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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

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Mark Bliss Defies Slow Start To Race Into Contention For NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division III Title
Aug 8, 2006 - updated Aug 8th, 2006 5:20pm
Web posted by Jeremy Davidson

Daytona Beach, Fla. --

For Immediate Release:Aug. 8, 2006

Ohio's Donnie Hill continues to lead Division III standings as Bliss, Leicht and other drivers move up

Talk about a turnaround. At the beginning of the season, Lake Erie Speedway's drivers watched as the rain fell and their rankings in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division III standings languished. The track, located in North East, Pa., was rained out for the first four weeks of the season. For the next several weeks, Lake Erie's best drivers were ranked at or near the bottom of the NDWS Division III point standings. By July 11, Mark Bliss had made nine starts and was ranked 10th.

As the season progressed, however, several factors began to work in the track's favor. The weather improved and the racing continued with fewer interruptions. And, a NASCAR rule designed to balance the competition has done just that. Drivers are ranked in the NDWS Division III standings based on their best 16 finishes of the year. Therefore, while it may have taken longer for Bliss and the rest of Lake Erie's drivers to catch up to the NDWS Division III leaders, they're now on equal footing as NASCAR statisticians weed out each driver's worst finishes and count only their best 16 towards the $25,000 NDWS Division III title.

This week, Bliss, of Arcade, N.Y., moved up to second place in the standings, 12 points behind leader Donnie Hill, of Columbus, Ohio (988-976). To get there, Bliss took advantage of another NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series rule: drivers can collect NASCAR points towards the Division title at any track in the same Division. Bliss went to Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway last Saturday, on a night when the track hosted twin Late Model feature races, and won them both. Combined with his third-place finish at Lake Erie the night before, Bliss took a big step forward in the NDWS Division III standings and is now in prime championship contention, despite the track's slow start. Small moves ... Several NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series drivers made small moves upward in the Division III standings this week, with five drivers improving one position in the rankings. Bliss moved from third into second place, while Kevin Leicht, of Arden, N.C., advanced from sixth to fifth after recording his fourth win of the season at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Rick Sexton Jr., of Mattawan, Mich., moved up to seventh place after finishing third in last Saturday's Super Late Model event at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Speedway. Steve Lance Jr., of Cuba, Ill., also finished third in his feature race last weekend, at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway, and moved into ninth place in the NDWS Division III standings. Rounding out this list of upwardly-mobile racers was John Vallo, of Fairborn, Ohio, who advanced from 13th to 12th place in the standings, following a fifth-place finish last Friday night at Kil Kare Speedway in Xenia, Ohio.

NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series

Division III Leaders as of Aug. 8 (best 16 points finishes)

Driver, Hometown, Home track, NDWS points

1. Donnie Hill, Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Motor Speedway, 988 points
2. Mark Bliss, Arcade, N.Y., Lake Erie Speedway, 976
3. Kevin Nuttleman, Bangor, Wis., LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway,886
4. Frank Deiny Jr., Mechanicsville, Va., Old Dominion Speedway, 864
5. Kevin Leicht, Arden, N.C., Hickory Motor Speedway, 860
6. Scotty Backman, Parker, Colo., Colorado National Speedway, 852
7. Rick Sexton Jr., Mattawan, Mich., Kalamazoo Speedway, 814
8. Justin Johnson, Las Vegas, The Bullring at Las Vegas MotorSpeedway, 768
9. Steve Lance Jr., Cuba, Ill., Peoria Speedway, 704
10. Steve Jones, Meridian, Idaho, Magic Valley Speedway, 688
11. Dan Shelliam, Hazel Green, Wis., Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway,584
12. John Vallo, Fairborn, Ohio, Kil-Kare Speedway, 526
13. Chuck Steuer, Bohemia, N.Y., Riverhead Raceway, 508
14. Brock Behnke, Poplar Grove, Ill., Rockford Speedway, 504
15. Bill Matuszak, Freedom, N.Y., Holland International Speedway,450

New to the top 15:
None

Dropped out of the top 15:
None

For more information, contact:
Jeremy Davidson, NASCAR Public Relations, (386) 681-4173


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