Kyle Busch had chances to win the Winchester 400 on a couple of occasions before, finishing second in 2008, and running for the lead with only a few laps to go a few years before only to have a wheel come off. The 2009 CRA Super Series 2009 Winchester 400 trophy, the coveted Winchester Rifle, went home with him as he raced out to the lead and stayed there. Brian Rievley was second, Terry Fisher, Jr. third, Jason Dietsch fourth and Chuck Barnes, Jr. fifth on Sunday afternoon.
"It's awesome, a great honor to win. I have been trying for this for a few years, and we have now won it." An obviously elated Busch stated. "We had a scare late, but we got it handled. The 17 (Gabehart) was fast and the 67 (Fultz) was fast but we knew it was the car that got to the end with tires left that would win."
Chris Gabehart took the early lead and ran out to a strong lead before Busch started to reel him in and took the lead on the 61st lap. From there Busch only gave up the lead once under green. Gabehart was a strong challenger until hitting debris and damaging a spindle. Jeff Fultz, the only driver to take the lead from Busch under green had his day end when his transmission went out on a restart on lap 288.
Chris Gabehart set a new track record with a time of 14.935 seconds, the first CRA Super Series driver to turn a lap at Winchester Speedway under 15.000 seconds, to win the EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier Award. Johnny VanDoorn bounced back from near disaster with a failed engine in practice to change his engine and set second fast time at 15.106 seconds. Danny Jackson was third, Chuck Barnes, Jr. fourth, and Boris Jurkovic fifth.
Kyle Busch and Jim Crabtree, Jr. took the Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Awards. Robert Maynor earned the Lane Automotive/ISKY Racing Cams Hard Charger Award moving up 21 spots to finish 11th. Jeff Fultz was the Kingen Interstate Express Halfway Leader Award. The K&N Filters Rookie of the Race Award went to Nick Lay as the highest finishing rookie.
Kenny Tweedy received the EMF Corp. “That’s Racing Award” for the hit he took after spinning in a tangle with a lapped car. The Safety Solutions Tough Luck Award went to Danny Jackson. The ARP Bodies Cool Move of the Race Award went to Chuck Barnes, Jr. after he raced the last 300 laps of the race without power steering.
Johnny VanDoorn started the day 42 points ahead of Scott Hantz, always a favorite to run well at Winchester, in the race for the CRA Super Series Season Championship. Hantz dropped out on the 94th lap when he started to slide coming out of turn four and bumped a car he was passing. He spun into the inside front stretch wall and was out of the race on the 94th lap.
VanDoorn was in second place when he came in on a red flag due to falling oil pressure. His crew found an oil line holder had snapped allowing the oil line to fall onto to the header and it had a hole burnt in it. They did not have the hose available, and he was forced to retire, in 23rd place on lap 131, but had enough lead to win the 2009 series Championship for his Kaos Motorsports team.
On Friday and Saturday, VanDoorn was the fastest in practice. Then his engine gave up just as the first practice ended Saturday. His crew with help from a different engine builder and the Hantz team changed the engine on pit road, and he got back out to qualify.
Afterward he said. "I am really upset about today, we had a great car and it was just coming in and we were looking great for the rest of the race. This was a pretty good year. As a new team we made some rookie mistakes, we learned some things that worked and we are getting ready for the future. I cannot thank everybody who helped enough, my sponsors, the crew, Dirk, Butch, Dean, Adam, and anyone else that has laid a hand on the car this year. I also have to say a special thank you to DeWayne and Brett McGunegill they really helped us out yesterday when we had to change an engine."
Tyler Roahrig is the 2009 CRA Super Series K&N Filters Rookie of the Year. “I need to thank several people, my Dad, Grandpa, Jim, Hooven, Andrew and Matt. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I learned a lot this year, it has made me a better racer when I race at home.”
The Winchester 400 weekend included the final points race for the three other CRA divisions and a special CRA Outlaw Super Late Model race as well as the 50 “Run for the Gun” USA Modified race, their last points race of the season.
