Mike Looney officially moved into the top spot of the latest NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) National Championship standings, holding a 10-point advantage over Midwestern drivers Nick Panitzke and Jacob Goede entering the final weekend of the season.
Looney, a veteran of Late Model Stock racing from Virginia, has amassed 578 points in the national title hunt, while Panitzke and Goede are tied with 568 points apiece. Five-time NWAAS National Champion Philip Morris sits fourth, 12 points behind Looney, with Connecticut Modified racer Keith Rocco moving up to fifth, 14 points behind Looney.
Looney jumped from fourth in the standings to the top spot by sweeping a pair of Late Model Stock features at his home track of Motor Mile Speedway (VA) over the weekend, capitalizing while other title contenders suffered misfortune. Panitzke entered the weekend leading the points chase, but could muster only finishes of third and eighth in a twinbill at Elko Speedway (MN), where Goede scored one win to gain deadlock Panitzke.
Morris had the makings of a strong weekend with a win in the first of two races at Dominion Raceway (VA) on Saturday, but was involved in a multi-car incident after 37 laps in the nightcap to finish 12th.
Peyton Sellers fell out of the top five after an eventful evening at South Boston Speedway (VA). Sellers finished second to Lee Pulliam in the first race of a doubleheader, and made contact with the fellow former champion battling for the win in the second race of the night. Track officials penalized Sellers for the contact after he crossed the line first, relegating him to 10thin the final running order and giving the win to Drew Dollar.
While he remains seventh in the standings, Ronnie Williams cut his deficit from 42 points to 26 with a pair of wins at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT). It is still highly unlikely he will factor directly into the title race, he and Rocco will both be continuing their pursuit of the Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) track championship this weekend, which could play a role in Rocco’s chances.
Looney, the 2016 winner of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway (VA), will take his NWAAS points lead to Langley Speedway (VA) for a pair of 70-lap Late Model Stock features.
Panitzke and Goede will return to Elko Speedway for another doubleheader, with Goede hoping to back up last week’s win and Panitzke seeking better fortunes to climb back into the points lead.
At this time, Morris’ plans for the weekend are not set in stone, as his team weighs their options for the final weekend of racing for the NWAAS honors. Sellers believes his title hopes were dashed with last week’s penalty at South Boston, but is considering a trip to Langley Speedway (VA) for this weekend.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship
Updated for September 8, 2019
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo