DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2012) — D.J. Kennington’s five-race win streak may have ended in Trois-Rivieries, but his hot streak through July and August has not only kept him atop the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 standings, it has him being recognized as one of the hottest drivers across NASCAR’s touring and regional series.
Kennington’s wins at Vernon, B.C., Edmonton and Saskatoon have provided him a comfortable cushion as he chases his second NASCAR title.
It also earned the St. Thomas, Ont., driver the top spot for the August in the Hunter Index, as voted on by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives. Kennington was also voted No. 1 in July.
“It’s hard to ignore what Kennington’s done in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series,” said Tim Haddock, haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com. “He’s having an incredible season.”
Kennington earned eight of the 16 first-place votes en route to the month’s top honors.
The Hunter Index, which was launched in 2010 on NASCARHomeTracks.com, is a monthly power poll designed to highlight the standout performances in the NASCAR touring and regional series.
Drivers are ranked on their performance over the previous month. The rankings are compiled by a panel of auto racing writers and NASCAR representatives. This season, the panel was expanded to 14 media members from across North American with experience covering NASCAR’s touring and weekly series, along with two voters from NASCAR.
Panelists rank their top 15, with first place receiving 15 points, second 14, third 13 and so on.
Kennington had 221 points to top runner-up Lee Pulliam (212 and seven first-place votes) and George Brunnhoelzl III (189 and 1 first-place vote)
Asphalt Late Model driver Lee Pulliam has been on a tear with nine wins in a span of 11 starts to assert himself atop the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings. The 24-year-old from Semora, N.C., has 18 wins in 27 starts running all over the southeast in quest for his first NASCAR crown.
He was third in the national standings last year.
“There’s really no hiding how dominant Lee Pulliam has been,” said Damien Sordelett, sports writer with the Danville (Va.) Register & Bee. “His victories in the last month came at four different tracks – South Boston, Motor Mile, Southern National and Caraway – and he’s beaten some of the top Late Model competition the Mid-Atlantic has to offer.
“The drive he has exhibited in finding different tracks to race at in an effort to win a national championship is reminiscent of when Barry Beggarly and Dennis Setzer traveled to numerous tracks up and down the East Coast in a quest for the 1993 national title.
Similarly, Brunnhoelzl has continued to dominate the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The two-time tour champion strengthened his lead with a pair of wins at Caraway and Bowman Gray last month.
“To come into Bowman Gray where the regulars race every Saturday night and take a win is something to remember,” said Len Sammons of Area Auto Racing News.
Brett Moffitt, points leader in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, was fourth in voting, followed by Modified driver Ryan Preece. Preece has had success both in his weekly Modified in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Daniel Suarez (NASCAR Toyota Series) was sixth, followed by Doug Coby (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Corey LaJoie (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), Cale Conley (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) and Michael Self (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West).
The Hunter Index is named for the late Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications and a longtime supporter of the weekly and touring series that make up the NASCAR Home Tracks.
The Index was designed as an opportunity to compare the top drivers from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series all the way up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. It will also encompass drivers from the NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and Euro-Racecar.
The Hunter Index is released each month from April through November.
The panel also included media members: J.A. Ackley, Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated; Mark Billingsley, NASCAR freelance writer, Sacramento (Calif.) Bee; Shawn Courchesne, RaceDayCT.com; Bob Dillner, SPEED; Tim Haddock, haddockinthepaddock.blogspot.com; Keith Lair, Los Angeles Newspaper Group; Spencer Lewis, Inside Track Motorsport News, Canada; Pat Patterson, SIRIUS NASCAR Ch. 128/ESPN Radio; Tim Quievryn, TheThirdTurn.com; Len Sammons, Area Auto Racing News; David Smith, MotorsportsAnalytics.com; Damien Sordelett, sports writer with the Danville (Va.) Register & Bee; Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com, and Rea White, NASCAR editor, FOXSports.com. They are joined by Brett Bodine, who is the chairman of the NASCAR Résumé Committee and represents the NASCAR competition side on the panel, and Jason Christley, a NASCAR public relations representative.
HUNTER INDEX – AUGUST
1. DJ KENNINGTON
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
Why he’s here: Pushed his win streak to five with a sweep of the West Coast swing (Vernon, Edmonton and Saskatoon).
2. LEE PULLIAM
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Why He’s Here: Has been nearly unstoppable everywhere he’s run his Late Model this season to pile up 18 wins on the season.
3. GEORGE BRUNNHOELZL III
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
Why He’s Here: Continued his strong two-year run atop the tour with back-to-back wins at Caraway and Bowman Gray, and became tour’s all-time leader in laps in the process.
4. BRETT MOFFITT
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Why He’s Here: A win at Clearfield, a second a Columbus and a fifth at his home track in Iowa has the Grimes, Iowa, native in the driver’s seat in the championship chase.
5. RYAN PREECE
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series/NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Why He’s Here: Collected his fourth pole of the season on the tour while also piling up five wins and eight top five finishes in an 11-race stretch at Stafford and Thompson.
6. DANIEL SUAREZ
NASCAR Toyota Series
Why He’s Here: Won from the pole at Querétaro after finishing fifth at Mexico City and second at San Luis Potosi to move closer to his first NASCAR championship.
7. DOUG COBY
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Why He’s Here: A fourth win of the season – along with a pair of third-place finishes – has cemented his spot atop of the tour standings.
8. COREY LAJOIE
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Why He’s Here: Scored a huge career win at Iowa to erase some bad memories of mechanical issues (Clearfield) and flat tires (Columbus).
9. CALE CONLEY
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Why He’s Here: Captured his first NASCAR win at Columbus, then came back and won the pole and finished seventh at Iowa to position himself as one of the leading title contenders for 2013.
10. MICHAEL SELF
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
Why He’s Here: A pair of top five finishes at Evergreen and Colorado and top 10 overall at Iowa – the top finishing West driver – has the RCR development driver on a roll heading down the stretch.
HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Aramendia (Thunderhill, Houston/NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Tim Brown (Bowman Gray/NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Scott Winters (All-American and Stockton/NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Dick Dunlevy (Kil-Kare/NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), and Toby Porter (Greenville/NASCAR Whelen All-American Series).
From Jason Christley Integrated Marketing Communications