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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Naima Lang’s road to the dual NASCAR Whelen All-American Series titles was tougher than ever in 2012. He captured his fourth NASCAR track and state championships in five years at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash.
Lang, 42, of Lynnwood, Wash., said increasing car counts and competition were a big factor in a closer point race in 2012. He also said some luck just didn’t break in his favor during the season. He won four features in 2012 compared to 11 in 2011.
“We had to work a little harder in 2012,” Lang said. “The car counts are promising. The drivers and the track are all on the same page rules-wise, and that’s made it easier for more drivers to stop in. The track went to a GM crate engine in about 2008 and that’s helped keep costs down and made it more affordable to race. Things are looking even better in 2013.”
Lang won the 2012 title by 62 points over Andy Sole, a much smaller margin than 2011 when he won by 231 points over Daniel Moore.
Evergreen Speedway includes two paved ovals. The big .646-mile track has long been known as “The Superspeedway of the West.” Part of its front straightaway is shared with a .375-mile oval. Most weekly divisions appear on both tracks over the course of a season. The big track is also a longtime prestigious stop for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
Lang races the same car, a five-year-old Victory Circle chassis, on both tracks.
“The car is pretty consistent so we only have minor changes to make between the two tracks,” Lang said. “I prefer the big track because there’s more speed. It’s a different mentality because you race yourself and you focus on the track. The shorter oval is a driver’s track where you muscle yourself around.
“We’ve been racing this car long enough to know what it needs every week on either track,” Lang said.
In addition to his four wins, Lang’s record for the season included eight top fives and 11 top 10s in 12 starts.
Lang began racing in 2003 when he bought the Street Stock from a driver for which he has been on the crew. He won the 2004 division championship and started driving Late Models part-time in 2005, then full-time a year later. His previous NASCAR Late Model track championships came in 2008-09 and 2011. His wife Jill competes occasionally in Street Stocks.
The Langs operate Lang Autosports car dealership which is also the race car’s primary sponsor. Jessie Jensen is crew chief and team members include Joe Reed, Big Al, Wayne Sagiao, and Jeff Johnson. NW Differential and deyounginc.com also support the effort.
Lang was honored in December for his track and state championships during the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
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.