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Michigan's Hettinger to Lead JEGS Field to Green at SpeedFest

Heim and Hicks Pace SpeedFest Qualifying Friday

Cordele, GA (Friday, January 27, 2023) - The first official night of competition took place Friday at Watermelon Capital Speedway from Crisp Motorsports Park with qualifying for the ASA/CRA Super Series and ASA Southern Super Series 150 lap race for SpeedFest 2023. The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour also set the starting line-up for their 100-lap feature on Saturday. When the final lap was turned, Corey Heim and Josh Hicks set atop their respective speed charts.

The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour were the first to qualify of the two premier divisions on hand Friday night. Over two-dozen cars were set to compete for the Yoder Construction Fast Qualifier Award. The eventual fast-time winner was the 21st car on the race track, that of Jackson, Georgia’s Josh Hicks. The Ty King Motorsports no. 62 Toyota turned in a 15.991, the only driver to go sub 16 seconds in qualifying. The second to last driver to see the race track challenged Hicks, but couldn’t quite knock him off the top of the pilon. Dylan Fetcho rolled out 25th, and came within 0.023 seconds of the quick time. Pendergrass, Georgia’s Seth Christensen was third quick, Caden Kvapil fourth quick, and Bryson Shaffer fifth quick.

After the top eight qualifiers redrew for their starting spots, the field was set for the SpeedFest 100 on Saturday afternoon. Dryden, Michigan’s Katie Hettinger will bring the JEGS Tour around for the start behind the wheel of her TEam Chevy No. 81. She’ll roll off alongside Alabama native Augie Grill. Fast Qualifier, Hicks got the worst end of the redraw, pulling a number eight.

As for the ASA Super Series drivers, they found their Earnest Performance Fast Qualifier just nine cars into the session. Corey Heim’s JBL/TRD no. 20 jumped to the top of the board with a 15.703-second lap time. Seven cars later, Heim nearly fell from glory when Portage, Michigan’s Carson Hocevar hit the track. The fellow NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series driver came seven-one-thousandths of a second from taking quick time. NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron qualified third quick ahead of Gio Ruggiero and Bubba Pollard.

The official starting grid for the ASA Super Late Models was determined via a redraw as well. Seekonk, Massachusetts’ Gio Ruggiero brings the 26-car field to life Saturday afternoon after drawing the no. 1. He’ll roll off alongside Jake Garcia and his no. 35. Bubba Pollard will start third, Heim fourth, and William Sawalich will take the green in fifth.

In other qualifying action from Friday, Donavan Strauss edged out Jensen Jorgenson for fast time in the INEX Legends division. Emma Britt bested Billy Lee by 41 one-hundredths of a second in the INEX Bandoleros. Finally, Chad Chaffin was two-tenths of a second faster than Cameron Henderson on his way to fast time Friday night.

Saturday marks race day for SpeedFest 2023 and fans get the first treat of the day with an autograph session beginning at 11:30 AM. Driver introductions begin at 12:30 PM and racing begins at 1:00 PM with Bandoleros, Legends, the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour SpeedFest 100, Outlaw Late Models, and finally the ASA Super Late Model 150. Fans who can’t catch the action in person can watch live coverage on RacingAmerica.TV. For more information on SpeedFest 2023 or Champion Racing Association, visit

Story - Zach Hiser

Photo - Racing America



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