Near Capacity Crowd Celebrates Crump’s Homecoming Win
Ovid, MI - A near-capacity crowd filed into the facility at Owosso Speedway Saturday night to watch the third event of the 2023 season for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance. Fans were treated to a historic performance in more ways than one and saw Kyle Crump go to Owosso Speedway for the first time since the last JEGS Tour event at the Speedway in 2017.
The significance of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour’s return to Owosso Speedway began during qualifying where it was almost guaranteed that a new JEGS Tour Track Record would be set on the freshly resurfaced race track. In fact, the top 14 qualifiers all came in under the JEGS Tour Track Record set by Chad Finley in 2014. Finley’s record was a 15.328; that was blistered by Brian Campbell who clocked in at 14.912. The four fastest qualifiers hit the 14.9s, with fifth through 10th sitting at 15.0s. Despite their competitive qualifying efforts, the top eight drivers were shuffled during the new redraw procedure.
Dan Leeck and Steve Dorer, the seventh and eighth qualifiers that afternoon, redrew the front row to lead the field to the green flag. Behind them, brothers Brandon and Evan Varney, Crump and Campbell, and Barrett Pulhemus and Chase Burda completed the redraw drivers.
The drama unfolded quickly when E. Varney missed a shift coming to the green. That mistake stacked up the outside row which eventually led Burda to drive underneath the rear of Campbell’s car, crumpling Burda’s hood in a way that obstructed his view. All drivers were able to continue despite the chaos. Leeck came around to lead the opening rotation, but just two laps later, Crump set up the only pass he’d need to make for the rest of the race, taking the lead officially on lap four.
Shortly after, the first caution of the night flew when Campbell slowed on the race track with what was later described as a rear-end issue. The problem developed after he and Brandon Varney made significant contact going into turn one battling for position. As a result, a handful of laps after Campbell’s caution, another was thrown when B. Varney had a tire go down on his No. 61.
The restarts proved exciting for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour drivers and fans thanks in part to a new procedure in 2023; the Choose Cone. Coming to two-to-go, drivers were faced with the decision to choose the preferred and proven inside line, or gain positions but risk getting hung out on the outside line. Quickly drivers realized that either strategy could work if executed properly. In one instance, Anthony Danta used the Choose Cone to his advantage, gaining six spots after electing the outside line and finding an opportunity to get to the bottom.
Despite six caution flags throughout the course of the 100-lap event, no one could touch Crump. During the middle of the race, Leeck kept Crump in his crosshairs staying within five car lengths for several laps. The locked-on target view, however, grew smaller and smaller for Leeck as the race unfolded. A restart with 15 laps to go wasn’t enough for Leeck to dethrone Crump from the Big O Chariot taking Crump to Victory Lane; Crump collected the win by over two seconds on Leeck at the line.
The win for Crump was his first of the 2023 season and first for the new partnership with TK Racing. Crump’s win also holds historical significance as he becomes the first driver to ever repeat at Owosso Speedway with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. His first win came during the most recent race at the Speedway in 2017. As Crump climbed from his No.71, the electric crowd rejoiced in Crump’s win. As Crump recalled his first-ever Sport Stock win at Owosso Speedway in 2010, the Owosso faithful again roared in support of Crump.
A banner day was also on display for third-place finisher, Kevin Cremonesi. His podium run on Saturday is his best career finish with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. Coming from 11th, Cremonesi was also the race’s Hard Charger. Another notable performance came from Championship Points leader, Chase Burda. After the opening lap mishap, the 18-year-old spun late in the race after a restart. He took that opportunity to go pit-side to fix the hood on his No.18. Coming from the tail of the field, Burda was able to drive back to the fifth spot at the line behind Polhemus who finished fourth.
The next event for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance is Saturday, July 1 at Birch Run Speedway and Event Center. The event is Race #2 of the Triple Crown where Chase Burda, who won Triple Crown Race #1, could collect $7k if he starts from the tail of the field and wins. The JEGS Tour returns to Owosso Speedway on Saturday, August 19th for the Masters of the Pros 184.
For more information on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour or Champion Racing Association, log onto www.CRA-Racing.com. Find CRA: Champion Racing Association on Facebook and follow @CRARacing on Twitter.
Story - Zach Hiser
Photo - Photos by Kuyoth