Jaden Cretacci has had 1999 Winchester 400 winner and former USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series champion Brian Ross as a crew chief ever since he started racing as a kid. So it’s only fitting that the Walkerton, IN native makes his ASA STARS National Tour debut at the Winchester 400 donning a throwback scheme from his crew chief’s Pro Cup days.
Cretacci and Ross a fixture in the Outlaw Super Late Model ranks in Northern Indiana, where he’s a former South Bend Motor Speedway track champion. He also finished second in the Summer Sizzler at New Paris Speedway back in August.
He is looking forward to getting the chance to run a Brian Ross scheme at a race where he’s a former winner at.
“He’s helped us out a lot on the cars setup-wise and helping put cars back together when we have unfortunate incidents. He’s been super great to work with, super helpful,” said Cretacci. “He teaches me and helps me on setups to make the car work better.”
“He’s been with us since I started, so like 12 years. I’m excited to get to do a little tribute to him.”
With most tracks in the area Cretacci calls home being quarter-miles and 3/8ths miles and relatively flat, the half-mile Winchester Speedway presents a completely different challenge with its 37 degrees of banking.
That doesn’t even mention how different a Late Model drives with an Outlaw body compared to a Template body. He has Template Late Model experience as a past JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Rookie of the Year and in the Sportsman ranks around his home, and the difference with how the two drive is something that still has him surprised.
“With an Outlaw you can sail it super deep into the corners since there’s so much downforce, but the Template cars you have to back up the corners a little bit. At Plymouth (Motor Speedway) I run a Sportsman template there and it’s a huge difference with how you drive the cars. It’s insane how different you have to drive the cars and handle them to get them through the corner.”
The Winchester 400 was the only Template-bodied Super Late Model race Cretacci contested last year, and it will be the same for him in 2023. He explains why he makes the Winchester 400 an annual event.
“It’s how prestigious it is. We haven’t done the best with our (Template) Super Late Model yet but I think we’ve found some more speed in it. Winchester’s probably my all-time favorite track, I love the high banks and how close you can get to the wall and how fast it is up there. The load through the corners make that place a blast to run at.”
Cretacci will get a chance to make laps around Winchester in a test session before the weekend starts. He believes he and Ross are starting to find speed they’ve been missing with the car, and if the session goes well his hopes will be high for next Sunday’s race.
“We have testing on Wednesday or Thursday and we’re hoping to find speed in the car. That’s been our biggest struggle, we can’t find speed anywhere. We took it down to New Smyrna and the whole rear clip ripped out of the car from the load over there. That’s our big goal, and if we do hopefully we can finish the race and get a top-five with it.”
The ASA STARS National Tour heads to Winchester Speedway on Sunday, October 15 for the Winchester 400 Presented by Vore’s Welding and Steel. The race will also serve as the season finale for the ASA/CRA Super Series. Tickets can be purchased by calling the track office at (765)584-9701 during office hours.
The ASA STARS National Tour opened the ten race, six-state schedule at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on March 11. Jesse Love is the most recent winner, claiming the victory in Glass City 200 on September 16.
For the full ASA STARS National Tour schedule, plus Super Late Model rules and other information, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: STARS National Series | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS National Tour
The ASA STARS National Tour debuted in March 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced in October 2022, many of the best drivers in America will compete in the ten-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.
The ASA STARS National Tour is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner – the ASA/CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.
The Team Construction Winner’s Circle program has been announced as a part of the ASA STARS National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program provides additional financial incentives to those teams who support the series.
Track Enterprises, a racing promotions company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of Champion Racing Association (CRA) in January 2022 and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series, which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.