Winning Three Late Season SLM Shows Will Pay Off Big
Officials from Champion Racing Association (CRA) unveiled the “$50,000 Triple Crown” program today, for three key season-ending events for Super Late Models. One driver will win a $50,000 bonus if they can win the inaugural Circle Track Nationals 100 at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis in September, the historic 36th Annual Winchester 400 in October, and the high profile All-American 400 in Nashville in November. With the bonus and expected purse winnings, one driver could take home almost $100,000 in three events.
The first race in the $50,000 Triple Crown is a new event with a lot of energy already building. The Super Late Model team of Jim Winters and Chris Gabehart are the promoters of the inaugural Circle Track Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis on September 21-22. Winters, the former promoter of the very popular “Junkyard 100” for late models in the 1980’s, along with his protégé’ Gabehart, have put together a racers dream of $10,000 to win for a 100 lap event on only 4 tires. “This is something we think Super Late Model racing really needs,” Gabehart stated. “I’m speaking of both our style of race and the $50,000 Triple Crown. I can’t think of a better place to kick off the Triple Crown than Indianapolis, with such a great facility and all the history this city has.”
The middle event of $50,000 Triple Crown will be the 36th Annual Winchester 400 on October 14-15. Following a stellar event in 2006, which featured quality efforts by the southern teams of Mike Fritts, Clay Jones and Augie Grill, Winchester officials felt the time was right for this exciting move. Speedway owner Charlie Shaw was inspired by comments from Scott Hantz, the 2006 race winner, at the season ending CRA Awards Banquet. “When Scott got up at the banquet and thanked me for having the race, what he called their ‘Daytona 500’, well, I felt pretty proud,” Shaw recalled. “This $50,000 Triple Crown program just makes it even bigger!”
The $50,000 Triple Crown program doesn’t stop there. If no one wins all three events, the first driver to win two of these events in 2007 will receive a $10,000 bonus. And if no one wins more than one event, the driver that accumulates the most points over the three events will earn a $5,000 bonus. To be eligible for the $50,000 Triple Crown Bonus Program, a driver must attempt to qualify for all three events.
“We’re very excited about this new program,” noted David Underwood of Music City MotorPlex, host of the All American 400 on November 4-5. “These are three great races that can bring a lot of recognition to the drivers involved. Plus, the excitement will be even greater for our event with so much on the line for the final event of the $50,000 Triple Crown.”
While scheduling conflicts of preliminary events prevented involvement of the Snowball Derby in this first year, Five Flags Speedway promoter Tim Bryant is excited about the program and foresees being involved in 2008. “We like what we see with these tracks getting together,” Bryant noted, “and even though we can’t be directly involved this year, we think we can be a part of it in 2008 and make it even bigger.” Bryant went on to offer the first Triple Crown Champion a paid entry and a set of tires for this year’s Snowball Derby.
Officials from CRA and the Triple Crown events have also agreed that winners from the first two events will be guaranteed starts in the remaining Triple Crown events, ensuring that that $10,000 or $50,000 bonus will still be available at the final event.
More details will be available in the coming weeks, including a possible sponsor announcement, a deeper point fund payout, point system structure and other news. Those details will be available at www.craracing.net, www.musiccitymotorplex.com, www.winchesterspeedway.com or www.circletracknationals.com .
Chris Gabehart is excited about the CRA $50,000 Triple Crown.
Scott Hantz knows how big winning the Winchester 400 is already. This year it will get even bigger.