Winchester, Indiana (Friday, October 12th, 2012): When 16-year-old Chase Elliott comes to race in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance, he comes in with one goal in mind; that is simply winning the race. In three of his four career JEGS/CRA appearances, the Dawsonville, Georgia stand out has done exactly that with the third JEGS/CRA triumph in four starts as the latest win came during the 41st running of the Winchester 400 Weekend.
The legendary ½ (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana served as hosts for the final points race of the 2012 racing season for the second year series. Prior to the event, Daniel Hemric had already wrapped up the 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance Championship in the tours’ last race while 15-year-old Anderson Bowen clinched the 2012 Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year Presented by Howe Racing Enterprises title two races ago.
So all that was left to do was conduct the final points paying event of the season and Elliott, who was in town for the 41st running of the Winchester 400 for the ARCA/CRA Super Series, which he won as a 14-year-old back in 2010, brought his JEGS/CRA legal ride to Eastern Indiana in an effort to get more valuable seat time around the historic high banks.
The 2011 Snowball Derby Champion would take the lead from Pole-Sitter Jeff Fultz on lap 67 and from there, Elliott would steer his widely popular #9 Aaron’s Rent-To-Own / HendrickCars.com / Bill Elliott Racing / Chevrolet would pull away to claim his second JEGS/CRA Win of the year and third of his career in only four starts in JEGS/CRA. His first 2012 win, second of his JEGS/CRA career came in the Rheem 150 Presented by JEGS.com victory back on January 29th at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia during the 2012 SpeedFest. His first career JEGS/CRA triumph also came at Winchester back on August 20th, 2011.
“That was a lot of fun tonight. I knew if I just took my time and was patient with Jeff (Fultz) we’d be able to figure out a way around him,” The regular in the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series stated in victory lane. “I have to thank everyone on this team, all the sponsors who support us, just everybody who helps out in this whole program. It really means a lot that they all work so hard and support us. We wouldn’t be doing this without them.” He ended.
Mooresville, North Carolina veteran Jeff Fultz, who also had the same game plan as Elliott in terms of turning extra laps in preparation for the Winchester 400 later in the weekend, paced the field for the first 66 laps from the front row after Boyne Machine Fast Qualifier, 15-year-old Anderson Bowen drew a “5” for an inversion putting the 43-year-old originally from Cincinnati, Ohio on the pole for the race.
After Elliott got by, Fultz’s #66 WearCrete Diamond Concrete Polishing / Ford tried to stick with Elliott, but would settle for second at the end of the race. “We tried to stay out in front as long as we could, but Chase “Elliott” was pretty strong tonight.” Fultz remarked. “This is absolutely my favorite race track and any time we can come out here and race we’ll be here. We had fun tonight.” He added.
Defending Race Winner, 18-year-old Travis Braden, who had the same game plan coming into the weekend in terms of extra track time for the Sunday show as Elliott and Fultz, was making his first JEGS/CRA start of the 2012 racing season in his #01 Senneker Performance / Chevrolet and would back up his win in this race a year ago with a solid third place showing despite an ailing transmission which prohibited him from making any type of run at the leaders on restarts.
“We really wanted to defend our title in this race, but we also wanted to get some extra laps around here for the 400 too,” The 2012 ARCA/CRA Super Series Rookie of the Year explained. “We just couldn’t do anything with Chase (Elliott) or Jeff (Fultz) on restarts and we used the car up trying to make up that ground on them. But we’re happy and we’ll take it and get ready for the 400.” The 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Rookie of the Year added.
Eight-Time JEGS/CRA event winner in 2012, Daniel Hemric suffered only his second DNF (Did Not Finish) with brake problems on his #54 Jack Link’s Beef Jerky / Chevrolet, however the Kannapolis, North Carolina driver clinched the 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance Championship in the previous race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana back on September 30th.
“What a great season we had, I just can’t thank Scott Neal and everyone with Scott Neal Racing enough for everything they did all year long.” The 21-year-old stated during his Championship Winning ceremony on the front stretch at the conclusion of the race. “I never thought that we’d get eight wins in a series as competitive as this and with a brand new team on top of that. It just shows what hard work, dedication, a little luck, and some faith will do for you.” The newly crowned Champion appreciatively remarked.
15-year-old Anderson Bowen would finish fourth to officially seal the 2012 Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year Presented by Howe Racing Enterprises title. Earlier in the afternoon, the Suwanee, Georgia teenager broke the JEGS/CRA Track Record at the ½ mile to pick up his first career Boyne Machine Fast Qualifier Award ripping off a 15.731 which equals out to 114.424mph and 0.138 faster than 2011 JEGS/CRA Champion Erik Jones’ old record of a 15.869.
“We’ve had such a great season. I wish we could’ve gotten a win this season, but that’s ok, those will come for us,” The driver of the #29 Copper Creek Hardware / Ford remarked after accepting his Rookie Award during Post-Race Ceremonies. “
As for the rest of the finishing order, Veteran Jack Smith finished off the top five in the Winchester 100 Presented by JEGS.com as Brent Downey collected sixth with Five Star Racecar Bodies / Racing Electronics Hard-Charger Award Winner Tom Woodin finishing seventh after starting 22nd. Trent Snyder was eighth with Scotty Tomasik and Jason Dietsch completed the final top 10.