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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- After a full season of racing, one final weekend awaits to decide NASCAR champions across the United States and Canada.
Sunday marks the final day for drivers to collect points throughout the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, and while Lee Pulliam is breathing a little easier in his pursuit of history in the form of a fourth Division I title, his won't be the only on the line.
National champions will be crowned in Divisions II through V, and the UNOH Youth Achievement Award -- given to the top performing driver in any division who's 17-and-under -- will be decided. In addition. the U.S. state and Canadian province championships will be finalized, as well as a multitude of tracks in the series will have their championship nights.
Pulliam has been locked in a season-long battle with Trevor Huddleston.
The Semora, North Carolina, native was clinging to a one-point lead entering last weekend when he put together an impressive performance. After a rough start with an 18th-place finish at Virginia's Dominion Speedway last Thursday, the asphalt Late Model driver finished first and second at South Carolina's Anderson Motor Speedway on Friday and wrapped up the track championship with a drive from 10th to first at South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday.
He capped the weekend with a win and a third-place finish at Southern National Raceway Park in North Carolina on Sunday.
The wins at Myrtle Beach and Anderson pushed Pulliam's lead to 15 (688-673). He also effectively clinched the South Carolina title.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.
Pulliam has 19 wins, 35 top fives and 41 top 10s in 43 starts at Myrtle Beach, Anderson, Southern National and Dominion as well as North Carolina's Hickory Motor Speedway and Caraway Speedway, and Virginia's South Boston Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway.
Huddleston missed a chance to keep pace, finishing 15th and third in the LKQ Pick Your Parts Late Model division twin features at California's Irwindale Speedway last Saturday.
The 21-year-old from Agoura, California, still has the opportunity to close out the season with an impressive haul. He enters Saturday's Budweiser presents the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship Season Finale at Kern County Raceway Park on Saturday night with a sizeable 125-point cushion on second place. And Irwindale finishes up on Sept. 23 with a double points night, with Huddleston holding a 68-point margin on second-place Dylan Garner. Although the Irwindale finale is outside of the national points window, it provides Huddleston the chance to sweep Division I titles at the California tracks.
Huddleston has a series-leading 20 wins along with 29 top fives and 30 top 10s in 33 starts at Irwindale, Kern and Arizona's Tucson Speedway.
In Division II, Cody Jolly of Jasper, Missouri, has collected 15 wins in 31 starts between the Ray’s Metal Depot B Modified Division Humboldt Speedway in Kansas and the B Mods Division at Salinas Highbanks Speedway in Oklahoma. He wrapped up the track title last weekend at Humboldt. and holds a 33-point edge over Conrad Jorgenson of Minnesota's Elko Speedway. There's plenty on the line after Jorgenson, as 10 points separate third from sixth.
Erik Yorke heads to the championship night at Ontario's Sunset Speedway leading the track's Mini Stock Division as well as Division II. Yorke has a 10-poin lead on second-place Josh Sink, who races at I-80 Speedway in Nebraska and Adams County Speedway in Iowa. Only three points separate third from fifth.
Cole Roelofs holds a 51-point lead in Division IV, racing out of Michigan's Berlin Speedway and Kalamazoo Speedway. Former national champion AJ Sanders Jr (2014) sits in second racing at Caraway, Southern National and North Carolina's Bowman Gray Stadium. And in Division V, Dustin Thompson has a 29-point lead on Evan Hrabik. Both race at I-80 and Adams. Hrabik is just six points ahead of Johnny Walker (Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway) and Tommy Davis Jr. (Anderson and South Carolina's Greenville Pickens Speedway).
Ryan Vargas, who is third in Late Model points at Irwindale and also races at Kern, leads the UNOH Youth Achievement Award standings by 14 over Brennon Lacy (Salina) and 15 over Daniel Montanari. There is just 16 points between Lacy and sixth-place.
The final champions will be announced next week, and will be honored in December in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of the annual champions celebration.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars are among the many showcases for Whelen products.