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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series News
Morris & Pitkat Back At The Top Of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Nov 9, 2007 - updated Nov 9th, 2007 2:51am
Web posted by Jason Christly

Las Vegas --

(Nov. 8, 2007) – Philip Morris’ hopes for back-to-back championships were dashed by early-season misfortune. But that wasn’t enough to keep the Ruckersville, Va. driver from earning a trip back to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship festivities this weekend at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

A year after winning a regional championship, Woody Pitkat improved to second in the nation. While he missed out on the championship by just six points, the Stafford, Conn. driver is as proud as Morris is that he is making a return trip to Las Vegas.

“This is what I wanted to do,” Pitkat said. “Obviously to be here two years in a row is a pretty big feat. I wanted to do a lot (this year) to give recognition to the crew.”

While much of the spotlight will be on NASCAR Whelen All-American champion Steve Carlson of LaCrosse (Wisc.) Speedway, the new national championship format also recognizes the second- and third-place finishers in the country.

U.S. state and Canadian province champions, as well as track champions, will also be honored at Saturday’s banquet.

Although he finished second at both Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in those track’s Modified divisions, Pitkat’s combined effort yielded him the Connecticut state title. He had nine wins, 27 top fives and 32 top 10s in 36 starts.

The 28-year-old Pitkat also landed a ride in the No. 79 Hill Enterprises/Coors Light Pontiac on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, where he had a career-best finish of third at Mansfield (Ohio) Motor Speedway.

Morris, 42, won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship last season.

This year, he posted 11 wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s in his Late Model to finish third – 12 points behind Pitkat and 18 back of Carlson – racing primarily at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. He won the Virginia state championship.

“It’s definitely encouraging,” Morris said. “It’s a confidence builder for next year in running for points and for the national championship.”

Bad luck early in the 2007 season handicapped Morris’ efforts for a second straight title. But he said the way the team responded and got back into the championship hunt will provide a huge motivational boost for next year.

“Once they saw how fast we recovered, they were just really pumped,” Morris said. “We probably learned more this year about how to win a national championship than the year we actually won it.”

More Awards For LaCrosse Steve Carlson had already provided LaCrosse (Wisc.) Fairgrounds Speedway with a national championship. The track, though, picked up some more hardware Thursday morning.

Track general manager Chuck Deery and ticket manager Julie Baginski were part of the foursome that won the four-person, best-ball scramble at the Bali Hai Golf Club. Deery and Baginski teamed with Ed Kosiski, part owner of I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Neb., and Kevin Nevalainen, marketing manager of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, to shoot a 65 on the par-71 course.

Carlson was part of the runner-up foursome along with Herbert Ames, and the Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway contingent of track owner Jim Williams and track general manager Bob Defazio. They shot a 67.

Getting up to speed While Carlson had a leisurely 18-holes Thursday, he will be going a great deal faster Friday morning when he takes part in the ride-along program of the famous Thunderbirds at nearby Nellis Air Force Base. Carlson will spend nearly an hour in the F-16 rocketing through the Nevada sky at nearly the speed of sound. “I really can’t wait to get up in one of those jets,” Carlson said. The visit is part of series sponsor Whelen Engineering’s effort to provide activities outside of the banquet for the series champions. For example, Carlson and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia, and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion L.W. Miller will be guests of Whelen in January and participate in the annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge at Lake Placid, N.Y.


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