Nashville, TN - The early entry list has been released for January 20th’s Speedfest 100 for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance at Crisp Motorsports Park. The annual early season, non-points kick-off event for Champion Racing Associations Pro Late Models offers a $3,000 payday to the driver who can master the Watermelon Capital Speedway prior to the Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up Speedfest 150 for the ASA/CRA Super Series and ASA Southern Super Series.
Two of the most nationally recognizable names on the pre-event entry list are NASCAR Cup Series winner and championship contender, Ross Chastain and five-time NASCAR Xfinity Series winner, Josh Berry. The Alva, FL native, Chastain hasn’t been in a major Pro or Super Late Model race in well over a decade; not since competing in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway in 2012. Beyond that, however, Chastain has taken the NASCAR scene by storm over the last handful of seasons, collecting his first career Cup Series wins in 2022, and backing them up with two more in 2023.
As for Berry, the Hendersonville, TN driver has been in and out of template late model racing since his breakthrough from the Late Model Stock ranks into the NASCAR scene. Berry was a part of the 2022 Speedfest 150 for the Super Series where he finished 18th after rolling from the grid in 10th. He’ll make his CRA and Speedfest 100 debut on Saturday, January 20th.
Well recognized late model talent fills out the field of drivers for the JEGS Tour including defending event winner, Auggie Grill. The Hayden, AL native is returning in the No.43 car for the second year after taking the lead just before the halfway mark last season and dominating the event. He’s joined by another former Speedfest 125 winner, Stephen Nasse. The former Winchester 400 and All American 400 Champion bested the Speedfest field in 2020. The only other former winner on the event’s early entry list is Hernando, FL driver, Michael Hinde. In 2022, Hinde led 44 laps en route to his win over Cole Williams and Dylan Fetcho.
Homestate flavor is easy to find on the entry list, with multi-time Show Me the Money Series Champion, Christopher Tullis leading the way. Seven times Tullis has made the field at Crisp Motorsports Park, but trouble seems to find him with only three full length races to his credit. Hudson Bulger, who graduates to the Pro Late Model ranks this season after time in the Legends, will attempt to make the Speedfest field. Bulger qualified 6th for the Snowflake 100 at 5 Flags Speedway last month, finishing 15th. A Georgia Pro Late Model veteran is also in the field, Allen Gordon will attempt his second Speedfest; his first coming in 2013 when he finished 11th. A Show Me the Money Series winner in 2023, Seth Christensen caps the Georgia notables who are on the list. Christensen finished 8th in last season’s Speedfest 100.
The Speedfest 100 field won’t just be a southern driver field in 2023, with entries from well north of Nashville expected to unload next Saturday night. Racecar Engineering and FLF Racecars front man, Steve Dorer’s information will say he’s from Lakeland, FL, but the Michigan native has been a strong supporter of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour picking up two podium finishes last season, including in the $10,000 to win Masters of the Pros 184. Joining Dorer as Michigan natives is Kevin Cremonesi. The Rochester Hills, MI driver is making his Speedfest 100 debut after a season with the JEGS Tour that saw his best career finish (3rd) and a top 5 Championship Points finish. Another Michigan driver, Gage Rogers will make his second career Speedfest 100 start. The Coldwater native ran a part-time schedule with the ARCA Menards Series in 2023, collecting a top ten at Michigan International Speedway.
Other drivers from the north include Rockford, IL native, Jeremy Miller. The veteran racer is set to make his Speedfest 100 debut, a tally on his record of Template Late Model Racing that spans into the early 2000s. Chase Pinsonneault, the Windsor, Ontario, Canada driver takes the field International. A committed driver to the JEGS Tour in 2024, Pinsonneault was tapped as the lead driver for Carson Hocevar Racing’s Late Model program with Zach Dunson calling the shots. This will mark the duo’s first venture of the new partnership.
The Speedfest 100 for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance is Saturday, January 20th at Watermelon Capital Speedway at Crisp Motorsports Park. The race preludes the Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up Speedfest 150 for the ASA/CRA Super Series and ASA Southern Super Series. Advanced tickets are available at www.TrackEnterprises.com. Fans who can’t attend can catch the action on TrackTv.com, MidwestTour.Tv, and RacingAmerica.Tv.
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 X.
Story - Zach Hiser
Photo - Daniel Vinning