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Yarbrough To Defend Myrtle Beach Title

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Sam Yarbrough is ready to get back on track at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway. He’s the defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late model champion at the storied .538-mile paved oval, which scheduled its opening day of the season for Thursday, May 15.

Yarbrough, 29, of Shallotte, N.C., won his second late model title the resort-area track in 2013. This year he plans to run the full schedule at Myrtle Beach and more. He’ll likely pick up additional starts at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway and Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway.

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Gray Ready For Stafford Opener

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A third change of course in his racing career ultimately helped Adam Gray win a second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship at a second track.

Gray, 26, of Granby, Mass., won the 2013 NASCAR late model title at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. He concedes his season was uncommonly successful, but he’s not conceding anything else. Gray hopes to be a championship contender again this year.

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Pereces To Defend Lake County Title

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A second-year NASCAR Whelen All-American Series driver will try to repeat his success of 2013.

Rick Pereces, 57, of Randolph, Ohio is the defending champion of the NASCAR Division I pro street stock division at Lake County Speedway in Painesville, Ohio. The fifth-mile asphalt and concrete oval is NASCAR’s shortest track.

Pereces, a 16-year veteran driver, moved his racing to Lake County last season and won the track championship as a NASCAR rookie. He was surprised by the rewards and notoriety he received for winning the title.

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Mahaffey Doubles Duties At Kil-Kare

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Don Mahaffey Jr. doubled his racing duties at Kil-Kare Raceway in Xenia, Ohio this year.

Mahaffey, 42, of Dayton, Ohio, won his third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late model track championship at Kil-Kare in 2013. This year he expanded to a two-car team and is owner-driver-crew chief for himself and his son, Tyler. Tyler Mahaffey, 18, won Kil-Kare’s 2012 street stock championship and raced part-time in late models last year. Now they’ll compete together full-time in Kil-Kare’s top division each Friday.

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Partridge Set For Irwindale Opener

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ryan Partridge believes his racing program was just hitting stride late last season en route to his first NASCAR late model track championship at Irwindale (Calif.) Event Center.

“I know our program was getting good at the end of last year,” Partridge said.

A lot of teams spent the 2013 season adjusting their set-ups to match changes in the half-mile paved oval’s surface. Teams discovered their race car handling characteristics differed after a year of inactivity at the track in 2012 due to an ownership change.

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Smith Carries Momentum Into 2014

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  — Rusty Smith has a lot of momentum entering the 2014 season at Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y. He’ll be focused on working to build another championship season in owner-crew chief Gregg Frutchey’s Sunoco Modified.

“We’ve got the same goal as we did starting out last year, to repeat the championship,” Smith said.

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Three Generations To Race At CNS

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Three generations of a prominent Colorado NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing family are planning to meet in competition for the first time this year. Their NASCAR Home Track, Colorado National Speedway, is one of 31 NASCAR weekly tracks scheduled to open in April.

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Woody Pitkat Shuffles Four Team Lineup

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Woody Pitkat begins 2014 with two new teams in his four-team collaboration.

Pitkat, 34, of Stafford, Conn., won his long-sought first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified track championship at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2013. He won the title by just two points over Ryan Preece. Preece, 23, of Berlin, Conn., won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.

This year Pitkat hopes to take his two new teams to their first victories in NASCAR competition.

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Wiltrout A Two-Time Motordrome Champ

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Garry Wiltrout’s priority is winning races. He’d rather chase race wins than points.

Wiltrout won his second NASCAR Late Model track championship at Motordrome Speedway in 2013. With 62 career Motordrome feature wins, he’s ready to continue his quest to increase that total.

“I’m out to win every race we can,” Wiltrout said. “That’s hard to do if you’re point racing.”

Wiltrout, 49, of Somerset, Pa., is a mainstay at the half-mile paved oval in Smithton, Pa. He won his first title there in 2002.

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Tenn. Gov. Haslam Congratulates Finchum

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam congratulated Chad Finchum on his 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championship recently.

Finchum, 19, of Knoxville, won the NASCAR state championship and late model track title at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway and visited the governor’s office on March 12.

“It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Finchum said. “Gov. Haslam was an extremely nice guy and it was an honor to meet him. We shook hands and he congratulated us on the state championship. We’d like to be able to do it again.”

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