DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Todd Sherman has been doing this long enough to know that nothing is for sure in racing.
With four Reineke Modified Division races remaining on the schedule at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio, the veteran driver from Churubusco, Indiana, is closing in on his fifth straight championship – and fourth under the NASCAR banner.
“We know anything can happen, but we do everything we can to prepare the car,” said Sherman, who will turn 50 on August 3. “I don’t let the pressure get to me. I just go out there and try to win races.”
Sherman has two wins and six top fives in seven races at the high-banked quarter-mile. He holds a 20-point lead over Matt Westfall and 38 over Jerry Bowersock in the championship standings.
Limaland is one of seven NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks that compete on a dirt surface. The others are Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway in Omaha and Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction; Iowa’s Adams County Speedway in Corning; Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond; Oklahoma’s Salinas Highbanks Speedway; and Pennsylvania’s Grandview Speedway in Bechtesville.
With the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makings its return trip to Eldora Speedway in Ohio Wednesday night, NASCAR racing on dirt is in the spotlight.
“It’s kind of cool,” said Sherman, whose raced several of the national series drivers when they’ve come to Limaland. “These guys take their extra money and come race against us – because it’s a lot of fun. Running these dirt Modifieds is a blast.”
“My wife and I were taking about this the other day – 99 percent of my friends, I’ve met through racing. And the ones you’re the fiercest competitors with are the ones who will be there when you need them.”
While he ranks 171st overall in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Sherman’s average of 31.43 points per race is seventh among series drivers with five or more starts.
Anthony Anders of Easley, South Carolina, continues to hold down the top spot in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings after weather washed out his racing opportunities this past weekend. He has 19 wins, 30 top fives and 33 top 10s in 35 pavement Late Model Stock Car starts for 694 points. Anders has starts this season at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway, Anderson Speedway and Myrtle Beach Speedway as well as Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
Two-time defending national champion Lee Pulliam of Semora, North Carolina, had a win and a sixth in the Late Model Stock Car twin features at Southern National Raceway Park in Lucama, North Carolina Saturday, to trim three points off Anders’ lead. Pulliam, who like Anders runs pavement Late Models, has 14 wins, 25 top fives and 26 top 10s in 30 races for 684 points.
Pulliam has also raced at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway in Sophia, and Greenville.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.
Connecticut’s Keith Rocco remained in third with 650 points in the pavement modified divisions at Connecticut’s three ovals: Waterford Speedbowl, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The 2010 national champion has eight wins, 19 top fives and 22 top 10s in 24 starts.
Peyton Sellers is fourth with 621 points, followed by Dillon Bassett at 608. Sellers and Bassett both run Late Models at multiple pavement tracks throughout the southeast.
Ryan Preece remained in sixth. Rocco and Preece missed an opportunity to gain ground on the national leaders when they got together while running 1-2 last Friday at Stafford, with Rocco wrecking and Preece getting black-flagged for the incident.
Kres Van Dyke (Virginia’s Lonesome Pine and Tennessee’s Kingsport Speedway), Tommy Lemons Jr. (South Boston, Southern National, Caraway and Motor Mile), Matt Bowling (South Boston, Motor Mile, Southern National and Caraway), and Chad Finchum (Lonesome Pine and Kingsport) round out the top 10.
Drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series compete for track and U.S. state/Canadian province championships in addition to the national title.
Sherman is sixth in the Ohio standings, which are led by Donnie Hill of Columbus Motor Speedway.
It’s the track title and the prestige of returning to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards in December that drives Sherman.
“One week can make all the difference,” said Sherman, who has five Limaland championships overall. “I’ve raced for 30 years, so I’ve seen every scenario. The couple races I did win this year, there was a lapped car that almost took me out. I try to give them as much room as I can. We need those guys out there. I used to be one of them.”
Sherman operates Sherman Enterprises under the teamSE.com banner. The company manufactures, repairs and maintains Modified chassis and is a high performance parts dealer. He said the key to the title race comes down to prep.
“My boy was sitting with me last night while I was wrenching on the car and he said ‘is this really necessary?’ ” Sherman said. “Probably not, but it gives me piece of mind. When I’m out there, I know every nut and bolt has been touched.”
It’s worked so far. And with the track’s 17th Annual Season Championships night coming up fast on Friday, Aug. 15, his challengers are running out of time to catch him.
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.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series: National Top 25
|1||Anthony Anders||Myrtle, Hickory, Greenville, Anderson||35||19||30||33||694|
|2||Lee Pulliam||S Boston, Motor Mile, Southern Natl, Caraway, Greenville||30||14||25||26||684|
|3||Keith Rocco||Thompson, Stafford, Waterford||24||8||19||22||650|
|4||Peyton Sellers||Caraway, S Boston, Langley, Motor Mile||24||5||20||24||621|
|5||Dillon Bassett||Anderson, East Carolina, Hickory, Motor Mile, Greenville, Southern Natl, Caraway||23||7||19||22||608|
|6||Ryan Preece||Stafford, Riverhead, Waterford, Thompson||23||8||17||21||586|
|7||Kres Vandyke||Kingsport, L Pine||20||8||18||19||582|
|8||Tommy Lemons, Jr||Caraway, Southern Natl, S Boston, Motor Mile||30||4||17||23||576|
|9||Matt Bowling||Langley, Southern Natl, Motor Mile, S Boston||27||2||19||23||574|
|10||Chad Finchum||Kingsport, L Pine||20||9||17||17||535|
|11||Randy Porter||Anderson, Greenville||18||5||13||15||517|
|12||Marty Ward||Anderson, Greenville||17||0||15||17||500|
|13||Ted Christopher||Waterford, Stafford||19||1||10||17||495|
|14||Ryan Stiltner||Kingsport, L Pine||20||0||16||18||484|
|15||Jason Durgan(R)||Devil’s Bowl, Airborne||24||4||14||21||480|
|16||Myatt Snider||Southern Natl, S Boston, Caraway||25||0||11||17||474|
|17||Brandon Fox||Greenville, Anderson, Myrtle||30||0||12||17||462|
|18||Matt Waltz||Langley, S Boston||17||8||13||15||446|
|19||Josh Berry||Hickory, S Boston, Southern Natl||16||6||12||14||444|
|20||Joe Wilder(R)||Anderson, Greenville||21||0||3||19||444|
|22||Payton Ryan(R)||Myrtle, S Boston, Hickory, Southern Natl||20||2||7||16||428|
|24||Greg Edwards||S Boston, Langley||15||5||13||14||421|
|25||Justin Sorrow||Myrtle, Greenville, Anderson||15||2||11||15||420|