NWAAS: Anders Completes Journey; Wins First Whelen All-American Series National Title

RaceChaser Staff NASCAR, Other Late Models, Southeast, Stock Cars 0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR — NASCAR via Getty Images photo — Anthony Anders was sitting with friends in the grandstands off Turn 4 at historic Greenville Pickens Speedway when he got the itch to give this racing thing a try.

Twenty years later, the Easley, South Carolina, driver has reached the pinnacle of short-track racing. NASCAR announced today that Anders is the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.

The 43-year-old Anders accomplished the feat by leading the national points standings every week of the season and finishing with 30 wins, ninth most in a single season in the history of the series.

“I remember being at the banquet and seeing all those banners (of past national champions),” Anders said. “I said, ‘I want to be there one day.’ I’ve won a lot of races in my career. It’s just amazing to accomplish this.”

To win the national title, Anders had to fend off a pair of the best short-track racers in NASCAR.

Two-time national champion Lee Pulliam of North Carolina finished second, while Connecticut’s Keith Rocco finished third. It is the fourth straight year Pulliam has been among the top three, while Rocco stretched his run to eight seasons – every year under the current format – of being in the top four.

“NASCAR would like to congratulate Anthony Anders as our 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. “There have been a lot of great champions from Greenville Pickens Speedway over the years, and Anders continued that legacy with his tremendous season. We look forward to formally crowning him at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte in December.”

Anders finished with 720 points, to Pulliam’s 709 and Rocco’s 698.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards will take place on Friday, Dec. 12. Among those honored will be the 2014 national champion, as well as track champions from 58 tracks across the United States and Canada, state and province champions, and top rookies.

In addition to his national championship, Anders took home top honors in South Carolina for the fourth consecutive season and added his name again to the Wall of Champions as the Late Model Stock Car champion at Greenville. The outside retaining wall around the flat half-mile lists the names of all the track’s champions, including the likes of David Pearson and Ralph Earnhardt, as well as 1997 NASCAR national champion Dexter Canipe. The state championship traces its lineage back to 1953 and also includes Pearson, Cale Yarborough and Bobby Isaac.

Anders is the 25th driver in the 33 years of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series to win the national championship.

“Our goal was to win it in the beginning of the year,” said Anders. “It’s been an overwhelming blessing for us.”

Anders had 30 wins, 44 top fives and 48 top 10s in 51 races at Greenville, South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway and Myrtle Beach Speedway, as well as North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway.

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