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Southern Super Series, CRA and CARS Tour approve next-generation body for 2020

Jason Wedehase

The next-generation Five Star Bodies Super Late Model shell will debut sooner than anticipated.

The Southern Super Series revealed on Sunday morning at South Alabama Speedway during the drivers meeting prior to the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway that the new body will be permitted starting with the June 26 event at Five Flags Speedway — albeit with a 25 lb. weight penalty.

The CARS Tour and Champion Racing Association followed suit with a confirmation on Tuesday in advance of a co-sanctioned event between the two sanctioning bodies at Jennerstown Speedway (PA) on July 4.  There will not, however, be any weight penalties levied against the new body during CRA or CARS Tour events.

The new body will not be approved in time for this weekend’s CRA event at I-44 Raceway in Lebanon, Missouri.

Following a contentious five-year period of infighting between the promoters, Five Star Bodies and AR Bodies, the Approved Body Program Committee approved the Five Star shell for competition in 2021,with the introduction a shape-control initiative and a more thorough template program. That approval came with the caveat that the timeline could be moved up with universal approval from the industry.

Speaking to Short Track Scene prior to the Rattler 250, Southern Super Series and 5 Flags Speedway operator Tim Bryant said he received generally widespread positivity on the decision.

“Well, with the COVID-19 situation, everybody’s schedules are a bit discombobulated,” Bryant said. “Even car construction plans have changed, and we were approached by teams in areas that are still locked down — people with bodies that were hung with nowhere to race.

“So, what we did is, we kind of solicited our regulars that were intending to race their way through the current season with their current ABC bodies. And we got no negative feedback at all about the early rollout.

“In fact, a lot of had cars were already under construction and they told me they were relieved that they could go ahead and put the new body on it. We also got a lot of input from guys that aren’t going to change to the new body because they’re happy with what they got against the new body.”

And the reason for a 25 lb. weight penalty in Southern Super Series races?

“Honestly, the 25 pounds was a bit of a concession to guys that built cars over the winter based on the rules that we had given them in the timeline we had given them,” Bryant said. “That’s really all that is.

“We don’t think it’s meant to handicap the body because we think it’s better. It’s just a little bit of a concession to those guys that maybe wanted a new body and we told them to start the season with they already had.”

The joint statement from the CRA and CARS Tour read as follows:

“CARS Tour and ARCA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS officials are pleased to announce the approval of the Next-Gen body for competition in their Super Late Model divisions, as well as the JEGS/CRA All-Star Tour presented by Chevrolet Performance Pro Late Model division, beginning with the Thomas Automotive American Freedom 300 at Jennerstown Speedway on July 4. The new body is approved without any weight penalties or advantages when competing against existing ABC-approved bodies.

“CARS Tour and ARCA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS officials would like to thank Five Star Bodies, who worked diligently with the CARS Tour and ARCA/CRA to resolve numerous issues during this process. They would also like to thank all the competitors for their patience and understanding throughout the uncertain times.”

The similar next-generation Late Model Stock body was approved by NASCAR in late 2019 and was already approved for CARS Tour competition at the start of the 2020 season.

📸: Austin Edwards

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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