Jason Romero has always been confident he could contend for a championship, but financial circumstances as a college student have always kept that realization just out of reach.
Until this season.
The 25-year-old Cameron Park, Calif., driver is set to graduate from Sacramento State in the spring with a double-major in business finance and business risk management & insurance, but it’s been the financial support he’s received racing in the Late Model division at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., that has him even closer to his racing goal.
With two race weekends remaining – and a total of four races – Romero leads the division standings by 69 points. He’s also second to Nick Joanides of Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series California state championship standings, and Romero’s sweep of the twin features this past weekend has moved him up to seventh in the national standings.
“I can’t wait; it’s getting down to the end,” said Romero. “It’s been a long season, but I’ve been real fortunate. I’ve gotten a lot of help from a lot of people. It’s amazing how many people have come together to help me.”
Philip Morris of Ruckersville, Va., maintained his overall points lead with 829 points as the Late Model division had the weekend off at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.,
Keith Rocco of Wallingford, Conn., is in second at 801. He failed to make up ground with a fourth-place finish at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway and a seventh-place at the Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl
Bill Leighton of Omaha, Neb., closed ground on Rocco with a win at I-80 Speedway in Omaha and is now just two points out of second with 799. Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., won at Thompson to boost his points total up to 756. Marty Ward of Marietta, S.C., is fifth with 731 after a third- and fourth-place at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.
Joanides, who also did not race this past weekend, dropped to sixth with 727 points. He lost 16 points due to a corrected race report with a revised car count for the twin features issued from Toyota Speedway following last week’s points release.
While Joanides is still one shy of the 18-race mark – a driver’s top 18 finishes are counted toward U.S. state and Canadian provincial championships and the overall NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title – Romero’s points total includes three seventh-place finishes that he can drop with better performances in the final week. It means the California championship may go down to the wire yet again.
For Romero to be even in this position is something he’s felt he could accomplish with the right assistance.
“I knew I always had the potential,” Romero said. “We finally got our program to where we could show what we could do.”
Romero credits family friend Brett Parker of Folsom Lake Asphalt and Tom Peterson of A-All Mini Storage for coming on board this year and supplying the finances to get him a new motor and new tires each week. And when things looked bleakest, following a wreck in July that left him with a totaled race car and wondering whether the season was over, Tim Sproul of Total Monitoring Services in Sacramento stepped in and wrote him a check to get the car fixed.
“I have never met him before,” Romero said. “We were pretty much done. Being a college student, I couldn’t afford it.
“It’s a dream come true these guys letting me do what I love to do week in and week out.”
Romero said none of it would be possible without his father, Mark, who has been a championship crew chief at All American for more than two decades.
“He’s the heart and soul of that car,” Romero said.
And now Romero is in position to drive it to a championship.
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 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 Philip Morris Motor Mile Speedway 25 9 18 21 829
2 Keith Rocco Waterford Speedbowl 39 12 26 30 801
3 Bill Leighton, Jr I-80 Speedway 28 9 26 26 799
4 Ted Christopher Stafford Motor Speedway 24 8 16 21 756
5 Marty Ward Greenville Pickens Speedway 23 13 21 21 731
6 Nick Joanides Toyota Speedway At Irwindale 17 11 17 17 727
7 Jason Romero All American Speedway 25 10 15 22 708
8 Matt Buller I-80 Speedway 27 5 13 24 703
9 Andy Eckrich Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway 35 6 29 32 692
10 C E Falk, Iii Langley Speedway 20 8 16 17 688
11 Steve Robblee Delaware Speedway 17 6 14 15 686
12 Ron Sheridan Delaware Speedway 17 3 14 15 681
13 Roger Powell Greenville-Pickens Speedway 23 4 20 23 664
14 Jeff Strunk Grandview Speedway 18 2 11 15 664
15 Woody Pitkat Thompson International Speedway 24 1 14 19 661
16 Andrew Kosiski I-80 Speedway 28 3 13 25 659
17 Mike Wallace I-80 Speedway 28 1 17 25 659
18 Les Siebert I-80 Speedway 28 1 13 23 653
19 Tommy Lemons, Jr Motor Mile Speedway 25 3 9 14 643
20 Jeff Larson Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway 23 6 15 21 642
21 Frank Deiny, Jr Motor Mile Speedway 16 1 14 15 641
22 Gary Glenn All American Speedway 25 3 13 20 637
23 Nick Smith South Boston Speedway 24 5 12 16 631
24 John Moore All American Speedway 25 3 16 21 627
25 Duane Howard Grandview Speedway 18 2 10 14 610