As a child, Corey Kyer dreamed of racing at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway and one day winning races and maybe a championship.
This season, that dream may become a reality.
Kyer has moved into the top spot in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division IV standings and leads A.J. Sanders Jr., who competes in North Carolina at Bowman-Gray Stadium (Winston-Salem) and Caraway Speedway (Sophia), by 17 points as the season enters its stretch run to the finish.
Kyer, who used to watch his dad, Lonnie, compete in Street Stocks at Columbus, now competes in the Cozy Compact division at the track. The 21 year-old driver is joined in the top-five by fellow Columbus drivers Jeremy Menninger and Jimmy McElfresh at fourth and fifth, respectively.
Veteran competitor Michael Robison, currently in eighth place, gives Columbus Motor Speedway four drivers in the top 10 in the national standings.
“The competition is real tight each week in our division at Columbus and you have some great drivers who know how to win races,” Kyer said. (Jeremy) is always up there and you have veterans like Michael (Robison) and Jimmy (McElfresh) who can win any weekend.”
Kyer should know as the four drivers have combined to win 10 races this season, highlighted by Kyer’s six with Menninger and McElfresh each scoring two victories.
The top five in the standings are separated by just 36 points with Kyer on top at 446 and McElfresh at 410 points.
Kyer is a graduate of the University of Northwestern Ohio, and the school is heavily involved in NASCAR racing at all levels. Kyer used his Automotive Technology degree to find a job in the industry.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II-V Championship program determines support division national championships. The four national champions will receive a trophy and a trip to the series national awards event. In addition, the top-three dirt and top-three asphalt drivers in each division will be invited to the series awards event.
At season’s end, drivers in Divisions II-V will be ranked by their best 14 NASCAR points race results. The season concludes September 21.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship Division II-V leaders this week include:
Division II: 1. Jared Umbenhauer, Grandview Speedway, Bechtelsville, Pa.; 2. Jesse Dennis, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Neb., Adams County Speedway, Corning, Iowa; 3. Brett Kressley, Grandview; 4. Terry Humphrey Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway; 5. Derek Stoltz, Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C..
Division III: 1. Jon Plowman, I-80, Adams County; 2. Josh Galvin, Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl; 3. Randy Stoudt, Grandview; 4 Jerod Weston, I-80, Adams County; 5. John Ketron, Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway, Lonesome Pine Raceway, Coeburn, Va.
Division IV: 1. Corey Kyer, Columbus; 2. AJ Sanders Jr., Bowman Gray, Caraway, Sophia, N.C.; 3. Garrett Denton, Waterford, Thompson; 4. Jeremy Menninger, Columbus; 5. Jimmy McElfresh, Columbus.
Division V: 1. Donovan Beacham, Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway, Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway, 2. Brian King, Anderson, Greenville; 3. Jerry Jansen Jr., Kalamazoo (Mich.); 4. Brady Walsh, Salina (Kan.) Speedway; 5. Chris Harvell, Greenville, Anderson.
The division draws large fields with an average car count each week of more than 20 cars.
This also isn’t the first time the track has featured one of its drivers in the hunt for a national title. Last season Menninger led the standings for most of the season before falling back late in the year, a fact that doesn’t go unnoticed by Kyer or any of the other contenders in the division.
“Each week we talk amongst ourselves either going into the race or after the race on where we are in the points,” Kyer said. “Everyone is aware of them and we want to do everything we can to get that title.”
Much like last season for Menninger, this year has been a break-out season for Kyer.
“This season is the first time we have even been close to leading the standings,” Kyer added. “What has really made a difference for us is I have some great sponsors and several people who have come on board to help me crew the car each week and that has been a big help to me.”
This weekend Columbus Motor Speedway will feature the Cozy Compacts and its other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions in action at the track on a special day for the fans as the track will offer free admission to the races and a post-race concert.
Track operator Jeff Knuckles and the Village of Obetz have a great relationship and the two work together each year to promote an event for race fans and the community.
“Every year this event has gotten bigger and better,” said Knuckles. “This year we decided to give race fans a free program of racing prior to the concert and offer our community a great afternoon of free family entertainment. And we have been doing that since 2011.”
In addition to the partnership for the special event held during Zuccinifest, the track planted 40 trees donated by NASCAR as part of its NASCAR Green initiative.
Under the NASCAR point structure in Divisions I-V, drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of in an event, up to 18 cars. Three bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a single-digit starting position and five bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a double-digit starting position.
Drivers must be NASCAR-licensed and cars will be verified for display of required series sponsor decals to be eligible for NASCAR points and awards.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 58 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
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