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Partridge Set For Irwindale Opener

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ryan Partridge believes his racing program was just hitting stride late last season en route to his first NASCAR late model track championship at Irwindale (Calif.) Event Center.

“I know our program was getting good at the end of last year,” Partridge said.

A lot of teams spent the 2013 season adjusting their set-ups to match changes in the half-mile paved oval’s surface. Teams discovered their race car handling characteristics differed after a year of inactivity at the track in 2012 due to an ownership change.

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Smith Carries Momentum Into 2014

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  — Rusty Smith has a lot of momentum entering the 2014 season at Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y. He’ll be focused on working to build another championship season in owner-crew chief Gregg Frutchey’s Sunoco Modified.

“We’ve got the same goal as we did starting out last year, to repeat the championship,” Smith said.

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Three Generations To Race At CNS

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Three generations of a prominent Colorado NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing family are planning to meet in competition for the first time this year. Their NASCAR Home Track, Colorado National Speedway, is one of 31 NASCAR weekly tracks scheduled to open in April.

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Woody Pitkat Shuffles Four Team Lineup

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Woody Pitkat begins 2014 with two new teams in his four-team collaboration.

Pitkat, 34, of Stafford, Conn., won his long-sought first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified track championship at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2013. He won the title by just two points over Ryan Preece. Preece, 23, of Berlin, Conn., won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.

This year Pitkat hopes to take his two new teams to their first victories in NASCAR competition.

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Wiltrout A Two-Time Motordrome Champ

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Garry Wiltrout’s priority is winning races. He’d rather chase race wins than points.

Wiltrout won his second NASCAR Late Model track championship at Motordrome Speedway in 2013. With 62 career Motordrome feature wins, he’s ready to continue his quest to increase that total.

“I’m out to win every race we can,” Wiltrout said. “That’s hard to do if you’re point racing.”

Wiltrout, 49, of Somerset, Pa., is a mainstay at the half-mile paved oval in Smithton, Pa. He won his first title there in 2002.

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Tenn. Gov. Haslam Congratulates Finchum

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam congratulated Chad Finchum on his 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championship recently.

Finchum, 19, of Knoxville, won the NASCAR state championship and late model track title at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway and visited the governor’s office on March 12.

“It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Finchum said. “Gov. Haslam was an extremely nice guy and it was an honor to meet him. We shook hands and he congratulated us on the state championship. We’d like to be able to do it again.”

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Maine Governor Commends NASCAR Veteran

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The elder-statesman of 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state champions visited his state’s governor recently.

Mike Rowe, 63, of Turner, Me., was congratulated on his title by Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage at the State House in Augusta, Mar. 10. Rowe won the state championship and NASCAR Pro Series track title at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, a third-mile paved oval in Scarborough, Me.

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Lake Erie Champ Wylie Has Ambitious Plans

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Second generation driver Scott Wylie plans an ambitious schedule for 2014. 

Wylie, 30, of Derby, N.Y., won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified championship at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa., claiming the Lake Erie title by just four points over Randy Culver. The championship was a huge rebound from 2012 when he totaled his Late Model at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pa.

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Kimball Visits New Hampshire Gov. Hassan

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bill Kimball Jr. is prepared for the season opening Spring Dash event at Monadnock Speedway on April 19, but he recently topped off his 2013 track and state championship celebrations in Concord, N.H. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan personally congratulated Kimball on his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state title.

Kimball won his fourth NASCAR Sportsman Modified track championship at Monadnock in Winchester, N.H., in 2013. He also picked up points in five Small Block Supermodified division starts at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway.

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Ohio Gov., State Champ Make Exchange

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ohio Governor John R. Kasich and 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state champion Bobby Justus exchanged more than pleasantries in the governor’s office last month.

Gov. Kasich invited Justus to his downtown Columbus office on Feb. 7 to congratulate the driver on his first NASCAR state championship. By the time the visit concluded, Justus had a leather-bound state Resolution of Congratulations from Kasich, and the governor had Justus’ Whelen All-American Series Ohio state championship trophy on display in his office lobby.

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