CRA SUPER SERIES CELEBRATES SEASON, ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE
19 Events On 2005 Tour, Including Return To Winchester
On Saturday, January 15 the Sunoco Super Series honored the Top 15 teams for the 2004 season and made a number of special announcements concerning the 2005 season, and during the post awards celebration had random drawings giving away prizes totaling over $6,000 to the teams present.
The 2004 season was the last season for Sunoco to be the title sponsor, and their support and enthusiasm for the Super Series was very special and exactly what the series needed. "They will be greatly missed, and for all their efforts we thank them greatly." Commented Series co-founder RJ Scott.
It was a great year on the track in many ways. There were 11 different winners during the year and 3 drivers captured their first ever Sunoco Super Series victories in 2004. It was also the closest "Rookie of the Year" battle in the history of the series. There was an exciting battle during the last part of the season, as four different drivers battled intensely for the crown.
The 2004 Championship teams is from Louisville Kentucky where horse racing is popular of course, thanks to the Kentucky Derby. And in horse racing they talk about a "run for the roses"… the process that it takes to become a champion. From his days in go-karts to his first days of street stock racing, this was one horse you could bet would be a champion, and he is. During their championship effort, this team led the series with 5 fast times, and led the series again by qualifying in the top 5 an incredible 13 times. Their 9 top five finishes and 12 top 10’s provided the consistency needed to compete for the championship, and their two trips to victory lane were another special piece of their great season. This team struggled with the highs and lows like most championship teams do, but it was there ability to overcome the hurdles and finish strong that made the 2004 season so special. At the season’s final race, with the championship on the line, they would take fast time, establish a new track record, and record another top 5 finish, to secure the championship…and all in front of fans at his home track. The icing on the cake would come just two weeks later where our series champion claimed a victory in one of
our sports greatest events, our Kentucky Derby: the All-American 300 in Nashville. It truly was a great "run for the roses", for the championship team of owner Chuck Barnes, Sr. and the 2004 Sunoco Super Series driver Chuck Barnes, Jr. In addition to point fund monies, the team received numerous special awards.
Speed51.com introduced, managed and promoted a new award for the 2004 season, the Speed51.com "Most Popular Driver Award" is presented to Chuck Barnes, Jr.
Scott Hantz and Junior Hanley were presented a set of Harris Torches by Brandon Gerke, of Harris Torches, for leading the most laps during the 2004 season winning the Harris Torches Lap Leaders Awards.
Champion Chuck Barnes Jr. was honored during the night with several awards, including the Speed51.com Most Popular Driver Award (bottom). (CRA Super Series Photos)
The next award is the Backstretch Performance/Blake Carburetion/Reed Cams "Rookie of the Year". Looking at some of the recent winners of this award, Scott Hantz, Joel Kauffman, Chuck Barnes, Jr. are all successful and all winners and they are all series champions as well. This year’s "Rookie of the Year" could easily see the same success and more in the near future. The next in a line of talented "Rookie of the Year" winners, the 2004 CRA Sunoco Super Series Rookie of the Year is Chris Gabehart.
In honor of the outstanding display of sportsmanship on the track by this driver and outstanding display of sportsmanship and patience in the tech line the TDR Screen Graphics "Sportsman of the Year Award" was presented to Jeff Lane.
Chris Gabehart was the 2004 SSS Rookie of the Year and was honored at the banquet.
Officials of the CRA Super Series released their tentative schedule for the upcoming 2005 season during their annual awards banquet held this past weekend in Indianapolis. The schedule consists of nineteen total events, eighteen regular CRA Super Series point's events, and the All American 300 non-points event sanctioned with the O'Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series.
On April 16th the CRA Super Series will open its season, as it has for the last 8 years, at Anderson Speedway. That historic quarter mile Speedplant was the birthplace of the series in 1997. From there the series will travel to the legendary high banks of Winchester Speedway on Sunday, April 24th, were the series will be part of that tracks first event of it's 2005 Re-grand Opening Season. The series will then travel to beautiful Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on Saturday April 30th for the first of two series events at that great facility in 2005.
Racing at Indiana's Anderson Speedway is a staple of the CRA Super Series. (Wright Photo)
The May 14-15th event at Indianapolis Raceway Park is next up, the CRA Super Series will team up again with the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Northern Series for a short track race fan's dream weekend. Not often do race fans get to see as many short track stars in one place as they will when the two series come together for a great event in the Motorsports Capitol of the World. From there the series will return to Toledo Speedway on Memorial Day weekend for a twin 100 lap feature events in conjunction with the Main Event Outlaw Late Model Series on Sunday, May29th.
The Crown Jewel of the 2005 points race schedule on July 15th-16th, when Anderson Speedway plays host to the 38th Annual Anderson 400. The CRA Super Series has sanctioned that event the past five years, and during that time the fans have been treated to some of the best races in the history of the storied event including a classic duel between Junior Hanley and Scott Hantz last season. Hanley got to add his name to the list of legendary winners of that prestigious event.
On September 24th-25th, Rockford Speedway will host the 40th Annual National Short Track Championships, which features the third visit by the CRA Super Series to that historic 1/4-mile track. One week later, on October 1st, the CRA Super Series will run a 150 lap event as part of the 2005 World Cup 300 at I-70 Speedway. This will be a series points race in 2005 and will feature a larger than normal purse along with travel money and bonuses for regular series contenders.
The season closes on October 22nd -23rd, on the challenging high banks of Salem Speedway. The series championship will be decided at the Salem event, local fans saw home track racer Chuck Barnes Jr. claim his 2005 CRA Super Series Championship at Salem Speedway this past season.
The season ending event will be the All American 300 at the Music City MotorPlex in Nashville, Tennessee. Last year over 60 teams showed up to try and win this prestigious all star event. The race was hailed by many as the best short-track race they had seen in a long time!