NASCAR’s three main national series have had their post-season awards ceremonies. But this weekend in Charlotte, the champions from its smaller divisions are in the spotlight.
Last night, Lee Pulliam (Semora, N.C.) was honored for his second consecutive Whelen All-American Series title. He now joins Larry Phillips (five titles) and Philip Morris (four) as just the third driver in the history of the series to win it on multiple occasions.
Pulliam won 27 times in 47 starts while leading the national championship throughout the season.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would have the honor of receiving [this] coveted trophy, much less a second one,” Pulliam said according to NASCARHomeTracks.com. “Being mentioned in the same sentence with Larry and Philip sends chills down my spine.”
Tonight, NASCAR will stage a “Night of Champions” ceremony involving honorees from its various touring series such as the East and West divisions of the K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Canadian Tire Series, Toyota (Mexico) Series, and Whelen Euro Series.
Among the champions to be feted tonight are:
- K&N East: Dylan Kwasniewski
- K&N West: Derek Thorn
- Whelen Modified Tour: Ryan Preece
- Whelen Southern Modified Tour: George Brunnhoelzl, III
- Whelen Euro Series: Ander Vilarino
- Canadian Tire Series: Scott Steckly
- Toyota (Mexico) Series: Rodrigo Peralta
NASCARHomeTracks.com will stream coverage beginning today at 5 p.m. ET, with the actual ceremony at 6 p.m. ET.
Car No.: 27
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 10th
Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.
With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.
Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.
When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.
But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.
Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.
Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.