John VanDoorn started the 2009 season with a new team and the 2007 CRA Super Series Rookie of the year wasted no time showing he would be a force this year with a strong win in the opening event for the CRA Super Series North at Anderson Speedway in the Anderson 125. VanDoorn started third, stuck to leader Eddie Hoffman like glue through most of the race before getting under him on the 94th lap to take the lead coming to the line to lead the 95th lap and never looked back. Fast Qualifier Boris Jurkovic raced Van Doorn close for a few laps, but could not keep up as the race wound down and he dropped back to finish second. Hoffman finished third, Scott Hantz fourth and Aaron Pierce fifth.
"New year, new car, new engine, new owner, it was great to come out and win." VanDoorn stated. "I am proud of my guys, they did not give up on me, helped put this deal together in just a couple of months, and many of these are the guys from my old team. I really have to thank my sponsors Accelerate Liquid Deicing Solution, Port City Race Cars, Baker Engineering and Pro Cam for all they have done. I am real excited to be back in Victory Lane, it is a new adventure."
Jurkovic won the EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier Award by setting fast time with a lap of 12.141 seconds to lead a very tight field with less than a half second separating the top 19 cars, only .091 seconds separated the top 5. He then drew a six for the invert putting veteran Eddie Hoffman on the pole and K&N Filters Rookie of the Year contender Tyler Roahrig on the outside of the front row.
Huffman took the early lead with Roahrig in tow, VanDoorn, 2008 Rookie of the Year Aaron Pierce, Scott Hantz, and Jurkovic following close behind. Disaster struck on the 18th lap when Roahrig spun in the fourth turn causing a multi-car pile up that caused severe damage to Jeff Lane’s car causing him to drop out due to overheating a few laps later.
VanDoorn took over second and stayed close behind Huffman for the next 70 laps. Hantz was in third until Jurkovic made a strong move under Hantz. That move earned Jurkovic the ARP Bodies Cool Move of the Race. The top four stayed in that order with each looking for a way around peeking low, checking high while trying to keep the other drivers behind them.
VanDoorn finally got under Hoffman when he slipped up on the track just short time later. Hoffman gave VanDoorn the room once he got there, and Van Doorn made a clean pass coming into the third turn, pulling Jurkovic with him. Hoffman shut the door before Hantz could get through also, keeping Hantz and Pierce right behind him.
“Hoffman raced me clean; once I got up under him he gave me a lot of room for a ¼ mile track.” Van Doorn said following the race.
On the 120th lap Hantz peeked under Hoffman in the second turn, but had to slow quickly when the closed off the hole Hantz was looking into. Pierce could not slow in time and drove up on Hantz putting his left front tire in Hantz’s driver’s side window. Following the caution for debris VanDoorn ran out front to win by 1.804 seconds over Jurkovic.
“I just ran out of tires there at the end and could not catch him.” Jurkovic stated. “This car was really good early I just could not get through traffic to get in front.”
Jurkovic and K&N Filters Rookie of the Race and VDL Fuel Systems Top Rookie Justin Matson earned Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Awards. Matson also earned the Lane Automotive/ISKY Racing Cams Hard Charger Award and Racing Electronics Most Improved Positions Award. Hoffman received the Kingen Interstate Express Halfway Leader Award. The VDL Fuel Systems Hot Lap of the Race Award went to Rick Turner for a lap of 12. 427 seconds during the event.
Due to the accident that ended his day Lane received the EMF “That’s Racing” Award. Blake Hillard lost an engine during practice and received the Leaf Race Products Hard Luck Award, and Brian Rievley received the Safety Solutions Tough Luck Award for the hardest crash. As the fast qualifier did not win the race the Competition Race Fuels Clean Sweep Award was not awarded and will roll over until there is a clean sweep.
The next CRA Super Series event is the Manning Service 100 at Winchester Speedway on Sunday, April 19th that will include the CRA Street Stocks and Vore’s Welding & Steel CRA FWD Compacts all part of the Rich Vogler Classic for the USAC National Sprint Car Series that honors the memory of former USAC National Champion Rich Vogler. For more information see www.craracing.net.