ARCA/CRA Super Series
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Jan 26, 2022
This is not the first time Bob Sargent has operated a short track touring series, but this could be his most consequential endeavor yet.
The president and CEO of Track Enterprises completed the acquisition of the Champion Racing Association on Tuesday and will now oversee one of the largest regional short track sanctioning bodies in the country. He has previusly operated the Xtreme Dirt Car Series and CMC Northeast as part of a career also promoting ARCA, USAC and Super Late Model events across the East Coast.
Under the Champion Racing Association umbrella is the ARCA CRA Super Series, the JEGS Pro Late Model Tour, Van Hoy Oil Street Stocks, Vore's Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman and Victory Custom Trailers CRA Junior Late Model Series.
The CRA event portfolio currently includes events like Speedfest at Watermelon Capital Speedway, the Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway and the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway. The All-American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is a joint promotional effort by each of the major regional tours on the East Coast.
That prominence is what led to Track Enterprises’ interest and ultimate acquisition.
"That was very important," Sargent told Racing America on Tuesday. "You could argue that's the most important reason. It was available, and we already had a relationship with RJ (Scott) and Glenn (Luckett) but those are some of the biggest events in the country.
"RJ was motivated and we were motivated. They built a great infrastructure with great racing and great sponsors."
In the short term, Scott will step away and take an occasional special projects limited role with the promotion with Luckett and Eddie Chew serving as race director and chief technical inspector this summer. Greg Wood will remain director of operations and chief scorer. Further, Sargent expects the CRA to continue operating under a business as usual model this season and beyond.
"That’s the plan," Sargent said. "It’s already race season, so you don’t change a direction of a ship on a dime, and I’m not sure we need to. Eventually, I’m sure we can find ways to make things better, but I don’t expect any major changes in personnel."
Arguably the biggest revelation in the initial press release of the CRA purchase was Sargent’s unequivocal declaration that he has the foundation to start a national Super Late Model series throughout the east coast.
"We've got some big plans for 2023 and beyond. We've already started laying the groundwork for a national super late model tour. We view this as a collective win for the tracks, fans, and racers alike. Discussions have already been had with top tracks and series in the nation and there are more discussions to come. Many of our peers and competitors look at what we’re doing and draw comparisons to the American Speed Association (ASA) during its years of short track leadership. We already work with other great series with Tim Bryant and his Southern Super Series and Gregg McKarns and his ARCA Midwest Tour. Our goal is to bring these groups together for a full schedule of events, much like the days of The Stock Car Connection led by Rex Robbins with ASA, Bob Harmon with the NASCAR All-Pro Series and Tom Curley with ACT."
Sargent said he is very confident about making this come to fruition.
McKarns has been an advocate of a national championship of some kind for several years, while Bryant has previously been hesitant to embrace a concept that could minimize his other events at Five Flags Speedway or on the Southern Super Series. However, Sargent believes he is close to addressing everyone’s concerns while also creating a much-needed platform for the Super Late Model community.
"That's the goal," Sargent said. We've aldready had a lot of conversations with Tim and Gregg and we have more to come. We'll see where CARS Tour fills in. We've reached out to Larry (Collins, Southwest Tour) and there's conversations to be had there too."
Collins specifically, alongside Brian Olson and Ricky Brooks, have launched a SRL East Coast Tour in 2022 with announced races at Citrus County and Berlin Raceway. Combined with the Southwest Tour, there is a skeletal foundation of a nation tour there.
Sargent says he's not sure that a true coast-to-coast national tour is feasible right and is instead focused on unifying the east coast for a select combined championship.
"I don't know that there's an appetite for East Coast teams to travel out west," Sargent said. "I know NASCAR does it, USAC and World of Outlaws does it, but it's very expensive. We want to be realistic. We're conscious of all those things."
But simply selecting marquee east coast events from each of the regional tours to count towards a combined championship would be a start. There is also interest from a potential entitlement sponsor. These are all conversations that will take place over the summer in advance of a potential launch in 2023.