Rocco Stays In Front of NASCAR WAAS Pack
Florida's Wilson Is Finding Success In Year One
Like many aspiring race car drivers, David Wilson’s career path has led him to North Carolina as he looks to move up the NASCAR ladder. The 20-year-old Sarasota, Fla., native had success running Super Late Models in his home state before moving to the Tar Heel State this year.

In his first year running a Late Model in NASCAR, Wilson has found success running on a weekly basis at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C., and Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He’s won three times and sits second in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina state championship standings.

Wilson is also 18th overall in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings and is the leading contender for the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award presented by Jostens.

“We’ve been doing pretty well,” said Wilson of running with Lee Falk Racing. “I’m very pleased with our effort this year. I didn’t expect to do as well as we are – I’m very fortunate.

“You don’t get a lot of notice in Florida. North Carolina is definitely the place to be.”

Connecticut’s Keith Rocco picked up another win at the Waterford Speedbowl this past Saturday – his eighth win overall – to continue to lead the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings with 728 points.

Defending champion Philip Morris of Virginia was 14th at South Boston (Va.) Speedway to remain second with 671 points. Iowa’s Andy Eckrich won for the second time in as many weeks – taking the checkered flag at Dubuque Fairgrounds Sunday in the only race he ran over the weekend – to solidify his hold on third with 616 points.

Nebraska’s Bill Leighton Jr. and Virginia’s CE Falk III round out the top five with 540 and 537 points, respectively.

Nick Joanides, who has eight wins in 11 starts at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) is ninth overall and leads the nation with a 44.7 points per race average. Rocco is second among drivers with 10 or more starts with a 40.4 average, followed by Morris at 39.5.

Wilson was as high as 10th following a win and a third place in double features at Tri-County on June 19. After a 15th-place run at Hickory the following week, he’s bounced back with a fifth and a third at Tri-County, where he’s second in points.

The most recent finish came in the Firecracker 150. Wilson had a late shot at the win, but following contact with the leader on a green-white-checkered finish, he lost a spot.

It’s been quite a transition from racing Super Late Models in Florida for Wilson, who got his start running go-karts when he was 8.

“They’re quite different,” Wilson said. “With Super Late Models, you can throw them down in the corner and motor your way out of the hole. The momentum part of it doesn’t really carry as much; the Late Model Stock is really a different game. There’s a lot of different things you have to adapt to.

“I’m not going to lie, I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it turned out to be.”

One of the biggest things working in his favor is the team. Wilson goes to work at the shop on a daily basis.

“We just hit it off,” Wilson said. “You don’t get that satisfaction that comes from winning a race anywhere in the world. And there’s nothing better than, after a race or a long weekend, being around your team. They’re my second family.”

The deadline for races to count toward NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state and national championship points is Sunday, Sept. 13. The final points standings are scheduled to be released Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Track, state and province, and the national champion earn invitations to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet in Concord, N.C., Friday, Nov. 13. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion also earns a secure spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, to be held at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) Jan. 29-30, 2010.

Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner will receive two points for every car in the event up to 23 cars. Second place will receive two fewer points, and so-on through the field. For example, if there are 23 cars, the winner receives 46 points, second gets 44 and third 42. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 30 points, second gets 28 and third 26. Race winners receive an additional five bonus points.

       National Top 500 NASCAR Point Leaders

       Pos     Driver  Track   Starts  Wins    T-5     T-10    Points

       1       Keith Rocco     Waterford Speedbowl     20      8       15      16      728
       2       Philip Morris   Motor Mile Speedway     17      7       13      14      671
       3       Andy Eckrich    Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway    20      2       16      17      616
       4       Bill Leighton, Jr       I-80 Speedway   15      4       13      13      540
       5       C E Falk, III   Langley Speedway        15      5       12      13      537
       6       Jake Meier      Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway    19      1       6       14      505
       7       Marty Ward      Greenville-Pickens Speedway     14      10      12      12      498
       8       Anthony Anders  Greenville-Pickens Speedway     20      1       14      18      493
       9       Nick Joanides   Toyota Speedway At Irwindale    11      8       11      11      492
       10      Tommy Lemons, Jr        Motor Mile Speedway     18      3       7       8       491
       11      Les Siebert     I-80 Speedway   15      0       8       13      478
       12      Nick Smith      South Boston Speedway   17      3       8       11      473
       13      Matt Buller     I-80 Speedway   15      2       6       13      470
       14      Roger Powell    Greenville-Pickens Speedway     14      2       13      14      466
       15      Dexter Canipe, Jr       Tri-County Motor Speedway       22      4       16      19      458
       16      Mike Wallace    I-80 Speedway   15      0       10      13      458
       17      Jeff Larson     Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway    14      4       9       13      456
       18      David Wilson--R Tri-County Motor Speedway       22      3       14      19      455
       19      Jason Romero    All American Speedway   14      4       9       13      442
       20      Vito Ranuio     The New Stockton 99 Speedway    20      4       9       16      434
       21      Ryan Wilson     Caraway Speedway        21      0       4       16      434
       22      Adam Royle      Elko Speedway   18      5       17      18      433
       23      John Hightower  Greenville-Pickens Speedway     14      1       11      13      433
       24      Will Thomas, III        Lake Erie Speedway      16      3       11      12      431
       25      Jeff Strunk     Grandview Speedway      11      2       7       10      422

Keith Rocco  (Jim Dupont Photo)