Drivers Shine In NASCAR Finalist Division
September 21, 2012 – 7:04pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The top NASCAR Whelen All-American Series support division drivers for 2012 have been determined in eight NASCAR Finalist Division point races.
The NASCAR Finalist Division program recognizes drivers who compete in support divisions at NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks. With “Division I” being each track’s top class, the NASCAR Finalist Division line-up at each track highlights drivers competing in their second, third, fourth and fifth tier divisions. A NASCAR-licensed driver’s best 14 finishes count toward their final point total for the year. Points are kept separately for dirt and asphalt tracks.
“NASCAR is proud to recognize the men and women who compete at all levels of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly racing,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. “NASCAR Finalists represent the top competitors from a wide variety of racing divisions at NASCAR Home Tracks throughout North America and we congratulate them on their accomplishments.”
The top three drivers in the four asphalt and four dirt track NASCAR Finalist Divisions earn invitations to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event where they will be recognized. The ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The top NASCAR Finalist dirt track drivers include:
Division II: Chuck Schutz Jr., 40, of Pottstown, Pa., topped the standings with 488 points after placing second last year. He also won his sixth career dirt Late Model track championship at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa. His racing record includes two wins, 14 top fives and 18 top 10s in 18 starts. Dylan Smith, the A-Modified champion at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb., placed second in standings with 483 points followed by Shawn Valenti, with 471 points. Valenti won the Thunderstock championship at Limaland Speedway in Lima, Ohio.
Division III: Brad Brightbill, 31, of Sinking Spring, Pa., tops the standings with 485 points. He finished second in Sportsman track points at Grandview. His racing record includes three wins, 10 top fives and 14 top 10s in 18 starts. Two more Grandview drivers complete the top three in points. They are Craig Whitmoyer with 479 points and track champion Jared Umbenhauer with 473 points.
Division IV: Jesse Sobbing, 30, of Glenwood, Iowa, topped the standings with 554 points after winning Division II in 2010-11. Sobbing placed second in the B-Modified track standings at I-80 Speedway. Two of his wins came at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa. His overall record is 12 wins, 12 top fives and 12 top 10s in 14 starts. With 534 points, B-Modified driver Jeff Jones finished second in the standings. He placed second in B-Modified track point race at Adams County and seventh at I-80. B-Modified driver Brian Kosiski placed third in standings with 531 points. He placed second in points at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and fourth in points at I-80.
Division V: Three Adams County Hobby Stock drivers swept the top three spots in standings. Matt McAtee, 31, of Crescent, Iowa won by one point. His 17 race record includes two wins, 12 top fives and 14 top 10s for 510 points. Jeremy Auten placed second with 509 points followed by Jeremy Purdy with 495 points.
The top NASCAR Finalist paved track drivers include:
Division II: Woody Pitkat, 33, of Stafford, Conn., won the Division point race in a tie breaker with Jeff Garrison. Both drivers finished with 488 points. The tie breaker, as per the NASCAR rule book, compares number of wins. Pitkat topped the standings with four wins compared to Garrison’s two. Pitkat leads the Late Model point race at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn. Garrison finished second in the Sportsman points at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. Ricky Martin, the 2011-12 Figure Eight champion at Raceway Park in Shakopee, Minn., placed third in Division standings with 486 points.
Division III: Scott Sundeen of Douglas, Mass., Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway’s Limited Sportsman champion, won the Division with 562 points. His record was eight wins, 15 top fives and 16 top 10s in 18 starts. Thompson’s Jesse Gleason placed second with 522 points. Barrie (Ontario) Speedway Pure Stock division champion Charlie Smith placed third with 520 points.
Division IV: Ken Cassidy Jr., 29, of Lebanon, Mass., tops the standings with 577 points. He leads the Mini Stock standings at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl. His record includes 11 wins, 18 top fives and 18 top 10s in 19 starts. Rockford (Ill.) Speedway Roadrunner champion Bobby Frisch placed second with 527 points. He was followed by Matt Wiegand with 513 points. Wiegand leads the Factory Four track point race at Lake County Speedway in Painesville, Ohio.
Division V: Jack Purcell, 16, of Bloomington, Minn., finished on top with 567 points. He won the Mini Stock championship at Raceway Park in Shakopee, Minn., and leads the track standings at Elko (Minn.) Speedway. His 23 race record includes nine wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s. Greg Staggers, Super Compact champion at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pa., placed second with 480 points. Elko and Raceway Park driver Blake Dorweiler was third with 479 points.
Sundeen enjoyed a career-high season at Thompson despite a late season drought between his July 29 and Sept. 9 wins.
“We had different issues with the car crop up for four straight weeks in August,” Sundeen said. “We had electrical problems, brake issues, and a vibration from a wheel. Our biggest problem was a broken distributor, and it took us three races to figure it out.”
Even with time spent problem solving, Sundeen set a single-season win record for himself.
“I’ve averaged two to four wins a season,” Sundeen said. “With eight wins this year we’ve had a great season. We hit on something with the car that seems to work.”
He won the Thompson point race 790-764 over Jesse Gleason.
A 17-year racing veteran, Sundeen has been running the full Thompson schedule for a decade. He took the division championship with three wins in 2008 and came within two points of winning it again in 2010. He placed second to Moose Douton in track points last year.
In addition to his own racing, Sundeen is helping his 23-year-old son Jason transition to from Thompson Modifieds to Sunoco Modifieds for 2013.
“For me, Jason’s racing is more of a priority than my racing now,” Sundeen said. “He’ll be in the Sunoco Modified division fulltime next year and hopefully he’ll race in one of the tours eventually.”
Jason Sundeen finished posted four wins and placed second to John Lowinski-Loh Jr. in the 2012 Thompson Modified point race.
Scott’s crew chief is Peter Kinne and Steve McCarthy is crew chief for Jason.
Sundeen owns and operates Sundeen Furniture in Whitinsville, Mass. A former motocross racer, he established the business following graduation from college. Sponsors include Danielson Martial Arts, M&M Auto Body, Pettit Racing Engines, American Sign and Sundeen Furniture.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series information is available at http://hometracks.nascar.com.
**story courtesy of Paul Schaefer, NASCAR, NASCAR Home Tracks**