The Super Series is the top class in this economical traveling series. Phil Kunz
When you mention a traveling series in today's stock car world, you are usually speaking of a single type of race car.
That's not the case, however, with the Champion Racing Association (CRA). This ambitious Indiana-based traveling stock car organization has four different series, sanctions two of the largest short-track events in the nation, and promotes the longstanding Winchester (Indiana) Speedway.
Former racers Glenn Luckett, series director, and R.J. Scott, founder and managing partner, are the main men within the CRA operation. They have the goal of providing the average racer a chance to travel a little without breaking the bank, and they appear to have accomplished that goal.
When you call the CRA phone number, Luckett will pick up the phone. There's no one to go through, and you don't have to navigate through an automatic answering system, as you do with so many businesses nowadays. What you get is an immediate answer from the man in charge. To say the CRA is hands-on would definitely be an understatement.
The careers of the CRA leaders run somewhat parallel, with both coming from short-track operations in Indiana. Luckett came from Salem Speedway and Scott hails from Anderson Speedway. The CRA actually started in 1997 as a single-class series (i.e., the Super Series Division). In 2001, the Teal family, well-known in the area, was asked to perform technical inspections for the series. Darrel Teal was the main man in that operation, but stepped down this year because of illness.
Street Stocks require a '65 or newer American-built model...
Over its first decade of operation, the CRA Super Series has seen some 300 drivers compete in its events. And from the first season, when there were the four original Indiana tracks of Salem, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Anderson, and Winchester, races have been run at the Indiana tracks of Angola, Baer Field, Illiana, Mount Lawn, and Plymouth. Ohio tracks have included Toledo, Shady Bowl, Columbus, and Mansfield. Other tracks in the series include Berlin and Kalamazoo in Michigan; USA International in Florida; Music City in Tennessee; Grundy County and Rockford in Illinois; and I-70 in Missouri.
Also, the CRA has worked with the racing industry to develop standard rules for pavement Late Model cars. In 2002, the organization called together body manufacturers and racing leaders to pursue common body rules throughout the country. The result was dramatic improvement through unifying the associated organizations and standardizing the key differences in body configurations throughout the country.
The CRA also has addressed the differences in rules between sanctioning bodies and tracks. "The engine rules, which seem to be different for every organization, keep the drivers from racing outside their local area," says Scott. "Our work with these other groups has really tightened up the rules. This allows those drivers to travel more for more money while increasing the value of their equipment due to the expanded market they now have access to. A lot of people were involved in making this work, and [that] is the basis for the success that CRA has enjoyed."
...a 105-inch minimum wheelbase, and a 3,100-pound post-race weight including the driver.
This standardization has also revived a number of major pavement Late Model classic events. "Through CRA, we have helped the All-American 400 weekend in Nashville, the earlier World Cup 300 at I-70 Speedway, and the National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway," Luckett says.
For the past two seasons, there have been Speedfest events at USA International Speedway involving five sanctioning bodies to support an All Star Late Model Weekend in Florida. These events were co-sanctioned with FASCAR. Most recently, CRA aided the Premier Racing Association (PRA) as it started its inaugural season.
Last season, the CRA took over the promotion and operation of the legendary Winchester Speedway after the track was closed for the '04 season. It seemed natural for these former track promoters. After all, Salem Speedway, where Luckett had previously promoted, is practically identical to Winchester.