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Morris Jumps To Top Of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Aug 5, 2008 - updated Aug 5th, 2008 7:58pm
Web posted by Jason Christley

Daytona Beach, Fla. --

(Aug. 5, 2008)

Philip Morris has been through the national title chase enough to know not to get too concerned about the championship standings in June and July. August, though, is another matter.

And as August begins, it’s Morris who finds himself atop the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series overall standings after lurking in the top 10 all season. Morris had first- and second-place finishes in the twin 75-lap Late Model features at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., Saturday night.

The finishes pushed his points total to 852 and allowed him to jump from fifth to first.

“We’ve been hunting all year, just nobody knew it because we didn’t have enough races” said the 43-year-old Morris, who won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship in 2006 and finished third last year. “Now we’re down to the last five or six races of the year. It’s time to buckle down and try even harder.”

Connecticut’s Keith Rocco had a win and a third place in three starts over the weekend and increased his points total to 839 but dropped to second. Rocco, who runs a Modified at the New Waterford Speedbowl, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway on a weekly basis, had been the point leader since June 24. Rocco has seven wins and 23 top fives in 35 races.

Brian Harris moved up to third with 838 points. Harris runs a dirt late model at three Iowa tracks: West Liberty Raceway, Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway and Farley Speedway. He has 12 wins and 22 top fives in 23 starts.

Marty Ward, Coleman Pressley and David Roberts of Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., are fourth through sixth, respectively. Greenville-Pickens did not run Saturday when a storm caused a power outage at the track. Ward only has 17 races to his credit, so a top finish this weekend could prompt the same jump up in the standings Morris enjoyed.

This past Saturday’s twin features gave Morris 18 starts for the season. The championship is based on a driver’s top 18 finishes. Now that Morris has reached that mark, each top finish through the end of the year provides him with a chance to drop a bad result from earlier in the year and increase his point total.

“This is the best start we’ve ever had toward the national title,” said Morris. “At Motor Mile, we’ve had the car count and the performances to win the national title. We really feel good about it. It starts to get everybody pumped up. That will cause us to work harder, sweat more, practice more, lean on our engine more, and hopefully that will show through the remainder of the year.”

Morris has five races remaining at Motor Mile, where he is the five-time Late Model division champion. He said he’ll look to fill the remaining open weekend before the Sunday, Sept. 14 deadline with a race at another NASCAR-sanctioned short track.

“Wherever we go, we’re going to be shooting from the hip,” said Morris.

Under the point structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner will receive two points for every car in the event up to 25 cars. Second place will receive two fewer points, and so-on through the field. For example, if there are 25 cars, the winner receives 50 points, second gets 48 and third 46. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 30 points, second gets 28 and third 26. New this year, drivers receive five bonus points for a win.


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