Only one Saturday night remains on the 2017 calendar, which is hard to believe. The season started with so much anticipation. There were plenty of races planned, including two worth $10,000 to the winner. We saw those earlier in the summer and they did not disappoint.
This past weekend, our NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions competed once again as the championship battles start to wrap up. In the Pro Stocks, it’s been clear all season long that David Darling was the car to beat and this week was nothing different. Darling captured a third straight win behind the wheel of his No. 52 Bristol Toyota machine, passing Bobby Pelland for the lead and never looking back.
The combination of Darling, his crew and especially crew chief Jeff Belyea has been an unbeatable one this season. When he doesn’t win, he is right in the front of the pack. Darling’s driving style combined with Belyea’s setup has worked magic around the third-mile oval. A fifth championship for him will rank right up there with some of the best the track has ever seen compete. He will celebrate that title come November. But he has two more chances to win: next Saturday night’s season finale and the D.A.V. Fall Classic, worth $5,000.
The 35 lap Propane Plus Power Five race for the Late Model division saw Jake “The Jet” Johnson take down his second win of the season. Johnson worked his way slowly through the field and got to third spot before the race hit 10 laps to go.
From there, when Dan Johnson and Vinny Arrenegado got together at the front of the pack, Jake slid by and took control. He wasn’t challenged for the final six laps and the rookie driver took his second win of the year. He was trailed by Mike Mitchell across the line. Mitchell brought out his Late Model, put four new tires on it and drove right to the front from the back. Ryan Kuhn, another rookie this season, finished third.
The 25 lap Sports Trucks feature saw Barry Shaw Jr. work his way to the front and help his chase towards the championship. Shaw wasn’t able to finish last week, but he got to start towards the front and was never really challenged once he got the lead. Josh Hedges finished second and Rob Murphy was third. Heading for the final race in the division, this is the closest points battle at the track. Mike Duarte will sit four points behind Chase Belcher going for the finale.
The 25 lap Sportsman feature saw Scott Bruneau clinch his third career championship. Bruneau has been consistent all season long and again has been the car to beat. In the actual race, Jesse Melberg was finally able to visit Victory Lane. The former Pure Stock regular took the lead right from the green and didn’t look back. Bruneau finished second, while Chad Baxter was able to come home third.
Next Saturday night, we crown our 2017 NASCAR Whelen All American Series champions. Join us!