Midwest driver Nick Panitzke holds down the lead in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National point standings for the second consecutive week. However after twins at Dominion Raceway the Late Model Stock Car “Big Three” of Philip Morris, Peyton Sellers, and Mike Looney have closed the gap heading into the final two weekends of racing.
Panitzke held the lead with a win at Elko Speedway last Saturday night taking his point total from 560 to 568. Jacob Goede, who was second last week in the points, slipped back to third despite a victory on Friday night at Madison International Speedway and gaining 10 points from 550 to 560.
Morris used his win and second-place finishes at Dominion Raceway last weekend to catapult to a tie with Goede at 560 from last weeks total of 548. It was a 12 point swing for Morris and with more wins on the season he edges out Goede for the second position. Looney moved into a tie with Sellers for fourth and with four more wins than Sellers he is elevated to fourth with Sellers fifth.
Both drivers gained 12 points this week jumping from 546 to 558. Sellers did so with a win and a second-place finish while Looney finished third in both features at Dominion. All three of the Late Model Stock Car competitors are expected to head to their home tracks this weekend. That would put Morris back at Dominion, Sellers back at South Boston and Looney back home at Motor Mile Speedway.
Panitzke and Goede will run twin features at Elko Speedway on Saturday night. Keith Rocco who sits in sixth in points at 552 and his first race of the weekend at Stafford Speedway has already been canceled for tonight. Rocco will have a pair of races at Thompson Speedway on Sunday.
At this point in the season and with the points as tight as they are all six of the drivers close enough to challenge for the National championship will have to start ninth or worse to get maximum points including bonus passing points. Starting ninth or worse with a full field gives drivers a chance at 36 points with a victory.
Each driver will compete in a maximum of two races this weekend with the chance to replace their worst finishes of the 18 that count toward points. Panitzke will be able to drop two 26 point races which means he’ll have to finish third or better at Elko to gain any points. Morris has two 28 point races to drop should he finish second or better in both races at Dominion this weekend.
Goede also has two 28 point races to drop and will have to finish second or better in twins at Elko Speedway. Looney, who already has to start last due to Motor Mile Speedway’s multiple win policy, will have to finish third or better in twins to drop two 26 point finishes. Sellers can drop two 28 point finishes with finishes of second or better this weekend at South Boston Speedway. Rocco will have the most to gain this weekend in twins at Thompson as he can erase a 24 point and 26 point finish. He can gain points with a fourth and a third-place finish this weekend but being 14 points out of the lead he’ll need all the points he can get to climb into the battle for the championship.
RACE22.com will have RACEDAY LIVE updates from Motor Mile Speedway as well as Facebook updates from Dominion Raceway and South Boston Speedway on Saturday night.
Cover photo by Dinah Mullins.
NWAAS National Top Ten:
1 – Nick Panitzke 568
2 – Philip Morris 560
3 – Jacob Goede 560
4 – Mike Looney 558
5 – Peyton Sellers 558
6 – Keith Rocco 552
7 – Ronnie Williams 526
8 – Duane Howard 504
9 – Todd Owen 500
10 – Steve Carlson 480