A veteran of hardscrabble racing at one of the toughest tracks in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series got back in Victory Lane for the first time in two years. This month, he shortened the time span between wins from two years to two weeks.

Chris Fleming won modified division features at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., on May 3 and May 17. Last Saturday night’s finishes of fourth and 10th in two 25-lap features lifted him to second in track points. He’s just eight behind leader Burt Myers entering a pair of 100-lap features this weekend.

His win drought at the tight quarter-mile paved oval was taxing.

“I got to thinking I couldn’t win anymore. I was doubting myself,” Fleming said. “We haven’t forgotten how to work on race cars. We’re good on these cars. But I just needed to win so badly.”

Entering this weekend, Fleming has two wins, three top-fives and five top-10s in six starts. In addition to the track championship, he’s chasing the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina title – currently led by Dillon Bassett.

Anthony Anders maintains his season-long point lead in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship standings, but two former champions climbed to second and third.

Anders, of Easley, S.C., won two 40-lap late model features at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway and has 644 points. He also leads the series with 13 wins. He also has 20 top fives and 21 top 10s in 22 starts. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events.

Peyton Sellers of Danville, Va., the 2005 national champion, and Lee Pulliam, of Alton, Va., the two-time defending national champion, each earns wins in twin 75-lap late model features at South Boston (Va.) Speedway Saturday.

Sellers jumps to No. 2 from fifth last week, with a runner-up to Pulliam in the first feature and a win in the second. He has 447 points, 197 behind Anders. Pulliam finished 11th in the second 75-lapper, and retains his No. 3 national ranking. Pulliam and last week’s No. 2 driver Bassett each have 443 points. Pulliam takes the spot with the tie-breaking greater number of wins. He has nine wins compared to Bassett’s five.

Bassett, of Winston-Salem, N.C., is fourth in points. He won a 100-lap late model feature at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway Saturday. Matt Bowling of Ridgeway, Va., drops from fourth to fifth in points with finishes of 19th and 10th at South Boston.

Tommy Lemons Jr., retains sixth in points with a 100-lap feature win at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, N.C. Randy Porter is steady at seventh place with two top-fives at Greenville Pickens. Kres VanDyke advances to eighth in points with a seventh-place finish at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway. Defending track and state champion Chad Finchum moved to ninth in points with a fourth-place finish at Kingsport. And Keith Rocco, the series’ 2010 national champion, posted an SK Modified win at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl, but dropped from eighth to 10th in the national point race.

 

Fleming, 50, of Mt. Airy, N.C., is part of multi-car efforts. He’s been driving for Jerry Hunt Auto Sales and car owner Todd Hunt since 1998. Hunt continues a racing program established by his late father Jerry. Hunt’s company owns and sponsors a car in each division at Bowman Gray. Hunt’s son Chase is working his way up the racing ladder. He’s currently fourth in street stock division points.

Fleming also has two sons in action.

Luke Fleming, 26, runs the full NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule and is fifth in points. He won his first career tour start in the Advance Auto Parts 199 at Bowman Gray in 2009. He competes in selected NASCAR Whelen All-American Series modified events at the stadium. He had finishes of 20th and 18th there Saturday. He drives for Chris’ brother Frank Fleming, a 21-time modified feature winner at the track. Frank posted finishes of 11th and sixth in Saturday night’s modified twin-bill. Jordan, 21, is 11th in the track’s sportsman division standings after a disappointing 17th-place finish Saturday.

“Frank and his wife Gina take a lot of pressure off me by putting Luke in their car,” Chris Fleming said. “I’m not going to race unless my kids can race. I’d stop driving if that’s what it takes to keep them racing.

“Our family is close knit. My parents (Charles and Faith Fleming) don’t get out a lot and my sister Debbie York looks out for them when we’re at the track. Mom always says ‘go win the race for me,’ and they’re excited by our success. They’ll watch us race on the computer and I call dad as soon as the race is over.

“Our racing rule is that if Luke is going to run the tour modified, he has to help Jordan with his sportsman car. Jordan wrecked his car in a Friday practice session and I didn’t think it could be fixed. Luke worked on the car all night. It was ready to race by 9:30 Saturday morning and Jordan got a good finish that night.

“A win by Luke or Jordan is more important to me than any win I’ll ever have. I wouldn’t trade one of their wins for $10 million.”

He’s also proud of Luke’s third-place finish in the modified portion of the Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway in February.

“Going to Daytona isn’t about the money. It’s about racing at Daytona. When you walk into that place, you get cold chills. It’s something you want to be a part of,” Fleming said.

Based on his schedule and the racing budget there have been seasons when Fleming competed part time at Bowman Gray. His best finish in track points was third in 2012. He plans to run the full schedule this year.

“I’m not being conservative and point racing,” Fleming said. “This car is supposed to win races. I’m there to win every race.”

In the May 17, Kevin Powell Motorsports 100, Fleming made a daring pass of Lee Jeffreys on lap 66 to take the lead and eventual win.

“I made an outside pass for the lead. Fans are there to see a show and I’ll do my part to give them what they want. I may not always win but we’ll put on a good show.”

Fleming says a new Rahmoc racing engine has boosted him to success this year. The car is based on Troyer chassis. His crew chief is T.J. Farmer and the spotter is Chip Johnson. Fleming said his wife Amy is “the backbone of our team.” In addition to car owner Hunt and Rahmoc, other sponsors include Perkins & Associates, www.autosbynelson.com, Adam’s Towing & Recovery and N.C. Granite Corp.

