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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A 10 year racing veteran won his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship in 2012.
George Skora III, 27, of Eden, N.Y., captured the NASCAR Late Model title at Lake Erie Speedway, a .375-mile paved oval in North East, Pa.
Skora coveted the title for several years. He missed it by a single point to his brother-in-law Will Thomas in 2008.
“After we missed that championship by one finishing position, I’ve been motivated to win the title,” Skora said. “Will went on to win it three years in a row, then Glenn Gault Jr., won it in 2011.
“In years past we’ve started our seasons out slow,” Skora said. “This year we built a new Hamke race car and tested with it. We came out of the box hot, and won four in a row to start the season.”
Skora won the track championship with a record of five wins, 10 top fives and top 10s in all 11 starts. Adding four starts at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pa., he placed ninth in state NASCAR points with an overall tally of five wins, 14 top fives and top 10s in each of his 15 starts.
After the hot start, there was a cool down. It took a few races to diagnose issues with the car.
“At Lake Erie you run the middle and top grooves and pass on the bottom,” Skora said. “It wouldn’t stay on the bottom.
“We went all through the car after a wreck at another track and put it back together but it still wasn’t right. We back-tracked through it and found a bent right front shock. Once we fixed it, we ran second at Motordrome and then won the last race of the year at Lake Erie.”
Skora grew up going to races with his dad, George Jr., who won the 1985 Charger division championship at Holland (N.Y.) Motorsports Complex. He also raced Late Models there.
Skora III raced go-karts until age 15 when he moved to Super Stocks in 2000. He began his NASCAR Late Model career at Holland in 2001 and placed second to Mark Bliss in the 2006 track point race. He began focusing his efforts at Lake Erie in 2007.
A career highlight Skora enjoyed was winning a 100-lap Late Model feature over visiting driver Kyle Busch at Lake Erie in 2011.
“We ran door to door. I passed him on the outside and won. Kyle was driving the car Will Thomas won three championships with, and he arrived at the track ready to race. He sent a couple of his guys up early to get the car the way he likes it.”
Skora’s dad is his car owner and his crew chief is Karl Kruger. Team members include his fiancée Lisa Marie Kania and Tommy Winter.
Skora was honored in December for his track championship 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.