Jake Crum pictured before the start of the CARS Tour Series finale at South Boston Speedway on October 14, 2017. Corey Latham Photo

Statesville, NC native Jake Crum is a former NCWTS driver that found much success in the Late Model Stock Car ranks and on the former UARA Series where Crum won the series championship in 2008 over some heavy hitters including some current and former NASCAR drivers and claimed it in a wild finale at Concord Speedway.

“Concord is a fun track,” said Crum. “I think it’s a driver’s track you know it’s really fast. I think you have to be quick with your moves you know as far as you have to pay attention to what’s going on around you at all times just because stuff happens there so fast there that when you wreck you can really tear stuff up or get somebody hurt. Overall, it’s one of my favorite places to go, just because when something happens it happens in a hurry.”

Crum has had several pretty good runs at the treacherous Concord Speedway in multiple series like PASS and UARA. During his UARA championship campaign he finished the Spring race in second behind the defending champion and in the Fall event he finished ninth. This Saturday’s PASS race at the North-South Shootout will be Crum’s second attempt in the ever so growing event. In last year’s visits to Concord with the PASS Series in his first attempt at the North South Shootout he finished a respectable ninth.

When you think of pioneers in racing you think of Smokey Yunick, the Wood Brothers or Dale Inman, but Jake Crum is a modern day pioneer in racing, as he and his crew build their own race cars and I asked him about the differences between getting behind the wheel of a accomplished team’s prefabricated turnkey car and his own homemade built cars.

“I don’t know, it’s the preparation you know is everything on these cars. You know if you don’t prepare them right, if you don’t do stuff right, if you don’t set it up just right, then the next thing you could be having a good run going something could fall off here and it could end you night. It’s easier if you’re working on you own stuff, you know what you’re getting when you go to the race track.”

Jake has had some pretty good runs this season, especially on the fast half mile tracks, he started and finished a close second to Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr. at Bristol. He backed that up with a great run at the short track Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana in the ARCA/CRA Super Series as he captured his first career EDCO Welding Pole and he wound up finishing fourth behind former champions of the series. He once again captured the pole, but this time it was at Martinsville for this season’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300. He had a strong run in the event as he raced side by side with Late Model Stock Car great Stacy Puryear for the first half of the race. After two separate spins thanks to some contact with other drivers Crum would rebound tremendously and race his way back up to finish fourth.

He has run a few races on the CARS Super Late Model Tour and he had a few rough races with a title contender in Matt Craig and it eventually boiled over. They had a crazy battle at Tri-County Motor Speedway where Crum settled for third and Craig won after a hard fought battle between them. Then just a few weeks ago Crum made his third and last start of the season at South Boston but in the end it ended in a all out chaotic mess. Craig’s and Crum’s crews were fighting, but it was quickly broken up by the CARS Tour officials.

Jake Crum at speed in his Jake Crum Racing Super Late Model at South Boston Speedway during qualifying for the CARS Tour Series finale. Corey Latham Photo

“I can tell you my opinions are going to be facts,” said Crum. “I mean we clearly had the car to beat. We all seen what Denny Hamlin did to Chase Elliott this past weekend and you seen how all the fans reacted, you even seen on post race how Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett you know they weren’t very impressed with Denny. They said it as straight forward as it can get.”

Crum was referring to the following comments the two made after Martinsville’s Cup race last weekend.

“In local short track racing, if a driver runs over you they would be put to the back of the field and there’s still going to be a fight in the infield,” said Dale Jarrett on the NASCAR post race show. Kyle Petty followed that up with “If someone runs you over like that and they come over to your pit and they punch you in the face, then you knew you had it coming so you might as well be expecting it and then you got to back up and realize this isn’t the way I should be driving.”

Crum said that he doesn’t expect that incident to linger over into Concord this weekend and hopes both he and Craig can put it behind them.

“I mean as far as I’m concerned I don’t necessarily need to race like that,” quipped Crum. “I mean if my car is fast enough I’ll just pass you. I mean that’s what separates drivers from steering wheel holders, I mean I don’t need to run him all the way to the fence or wreck him to pass him.”

With the stacked current entry list containing Dickie Woodman’s three cars with the McCallum Brothers and Dave Farrington Jr., Bond Suss tabbing Spencer Davis to drive his car, both championship contenders Tate Fogleman and Kodie Conner and the defending champion Matt Craig all entered Crum still feels like he’s got a good chance to go in there and compete for the win.

“I think our team and equipment is as good as any of them. I think we proved that at Bristol when we were one lap away from winning that one. I think that just goes to show that our stuff can run, we just need to not let anybody get in our heads and just focus on our own stuff and not really worry about what happened at South Boston and try to fight for a win this weekend.

The 15th Annual John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout in memory of Charles Kepley PASS race at Concord Speedway is a big stage for Crum to compete on and his performances on big stages has been nothing short of impressive. He could very well come out with his first North-South Shootout triumph Saturday at 1:00pm.