Sterling Heights, MI (Thursday, January 23, 2020) - If you took a look outside a window in the Great Lakes Region recently, you wouldn’t think that the pavement racing season was about to get underway. Nonetheless, Champion Racing Association is kicking off their 2020 season with one of their crown jewels, CRA Speedfest 2020. 325 laps of racing is on the card this weekend for the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models, at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia.
Several drivers from the Great Lakes area are making their way south for the marquee event. Notably, Wyoming, Michigan’s Brian Campbell. A two-time and defending champion of the Money in the Bank at Berlin Raceway, Campbell also put on an impressive showing at last year’s Speedfest. Campbell told Horsepower Happenings this week that he likes his chances to have success this weekend, based on last year’s 8th place performance.
“We felt we had the best car,” said Campbell. “Really through the end of practice, through qualifying, and through the race it was pretty sporty - we were pretty happy with it.”
A former Michigan native from Coldwater, Steve Dorer, will be attempting the double by competing in both Super and Pro Late Model events. Dorer, who now makes his home in Lakeland, Florida, will be trying to up his performance this year, after finishing 3rd in last year’s Pro Late Model event.
Last week's Episode of Horsepower Happenings.
As for the Super Late Model, Dorer admits that he has some room for improvement. Over the past five years, Dorer’s best finish at SpeedFest was a 9th back in 2016, a race that southern ace, Bubba Pollard won. Last year, Dorer dropped out of the race early, posting a 23rd place finish. He’s still searching for the answers as to why he has success in the Pro Late Model, but struggles in the Super.
“For whatever reason, I just haven’t had success qualifying,” said Dorer. “It doesn’t make sense. My cars are identical - they’re both made by Finish Line Race Cars... short of the horsepower.”
Dorer says that he does have some newfound optimism for this season’s SpeedFest, after bringing on Owosso, Michigan’s Jimmy Smith as his new Crew Chief.
“[Jimmy’s] made a big difference in my qualifying effort from about the mid-season on this year. Dorer said. “We’ve definitely stepped up, from maybe qualifying 12th to 15th at the big races, to 5th, 6th, 7th area. I’m looking forward to going this year with a new crew chief and with new people helping me.”
Tyler Roahrig, Evan Shotko, and Hayden Sprague will also be making their way to Cordele. Roahrig is a two-time and defending Kalamazoo Klash Champion, a two-time winner of the Glass City 200, and has a couple of Tony Elliott Classics to his credit. He will be making a rare Template Late Model start in Lee VanDyk’s number 24 machine.
Shotko has been a regular Late Model competitor at the Berlin Raceway the last couple of years, and has two feature wins to his credit. Sprague just completed his rookie season in the Outlaw Super Late Models at the Flat Rock Speedway; he was named Co-Rookie of the Year in 2019, and closed the season with his first ever feature win on Championship Night. Sprague also has a top five in the Pro Late Model to his credit this winter at New Smyrna Speedway.
Area drivers will have their hands full, racing against some of the top Late Model drivers in the country, such as Bubba Pollard, Travis Braden, Stephen Nasse, and a host of others. Qualifying is slated to go off on Friday, with both features scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
If you can’t make it to Crisp Motorsports Park to take in the race, you can catch all of the feature action on pay-per-view at www.speed51.com.
For more content like this, listen to Horsepower Happenings every Monday night at 9pm, and enjoy a special SpeedFest 2020 Preview Show, this Saturday, January 25, at 9am.
Learn more about SpeedFest 2020 by logging onto cra-racing.com.
Story by: Motor City Racing Promotions