The drive for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships in Division II-V is nearing the homestretch as just a month remains in the 2015 points season.
The premiere Division I championship has received plenty of attention for its closeness as Thomas Tillison Jr. overtook Keith Rocco for the national lead this past week, but there is also plenty left to be settled in the other four division national title pictures as the points season nears its Sept. 20 conclusion.
The Whelen All-American Series Division II rankings actually have the largest gap between first and second as Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway’s Kyle Purvis leads Chris Hawkins – of Oklahoma’s Salina Highbanks and Flint Creek Speedways – by 38 points, but the real battle here is for the rest of the top 10 positions. Less than 20 points separate Hawkins from drivers currently ranked third through seventh in the division. Thomas Neal of North Carolina’s Bowman Gray Stadium currently holds the final podium position, but nine other drivers are within 20 points of his total.
Division III features the tightest championship battle as Ryan Jenkins from Midwestern ovals Adams County, I-80 and Junction Motor Speedways leads fellow dirt-tracker Chuck Schutz Jr. of Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania by just three points. Brent Kane of Elko Speedway in Minnesota is also within striking distance at just 16 points out in third place.
Elko’s Grant Brown still has some work to do to gain a title in Whelen All-American Series Division IV with a 19-point advantage on Ryan Smith from Columbus. Defending champion AJ Sanders from Bowman Gray and Caraway Speedway, also in North Carolina, currently maintains the third spot, 46 points out.
Like Tillison in Division I and Hawkins in Division II, Jack Kirby is also in contention for a national title thanks to his success at Flint Creek and Salina. Kirby has compiled a 31-point lead in the Division V standings over Justin Schelitzche, but there is still plenty left to decide in this division. Aaron Van Fleet from Pennsylvania’s Motordrome Speedway is just three points behind Schelitzche in third place while Elko’s Ashley Bell is not that far off of the podium, 25 points behind Van Fleet.
Whelen All-American Series Division II-V drivers are ranked by their best 14 NASCAR point finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points if the driver starts 10th or lower.
In 2014, for the first time, NASCAR recognized champions from each of its divisions of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In previous year, NASCAR’s Finalist Program recognized the achievements of drivers outside of the Division I. Jared Umbenhauer (Grandview, Div. II), Jon Plowman (I-80 and Adams County, Div. III), Sanders (Div. IV) and Donavan Beacham (Greenville and Anderson, Div. V) were the inaugural national champions.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 57 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.