Cordele, GA (Saturday, January 28, 2023) - A surprise entry to SpeedFest 2023 paid off for Alabama’s Augie Grill during the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour SpeedFest 100 at Watermelon Capital Speedway at Crisp Motorsports Park. The two-time Snowball Derby champion rolled off alongside Hickory Motor Speedway standout, Katie Hettinger to take the green flag Saturday afternoon.
Hettinger, a three-time Late Model Stock feature winner in 2022 jumped out to the early lead over Grill and set what appeared to be a race-winning pace. Things changed though as Hettinger’s car appeared to begin to fade about the same time that Grill’s no. 43 appeared to pick up steam. By lap 35, Grill had tracked down the Dryden, Michigan native and was battling for the top spot.
The race for the lead was short-lived as Grill worked his way to the inside of Hettinger off turn two. Grill muscled his way past Hettinger’s no. 81 through turns three and four, and assumed the point of the field on lap 41. Shortly after Grill took the lead, the first caution flag of the day flew.
A wild battle inside the top ten featured two-time Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Champion, Dylan Fetcho trying to hold off a charge from Griffin, Georgia’s, Gale Hall, and FR8 Auctions’ no. 45 of Seth Christianson. The trio went three-wide into the third turn and Christenson got the worst end of the deal, spinning into turn four and going to the tail of the field.
On the restart, more fireworks went off when Hettinger appeared to miss a shift on the outside of the front row and stacked up the line coming to green. The caution flag flew once again as David Regan slowed with heavy front-end damage to his no. 17. The incident also caused significant damage to Gavin Graham’s no. 70, ending the day for both drivers.
That incident was the final caution flag of the day for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, and Grill was never challenged again at the front of the field. Grill said in victory lane that it felt good to get another Late Model win after a couple of seasons of hard luck.
The ASA/CRA All-Stars Tour and ASA Southern Super Series SpeedFest 150 was dominated by Bubba Pollard. The now three-time SpeedFest winner battled with Corey Heim for the final 25 laps of the race. Chad Chaffin won the 30-lap Outlaw Late Model feature leading from green to checkers. Cody Hall made a last-lap pass and survived a shot in the bumper by Donavan Strauss to win the INEX Legends Car 25-lap feature. The Junior Bandolero division brought the closest finish of the day when Emma Britt survived a green-white-checkered finish and beat Lane Christianson back to the finish line by 0.033 seconds. Gerald White III lead every lap of the Rookie Bandolero race to win the first feature of the day.
The next event for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour will be the points opener from Birch Run Speedway on Saturday, May 13th for race number one of the Birch Run Triple Crown. Several Super Late Model teams are now looking ahead to Saturday, March 11th at 5 Flags Speedway for the Inaugural ASA STARS Tour event. The race will be the first of a 10-race schedule for the first-ever STARS Tour schedule. Discounted advance tickets are now available at www.TrackEnterprises.com.
For more information on Champion Racing Association, log on to www.CRA-Racing.com. Find and follow CRA: Champion Racing Association on Facebook, and on Twitter @CRARacing.
Story - Zach Hiser
Photo - Racing America