CE Falk III has new motivation.
The 22-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va., was excited about the news Tuesday that the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet will be held in December at the newly-opened Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“I want to be the first national champion crowned at the Hall of Fame – that’ll be pretty cool,” Falk said. “I’m going to put that on my dashboard.”
Falk has put himself in championship conversation with two more asphalt Late Model wins this past Saturday at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. It gives him three wins and five top fives in the past six races and he jumped from 13th last week to eighth in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points.
“It’s still early to talk about points, but this is when the Cup guys say championships are made,” Falk said.
Rocco, of Wallingford, Conn., continues to lead the nation with 710 points. He picked up a pair of fourth-place finishes in Connecticut this past weekend in his asphalt Modified, Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway and Saturday at Waterford Speedbowl.
Craig Preble, of Yutan, Neb., is second with 577 points. He won in the dirt crate Late Model division at I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Neb., Sunday and was third at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., Saturday.
Bill Leighton Jr. (502 points) and Matt Buller (473), who race against Preble at the two Nebraska tracks, are third and fourth in the national standings with 502 and 473 points, respectively. Buller earned his third win of the season at Junction.
Justin Johnson dropped to fifth as his home track, South Boston (Va.) Speedway, did not race this past weekend. Johnson has 451 points.
A driver’s best 18 results are counted toward their state and national points totals, and the champions are decided on overall points total.
Rocco is the first driver to run 18 races, meaning his points total will increase only if he replaces the worst of his previous races with a better finish. Other drivers still have the opportunity to make sizable increases in their totals until they reach the 18-race mark.
Marty Ward and Toby Porter, of Greenville Pickens (S.C.) Speedway, are sixth and seventh, respectively. Falk is eighth, followed by Duane Ward of Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa., and two-time defending national champion Philip Morris of Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
Morris won for the fourth time in 10 starts this past Saturday.
Ironically, it was a non-NASCAR victory that has sparked Falk’s latest surge.
In a charity race at Southside Speedway in Midlothian, Va., in April, Falk out-dueled a number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, including race host Denny Hamlin and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, for the win. Falk got the best of Hamlin in the green-white-checkered finish in a classic short-track battle.
“It was probably one of the most incredible experiences in my lifetime,” said Falk, who had never raced the track prior to his win. “These guys I watch on Sunday, and to know ‘wow, I can do this,’ just gave me the confidence going through the rest of the season.”
Since that win on April 30, Falk has been on a tear at Langley.
“That’s really given the team the push going into these summer months,” Falk said. “A lot of people took notice of that race. But we can’t say, ‘that’s our big thing of the year and our season’s over.’ We have to keep topping it.”
Falk has a good base to build off of. He had 12 wins last year. He finished seventh in the nation and second behind Morris in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Virginia state standings. He’s currently second in Virginia behind Johnson.
Falk lives in Charlotte, having graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte last month with a degree in business management. Between races at Langley, he’s tutoring 16-year-old Eric Gunderson of San Diego in the Legends car Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“There’s a lot of people that helped me get where I am,” Falk said. “I’m just trying to give him what I’ve experienced.”
He hopes that includes being on the big stage in December at the Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner received two points for every car in the event up to 20. Second place received two fewer points, and so-on through the field. Race winners received an additional five bonus points. For example, if there are 20 cars, the winner received 45 points, second gets 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner received 35 points, second gets 28 and third 26.
Track, state and provincial champions and the top three finishers in the national standings earn invitations to the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet. The winner of the national championship will also earn a secure spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
National Top 500 NASCAR Points Leaders
Pos Driver Track Starts Wins T-5 T-10 Points
1 Keith Rocco Waterford Speedbowl 18 10 15 18 710
2 Craig Preble I-80 Speedway 15 11 15 15 577
3 Bill Leighton, Jr I-80 Speedway 16 0 14 16 502
4 Matt Buller I-80 Speedway 15 3 12 15 473
5 Justin T Johnson South Boston Speedway 12 7 10 12 451
6 Marty Ward Greenville-Pickens Speedway 12 5 12 12 357
7 Toby Porter Greenville-Pickens Speedway 12 5 11 11 353
8 C E Falk, Iii Langley Speedway 10 4 7 9 342
9 Duane Howard Grandview Speedway 9 1 8 9 323
10 Philip Morris Motor Mile Speedway 10 4 7 8 322
11 Travis Swaim Caraway Speedway 12 4 10 12 320
12 Tommy Lemons, Jr Motor Mile Speedway 11 1 4 8 301
13 Adam Royle Raceway Park 14 6 11 13 298
14 Ted Christopher Thompson Intl Speedway 10 2 6 8 294
15 Mark Bakaj Waterford Speedbowl 14 1 4 6 285
16 Greg Edwards Langley Speedway 8 1 8 8 283
17 Micah Veleba I-80 Speedway 15 0 2 9 280
18 Woody Howard Langley Speedway 9 0 7 8 278
19 Woody Pitkat Stafford Motor Speedway 10 1 3 9 277
20 Ron Yuhas, Jr Waterford Speedbowl 8 0 7 8 274
21 Jeremy Burns Greenville-Pickens Speedway 13 0 8 12 270
22 Danny Edwards, Jr Langley Speedway 8 1 8 8 269
23 Andrew Kosiski I-80 Speedway 12 0 4 8 266
24 Les Siebert Junction Motor Speedway 12 0 4 10 262
25 Justin A Johnson Toyota Speedway At Irwindale 9 4 8 9 260