When the Pro-Stock feature rolls out onto the front-stretch of Crystal Motor Speedway and the starting line-up is announced, when it comes to the white no. 54 machine the name of Chaney Newland is inevitably drowned out by the roar of fans.
For over a decade Newlands smooth and clean driving style have earned him respect on both sides of the catch fence and a host of victories.
Although just recently a Michigan resident, Newland has considered Crystal Motor Speedway home since childhood, “My dad “Ritt” raced here through the 60,’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s so since I was 5 or 6 years old I have been spending time at Crystal. Eventually I moved to Ohio and then Indiana so I would visit the track and watch my dad race, but in 1997 my dad decided he didn’t want to race anymore and I bought his car and have been racing ever since.”
From 1997 to 2010 Chaney proved there is no place like home as he traveled each and every week from Indiana to make Crystal Motor Speedway his racing home. Travelling 150-miles one way to a racetrack every week is grueling to say the least, but for Newland the trip was well worth it, “Crystal in my biased opinion is the place to be on a Saturday night. We grew up here and have a lot of family and friends here, so Crystal is home”. Racing at CMS also provided Chaney with the incredible opportunity to meet his now wife Tasha. Tasha’s brother Vern Buskirk was a regular in the Street Stock division for a number of years and recently put his no. 76 machine up against Chaney in the Pro-Stocks. As Chaney laughingly stated, “With her brother racing she definitely knew what she was getting into”. Chaney, Tasha and their family of five; Chad (age 28), Randy (Age 26), Amanda (Age 13), Ashlyn (Age 11), and Andrew (Age 8) have made racing truly a family sport, and racing against his brother-in-law has definitely put some friendly competition in the mix, “We are family off the track, but we are definitely competition on it”, he said with a chuckle.
Newland’s success began in the Street Stock division, and when he moved to the Pro-Stock class after 4-years he continued his winning ways. Although always a contender; for 12 straight seasons Chaney never found himself at the top of the points standings, “My dad had won a few championships, and I always wanted to live up to that and it just seemed like every season I would be one DNF away from getting it. But then we hit lucky number 13, and in my 13th season we won our first championship and followed it up with two more”.
With stiff competition in the division, winning a single Pro-Stock championship at CMS is quite the feat, but going into 2012 with three consecutive titles to his name certainly adds some pressure to the mild-mannered driver, “This year we would really like to keep that string of championships alive. We come each week and try to win features and let the points fall where they may at the end of the year. If we run well and put ourselves in position then we may just capture another one”.
Although 2012 will definitely have a little more pressure added to Chaney in reference to the points chase, Newland takes it all in stride and focuses on having fun and putting forth the best team effort possible, “For the last five years Craig Wright has been helping me on the car, and ever since he started helping me we have run really well. My car stays in his garage all week long and we have learned that what happens during the week makes a big difference on the weekend”.
In addition to the Crystal Motor Speedway track titles; Newland who now calls Pierson, Michigan home has also recently been able to string together a host of Michigan’s premier Pro-Stock events. In 2011 Chaney drove into victory lane at the newly re-opened Tri-City Speedway at their Battle By The Bay event. Also in 2011, Newland was able to stand with a very large trophy at the end of Crystal Motor Speedways crown jewel event; the Great Lakes Nationals. For Newland, the season finale event had often been a thorn in his side, “We’ve won quite a few features over the past few years, but that had eluded me. Finally getting that big win and getting that monkey off my back last year was exciting!”
A Michigan resident once more, Newland is excited with his 50-minute commute to CMS and the extra time he has with the family outside the confines of a vehicle. Working at Hearthside Food Solutions throughout the weekdays, leaves evenings and weekends free for Chaney and his family to enjoy other sports such as basketball, softball, and little league baseball.
When it comes to Michigan and Saturday nights at Crystal Motor Speedway Chaney has only one statement, but it is loaded with meaning, “It is good to be HOME!”