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Teams Practice for ARCA/CRA Opener; 26 Super Late Models at Anderson

By Ken de la Bastide

(April 13, 2012) –
With the start of a new ARCA/CRA Super Series season teams think about the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead with a chase to capture the series title or rookie of the year honors.

The quest for post season honors being tonight at Anderson Speedway with the running of the Anderson 125 presented by Great Deals Magazine with 31 teams entered and 26 participating in an open practice session on Friday.

For some drivers it was their first opportunity to turn laps on the high-banked Anderson track, for veterans it was the chase to shave tenths of seconds off their lap times.

Veteran Joe Beaver had the unofficial quick time with a lap of 12.34-seconds, but he wasn’t alone in the low 12-second range. Two-time Anderson Speedway winner Johnny VanDoorn was turning laps in the 12.5-second range. Kenny Tweedy, another former Anderson winner had laps in the 12.4-second range and Rick Turner, a former winner at the track was in the 12.5-second area.

Rookie of the year contender Travis Braden turned a quick lap at 12.41-seconds and the team seemed to have the car rolling through the corners without losing speed.

Braden ran a late model last year at Columbus Motor Speedway and Kilkare Speedway, winning rookie of the year honors.

“I think this series (CRA) is good with the car counts,” he said. “This is a good stepping stone and the next step in the learning curve.”

Braden has raced a Thunder Car at Anderson Speedway in the past.

“I like the short tracks and the bank,” he said. “It’s a little tight.”

Rookie of the Year contender Nate Caruth has mainly competed on the dirt tracks in his home state of Iowa in previous years.

“I practiced here last year and ran a limited CRA schedule,” he said. “Its a little bull ring. It’s a lot of fun and I wanted to get some experience.”

Johnny Jenkins is also hoping to garner rookie honors and mainly raced outlaw late models and in the Main Event Series.

“I haven’t raced a lot since I broke my arm in 2005,” he said. “I raced here in 2006 and qualified either 12th or 14th before we lost a transmission.

“I love it,” Jenkins said of Anderson Speedway. “It’s a fun track to drive; I wish it were a little wider.”

Becca Kasten was turning her first laps at Anderson Speedway on Friday.

“I’ve raced all over, mostly in the Midwest,” she said. “I ran Slinger Speedway (WI) last year. So far this is pretty cool. I like the bullrings.

“Our plan is to run the full CRA schedule,” Kasten said. “We’ll use this to prepare to the Red Bud 300.”

Kenzie Ruston, with sponsorship from Mitch Smith Automotive, said she raced a Legends car on tracks similar to Anderson, but never a late model.

“We tested here, the car was good but of course there was no one else on the track,” she smiled. “I’m excited about it.”