"We're back!" John VanDoorn stated emphatically from Victory Lane as he began his defense of the 2009 CRA Super Series Championship with a win in the Anderson 125 presented by Great Deals Magazine, the opening race of the 2010 season Saturday night. VanDoorn qualified second fastest with Terry Fisher, Jr. earning his first EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier Award. Fisher drew a three for the invert putting Matt Kocourek on the pole and VanDoorn on the outside of the front row. VanDoorn took a narrow lead on the first lap by a fender, and after a few laps of racing side by side, always about a fender ahead, pulled away from Kocourek and raced out front the rest of the race, with Kocourek staying close, but not able to get past. Rick Turner finished third, Fisher fourth and former CRA Super Series Champion Jeff Lane finished fifth.
"My brother, Butch, and I changed the geometry of the front end this year and are happy to see what we tried worked." VanDoorn stated. "After we had so much success here last year, I just wanted to come out and do well. I have been sick the last few days, and the guys all picked me up, and worked twice as hard to make it work. I really have to thank them for this win."
Kocourek, competing in his first ever CRA event, raced VanDoorn tough, and almost got around him when they got caught in lapped traffic, as VanDoorn battled to stay ahead a car spun bringing out a caution and keeping VanDoorn in the lead. “My car was good on the long runs, and I really liked battling through the lapped traffic.” Kocourek said. “I thought I had a chance to get him when we got caught up there once, but the yellow ended that. He (VanDoorn) was really fast tonight; I really could not get him on those short runs.”
Jeff Lane and Brian Campbell had a tough race for fifth place with Lane coming out on top when Campbell went to go outside of Lane, but was forced into the wall, which caused him to spin with eight laps left. This was Lane’s first Top 5 finish since 2008 as he cut back to part time schedule in 2009. Lane won one Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Award and Jim Crabtree, Jr. took the second. Crabtree’s run also earned the Lane Automotive/ISKY Racing Cams Hardcharger Award, and the Racing Electronics Most Improved Position Award.
2008 the Howe CRA Late Model Sportsman Champion, Tony Dager, moved up to race with the CRA Super Series in 2010, he earned the Perfect Circle Racecars Rookie of Year Award, the K&N Filters Top Rookie Finished Award and the VDL Fuel Systems Top Rookie Award with a 16th place finish. He had a solid Top 10 run going until a late race bump broke off a cross member holding the hood pins in the front, causing his hood to fly up and a late race pit stop under green. Colin Nickolai finished 17th and earned the Cometic Gasket Second Highest Finishing Rookie Award.
The event featured a very talented field that included several champions racing for the first win of 2010. Four previous CRA Super Series Champions VanDoorn, 2010, Jeff Lane, 2005, Brian Rievley, 1998, and Kenny Tweedy, 1997 were present. The race also featured Brian Campbell the 2010 ASA Late Model Challenge Series Champion who recently announced he would be racing for the CRA Super Series Championship. Add to that four former CRA Super Series Rookie of the Year winners, Tyler Roahrig, 2010, Aaron Pierce, 2009, VanDoorn 2007, and Tom St. John, 2005 add in CRA Super Series veterans, Rick Turner, Terry Fisher, Jr., Jason Dietsch and Jason Shively along with veteran racers Jack Smith, Robert Maynor and John Long, and the 27 car field featured many drivers that have a chance to win anytime they are on the track.
“This is why we race in the CRA SCRA Super Series.” Jim TenBrink, owner of the VanDoorn’s car commented. “This field was so strong, when you can win against these guys you know you have earned it. This race really scared me, the racing is so fast and so tight here and the drivers so talented anything can happen.”
VanDoorn also won the VDL Fuel Systems Hot Lap of the Race Award for turning the fastest lap under green, the Turn One Lap Leader Award for leading the most laps and the RacerSpacers Top Racer Award.
Tommy St. John earned the AR Cool Move of the Race Award for avoiding a couple of wrecks in front of him and getting a seventh place finish in his first event with his new car owners. Martin Belcher received the EMF Corp That’s Racing Award after contact with another car on lap 99 resulted in hard hit to the outside wall ending his night. Mason Mingus received the Safety Solutions Tough Luck Award after a blown engine on lap 20 ended his night.
The Team Construction Clean Sweep Award for winning the race and being fastest qualifier was not awarded and will roll over to the be worth $200 if there is a clean sweep at the next series event.
The next event for the CRA Super Series will be the Manning Service 100 at Winchester Speedway on May 2. Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott is entered. Both Chase and Bill will both be signing autographs during the day. The event will also feature the CRA Street Stocks and Vore’s Welding and Steel CRA FWD Compacts also. More information on all the CRA Series is available at www.craracing.net.