Officials from the Champion Racing Association (CRA) and Lanier National Speedway announced today that CRA's SpeedFest would return to Lanier National Speedway on January 28 and 29, 2012. The event is held each year on the weekend before the Super Bowl. The traditional season opening North-South Super Late Model battle will now see the addition of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour presented by GM Performance Parts in the Pro-Late Model slot.
"We are excited to see that SpeedFest will return to Lanier National Speedway," said Lanier National Speedway owner Donnie Clack. "Having the new JEGS/CRA All-Stars will make things even bigger on the Pro Late Model side. It’s the best way to start the year with the best Super Lates and Pro Lates from the North and South.”
Clack further noted, “Since we have scaled back our operations around here, we have turned the bulk of the work on the racing side over to Glenn and R. J. and the rest of the CRA bunch. They do a great job, and they can focus on putting lots of cars in here and I can focus on putting butts in the seats…and with over 70 combined late models expected…that shouldn’t be too hard for me to do!”
Chase Elliott took the SpeedFest title in the Super Late Model portion of last year’s event. He topped a field of some of the best short track drivers in America, with 22 of them finishing on the lead lap. Veteran Georgia driver Bubba Pollard finished second, Daniel Hemric third, Grant Enfinger fourth and NASCAR star David Ragan fifth. Past event winners include NASCAR Star Kyle Busch, who put his name in the record books as the first two-time winner of SpeedFest, taking the wins in 2009 and 2010, as well as Charlie Menard in 2005, Mike Fritts in 2006, Eddie Hoffman in 2007 and Jeff Choquette in 2008.
Elliott also took the top spot in the Pro-Late Model portion of last year’s SpeedFest. He took the lead on the white flag lap after being the center of a sandwich with two other drivers doing double duty, Ragan on the outside and DeWayne Buggay on the inside. While battling Ragan on the inside Buggay drove under him on the backstretch as they came to the white flag and they remained three wide onto the back stretch where Elliott came out ahead and raced to the win.
ARCA/CRA Super Series teams will use SpeedFest 2012 as the first chance to earn points towards a Southern or National Title. For the JEGS/CRA All-Stars, the event will be on the schedule as a special, non-points event, but will serve as very important pre-season testing for those teams, as well as trying to garner recognition in an event where the entire racing community is watching. Due to the time of year and the history of the event, racers who do well at SpeedFest have achieved significant levels of recognition.
SpeedFest 2012 will see the Super Late Models of the ARCA/CRA Super Series compete in a 200-lap event and the JEGS/CRA All-Star Tour presented GM Performance Parts compete in a 150 lap event, both under the direction of CRA’s staff. For those not familiar, the JEGS/CRA All-Stars are Pro-Late Model style cars that utilize rules similar to the Derby’s “Snowflake” event and other Pro-Late Model events in the south.
Track officials want to remind the JEGS and Pro-Late Model teams that they can use the January 7th and 8th “Ice Cold Shriner’s Bowl” event as a great tune up to get ready for SpeedFest.
When everyone returns at the end of the month for SpeedFest 2012, there will be an open practice on Friday, January 27th, with the pits opening at 10am and rotating practice from 12 to 5pm. Practice and qualifying will take place on Saturday, January 28th, with feature events for support divisions to be announced at a later date. The SpeedFest 2012 feature events will be ran on Sunday, January 29th beginning at 1pm with the 150 lap Pro Late Model/JEGS/CRA All-Stars race, which will be followed by the ARCA/CRA Super Series Stars in the 200 lap SpeedFest Super Late Model race. More information on SpeedFest 2012 will be available in the coming weeks at www.craracing.net or the Official Event Website of SpeedFest 2012: www.speed51.com .