The CRA Super Series is one of the healthiest short track Super Late Model tours in the country, but even its prominence in the Midwest is no guarantee of success for expansion during tough economic times.
On Monday, CRA officials announced that they were suspending the inaugural season of CRA South Super Late Model racing. The CRA South Series was started during the off-season to expand the CRA concept into the Deep South.
A press release issued by CRA on Monday stated:
“Champion Racing Association Officials, in conjunction with the tracks on the CRA Super Series South schedule, announced today that they are postponing the remainder of the CRA Super Series South 2009 Inaugural Season. After much discussion and analyzing trends of some of the similar events in the south, series and track officials agreed to pull the plug on the remaining events.
"Right Idea...Wrong Time," noted series partner Glenn Luckett. "The economic conditions have just been too much for some teams and tracks to overcome, and most parties agree that this move will be in the best interest of everyone involved."
This decision to not run any more south races this year will allow the teams and tracks to focus on their other scheduled events. The series will focus its attention more on off-season special events, similar to the Lanier National Speedway Speedfest and South Alabama Speedway's Rattler, as well as the popular and successful North series.
Teams that had paid entries for the Monroe Speedway event will have that money refunded back to them. The rescheduled Fairgrounds Speedway at Nashville event on August 23rd will still take place as a CRA Super Series point's event.”
The CRA South season is technically three races old at this point, but two of those events, January's SpeedFest 2009 at Lanier National Speedway and The Rattler at South Alabama Speedway, were stand-alone big Super Late Model shows in their own right. A May 3rd race at Nashville Fairgrounds was rained out and rescheduled for August 23rd.
That made the only true barometer for the success of the CRA South Series the April race at Watermelon Capital Speedway. That event was a creative success with big names such as Chris Gabehart, Bubba Pollard, Augie Grill, Michael Pope, Ryan Lawler and Jeff Fultz entering the race. However, it was a commercial failure with only 12 cars taking the green flag. Pollard was the race winner.
The cancellation of the 2009 season will wipe out scheduled events at Monroe Motor Speedway (LA), Lanier National Speedway (GA), South Alabama Speedway, Mobile International Speedway (AL) and Nashville Fairgrounds.
The CRA South Series is the second short track asphalt tour in the Deep South to start up and close down this season. The Southern Pro Late Model Series also suspended their schedule after a May race at Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA).