The 2023 season is now officially underway for Champion Racing Association and Shadybowl Speedway in DeGraff, OH with the completion of the Cabin Fever. The CRA Street Stocks Powered by JEGS and the Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman headlined the event, including the Vore’s Compact Touring Series and Open Wheel Modifieds. An enthusiastic and plentiful crowd turned out for Sunday’s race.
The afternoon kicked off with the Vore’s Compact Touring Series B4 feature event, highlighting drivers who have yet to win a race or finish in the top ten in championship points standings in the division. Bill Honious led the way through the early parts of the race, but lost the handle on the car and spun on the exit of turn four near the halfway point of the race. Shortly after the restart, Honious nearly flipped his No.17 car in turn one attempting to avoid a spinning car. In the end, Alex Bube found the front of the field and collected the B4 Feature win.
Next on the schedule was the CRA Street Stocks Powered by JEGS. Anticipation for the 75-lap event was building as the track became faster and more competitive throughout the day. Jamie Sites set fast time during qualifying but would roll off fifth after the invert. Dallas Frueh and Andrew Teepe brought the field to the green flag. Frueh held on the lead the first lap, but Teepe quickly displaced the No.9 and moved into the lead.
The race was slowed for a total of five times with the most dramatic caution coming at lap 19 when Frueh spun in turns one and two. As the caution waved, the leader, Teepe slowed quickly causing Jason Atkinson, who was running second, to hit the back of Teepe and then sent third-place running Dalton Conner up and over the right-rear tire of Atkinson. The contact resulted in a flat tire for Atkinson and massive cosmetic damage for Conner. Both drivers were able to continue from the back of the field, Atkinson with a new right-rear and Conner without his hood, front fender, and door.
The final restart of the race came on lap 44 and Teepe had no issues with the restart, however, it was apparent he wasn’t driving away from Blaine Akin, who had been running up front with Teepe and Micheal Amonette for a majority of the race. As Atkinson and Conner worked their way back to the front, Akin started working over Teepe. Akin led the race for the first time on lap 65 but had to deal with four-time CRA Street Stock Champion Atkinson, who took the lead on lap 69. Akin, though, wasn’t finished.
Coming off turn two, Akin went from the outside quickly to the inside for a textbook crossover and got back to Atkinson’s inside in turn three. Akin retook the lead on lap 70 coming to the five to go signal and held off Atkinson the final five rotations for his first career CRA Street Stocks Powered by JEGS win. Atkinson held on to second and Conner finished third. Amonett and Teepe rounded out the top five.
The Vore’s Compact Touring Series rolled to the track next for their 40-lap main event. Defending Vore’s Compact Touring Series Champion, Chris Jennings dominated the race but lost the lead late to Tom Gossar. Jennings was able to battle back with a huge run down the backstretch before diving to Gossar’s inside to retake the lead and collect the win. Tom Gossar finished second, Trent Gossar third, with Jason Clevenger and Curtis Finlayson rounding out the top five.
The Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman were the penultimate race of the afternoon, featuring another 75-lap showdown. At the drop of the green flag, Billy Hutson jumped out to the lead, but David Barnhart quickly moved his No.3 into the top spot on lap two. By lap nine, Josh Sage had muscled his No.89 into the lead; just five laps later, however, disaster struck at the front of the field for the second year in a row. Going into turn one, Sage had caught a pair of backmarkers who were racing for position, when Sage attempted to go between the two, contact from Sage caused Kent Carson and Glynn Neal to spin. As the pair spun, they came up the track and collected the top six cars. Most were able to continue except for Jason Timmerman who spun into the crash backward and slammed into Ryan Fleming. The heavy cosmetic damage to Timmerman’s car spelled the end of the day for him. Sage, Barnhart, Fleming, Timmerman, Carson, and Neal were all involved in the crash. Hutson managed to stop short of contact and the race was red-flagged for a lengthy clean-up as the cars were all stacked on top of each other.
Sage’s involvement in the accident handed the lead over to Barnhart who led for one rotation before Hutson took the top spot for a lap, relinquishing the lead back to Barnhart. A restart on lap 21 allowed Hutson to again go to the lead for roughly twelve laps before Sage again asserted himself at the front.
Hutson was again strong on a lap 46 restart, taking the lead back away from Sage. Hutson spent two more laps at the front before Sage took the lead back on lap 50. A restart with ten laps to go proved to be no issue for Sage who held on for his first career Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman feature win.
The Open Wheel Modifieds were the final race of the night scheduled to go 50 laps around the tricky Shadybowl Speedway. The race saw it’s first caution coming to the green when Cole Timmerman’s car kicked sideways and he spun into the wall collecting Aaron Timmerman in the process. When the race went green, Bob Sibila took the lead and was out front before something appeared to fail on his No.82 causing him to spin from the lead on lap 16. On the restart, Brad Yelton took the lead and survived three more caution flags and heavy attrition to win the lap-shortened race.
The next event for the CRA Street Stocks and Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman is Saturday, April 15th at Anderson Speedway for the Spring Fling 75 Presented by CB Fabricating. For more information including results, schedules, and point standings, log onto www.CRA-Racing.com or find CRA: Champion Racing Association on Facebook and @CRARacing on Twitter.
Story – Zach Hiser
Photo – Koty Geyer