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Chase Burda won Saturday at Flat Rock Speedway. (Eric Young Photo)

Burda Is Flat Fantastic In JEGS Tour At Flat Rock

FLAT ROCK, Mich. — A difficult 2024 season finally has a shinning moment for Chase Burda after a dominating win with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance in the VanDoorn Racing Development 125 at Flat Rock Speedway Saturday night. The 2023 JEGS Tour Champion has had his share of tough luck throughout the 2024 season but the performance on Saturday puts Burda back squarely in the conversation for a repeat championship.

Blake Rowe, who entered the event as the JEGS Tour Championship Points leader, led the field to green alongside Burda’s No. 18 for the 125-lap contest on Saturday night. Rowe jumped out to the early lead and appeared to be the one who would put up the biggest fight for the win. A stack-up on the frontstretch in the first five laps caused chaos and damage for drivers like Barrett Polhemus, Keegan Sobilo, Jimmy Tucker and Ethan Stadniczuk. While the incident didn’t result in a yellow flag, it allowed Rowe and Burda to pull away from the field.

On lap 7, Burda saw the chance to get to Rowe’s inside coming off turn two, and the Kulwicki Driver Development participant didn’t miss. Burda put a nose to Rowe’s left rear quarter panel and by the time they exited turn four, Burda was even with Rowe but the No. 131 still led the lap. Burda cleared Rowe down the backstretch and set sail out in front of the field.

The first caution of the night came on lap 32 when Jeff Vrsek and Collin Barron tangled in turn four. It was the first restart where Rowe had a chance to retake the lead but Burda would prove too good on the bottom and continued to lead.

One of the more dramatic moments in the race came near the halfway mark when three cars were battling for the third spot in lapped traffic. Chase Pinsonneault, Billy VanMeter and Polhemus were all under a blanket trying to sort out who would hold the third position when heavy lapped traffic became a factor. Will Sahutske was attempting to move around Tyler McKenzie, who were both lapped cars, when the three lead lap cars came upon them. At the exit of turn four, as McKenzie tried to get to the bottom to become a non-factor, Pinsonneault also dove to the bottom to try and gain the positions and displace the back markers. Instead, Pinsonneault lost three positions in the transaction.

Two more minor cautions slowed the race on laps 71 and 83, but neither were a good enough opportunity for Polhemus to overtake the Lapeer driver. With 10 laps to go, Burda had an over three-second advantage; however, heavy lapped traffic awaited him down the stretch. Polhemus was able to pull within two seconds at one point on Burda but could get no closer and settled for second. Austin Hull, who came from 14th, finished third with Kevin Cremonesi and Billy VanMeter rounding out the top five.

In Victory Lane, Burda spoke of the moments in lapped traffic.

“I didn’t know if I should just wait around or try to get around them; Brandon (spotter) did a great job calming me down and we were able to get around them,” Burda recalled.

“This year we had high expectations,” Burda said. “We won the [2023] championship and we were fortunate enough to do the Kulwicki Driver Development Program and just wanted to do good and it’s just not been the season we wanted at all.

“It just takes a good team and great group of guys and they never gave up on me and that’s why we’re here.”