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NASCAR’s minor league champs to be honored

NASCAR will honor its touring and weekly champions this weekend in banquets at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The Whelen All American banquet is Friday; the Touring Series affair is Saturday. Here’s a look at the six champs who will be recognized.

K&N Pro Series East

Justin Haley, 17, of Winimac, Ind., won twice and finished in the top five in 13 of 14 races. He’s the fourth consecutive HScott Motorsports driver to win the K&N East title, joining Charlotte’s William Byron (2015), Ben Rhodes (2014) and Dylan Kwasniewski (2013).

K&N Pro Series West

Sherrills Ford’s Todd Gilliland, 16, is the youngest champion in NASCAR history (national or touring series). Gilliland won the first four races of the season and six overall. Those were the first four races of his career, tying a mark set by Dan Gurney.

Pinty’s Series

Cayden Lapcevich was the youngest driver in NASCAR history to win a title at 16 years, 10 months and 16 days, before that record was broken by Gilliland. Lapcevich is the first driver in Pinty’s Series history to win the title and be rookie of the year.

Whelen Euro Series

Belgium’s Anthony Kumpen has won two of the past three Euro Series titles. He won five races and also competed in the Xfinity race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. Jeff Gordon, a good friend, presented Kumpen with his trophy.

Whelen Modified Tour

Doug Coby of Milford, Conn., won his third consecutive title and fourth overall, joining NASCAR hall of famers Jerry Cook and Richie Evans, as well as hall nominees Mike Stefanik and Tony Hirschman Jr. as the only drivers to win four or more titles.

Whelen Southern Modified Tour

Walnut Cove’s Burt Myers won his second title and held the points lead all season. It’s his second title and he’s finished in the top 10 in the standings every year since 2005, when NASCAR began sanctioning the tour.

Whelen All-American Series

Matt Bowling of Ridgeway, Va., completely dominated NASCAR’s premiere short track circuit, leading the points all season and winning 14 races. He won seven races before finally finishing outside the top 10 at the end of July.

Source: NASCAR

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