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HISTORY: NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES

 

For more than 30 years, racing at short tracks throughout the country has provided the foundation for NASCAR. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series crowns champions at the track, state and national level.

This is NASCAR’s national championship program for short-track racing. Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering, a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting, is the series sponsor. More than 10,000 drivers compete at NASCAR-sanctioned short tracks throughout the U.S. and Canada each year.

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Larry Phillips earned five NASCAR Whelen All American Series championships, a record he held himself until Phillips Morris tied the mark in 2018.
  • The track champions are determined by local track points. A competitor does not have to be a track champion in order to win a state or national championship.
  • State/province champions are those competitors who accumulate the most NASCAR points at any NASCAR-sanctioned track within a state or province. Points will not transfer between states or provinces, but a competitor may compete for more than one championship in the same state or province.
  • The crowning of U.S. state and Canadian province champions resumed in 2007, continuing a NASCAR tradition of honoring the top drivers at the regional level that dates back to the earliest days of NASCAR. The list of NASCAR greats who have won state championships includes Richie Evans, Red Farmer, Ned Jarrett, Jerry Cook, Ralph Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Sterling Marlin, Harry Gant, Geoff Bodine and Jack Ingram, among others.
  • The national champion is the competitor who accumulates the highest total of NASCAR points. Drivers are able to compete at any NASCAR-sanctioned facility in North America. Points are recorded from January through the third week of September, before a champion is announced.
2018 Nascar Awards Charlotte
Phillip Morris (left) earned his fifth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship in 2018, and celebrated at NASCAR Awards Charlotte. His trophy was presented by Rick Alexander (right) of Whelen Engineering. (Rusty Jarrett/NKP)

FULL LIST: NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champions


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Lee Pulliam (pictured) has four NASCAR Whelen All American Series titles. (South Boston Speedway)

The new simplified point structure, which was introduced in 2007, features an “inverted” points format, with car counts affecting the amount of points a competitor receives. Points are awarded in ascending order with the last place car receiving two points, next-to-last receiving four, and then up through the field in two point increments. The race winner also earns two bonus points for a win and an additional three for a win from a starting position of 10th or worse. NASCAR uses a driver’s best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track within the state to determine the State Champion and the best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track in North America to determine the National Champion.

Just two drivers in history have earned five championships — Larry Phillips and Phillip Morris. Phillips won his five titles between eight years, spanning from his first in 1989 through his last in 1996. Morris recently tied Phillips for the most in history, after winning his record-tying fifth title in dominating fashion during the 2018 season. Morris won his titles through a 12-year period spanning from his first in 2006 through his most recent in 2018. Morris took a few years off and came back to successfully tie the record in his third season back behind the wheel.

Semora, North Carolina, driver Lee Pulliam has four championships, collecting his hardware from 2012-2017, including two straight titles to start his run in 2012 and 2013. Morris, Phillips and Pulliam stand as the only three drivers in the 37-year history to win more than one title.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II-V championship program determines support division national championships. These four national champions are decided in a similar fashion to the Division I national champion. NASCAR also honors a UNOH Youth Achievement Award winner nationally each year. The UNOH Youth Achievement Award is open to NASCAR drivers between the ages of 14-17 and drivers can accumulate points until their 18th birthday.

Throughout the season the top 500 feature division drivers are ranked nationally according to their NASCAR points. At the end of the season, each top 500 driver receives a certificate of recognition from NASCAR displaying their ranking.

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Marcello Rufrano, the 2018 UNOH Youth Achievement Award winner, celebrates one of six victories in the SK Light Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway. (Driscoll Motorsports Photography/Stafford Motor Speedway)

Beginning in 2009, NASCAR recognized the rookie of the year in each state and province, and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national rookie of the year.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, along with U.S. state and Canadian provincial champions, track champions and special award winners are honored at the season-ending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Banquet at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.

RECENT STANDINGS: DIVISION IDIVISION II | DIVISION III | DIVISION IV | DIVISION V | UNOH YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The local racing program was founded in 1982. Since its inception, the series has been a successful starting point for the careers of many top drivers. NASCAR stars Clint Bowyer, Jeff Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler, and many more, all began there careers at the short-track level.

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Joe Kosiski won the NASCAR Whelen All American Series national championship in 1986.