the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series based in California, Crump was pleased with how the event was run.
“I enjoyed having the SRL sanction the event”, Crump stated. “This was my first SRL sanctioned event, and it felt very official. Everyone and everything I dealt with left me with no questions, and I felt I had a very even playing field with strict and fair rules.”
As the defending “Sip Shine Battle at Berlin 250” winner, Crump is thankful to return to Berlin to defend his title. He is also appreciative of those who have made it happen, and who are responsible for his recent success.
“I'd personally like to thank Stan and Judi Rosen. They are my car owners, and they gave me a chance a few years ago, when I hadn't shown very much promise as far as performance goes. I would also like to thank everyone at Vandoorn Racing Development. Their at the track support is unmatched. Butch and Johnny Vandoorn are a large reason why I'm having the success I'm having.”
The August 10th event will be the third round of the SRL National Tour. $30,000 will be on the line for the winner with $1,500 to make the starting field of 30. This will be the third round of the SRL National season. Ty Majeski and William Byron were winners in the first two rounds. Tuesday, August 9th, will find the teams practicing on the 7/16-mile asphalt track from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. An Autograph Session in Pit Area will take place from 8:00 pm to 9:00pm. Raceday will see two rounds of practice from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. Qualifying commences at 5:30 pm with racing at 6:30 pm.
-Story by: Kevin Peters, SRL National Super Late Model Series