Rising star Crum on display at Clay Cup

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 16, 2014 

0717 ClayCup Crum

Chance Crum, 16, talks with his father Kevin Crum, after finishing a preliminary race at the Midseason Championships on Friday, July 11, 2014, at the Deming Speedway. Crum, from Snohomish, drives the 83c car, which leads the 600 open class.

NICK GONZALES — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Nobody expected too much of Deming Speedway driver Chance Crum heading into the 2014 season. Not even the 16-year-old Crum thought he had a chance to win a 600 Open title.

After a seventh-place finish in the 2013 standings, including two top-five finishes, Crum expected more of the same from himself.

"Maybe a few top-five finishes," Crum thought of how his season would play out.

Instead, Crum is sitting in second place of the 600 Open standings, and he was in first until a crash in Deming's most recent race.

He has racked up a dozen top-five finishes and three feature wins. Crum has established himself as a realistic contender for the title and a true threat heading into Clay Cup, which begins Thursday, July 17.

"It's really exciting," Crum said in a phone interview. "It's definitely been beyond my expectation this year."

It shouldn't have been any surprise Crum has risen quickly through the ranks. He's been able to impress at every level since he started driving when he was 6 years old.

The Crum family name has long been associated with racing. Crum's grandfather raced at Evergreen Speedway, his father was a driver and even his younger brother is following in the same footsteps. His brother, Hunter, is 17th in the 600 Restricted standings at Deming.

"It's a huge family sport," Crum said. "My brother and I are always working together in the garage during the week. ... My dad is awesome at getting the cars together well."

With his family behind him, Crum was able to win four quarter midget national championships, his first at age 9.

Since he got so much help from his elder drivers when he was young, Crum has become part of the Get Up Foundation, which he started with three other drivers. The drivers take some of their race winnings and donate to children in need.

"It's something that when you get to a higher level, you want to give back to racing," Crum said.

In order to give back, Crum has to win, something he wasn't able to do his first year in the 600 Open Class. It wasn't until 2014, Crum got his first win.

On April 25, Crum outlasted Liam Ryan to the finish line.

"You got to qualify, be good in your heat and piece together a whole night," Crum said. "At end, I was able to lead a bunch of laps, get some nice clean air, stay out of trouble and run my race. When it all comes together, it's awesome."

Moving into the 600 Open Class at Deming, Crum had to get used to the speed of the cars, the closeness of the racing and the thrill of the ride.

"It's a very unique adrenaline rush," Crum said. "When you go out on the track, you don't think. You have to clear your mind and focus."

The pressure gets even higher in big events such as the Clay Cup. Last season, Crum was able to put the pressure aside and snag a top-10 finish at Deming's largest event.

This year, Crum is hoping for a top-five finish and possibly a podium spot. His strong season has made him a Clay Cup favorite. With more eyes on him, the key is to relax, Crum said.

"In big events, that's really what you got to do," Crum said. "just think it's the same thing you did last week. Sometimes the pressure gets to you. You just have to focus on the task at hand. Just do what you do. That leads to success."

Certainly, if he can stay out of wrecks throughout the three nights and put together some points, Crum has a great shot against some of the best drivers in the area.

At only 16, Crum is a rising star and it seems like not much can stop him.

Reach Joshua Hart by email at joshua.hart@bellinghamherald.com or by phone at 360-715-2851.

CLAY CUP 2014

When: Thursday-Saturday, July 17-19

Where: Deming Speedway

Cost: Children $5, seniors $12, juniors $12 and adults $14. Prices increase $2 for championship Saturday night.

CLAY CUP CHAMPIONS

1200 CLASS

Year Driver

2013 Liam Ryan

2012 Liam Ryan

2011 Brock Lemley

2010 Brock Lemley

2009 Brock Lemley

2008 Derek Holmwood

2007 Aaron Fell

2006 Brock Lemley

2005 Eric Fisher

2004 Brock Lemley

2003 Kiel Vaillant

2002 Ron Cox

2001 Danny Bullock

2000 Stan Yockey

1999 Danny Bullock

1998 Greg Bragg

1997 Reg Vaillant

1996 Reg Vaillant

1995 Reg Vaillant

1995 Harold Holz

1994 Jim Carter

1993 Fred Holz

1992 Eric Rossi

1991 Reg Vaillant

1990 Darren Massie

1989 Mark Holz

1988 Reg Vaillant

1987 Darcy Vaillant

1986 Harry Styker

1985 Ray Campbell

600 CLASS

Year Driver

2013 Brock Lemley

2012 Heath Duinkerken

2011 Michael Faccinto

2010 Reese Goetz

2009 Colton Heath

2008 Logan Forler

2007 Jared Peterson

2006 Coey Eliason

2005 Ben Hogarth

2004 Kyle Johnson

2003 Stan Yockey

2002 Brian Gaurd

2001 Rob Grice

600 RESTRICTED CLASS

Year Driver

2013 Jesse Schlotfeldt

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