Fourth Start Equals First Win For CRA Newbie
Tom Thomas Wins First CRA Super Series Race
By Gib Chew, CRA PR Report
Tom Thomas patiently worked his way to the front and took the lead on the 86th lap to go on to win the Radisson Hotel Riverbank Grand Rapids 125 on a chilly Saturday night at Berlin Raceway.  This is the two time Berlin Outlaw Late Model Champion’s first win in a CRA Super Series event, in only his fourth career start. Thomas was driving for former ARCA Series Champion Tim Steele in the famous red #16 H.S. Die sponsored machine. Chris Anthony finished in second, Chris Koslek third, Alec Carll fourth and Scott Hantz finished fifth to tighten the gap between him and Johnny VanDoorn for the CRA Season Championship. 

“It was the HS Motorsports team that made this happen.  They did all the work, I just showed up at the shop the last couple of days and made it look like I was doing something to help.”  Thomas said.  “I was very fortunate to be driving this car, it was really good tonight.”

Terry Fisher, Jr. jumped out to the early lead from his pole position and ran out to a strong lead before Fred Campbell started to reel him in.  Campbell, who has the most CRA Super Series wins at Berlin, looked to be the man to beat as he passed Fisher on the 44th lap and took off.  Then Koslek caught Campbell when a caution was thrown for Brian Campbell’s machine when it lost an engine on the 73rd lap.  After the restart Koslek moved by Campbell on the 77th lap pulling Thomas with him.  As the leader at halfway, Fred Campbell earned the Halfway Leader Award.

Thomas made the move by Koslek to get the win.  For saving his tires until the end, Thomas earned the ARP Racing Bodies Cool Move of the Race Award.  Chris Anthony and Kenny Tweedy both earned Hoosier Racing Tires Performance Awards, while Anthony also earned the Lane Automotive/ISKY Racing Cams Hard Charger Award.

Tyler Roahrig took the K&N Filters Rookie of the Race Award.  Nick Lay received the Cometic Gasket 2nd Highest Finishing Rookie Award.  The Leaf Racewear Hard Luck Award was given to Brian Campbell as the first of only two cars to retire from the race.  Fisher earned the RacerSpacer Lap Leader Award for leading the most laps during the race.

Hantz entered the race 43 points behind VanDoorn for the season championship.  Hantz earned the EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier Award setting a new track record with a lap of 15.829 seconds.  VanDoorn was fourth fastest qualifier, and finished seventh in the race, allowing Hantz to move within 34 points of him with only one points race left.  “The car wasn’t great tonight and we did not want to push it too much and take a chance on tearing it up.  I just tried to drive smart tonight.”  VanDoorn stated after the race.

The CRA Super Series moves to Winchester Speedway on October 18th for the last point’s race of the season, the prestigious Winchester 400.  Kyle Busch and David Reutimann will challenge the CRA stars for the win on the historic half-mile that has been won by Bob Senneker, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Gary St. Amant, Butch Miller, Ted Musgrave among others in the 37 previous races.  The weekend will start with CRA Super Series practice and the Vore’s Welding and Steel CRA FWD Compacts season championship on Friday, October 16, with special races for the Howe CRA Late Model Sportsman and CRA Street Stocks, and an Outlaw Late Models “Rookie Only” race.  Saturday, October 17th will feature Winchester 400 qualifying, USA Modifieds “Run for the Gun” 50, CRA Sportsman and Street Stocks season championship events as well as the Outlaw Super late Models 50 lap event.  Sunday, October 18th will feature the 38th Annual Winchester 400 with a possible $26,000 payday for the winner.

Thomas' #16 Super Late Model.  (CRA / Photos)
Kligerman leads the pack.
Tom Thomas and car owner Tim Steele in victory lane.