LIST COMMEMORATES 25 YEARS OF NASCAR WEEKLY RACING
Media Members Select The Top-25 Weekly Racers Of All Time
It takes talent, achievement and longevity to be considered one of the best performers in any racing series. In commemoration of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series’ 25th season in 2006, NASCAR and NASCAR Insider magazine named the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series All-Time Top 25 drivers this month.
The list spotlights drivers past and present, from several regions of the country, representing many tracks and a variety of race cars. Short track racing heroes Richie Evans, Larry Phillips and Ted Christopher received the most votes.
Originally from Rome, N.Y., Evans is still considered the greatest asphalt Modified racer in NASCAR history. Evans won four consecutive NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regional championships before his death in 1985.
Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., competes primarily in the asphalt Modified ranks around New England. Christopher won the 2001 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national title along with several track and regional championships
Richie Evans was one of the top vote getters when it came to the all-time best Weekly Racing Series drivers in NASCAR history.
The late Larry Phillips posted the greatest record in series history. His collection of five national championships has never been matched, and his decades-long racing career included more than 225 wins, over $1 million in winnings and championships at several different tracks across the Midwest.
Other drivers on the list include Midwestern dirt track stars Jeff Aikey and Ray Guss Jr., asphalt Late Model standouts Mike Love and Kevin Nuttleman, along with three drivers who have driven a variety of cars during their careers – Jerry Marquis, Jim Pettit II and Charles Powell III.
Others include Dale Planck, who raced dirt Modifieds in New York, and Junior Miller, known for his numerous track championships and years of success at North Carolina’s historic Bowman Gray Stadium.
Although a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship was not a prerequisite, several former national champions appear on the list along with Christopher and Phillips. They include North Carolina’s Barry Beggarly (1993 national champion), California’s Doug McCoun (1983) and Iowans Roger Dolan (1987) and Gary Webb (2000).
Brothers Ed, Joe and Steve Kosiski have won numerous championships and feature event wins. All three are included on the list. Ed and Joe also are former national champions.
Rounding out the list are six drivers who began their careers in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and graduated to NASCAR’s three national series. They are Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Mark McFarland, Robert Pressley and Dennis Setzer. McFarland also is former national champion, having won the title while racing at Virginia’s Old Dominion Speedway in 2003.
The results were produced from a poll of media members and track operators on www.nascarmedia.com. More than 120 media members and track operators participated in the voting.
A complete list of the All-Time Top 25 drivers follows.
Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls, Iowa – Won 13 track championships … 2001 NDWS regional champion, driving Dirt Late Models at Farley (Iowa) Speedway, Dubuque (Iowa) Fairgrounds Speedway and other tracks.
Barry Beggarly, Pelham, N.C. – 1993 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion ... Two-time regional champion … 1993 title was closest in series history; Beggarly and Dennis Setzer ended the season tied in points, but Beggarly had recorded one more second-place finish, winning the championship under NASCAR’s tie-breaking rules.
Greg Biffle, Vancouver, Wash. – Two-time track champion at the former Portland (Ore.) Speedway and Tri City Raceway in Washington … Runner-up for 1995 NDWS Regional championship … From 1994-96, Biffle recorded 54 Late Model wins and 67 top-five finishes in 98 starts.
Clint Bowyer, Emporia, Kan. – Won his first track championship in 2001, then came back to win two more in 2002 – one on dirt and another on asphalt in the same season … 2002 NDWS Regional champion.
Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn. – 2001 NDWS national champion … Two-time NDWS Regional champion … 10-time track champion at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut … Routinely competes in 85-95 races per year, at short tracks across the Northeast.
Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa – 1987 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion … Won nine Dirt Late Model track championships in a five-year span from 1983-87, at four race tracks.
Richie Evans, Rome, N.Y. – Won four consecutive NDWS Northeast Region titles from 1982-84, while
competing at tracks including Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y., and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway … Inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame, in Darlington, S.C., in 1986, and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, in Talladega, Ala., in 1996 .. Named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill. – Won 10 track championships between 1989- 2004 … Four-time NDWS Regional champion … Has more than 300 career victories in Dirt Late Model competition.
Denny Hamlin, Chesterfield, Va. – Won more than 50 feature races from 1997-2004 … Youngest driver to win NASCAR Mini Stock track championship at Langley Speedway (age 16) … 2003 Late Model track champion at Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C. … Won pole for 2003 Bailey’s 300 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Ed Kosiski, Ralston, Neb. –1998 NDWS national champion with 16 wins in 18 starts at his home track …Second of the three Kosiski brothers to win national title … Has 14 career track championships and more than 200 Dirt Late Model feature wins.
Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb. – 1986 NDWS national champion … Four-time NDWS Regional champion … Won 16 track championships and recorded more than 400 feature wins … Finished in the top 10 of the NDWS Regional/Divisional standings on 19 occasions, including 18 consecutive top-10 appearances from 1985-2002.
Roger Dolan was the man to beat in Iowa.
Ted Christopher will drive anything, anywhere.
Steve Kosiski, Papillion, Neb. – Won 1985 NDWS Regional championship ... Won nine track championships at five tracks, from 1986-99.
Mike Love, Pendergrass, Ga. – Two-time NDWS regional champion (1987 and ’92) … Won 10 track championships from 1986-96, including six at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga. … When he won his second regional title in ’92, Love actually tied national champion Larry Phillips in points earned, but lost a tie-breaker; Phillips had more feature wins that season.
Jerry Marquis, Broad Brook, Conn. – Won multiple track championships \ in several different classes, at the former Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass., Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. and Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn. … Two-time NDWS Regional champion in 1991 and ’99.
Doug McCoun, Prunedale, Calif. – Won his first Watsonville (Calif.) Speedway track championship in 1975, at age 18 … After the Dodge Weekly Series was established in 1982, became the first California driver to win the national championship in 1985, and followed-up that national title with a regional championship in ’86 … Has more than 125 feature wins.
Mark McFarland, Winchester, Va. – Won more than 90 feature races throughout the Southeast region … Won the 2003 NDWS national championship and the richest payout in series history, at $213,500 … A portion of his record point fund award included a $25,000 bonus from Dodge, as he drove to the national title in a Dodge Intrepid Late Model … Was the first Virginian to win the national championship, the third-youngest driver to win the title at age 25, and the first asphalt Late Model Stock Car driver to claim the title since ‘97.
Junior Miller, Pine Hall, N.C. – Over 150 career wins, including 62 victories at Bowman Gray Stadium, NASCAR’s longest-running weekly track … Five-time Bowman Gray track champion (1990, 1992, 1993, 2000 and 2003) … Voted Bowman Gray’s “Most Popular Driver” by the fans in 1999 and 2000, and 2004.
Kevin Nuttleman, Bangor, Wis. – Nine-time Late Model track champion at LaCrosse (Wis.) Fairgrounds Speedway … Won 1989 NDWS Regional title in 1989 and a Divisional championship in 2005 … First driver to win NDWS championships in the old “regional” format, which was in place from 1982-2004, and the new “divisional” format established in 2005.
Jim Pettit II, Prunedale, Calif. – From 1987-2000, Pettit claimed six track championships on dirt and asphalt tracks … Was a pioneer in the Dodge Weekly Series, winning a regional title in 1984 after recording 10 victories; competed in 91 feature races that season.
Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo. – Only driver to win five NDWS national championships (1989, ‘91, ’92, ’95 and ’96) … From 1989-99, Phillips recorded 220 wins, 257 top-five finishes and 268 top-10 finishes in 284 starts … During final national championship years in ’95-96, Phillips won 32 of 40 races in ’95, and 26 of 36 races in ’96 … Won 13 track championships at three tracks, including both dirt and asphalt tracks.
Dale Planck, Homer, N.Y. – Won three consecutive NDWS Regional championships in 1994-96, all by his 26th birthday … Won 42 feature races and six track championships during three-year championship span, which saw him competing in Dirt Modifieds in Fulton, N.Y. and Vernon, N.Y.
Charles Powell III, Goose Creek, S.C. – Won his first NDWS Regional championship in 1985, at the age of 21, while racing Dirt Late Models at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Savannah, Ga. and the former Summerville (S.C.) Speedway … Captured a second regional title in ’98, this time in asphalt Late Model Stock Cars at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway … In ‘98 he won 13 races in 19 starts … Won seven track championships during his career.
Robert Pressley, Asheville, N.C. – Won two consecutive NDWS regional titles in 1987-88 … Won three track championships while racing Late Model Stock Cars in Asheville, N.C. and other tracks.
Dennis Setzer, Newton, N.C. – Over 168 career victories in NASCAR Late Model competition … Five track championships, at Hickory (N.C.) Speedway (1983), Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. (1988-90) and Wake County Speedway (1990) … Finished second to Barry Beggarly in closest-ever margin for NDWS national championship in 1993.
Gary Webb, Blue Grass, Iowa – 2000 NDWS national
champion … Two-time regional champion … Has raced Dirt Late Models at several NASCAR-sanctioned short tracks across the Midwest, winning nine track championships: Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway (four), Peoria Speedway (two), and one each at Farley Speedway, West Liberty Raceway and Grant Co. Speedway … 2000 national championship season included 16 wins in 18 starts at Dubuque.
Junior Miller is still winning races.
Robert Pressley's track championship at Greenville (SC) got his name on the wall.