A True Championship Season For Chris Gabehart and Jim Winters
Second Leg In The $50,000 To Win Triple Crown - The Winchester 400 - Is Sunday
Chris Gabehart is just a green flag away from winning the 2007 CRA Championship.
All Chris Gabehart has to do is take the opening green flag in this Sunday’s 36th Annual Winchester 400 Presented By Ed Martin Auto Group and Renegade to claim the 2007 CRA Super Series Championship for himself and car owner Jim Winters in what has been a true Championship Season for the young hard working Purdue Engineer, who is not only the teams driver but also his own Crew Chief. Gabehart and his Hendricks County Motorsports team have had one of the best season’s a series Champion has ever had, not the most wins, but by far the most consistent season on record.
Gabehart took over the series points lead after the second event of the season at Winchester Speedway, a lead he never gave up. In 12 series point’s events to date, Gabehart has no DNF’s. He has finished in the top ten in all 12 events. Of those 12 events, nine were top five finishes including the first six races of the season. His worst finish was ninth in the Anderson 250 after running out of fuel late in the event. Gabehart is the only driver with more than one win during the 2007 season. His first win was a dominating performance at Toledo Speedway with a brand new car just finished the night before. He also got a win at Anderson Speedway in June and the big win in The 100 at the Circle Track Nationals, an event he co-promoted with his car owner, at O’Reilly Raceway Park on September 22nd.
Gabehart’s great season is also reflected in his qualifying results through out the 2007 season, showing he was not only a good driver but also good crew chief giving his car the set-up to be fast on the short run to earn valuable qualifying points, but to also be competitive through out each race. Gabehart earned qualifying points, which are earned by being in the top five qualifiers, at 10 of the 12 events to date. He was the Appleton Rack & Pinion Fast Qualifier a season leading four times, at a variety of tracks including Toledo Speedway, Angola Motor Speedway, Illiana Motor Speedway and set the new track record at Columbus Motor Speedway.
This will be the first CRA Super Series Championship for Gabehart, but it will be the second series Championship for the Hendricks County Motorsports team and owner Jim Winters, who won the series 1998 Championship with driver Brian Rievley. Last season the team finished in 7th place in owner’s points in a car driven by Gabehart and Sondi Eden, Gabehart finished in 9th place in drivers points, after missing a couple of races in the middle of the season. The team finished 5th in series points in 2005 and finished 5th in 2004 with Gabehart earning Rookie Of The Year honors over Steve Moenck.
After a couple of seasons open wheel racing in USAC Midgets and Sprint Cars, Gabehart first competed with the CRA Super Series in selected events during the 2003 season including that season’s Winchester 400 were he was in a team car with Kyle Busch. Gabehart qualified 5th fastest for that event, while Busch was second fastest. Unfortunately both drivers had their day end early after being involved in accidents, but Gabehart showed he had the talent to compete with the best in the CRA Super Series.
Gabehart has always run well at Winchester... and could be in line for a $50,000 payday.
Gabehart put on a memorable performance in last season’s Winchester 400, patiently working his way to the front from his third place qualifying position to take the lead on lap 321. Gabehart battled North Carolina driver Clay Jones, who was racing on seven cylinders, for several laps for the lead racing side by side with the entire grandstand on its feet as the laps started to wind down when sudden contact between the two cars resulted in both cars crashing hard into the back stretch wall ending both drivers day on lap 380. Scott Hantz would go on to get the victory after being a lap down to Gabehart and Jones prior to the lap 380 accident.
Gabehart hopes to end his 2007 CRA Super Series point’s season like the last two CRA Super Series Champions that ended their seasons with the Winchester 400. Bobby Parsley claimed the 2003 series Championship by winning the Winchester 400. Last season the Winchester 400 was brought back after not having that event in 2004 and 2005. Scott Hantz claimed the 2006 CRA Super Series Championship with his win in the Winchester 400 last season. Gabehart will have to battle not only the best drivers in the
series but some of the best late model drivers from around the country who have entered and NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Kyle Busch and David Stremme.
Gabehart does have added incentive to win the Winchester 400, The 100 victory at ORP was the first event in the CRA Super Series Triple Crown. The second event is this Sunday’s Winchester 400, the third event will be the Adam Petty Memorial All American 400 at the Music City Motorplex at the Fairgrounds in Nashville on November 4th. If a driver can win all three events he will receive a $50,000 bonus. If a driver only wins two of the events he will receive a $10,000 bonus. If a different driver wins all three events, the driver getting the best overall finishes in the three events will earn a $5000 bonus plus an entry and a set of tires for the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. Winning the Triple Crown would be the ultimate way to end a true championship season!
More information on this Sunday’s 36th Annual Winchester 400 Presented By Ed Martin Auto Group and Renegade, including purchasing advanced tickets, is available at www.winchesterspeedway.com.