The United Championship Racing Alliance 604/Crate Late Model series $1,000 Rookie of the Year title chase was a chase within the Red Line Oil championship, as many as five racers held aspirations for the 2020 award, set to be distributed next Saturday, Jan. 16, in Chattanooga. Jason Cardwell of Knoxville bested the bunch and nearly collected himself a National Points Championship all the while, chasing Cleveland racer Jimmy Elliott.
"This is a good group of guys," said Cardwell regarding his fellow series competitors. "We're all out to help one another race, but in the same stance, beat them to the finish line."
Cardwell, piloting his # 07 "Mighty Muffler and Brake Center, Shorty Shock Service, Matlock Decals, DAK Renovations, West Haven Speed Equipment, Miley Automotive, Raymond and Libby Shepard, Wartburg Speedway, J&J Trucking" sponsored Phantom Racing Engines powered machine raced to five, Top 5 finishes of the nine races in the COVID-19 pandemic plagued season.
"We missed two races at my best track of all (I-75 Raceway)," said Cardwell where he picked up multiple weekly wins while racing non-UCRA events.
Cardwell's family has an extensive background in dirt racing as most around Atomic Motor Speedway days remember Buster and the #07 that Jason carries today. Son Addison could attempt to follow in dad's tire tracks, possibly running for the $1,000 rookie title in 2021. As for nephews Hayden and Bailey, it's possible they may make the jump in the future from 602/Sportsman.
The Rookie of the Year $1,000 unsponsored prize will be awarded to Cardwell at the Golden Corral restaurant on Saturday afternoon during a luncheon ceremony, behind the Hamilton Place Mall area on Gunbarrel Road.
Previous rookies include Seth Wimpey of Blue Ridge, Michael Courtney of Knoxville. Jesse Lowe of Crossville and Ethan Hunter of Harrison.
The inaugural season (2015) didn't acknowledge a RoTY competitor. Jeremy Holtzclaw of Sparta, Jeff Neubert of Rockford and Daniel Casteel all dropped from contention for RoTY honors, keeping the eligibility for 2021 available as did Mike Combs, Sterling Freeman and Zane Powell.
For further details on UCRA 604/Crate Late Model competition visit the series website at UCRAracing.com.