CRA Spreading Its Wings With Formation of CRA South by Matt Kentfield
Super Late Models Have a New Series to Compete With in 2009
The CRA Super Series has become a staple in Super Late Model Racing. With its deep roots in the Great Lakes area, the Super Late Model tour has become one of the biggest brand names in SLM racing along with one of most recognizable names in all of short track racing.
In recent years, CRA managing partners R.J. Scott and Glenn Luckett have broadened their brand to sanctioning Sportsman, Street Stocks and Compact Car divisions under the CRA banner. Scott and Luckett even got into the race promotion and sanctioning of races outside their home-base area, developing events such as SpeedFest in Florida starting in 2005. They have also played major roles in events such as the All-American 400 in Nashville and several other races.
The shift towards promoting and sanctioning events in the Southeast were perhaps signs of even bigger things to come for Scott, Luckett and the CRA bunch. The success of the Midwestern-based CRA Super Series and the events under the CRA banner in the Southeast has led to the formation of CRA South, as announced first on Speed51 Radio Tuesday night.
“We are putting the details together and putting the right people in place and we are going to be starting CRA South next year,” Scott said. “We will be doing a small series for Super Late Model events in the South. We are not going to start real big with a great big schedule, but we are going to work extremely close with Tim Bryant, the Snowball Derby and the Blizzard races. We are going to work around them so we don’t schedule on top of them. When we are done we hope to have an 8 to 10-race schedule for our first season.”
While a schedule is not finalized, CRA South will have an eight-to-10-race schedule that will be designed not to step on the toes of the Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway nor PASS South, the other Super Late Model touring series in the South.
“We have had initial discussions with several tracks and we got a lot of positive feedback which led to this announcement,” added Scott. “We are not in any position to announce any dates at this point, but we do want to announce the presence of the CRA South Series so we can work on the schedule. We feel real comfortable that we can have eight to ten races for the 2009 season. We hope to continue what we have seen as a resurgence of Super Late Model racing. We want to make it stronger next year.
“We don’t want to give out any names of the tracks that we have been talking to, but we can say we are not looking so much towards the Carolina region. PASS South has done a real good job there and we hope, when the opportunity presents itself, to work together with those guys. We are going to be West of the Carolinas, looking more at Georgia, Alabama, and Northern Florida. We could also have a date at Nashville if all the stuff works out there in the next couple of weeks and we have our fingers crossed for Montgomery as well.”
Drivers from different series around the country have raced together in CRA's events in the South in the past. (Jamie Williams Photo)
There are talks of Music City Motorplex being on the schedule for the new CRA South.
CRA Officials are also determined to make the series as economically feasible for every racer, both in cost and payout.
“The South series will fall in line with the same thing that we do in the Midwest. We are looking at somewhere in the range of $3,000 to $4,000 to win and $450 to $500 to start. We also hope to have some special races along the way.”
While the total winners’ purses for the CRA South races are nothing to sneeze at, competitors will also be battling for a “points fund” of sorts that will pay them back throughout the season.
“We used to pay a full point fund in CRA. We still do a little bit, but instead we pay that money out over the course of the year. We have a Points Challenge Bonus that we pay on top of the winnings after each race, based on where they are at and their support of the series. We find this very successful and the races are getting the money at the time they need it. You will see some version on this in the South as well.”
SpeedFest 2009, January 23rd through 25th at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Georgia, will be the unofficial kickoff to CRA South. The event is a 200-lap CRA-sanctioned Super Late Model event at Lanier, the event’s new home in 2009 after four years at the now-closed USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida.
EDITOR'S NOTE - CRA South Officials released more information after the initial posting of this story, including details on the at-track management for the new tour...
"38-year race official veteran Dan Spence was recently named the Series Director for CRA South. He is a veteran official with many tracks in the southeast, and served as a key official with both Bob Harmon’s All-Pro Series and later the NASCAR All-Pro Series. Spence also served as the Race Director for the ASA National Tour from 1999-2004. Currently he is working as Race Director for Five Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway. He has flagged or Race Directed 33 of the 41 Snowball Derbies.
Serving in the role of Chief Technical Inspector will be another Five Flags/Derby veteran, Ricky Brooks. The Florida native has a reputation of being incredibly tough and equally fair in his role as Chief Technical Inspector. Many industry veterans have credited Brooks with being partially responsible for the resurgence of the Snowball Derby, and its rightful return to the title of the nation’s top Super Late Model event."