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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Todd Sherman staged a come-from-behind surge in 2012 to win his third consecutive NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship.
Sherman, 48, of Churubusco, Ind., won the NASCAR K&N Modified division title at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio. It was his fourth Modified title at the quarter-mile clay oval. Facing some of the toughest competition of his career, he expects Limaland to remain his Friday night NASCAR Home Track.
Sherman battled in races and point standings with longtime friend and rival Terry Hull throughout the summer. The championship outcome wasn’t certain until the final feature race of the season. It is a familiar scenario between the two.
“Terry and I have had close races for the Limaland championship for 10 years,” Sherman said. “Three years ago we tied in points at the end of the season, and I won in the tie-breaker which was number of feature wins.”
Hull is also a customer of Sherman’s “Team SE” (Sherman Enterprises), a chassis manufacturer, race car repair shop and high performance products distributor. Sherman is a sponsor on Hull’s car.
“Terry led the points for most of the season. I won several features late in the year and closed the gap.”
Sherman’s record for the year included six wins, 12 top fives and 13 top 10s in 14 starts.
A mid-season pivot helped Sherman’s cause. A gear broke in his car and while slowing he was collected in an accident. The car was not immediately repairable. He had to reach for an untried back-up car.
“We built a brand new car over the winter that hadn’t been raced,” Sherman said. “I was nervous about bringing it out. As an experiment, I built the car with a lift bar (suspension) instead of a pull bar. I didn’t know what to expect.
“As a driver, you try to make as few mistakes as possible because every mistake is a lost position. I found out the lift bar set-up was very forgiving. If I wasn’t perfect on entry, I could make up for it standing on the gas exiting the corner. We won the first three nights out with that car.”
During this off season Sherman sold less than his average 10 new dirt Modified chassis, with customers opting to repair and update current cars. A popular update is lift bar installation. Team SE chassis are found in competition throughout Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, and a couple of his friends are racing them in Montana.
Sherman’s race car is owned by Steve Adams. Sherman and his wife Joyce have two sons. Braden, 16, is his crew chief. Son Brennan, 17, is videographer and spotter. Both are members of the Cornerstone Christian School varsity basketball team. Team members include Mike Fetters and Chris Maybe. Sponsors include Fricke’s Restaurant, The Orchard Tree Restaurant, Stephens and Hall Racing Engines, All Pro Towing, Pro Shocks, Hyper coils, Pro Strip, and teamSE.com Chassis.
For the second consecutive year, Sherman’s Limaland championship won an invitation to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“We didn’t realize what a big deal the Charlotte banquet was in 2011, so when we went again in December we went early so we could do more,” Sherman said. “If we get to go again, we’ll take a whole week.”
Based on his Charlotte experience in 2011, he knew his way around in December. With his crew, he toured the Stewart-Haas race shop and then visited with longtime friend and fellow Hoosier Todd Ziegler, now car chief for Ryan Newman. He also stopped into one of his suppliers, Irvan-Smith Inc., in Concord to pick up gussets. There he met 1991 Daytona 500 winner Ernie Irvan, who visited with Sherman’s group. He also stopped in the see another Indiana racing friend David Stremme, who is principal driver for the newly formed Swan Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Sherman’s group also toured Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“That was just a really cool trip,” Sherman said. “It was a special experience.”
A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 counted toward their states and national point totals, and
the champions are decided on overall point total. Once a driver reaches 18 starts, their total would increase incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results.
Under the point 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 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.