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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — CE Falk III has his eyes on the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
The 24-year-old from Norfolk Beach, Va., is off to a fast start in that quest. He’s already picked up five wins in the Late Model Divisions at three different tracks.
The performance also earned Falk the top spot for May in the Hunter Index, as voted on by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives.
"Falk is racing with his third crew chief in as many seasons and it's not slowing him down,” said Damien Sordelett, sports writer with the Danville (Va.) Register & Bee.
After winning the 300-lap opener at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, Falk has won twice at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., and swept twin features at his home track of Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.
Despite his numbers, Falk’s top spot was not a lock – a tribute to the accomplishments of drivers across the board in NASCAR’s touring and regional series.
Six different drivers earned first-place votes and 38 drivers received at least one vote.
Falk collected five first-place votes and it was enough to edge George Brunnhoelzl III of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour by three points. Brunnhoelzl, who has two wins in four starts, had three first-place vote.
The Hunter Index, which was launched in 2010 on NASCARHomeTracks.com, is a monthly power poll designed to highlight the standout performances in the NASCAR touring and regional series.
Drivers are ranked on their performance over the previous month. The rankings are compiled by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives. This season, the panel was expanded to 14 media members from across North American with experience covering NASCAR’s touring and weekly series, along with two voters from NASCAR.
Panelists rank their top 15, with first place receiving 15 points, second 14, third 13 and so on.
David Mayhew, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West points leader, was third in voting with three first-place votes and 160 points overall. Dirt modified driver Duane Howard of Grandview Speedway in Bechtesville, Pa., and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points leader Ron Silk rounded out the top five.
Howard has three wins in four starts in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at notoriously tough Grandview. He earned four first-place votes.
“It's hard to compare a touring series driver against a weekly Saturday night racer, but Howard deserves the recognition," said Len Sammons of Area Auto Racing News. "If you look at his average points earned per race you can see he competes against the biggest field of weekly competitors than any other NASCAR All-American Series track. The important note is that Grandview also handicaps the starting order of both the qualifying heat race and the feature event. This means that Howard must start in the back of every event he enters and there is no given he'll even make the starting field - it's that tough."
Silk and sixth-place Greg Pursley, coming off a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, each had a first-place vote.
Brett Moffitt (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), Toby Porter (Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway/NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Chase Elliott (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) and Deac McCaskill (South Boston and Southern National Raceway Park, Kenly, N.C./ NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) rounded out the top 10.
The Hunter Index is named for the late Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications and a longtime supporter of the weekly and touring series that make up the NASCAR Home Tracks.
The Index was designed as an opportunity to compare the top drivers from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series all the way up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. It will also encompass drivers from the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and Euro-Racecar.
The Hunter Index is released the first Thursday of each month from April through November.
The panel also included media members: J.A. Ackley, Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated; Mark Billingsley, NASCAR freelance writer, Sacramento (Calif.) Bee; Shawn Courchesne, Hartford (Conn.) Courant; Bob Dillner, SPEED; Tim Haddock, haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com; Keith Lair, Los Angeles Newspaper Group; Spencer Lewis, Inside Track Motorsports News, Canada; Pat Patterson, SIRIUS NASCAR Ch. 128/ESPN Radio; Tim Quiveryn, TheThirdTurn.com; Len Sammons, Area Auto Racing News; David Smith, MotorsportsAnalytics.com; Damien Sordelett, sports writer with the Danville (Va.) Register & Bee; Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com, and Rea White, NASCAR editor, FOXSports.com. They are joined by Brett Bodine, who is the chairman of the NASCAR Résumé Committee and represents the NASCAR competition side on the panel, and Jason Christley, a NASCAR public relations representative.
HUNTER INDEX - MAY
|1||CE FALK III (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why he’s here: He’s won everywhere he’s run this year with five wins and seven top fives in eight starts as he chases the Virginia and national championships.|
|2||GEORGE BRUNNHOELZL III (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour)|
|Why He’s Here: A pair of wins and a top 10 finish in all four races as gives the Long Island driver the points lead as he looks to defend his tour title.|
|3||DAVID MAYHEW (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West)|
|Why He’s Here: After kicking off the season with a win at Phoenix, he backed it up with a second at Havasu and leads the points heading to Stockton.|
|4||DUANE HOWARD (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Winning a national title running at one track is tough, but the Pennsylvania driver has shown the ability to contend. He was third overall two years ago.|
|5||RON SILK (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour)|
|Why He’s Here: The reigning tour champion kicked off the year with a win at Thompson and brought home a fourth-place run at Stafford.|
|6||GREG PURSLEY (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West)|
|Why He’s Here: Finding it impossible to match his incredibly hot start that netted him the series crown, he was 10th at Phoenix and fourth at Havasu before finding his way back to Victory Lane at Miller.|
|7||BRETT MOFFITT (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East)|
|Why He’s Here: The Grimes, Iowa, driver has success on the biggest stages. After a rough start at Bristol and a fourth at Greenville, Moffitt picked up the win at Richmond.|
|8||TONY PORTER (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Has rolled up four wins and five top fives at Greenville, holding off the challenges of veterans Marty Ward and Nate Monteith.|
|9||CHASE ELLIOTT (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East)|
|Why He’s Here: Missed out on the win at Richmond by .011 seconds, but the second-generation driver has three top 10s and the early-season points lead.|
|10||DEAC McCASKILL (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series)|
|Why He’s Here: Reopening Southern National has revived McCaskill's career. He's 4-for-5 there and has a win and third-place finish at South Boston.|