As the clock runs out this weekend for drivers competing for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship, each of the five drivers that still have a mathematical chance of winning the championship have different paths to take this weekend.
As of this weeks update Mike Looney has taken over the top of the standings with 578 points. His lead over second-place is 10 points. Two Midwest drivers sit tied at 568 behind him Nick Panitzke and Jacob Goede. Five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Philip Morris sits just 12 points back of Looney with 2010 National Champion Keith Rocco sitting 14 points behind Looney as we enter the final weekend of points eligible races.
Obviously, with the lead Looney sits in the best position to win the National Championship but the four drivers behind him have prime opportunities this weekend to secure their own title but some need help from Looney. The top three drivers including Looney, Panitzke, and Goede have never won a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National title. Without miraculous performances by Morris, the championship will likely be decided between those three giving us a first-time National titlist.
Looney will take his championship hopes to Langley Speedway for twin 70-lap races on Saturday night while Panitzke and Goede will both compete in twins at Elko Speedway. Morris is also expected to make the trek to Langley Speedway with Looney. Rocco will compete in a single feature at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night and could compete in a Tour-type Modified event at Riverhead Raceway in New York on Saturday for a second opportunity for points but isn’t expected to do so.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National title is determined by a drivers best 18 starts and heading into the final weekend Panitzke has the two lowest point totals and the most to gain in twin races at Elko Speedway on Saturday night. Panitzke could gain as many as 20 points. However, no driver has swept both features at Elko Speedway this season and with the way the tracks invert and handicapping system for winners works, it’s an improbable task.
If Looney wins either race this weekend at Langley Speedway, everyone but Panitzke will be eliminated from the title chase. If Looney scores at least 12 points this weekend, he will win the National title no matter what any other driver does. His lowest point totals heading into the weekend are a 26 and a 28. In order to gain 12 points he would need to win one race starting from within the top four and the other from within fifth through eighth for two bonus points. The two wins would give him exactly 12 points and enough to secure the championship no matter how many points any other race might gain.
Morris will need to win both races this weekend starting from ninth or worse to have any chance at winning the National title but both will need help from Looney to win it. Morris has low points totals of 28, meaning the maximum he can gain each race is eight points for a total of 16 on the night. Morris would have 582 if he won from ninth or worse and picked up maximum bonus points.
Goede can also score a maximum of 16 points this weekend by virtue of his low point finishes being two thirds (28’s). Goede can garner as many as 584 points will need Looney not to score six points in his two races or Goede too would be eliminated from being able to secure the National championship. Looney can gain six points with two second-place finishes this weekend.
If Goede and Morris don’t win their first feature from a start of ninth or worse at their respective tracks this weekend, all three will not have a path to win the title no matter what Looney does. His lead is too large and they don’t have enough points to be gained in one feature to catch Looney.
Every driver competing for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship this year will have a formidable challenge to win the National title. Competition at every track around the country this season has been stiff. No matter who wins the National Championship, they will do so with fewer wins than the previous three champions signaling tougher competition among all the tracks.
The scenarios above are by our calculations and not something official from NASCAR. However, we did confirm with NASCAR the low point totals and we’ve been told that they expect there to be no points held over from earlier in the year (paperwork issues or etc.) that could pop up following the final week of racing.
RACE22.com will be following all the tracks this weekend to see how the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship plays out. We will keep fans updated this weekend with the races at Stafford and Elko Speedway’s as well as have RACEDAY LIVE updates from Langley Speedway on Saturday evening beginning with qualifying.
Cover photo by Jaden Austin.