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ThatsRacin.com


NASCAR has more trophies to hand out in Charlotte

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013

Jimmie Johnson officially has been crowned the 2013 Sprint Cup Series champion, but NASCAR isn’t quite done celebrating.

Charlotte will host the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Friday and the NASCAR Touring Series Night of Champions on Saturday. Between the two events, eight more NASCAR champions will be recognized for their accomplishments this season.

Johnson won the Cup series title, Austin Dillon won the Nationwide Series title and Matt Crafton won the Truck Series title. Here’s a look at the eight other NASCAR-recognized champions:

Whelen All-American Series

Lee Pulliam of Semora, N.C., won NASCAR’s national championship of weekly short track auto racing for a second consecutive year. He is just the third driver in the series’ 32 years to win the championship more than once and to win consecutive titles.

Pulliam, 25, scored the maximum 810 points available. He finished with 27 wins, 40 top-five and 44 top-10 finishes in 47 starts.

His wins came at South Boston, Va.; Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.; Southern National Speedway in Kenly; and Caraway Speedway in Asheboro.

K&N Pro Series East

Las Vegas native Dylan Kwasniewski, 18, became the first driver to win the K&N Pro Series West and East titles in back-to-back seasons. He earned six wins in 14 East races this season.

Kwasniewski also is the subject of AOL’s docu-series, “Flat Out,” which followed the driver’s life on and off the track this year.

K&N Pro Series West

In just his second full season, Derek Thorn, 27, gave car owner Bob Bruncati his second championship within four years. Thorn drove Bruncati’s No.6 Ford to three wins, three poles, 12 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes this year.

Whelen Modified Tour

After twice finishing as runner-up, Ryan Preece, 23, broke through with his first series championship and became the youngest champion in tour history. He opened with seven straight top-five finishes, including three consecutive wins.

Preece ended the season with four victories and 10 top-five finishes in 14 races. He also finished fourth in the Whelen All-American Series.

Whelen Southern Modified Tour

George Brunnhoelzl III, 31, captured a third straight championship and fourth in five years. Both the streak and the total extended the records he shared or owned.

Brunnhoelzl recorded all three of his 2013 wins in consecutive fashion and all from the pole, including a wire-to-wire win April 13 at South Boston.

Whelen Euro Series

In just two seasons, Ander Vilariño of San Sebastián, Spain, has gone from NASCAR neophyte to standard bearer. After winning six of 12 races en route to his first Whelen Euro Series title in 2012, he earned a second consecutive title.

Vilariño finished the season with seven wins, 10 top-five and 12 top 10 finishes in 12 races.

Canadian Tire Series

Scott Steckly of Milverton, Ontario, won this third championship in six years. He started the year with an accident and mechanical failure in the first two races but ended the year with four wins, including a victory in the season finale that helped erase a five-point deficit he faced entering the race.

Toyota Mexico Series

After finishing among the top 10 once in three part-time seasons, Rodrigo Peralta of Querétaro, Mexico, led all drivers in top-five and top-10 finishes in 2013 and earned his first series victory.

Peralta won the 2010 championship in the NASCAR Toyota Series V6 series, the second-tier series in Mexico.