Two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers won their state NASCAR championships for a third consecutive year – Virginia’s Philip Morris and Colorado’s Bruce Yackey. They are among the 28 U.S. state and Canadian province champions for 2009.
Morris, 44, of Ruckersville, Va., also won his second consecutive and third overall NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship in 2009. Morris competed at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., and South Boston (Va.) Speedway in 2009. Yackey, 43, of Greeley, Colo., scored his sixth career track championship at Colorado National Speedway near Denver. Both compete at their respective tracks in the Late Model division.
Eight other drivers were able to repeat their 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state or province championships in 2009.
Erica Thiering, Alberta, Canada (Edmonton International Raceway);
Dave Haworth, British Columbia, Canada (SunValley Speedway);
Keith Rocco, Connecticut (Waterford Speedbowl, Thompson International Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway);
Bill Leighton Jr., Nebraska (I-80 Speedway and Junction Motor Speedway);
Jeff Strunk, Pennsylvania (Grandview Speedway);
Jonathan Bouvrette, Quebec, Canada (Autodrome St. Eustache);
Marty Ward, South Carolina (Greenville Pickens Speedway);
Naima Lang, Washington (Evergreen Speedway).
Andy Eckrich of Iowa City, Iowa, who races at Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway, Farley Speedway and West Liberty Raceway, won the Iowa NASCAR state championship for the second time in three years in 2009.
The crowning of champions in a state or province continues a tradition of honoring the best short-track racers which dates back to the earliest days of NASCAR. Former state champions include Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett, Richie Evans, Red Farmer, Ralph Earnhardt, Harry Gant and Jack Ingram. NASCAR resumed the format in 2007.
This year, 16 drivers earned their first NASCAR state/province championship including:
Nick Joanides, California (Toyota Speedway at Irwindale);
Richie Davis, Arizona (Thunder Raceway);
Paul Antley, Georgia (Lanier National Speedway);
Ricky Bilderback, Illinois (Rockford Speedway);
Mark Underwood, Louisiana (Monroe Motor Speedway);
Mike Rowe, Maine (Beech Ridge Motor Speedway);
Terry Senneker, Michigan (Kalamazoo Speedway);
Adam Royle, Minnesota (Raceway Park);
Philip Baril Jr., New Hampshire (Lee USA Speedway);
Jeffrey Connors, Nevada (The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway);
John Fortin, New York (Riverhead Raceway);
Travis Swaim, North Carolina (Caraway Speedway),
Donnie Hill, Ohio (Columbus Motor Speedway);
Steve Roblee, Ontario, Canada (Delaware Speedway);
Reese Coffee, South Dakota (Park Jefferson Speedway);
Kevin Nuttleman, Wisconsin (LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway).
All 28 state and province champions will be honored Friday, Nov. 13 at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet at the Concord (N.C.) Convention Center along with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, track champions and special award winners.
Since its inception, NASCAR’s national short-track racing series has served as a springboard in the careers of many top drivers. NASCAR stars Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers all began their careers racing their local short tracks.