DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The top 10 drivers in the final national Division I point standings for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series have earned “locked-in” spots in the feature field for the Late Model race at the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach on Feb. 18-19 at Daytona International Speedway.
“Being part of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in February is going to be special for all of us,” said 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Lee Pulliam, who has never visited Daytona International Speedway but is relishing the chance to be part of Budweiser Speedweeks 2013. “The opportunity to race at Daytona is the great American dream. It’s also about racing in Daytona Beach, Florida – the birthplace of NASCAR.”
The two nights of racing, which will also include the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours, will be run on the .4-mile oval on the backstretch. The 150-lap feature for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 18 at 7:15 p.m.
The top 10 drivers that have “locked-in” spots should they decided to compete in the UNOH Battle At The Beach are:
• Pulliam, of Semora, N.C., scored 22 Late Model feature wins in 36 starts at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C., and Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., on his way to the championship in his sixth year of Late Model competition.
• Keith Rocco, Wallingford, Conn., competed at Connecticut’s Thompson International Raceway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl. Rocco finished second in the final standings for the second straight year and third time in four years.
• CE Falk III, Virginia Beach, Va., had 16 wins, 25 top fives and 27 top 10s in 30 starts at South Boston, Motor Mile, Southern National, Caraway and Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.
• Keith Monteith, Blountville, Tenn., won his second consecutive asphalt Late Model track and state championships at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway.
• Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., competed at Stafford, Thompson and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway. Preece, who had 14 wins, 33 top fives and 40 top 10s in 48 starts, has also locked-in a spot for the UNOH Battle At The Beach for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours by virtue of his Tour win earlier in the season.
• Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., finished sixth in the final standings and competed at Thompson International Raceway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway.
• Duane Howard, Oley, Pa., collected his fifth dirt Modified track championship at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa.
• Deac McCaskill, Raleigh, N.C., won the asphalt Late Model track championship at Southern National.
• Elko (Minn.) Speedway Super Late Model driver Adam Royle, Northfield, Minn., won his third Minnesota championship.
• Tim Brown, Cana, Va., won a record ninth Modified Division championship at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Click here to view a complete list of locked-in drivers.
The UNOH Battle At The Beach will put short tracks drivers on one of the biggest stages in motorsports – Daytona International Speedway – as they compete for a coveted victory at the “World Center of Racing.”
Falk is already imagining what the experience of racing at Daytona will be like.
“Many NASCAR Late Model drivers dream about having the chance to race at Daytona,” Falk said. “Here’s our chance to race on that hallowed ground. We’re looking forward to participating. When I drive down the back straightaway in practice on the Daytona short track for the first time, it will be an amazing feeling. The second lap and every other lap after that will be all about trying to work our way toward Victory Lane.”
Drivers have several months during the offseason to secure and prepare asphalt Late Models to drive in the UNOH Battle At The Beach, and the locked-in spots by virtue of their 2012 success provides 10 drivers with the security of knowing they’ll be in the main event when they get here.
“If I’m gonna go down, I’m gonna run as many races as I can,” Christopher said.
The remainder of the starting field will be set through heat-race format.
A complete UNOH Battle At The Beach schedule, including gate opening times, practice and qualifying race times for both days, is available at the UNOH Battle At The Beach event page.
Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500 and #NASCARBattle. In addition, fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest for all the latest news all season long.
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