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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Consistent performance helped Todd Korish reach one of the highest rungs in Midwestern pavement Late Model competition.
Korish, 39, of Holmen, Wis., won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Wisconsin state championship and Late Model track championship at LaCrosse (Wis.) Fairgrounds Speedway. He is in his 12th year of driving Late Models.
“This is something I always wanted to accomplish, but I knew it would take a while at this level of competition,” Korish said. “I raced with (1989 and 2005 regional champion) Kevin Nuttleman, (2004 regional champion) Charlie Menard, and (2007 national champion) Steve Carlson and plenty of other great drivers. Until this year, the closest we came was last year when we lost to J. Herbst by 17 points.”
In his rookie year in Late Models at LaCrosse in 2000, Korish debuted at 12th in division points while Nuttleman won his seventh of 10 NASCAR track championships.
This year Korish won the track title by 18 points over 2010 champion Shawn Pfaff. He won the state title by just six points over Pfaff.
Korish has won his share of feature races at LaCrosse, but ironically won none this year, in a season where he earned his first title.
“I’m the first Late Model driver in the history of LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway to take the championship without winning a race,” Korish said. “I won a feature last year, but I had more top fives and top 10s this year.”
Pfaff was also winless in 2012. Third place driver Herbst won four features, but had three less top 10s than either Korish or Pfaff.
“We won with consistency,” Korish said. “He and Pfaff each had 12 top fives and 17 top 10s in 17 starts.
Korish is a 17-year racing veteran, having started out in Thunderstox at LaCrosse in 1995. He moved up to the Sportsman division in 1996. After he won the Sportsman championship in 1999, he advanced to Late Models the following year.
Korish will be honored for his track and state championships at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event. The ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“J. [Herbst] told me about what goes on during banquet week and he said it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Based on the fact I don’t have to give a speech, I’m looking forward to it. J. said the whole event is unbelievable. My wife Kim and the whole crew are going. Everyone’s excited. I think it’s all been worth it to win these championships.”
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.