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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Adam Royle cut his longtime racing schedule in half this year, and still got a championship result.
Royle, 31, of Lonsdale, Minn., won his third NASCAR state championship in Minnesota despite the 50 percent reduction from his past racing schedule. Typically, Royle and a lot of other NASCAR Late Model drivers compete at Elko (Minn.) Speedway on Saturday nights and Raceway Park in Shakopee, Minn., on Sunday evenings. Royle stepped back from Sunday racing this year.
Economics and a young family forced Royle, an owner-driver into choosing one track. Despite running fewer races, he believed he could still have a chance to win the state title.
“We focused on one car and one track this year and did the best we could,” Royle said. “We averaged 21 cars a week at Elko; so we had plenty of competition. We finished in the top 10 in national points and that’s pretty awesome.”
Royle placed ninth in national standings. His state championship winning record includes seven wins, 16 top fives and 18 top 10s in 18 starts.
Despite Royle’s success in the state and national standings, the Elko Speedway track championship eluded him. Donnie Reuvers won that title for a ninth time over Matthew Goede and Royle. Reuvers and Royle are now tied with three state championships each.
“The one thing left that I haven’t done is win an Elko championship,” Royle said. “I race better than I qualify, and they give track points for qualifying and preliminary races. I am going to have to make the car better in qualifying and then take care of it in the feature.”
Even with weekly time trials, feature event line ups are still determined by random draw and Royle frequently started features outside the top 10.
“That makes you work extra hard and be extra careful,” Royle said. “You have to use your head and pick your moves. I know it puts on an exciting show for the fans.”
Royal began his racing career in the Sportsman division at Elko at age 15 in 1996. Two years later he advanced to Late Models. It took about 10 years to win his first track championship at Raceway Park. His first title there came in 2008 and opened the floodgates of success. He won three consecutive track titles 2008-10. His previous state championships were in 2009 and 2011.
Royle’s dad Jarry is his crew chief. Crew members include Mike Heiserling and Bob Zellinger. Royle’s Ford race car is based on a Pathfinder chassis and powered by a B&B racing engine. Other sponsors include Pirtek and Impact Printing.
Royle will be honored for his state championship at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event. The ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 were 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.