Family racing patriarch Charles Fleming began the family racing tradition in motorcycles. Frank and Chris began their careers in dirt track stock car racing in the late 1970s. Chris won the four-cylinder dirt modified track championship at 311 Speedway in Madison N.C., in 1989. From there, the brothers moved on to pavement racing at Bowman Gray.

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.

Pos Driver Name Starts Wins T-5 T-10 Points
1 Anthony Anders 22 13 20 21 644
2 Peyton Sellers 13 5 12 13 447
3 Lee Pulliam 14 9 11 11 443
4 Dillon Bassett 14 5 14 14 443
5 Matt Bowling 14 1 12 13 401
6 Tommy Lemons, Jr. 17 2 8 12 390
7 Randy Porter 13 5 10 12 387
8 Kres Vandyke 12 4 10 11 350
9 Chad Finchum 12 6 11 11 344
10 Keith Rocco 10 4 9 10 342
11 Ryan Stiltner 12 0 11 12 336
12 Brandon Fox 20 0 6 11 324
13 Daniel Alvarez (R) 17 0 1 11 308
14 Ryan Preece 10 3 8 10 297
15 Spencer Davis 14 0 5 8 296
16 Trey Gibson 10 0 9 10 292
17 Marty Ward 10 0 8 10 282
18 Deac McCaskill 16 5 11 11 265
19 David Roberts 9 0 6 9 260
20 Justin Sorrow 9 2 5 9 250
21 Myatt Snider 14 0 4 9 240
22 Austin Thaxton 9 1 6 7 239
23 Joe Wilder (R) 11 0 1 9 238
24 Jeran Frailey 9 3 9 9 237
25 David Rogers 10 0 1 8 236
26 Cory Dumpert 9 4 5 8 230
27 Mike Darne 12 0 4 8 230
28 Ted Christopher 9 0 5 8 226
29 Ryan Wilson 14 0 3 8 224
30 Payton Ryan (R) 12 0 5 9 222
31 Josh Berry 9 3 6 7 221
32 Brenden Queen 14 0 3 7 220
33 Bill Leighton, Jr. 9 1 7 9 215
34 Leon Zeitner 12 1 6 9 215
35 Bobby McCarty 9 0 2 8 212
36 Kyle Benjamin 7 1 6 6 207
37 Bob Root 10 0 3 7 206
38 David Garborcauskas, Jr. 10 1 5 8 205
39 Matt Waltz 8 3 6 7 201
40 Justin Zeitner 10 1 6 8 197
41 Dylan Smith 9 0 3 6 194
42 Duane Howard 7 1 4 6 189
43 Burt Myers 6 3 4 5 185
44 Ed Puleo 7 1 4 5 185
45 Jeremy Drummond (R) 19 0 0 5 184
46 Timmy Jordan (R) 7 0 2 7 182
47 Andrew Kosiski 10 0 5 8 182
48 Bruce Anderson, Jr. 8 0 3 7 182
49 Jonathon Beyer (R) 9 1 6 9 181
50 Donnie Hill 6 4 6 6 180
51 William Byron (R) 8 0 5 5 180
52 Keith Campbell (R) 9 0 6 8 180
53 Matt Tifft 8 0 2 5 180
54 Stewart Friesen 6 2 5 5 176
55 Chris Spieker 6 3 5 6 173
56 Robert Tyler 7 1 4 6 173
57 Greg Edwards 6 2 6 6 172
58 Tim Brown 6 0 5 5 172
59 Randy Frailey 8 3 5 6 171
60 Jeff Strunk 7 1 4 5 171
61 Kenneth Headen 7 0 4 6 170
62 Zeke Shell 6 1 4 5 169
63 Ryan Moore 7 2 3 5 168
64 Mark Wertz 8 0 7 8 168
65 Craig Lutz 7 0 4 6 168
66 Shane Lee 10 0 2 8 168
67 Mike Maresca, Jr. 11 0 1 4 168
68 Jason O’Brien 7 1 5 6 167
69 Josh Oakley 8 1 3 5 165
70 Cameron Hayley 7 0 3 5 164
71 Derrick Lancaster 7 0 4 7 164
72 Doug Manmiller 7 3 4 4 163
73 Kyle James 7 1 4 5 163
74 Mike Brooks 6 2 4 4 162
75 Chris Fleming 6 2 3 5 162
76 Hayden Woods 11 0 0 4 162
77 Lee Jeffreys 6 0 3 5 160
78 Rob Janovic, Jr. 7 0 4 4 158
79 AJ Foote 6 1 3 5 157
80 Travis Bruno (R) 5 1 5 5 157
81 RA Brown 7 0 3 4 156
82 John Chapman 6 0 3 6 156
83 Craig Von Dohren 7 1 4 4 155
84 Brian Richardson 7 4 7 7 154
85 John Fortin 6 2 4 5 152
86 Nick Heywood (R) 5 0 5 5 152
87 Ryan Partridge 4 3 4 4 151
88 Travis Swaim 6 1 4 5 151
89 Eric Stokes 6 0 3 5 150
90 Paul Nogradi, Jr. 6 0 1 6 150
91 Ricky Jones 11 0 1 4 150
92 Lee Tissot 6 1 4 4 149
93 Howie Brode 6 1 3 6 149
94 Kyle Purvis 6 1 6 6 149
95 Matt Sheppard (R) 5 0 3 5 148
96 Joey Mucciacciaro 7 0 0 4 148
97 Larry Wight (R) 5 1 3 5 147
98 Anthony Sergi 10 0 1 2 146
99 Justin Fontaine (R) 12 0 0 5 146
100 Denver Foran (R) 9 0 0 3 146

Chris Fleming Back In The Hunt At Bowman Gray Stadium