NASCAR WAAS: Rocco & Morris Keep Rolling At The Top
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Points Leaders Keep Winning
NASCAR PR
Philip Morris has been through enough championship battles to have the process down to a science. But this year has been a little more difficult to get a grasp on what it’s going to take to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.

“It may just take winning every race the rest of the year,” joked Morris.

At the rate the top contenders are rattling off victories, he may not be far off.

The Ruckersville, Va., driver swept the Late Model Division features last Saturday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. It gave Morris, a three-time national champion, his fifth win in his last eight starts and 14 wins in 21 starts overall.

Up the road, Lee Pulliam ran his win streak to five with a victory in the first of two Late Model features at Motor Mile Speedway at Radford, Va., Saturday. After an eighth in the second feature, the Semora, N.C., driver has 13 wins in 22 starts.

And they’re both chasing defending national champion Keith Rocco.

The Wallingford, Conn., driver swept the Modified division races at the three Connecticut tracks – Thompson International Speedway on Thursday, Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday and Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday – for the second time this season. He has won 10 of his last 12 races, which includes a spot start at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., and has 19 wins in 33 races.

“Lately, it’s starting to feel like it was last year,” said Rocco.

Rocco has 733 points, putting him ahead of Morris with 712 and Pulliam with 709.

A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 18 are counted toward their state and national points totals, and the champions are decided on overall points total. Once a driver reaches 18 starts, their total increases incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results.

Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner receives two points for every car in the event up to 20 cars. Second place receives two fewer points, and so on through the field.

Race winners receive an additional five bonus points. For example, if 20 cars are in the field, the winner receives 45 points, second place 38 and third, 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 35 points, second 28 and third, 26.

Of Rocco’s 19 wins, nine have produced a maximum number of points (45). Morris has eight of his 14 wins and Pulliam five of his 13.

With the division not racing this weekend at South Boston, Morris will take his Late Model to Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Saturday, where CE Falk III has used a strong run to move to fourth in the national standings. Falk has four wins in a row at the track, including a sweep of the double features last Saturday. Pulliam said he is still deciding between running Langley or Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., this Saturday.

Combined with Frank Deiny Jr.’s win in the second Late Model feature at Motor Mile, the top five drivers in the nation won nine of their 11 starts last weekend.

“A lot of it is the people you surround yourself with,” Rocco said. “A lot of this gets done in the shop – a lot of prep to make the cars as good as they are.”

Rocco credits crew chief Shane Hopkins for taking the lead on prepping his Thompson car, allowing Rocco to focus on getting his Modified ready for Stafford and Waterford. It’s helped them rebound from a couple of accidents that have nearly totaled his cars this season, and get back to winning.

Likewise, Morris has leaned on H.C. Sellers. Sellers, the brother of 2005 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Peyton Sellers, keeps and prepares Morris’ car out of his shop in Danville, Va.

“It’s a load off, no question,” Morris said. “The points deal is always a heavy load on your mind. It’s nice to get in the car and worry about winning races, rather than getting in and worrying about something breaking or falling off.

“The car is just so good. Even when we miss, we’re still competitive.”

Nate Monteith (New Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway and Motor Mile) is sixth in the national standings, followed by Ryan Preece (Stafford, Thompson and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway), Brandon Davis (Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.)), Bill Leighton Jr. (Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa, I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Neb., and Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb.) and Lee Tissot (New Kingsport and Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway).

Track, state and provincial champions and the top-three finishers in the national standings earn invitations to the 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet at the Charlotte Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. 9.


FEATURE DIVISION
National Top 500 NASCAR Points Leaders

Philip Morris is still chasing Keith Rocco in NWAAS points.  (Speed51.com Photo)

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

DRIVER
Keith Rocco
Philip Morris
Lee Pulliam
C E Falk, III
Frank Deiny, Jr
Nate Monteith
Ryan Preece
Brandon Davis
Bill Leighton, Jr
Lee Tissot
Burt Myers
Travis Braden (R)
Natalie Sather
Daniel Pope, III
Andrew Kosiski
Mike Darne
Woody Pitkat
Adam Royle
Jesse Lefevers
Jeff Strunk
Ted Christopher
Duane Howard
J Herbst
Greg Edwards
Donald Mahaffey, Jr




TRACK
Stafford, T'son, Wat'd, M'nock
S Boston, Motor Mile
S Boston, Caraway, Motor Mile
Langley, S Boston
S Boston, Caraway, Motor Mile
Kingsport, Motor Mile
Riverhead, Thompson, Stafford
Toyota
I-80, Adams, Junction
Kingsport, Greenville
Bowman
Columbus, Kil-Kare
S Boston
Kingsport, Motor Mile
Junction, I-80
Old Dominion, S Boston, Caraway
Stafford, Thompson
Raceway, Elko
Hickory
Grandview
Stafford, Thompson, Waterford
Grandview
Lacrosse
Langley
Columbus, Kil-Kare



STARTS
33
21
22
19
19
20
22
13
14
18
14
18
17
18
18
20
16
19
15
12
18
12
12
11
19


WINS
19
14
13
7
1
8
3
8
3
3
4
7
0
3
2
6
2
8
6
2
3
4
3
3
3


TOP 5
25
17
18
16
13
17
16
12
14
15
10
17
13
15
7
9
13
17
12
9
13
9
9
11
13





TOP 10
30
18
20
18
17
17
19
12
14
17
13
17
15
17
15
16
14
17
15
12
13
10
11
11
17


POINTS
733
712
709
669
525
522
509
494
485
477
468
467
466
463
462
436
432
422
414
412
411
406
405
403
403