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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series News
Familiar Names Get On Track .. Next generation follow in fathers' path
Apr 23, 2009 - updated Apr 23rd, 2009 8:35pm
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By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR
April 23, 2009
A new generation of familiar names dot the entry lists at NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks in the southeast. The developing talent hopes to carry on their established and successful family names.
Fans at tracks such as Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., South Boston (Va.) Speedway, Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway are keeping their eyes on the upcoming talent this year.
In the recent Budweiser 200 for Late Model Stock Cars at Caraway Speedway, Ty Dillon finished fifth, Travis Swaim finished sixth and Tyler Green finished 22nd. The trio has connections to NASCAR’s top tiers.
Dillon is the younger brother of 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series East Rookie of the Year Austin Dillon. The Dillon boys are the sons of former driver Mike Dillon, and grandson of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner Richard Childress.
Mike Dillon is a former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series driver who has competed in all three of NASCAR’s national series. He owns Team Dillon Racing and is director of competition for Richard Childress Racing. Son Austin is scheduled to enter more than 30 events in 2009, while Ty has a 50-race schedule, mostly in dirt Late Models. Ty has also raced at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C., this year.
“We’ve done real well at those two tracks. They really teach you car control,” Mike Dillon said. “Running fifth in a 200-lapper at Caraway was especially good since it was only his third time on asphalt.”
He says his sons started out racing on dirt to help their talent develop on all levels.
“The dirt Late Models have so much horsepower with no mirrors and no spotters,” Dillon said. “That helps them learn their environment and awareness, so when they race on asphalt they’re more comfortable sooner.”
Sixth-place finisher Travis Swaim is part of another brotherly duo along with Mike Swaim Jr. Mike Swaim Sr., owner of the brothers’ race teams, is a two-time champion of the former NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series. Swaim Jr. won the Goody’s series championship himself in 1997. Travis is a two-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division champion at Caraway in 2004-05. He led the 2008 points standings after Saturday night’s event.
Green is the son of NASCAR Nationwide Series veteran driver Jeff Green. Young Green expects to make some more Late Model starts at Hickory and Tri-County this year, as well as a Legends car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Sixteen-year-old Jeb Burton is launching his first full season of competition at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. Burton, 16, is the son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton. After the first five races of the season, Burton has finished as high as second, had three top-fives, two sixth-place finishes and is among the division’s points leaders.
Burton got his feet wet making several starts at the track last year and quickly learned the ins and outs of setting up his Limited Sportsman race car.
“This year I know more about what the race car is doing and I can better tell (crew chief) Jeremy (Ratliff) and my dad what the car is doing,” Burton told a reporter. “Last year I struggled with that.”
Dexter Canipe Jr., son of 1997 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Dexter Canipe, won the opening night Limited Late Model Stock feature at Tri-County in April. He leads the division’s early season points standings. Canipe was that division’s champion at Hickory in 2008.
Also competing at Hickory in the Street Stock division is Taylor Stricklin, son of Hut Stricklin, the 1986 NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series champion and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran.
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