Story By: RACE OF CHAMPIONS – NORTH EAST, PA – The “Crown Royal Classic 54 – Tribute to Joe Reilly” for the Race of Champions Sportsman Modified Series on Saturday, September 26, will pay $2,554.70 in honor of the “54” which Reilly represented and the “70” in recognition of the platinum edition of the 70th anniversary of the Race of Champions.
The race is in tribute to Joe Reilly. Reilly, who was a self –taught mechanic, worked his way to being the crew chief for Thompson Racing. Reilly never stopped educating himself and ultimately won two track championships at Lancaster Speedway. The championships came in the Sportsman division in 2015 with driver Mark Pennell and in the Late Model division in 1996 with driver Bob Straus. Reilly made sure the Thompson Racing machines made it to each and every race they could. Each and every crew member in the pit area, plays an integral role in making sure their respective cars make it week-in and week-out, something Reilly took great pride in. The race on Saturday, September 26, is not just a tribute to Reilly, but a tribute to each and every crew member that works countless hours to “make it happen”.
There will be a special pre-race tribute to the crew chiefs and crew members as well a post-race lantern lighting of 54-lanterns, commencing 1-hour after the conclusion of the race.
Tracy Thompson-Reilly has raised lap money at $54 per lap with over $2,000 in bonus monies already committed to be awarded to racers throughout the night as well a $54 award to a random crew chief. The race will pay $200-to-start. If all laps are sold it will be an additional $3,240 awarded.
Race of Champions management is also introducing a “Driver / Crew Chief Challenge” to the first “driver / crew chief” combination who makes the redraw and elects to surrender their starting position and start from the rear of the field and that is able to win will earn an additional $540. If the “driver / crew chief” combination that elects to surrender their starting position earns 2nd through 5th in the finish, they will earn a $250 bonus. Only one “driver / crew chief”, the first team that comes to the Race of Champions Series trailer and declares their intentions, will be eligible. Once this has been declared, it will be official. The rows will slide forward and positions will not cross-over in regard to standard Race of Champions race procedural rules.
In addition Race of Champions management is introducing the Ted Christopher Drive of the Race Award for this event only. An additional $130 will be awarded to the driver who advances the most positions from their official starting position as posted on the official starting lineup for the event. The “driver / crew chief” candidate will not be eligible for this award.
Tickets may be purchased for the weekend and will be available at the Lake Erie Speedway ticket office or at www.lakeeriespeedway.com. In the event that there is inclement weather, the event will be postponed to 2021, due to the prior commitment to Mahoning Valley Speedway and their Race of Champions Modified Series event on Saturday, October 3, with an agreed upon and announced inclement weather date of Saturday, October 10.