NASCAR Whelen All-American Series News
Late Season Roll Has Strunk In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Title Hunt
Aug 13, 2008 - updated Aug 13th, 2008 11:22am
Web posted by Jason Christley
Daytona Beach, Fla. --
Philip Morris picked up his ninth win of the season at Motor Mile in Radford, Va. Saturday, Aug. 9 to maintain his lead in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings. (Photo courtesy of Kendall Walter/Motor Mile Graphics).
(Aug. 12, 2008)
Like most drivers, Jeff Strunk says he doesn’t start paying attention to the track points standings until the season begins to draw to a close. But thanks to his recent strong run, the six-time Modified champion at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa., has one more thing to keep his eye on.
Strunk has won three of his last six races to build a sizable lead in the track’s top division and has put himself in position for title No. 7. His victory this past weekend on the 1/3-mile dirt track gave him four wins and 16 top fives in 17 starts and moved him up to seventh in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points standings.
“We’re definitely better than we were at the beginning of the year,” Strunk said. “We’re better performance wise, and we have a little more luck on our side than we did the first six weeks. We were having to run consolations, that put us 20 on back. We still salvaged top fives out of them, but it’s a lot easier to start 15th than 22nd.”
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships are based on a driver’s top 18 finishes and Strunk is the only driver in the top 10 who hasn’t reached the 18-race mark. In addition, Strunk has a 26th-place finish from May he could erase with a better performance. He hasn’t finished out of the top four since that race and two more strong finishes would put him into contention for the national title.
Philip Morris of Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., held onto his car Saturday night and the points lead with it. Morris bounced off the wall hard racing on the final lap for the lead, but managed to keep the car steered in the right direction and edged Jerame Donley at the finish line for the victory.
“It was sliding around like a dirt track,” Morris said of his Late Model on the .416-mile asphalt oval. “The wall was coming fast. I pretty much knew the car was going to hit the wall if I didn’t lift. And I didn’t lift. There was just enough momentum to get around to the start-finish line.
“As a driver, you don’t like to finish like that, because it was so up in the air on who’s going to win or even if you are going to finish. But it was just a really awesome finish. I almost felt like a rookie in Victory Lane with excitement.”
While Morris won, Marty Ward finished second in the Late Model race Saturday at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. The two-point difference in finishing positions and the five-point bonus Morris picked up for the win provides him with his first-place margin (887-880) over Ward with one month remaining in the NASCAR Whelen All-American season.
Morris has nine wins and 17 top fives in 19 starts. He has his worst finishes of 26, 36 and 44 points that he is looking to improve on in the final weeks. Ward, with 10 wins and 18 top fives in 18 starts, has a 32-point finish and a pair of 44s as his three worst finishes.
Brian Harris remained third with 863 points. Harris runs a dirt late model at three Iowa tracks: West Liberty Raceway, Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway and Farley Speedway. He had a win (Farley) and second-place (Dubuque) this past weekend.
Keith Rocco of Connecticut, who held the points lead for much of the summer, is fourth with 840 points while running at the New Waterford Speedbowl, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway. Coleman Pressley of Greenville-Pickens is fifth at 805.
Under the points 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.