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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dan Alamaa enjoys racing at Pueblo, Colorado’s I-25 Speedway so much, he races in two different divisions.
In fact, he doesn’t just race in two different divisions, he dominates them.
This year marked the third straight season that Alamaa, 46, has won track championships in both the Division I Super Late Model and Division II Grand American Modified classes at the quarter-mile bullring.
“That’s pretty big for us,” said Alamaa, who earned his second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship at I-25 this year since the venue became NASCAR sanctioned in 2015. “The year started out with a bunch of feature wins. It was…I’m not going to say it was an easy year, but it was an event-free year. It was just a good, solid year for us.”
Thanks to five victories, Alamaa easily captured the Super Late Model track championship by more than 100 points over his closest rival, George Maldonado. The battle was a little tighter in the Grand American Modified class, where he won the title by only 80 points over Kyle Rayburn.
Racing in both classes kept Alamaa, who says he likely has more than one million laps at I-25, busy throughout the season. Both classes didn’t always race on the same night, but on nights that they did Alamaa found himself hustling between race cars during practice, qualifying and the features.
It’s not hard to imagine Alamaa being exhausted after a night of racing during the hot Colorado summers. Yet somehow he makes it all work in his favor.
“They both don’t run on the same nights every weekend, but they did for probably half the season,” Alamaa explained. “It’s pretty tough, especially in the Pueblo heat with the desert climate. It’s usually 100 or more degrees out. It takes a toll on not only me, but my crew, who are running around setting tires and making adjustments and such.
“Those people that call race car drivers not athletes, I’d like to see them do that once.”
Alamaa said it’s not as simple as climbing out of one car and into another. There is typically some mental adjustments that Alamaa says need to be made depending on which car he is racing. Each car drives differently and he has to remember that on his busy back-and-forth nights at I-25 Speedway.
“There is definitely some adjustment,” Alamaa said. “A Super Late Model compared to a Modified is like driving a taxi cab. Point and shoot and you pretty much go where you want it. Now a modified, having probably more horsepower and half the tire, you really have to have a finesse to it.
“I’ve been doing it so long I’m pretty use to it. But it does take a lap or two to kind of get in the groove and make sure you’re not diving in a corner in a Modified like you’re in a Super Late Model or you’re going to end up in the fence.”
This is the second year that Alamaa, who calls Colorado Springs, Colorado, home, has earned an invite to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Dec. 9 inside the Charlotte Convention Center. He says it’s not only a chance to celebrate, but also visit some friends who work in the NASCAR world in North Carolina.
“It’s a chance to be able to go to Charlotte and go to the awards ceremony, but also I have a bunch of friends from Colorado that actually work out there so it is a good time to go visit them,” Alamaa said. “They work on some Cup teams, Stewart-Haas, Joe Gibbs and Penske. It’s a good connection and I have a ball out there.
“It’s something that a lot of people from this area will not get to do in their lifetime simply because there are only two NASCAR tracks in this state (I-25 and Colorado National Speedway). It’s a big deal,” said Alamaa.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing.
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 are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
In addition to his success in the Super Late Model division, Dan Alamaa also won the Grand National Modified title at I-25 Speedway in Colorado. Sam Sgambati