The exciting USA Modified feature had action throughout the race as drivers worked for final finishing positions in their season points Championship and to win the coveted and unique trophy, featuring a Winchester rifle. Brad Springer set fast time, while Kyle Jones took the early lead. Springer passed Jones on the 31st lap for the lead. Jones was not done though as he battled Springer side by side for several laps. A caution a few laps later set the cars in single file order and Springer jumped out to a large lead he never gave back as he went on to win the 2009 Winchester “Run for the Gun”. Tim Burkett finished second, Kyle Jones was third, Scott Tomasik was fourth, and Mike Stacy fifth. The fourth place finish gave the USA Modified championship to Scott Tomasik.
Mike Stacy won his fifth Outlaw feature this year, each at a different track, with his win at the CRA Outlaw Super Late Model race. Josh Smith took the early lead before Stacy came from the back to take the lead on the 21st lap and drove off to the win.
"This is my fifth win in this car this year in only six races." Stacy said. "I need to thank all my sponsors and friends that make it possible for me to get to the track."
Derrick Griffin won the Sportsman Championship as well as several races at Plymouth Speedway in 2009, and now he has a win in the Howe CRA Late Model Sportsman Series at Winchester Speedway. Keith Sterkowitz led most of the race, with first Jacob Owens then Griffin and finally Terry Cater right on his rear bumper, on the last lap, Cater got loose coming out of the second turn trying to get under Sterkowitz and touched his rear corner sending Sterkowitz into the inside wall on the backstretch. Under CRA rules once the white flag flies there are no cautions, so as Cater slowed to get his car straight, Griffin shot past for the win. Cater finished second, Fred Hopkins third, Jason Atkinson fourth and Mark Lambert fifth.
"It was awesome to win here." Griffin said. "Bobby (Blount) is really helpful, he knows a lot about how to race here. I am grateful for his help in preparing the car to come down here."
Charlie Hanna won the Howe CRA Late Model Sportsman Championship with his sixth place finish. “We had a good season, it was a long one, several seconds, a win, and a good year." Hanna commented. "Our motor has not been refreshed all year and has over 30 races on it, we couldn't ask for more."
Jeff Lane moved up through the field from his eighth starting position to take second on the 11th lap, then he took first when Carl Muffley squeezed up into the wall forcing him out of the race. Joe Beaver, who was racing for his third CRA Street Stock Championship, moved into second and nearly passed Lane, but slipped in the turn unable to finish the pass with only a few laps to go. Lane then sailed on to the win, Beaver finished second, Rick Erwin third, John Weisenauer fourth and Jimmy Novak III finished fifth in his first race at Winchester Speedway.
"I can't say enough good things about Joe Beaver." Lane said in Victory Lane. "He raced me clean and always does."
Beaver did take his third CRA Street Stock Drivers Championship, second in a row. "This will probably be my last championship in this division." Beaver stated. "Next year I will be running in the Sportsman full time, and helping others with their cars."
Jess Drook took the checkered flag but failed post race tech giving the victory for the last race of the 2009 Vore's Welding and Steel CRA FWD Compacts season to Bill Charles. Charles started back in the pack and had to fight through traffic to get to the front, running out of laps to get past Drook who drove to the front and stayed there. In post race tech Drook was found to have cut springs, and was disqualified. Mark Mason finished second, Cary Abrell third, Courtney Hannah fourth and Steve Vore fifth.
Tim Dilg took the 2009 Vore's Welding and Steel CRA FWD Compacts Championship. This is his first CRA championship. "I have to thank the CRA first, without them letting us run, I would not be standing here." Dilg stated. "We all have fun running against each other all season long."
The next event for the CRA Super Series is the Nashville All-American Weekend a 250 lap non-points event at the Fairgrounds Speedway at Nashville, TN on November 1. Practice on Friday, October 30, then practice and qualifying on October 31. The CRA Street Stocks and Howe CRA Late Model Sportsman will have special 50 lap non-points races on Saturday also. On Sunday the CRA Super Series will once again be part of this special weekend in $10,000 to win race.
More event information is available at www.fairgroundsspeedwayatnashville.com. Rules and entry forms and more information for the CRA Divisions are available at www.craracing.net.