Whelen Motorsports

Rost Aims For Top Of Division III

NWAAS • July 19, 2013

Nebraska Driver Among NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Finalist Division Leaders

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 18, 2013) — Tony Rost methodically built his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing career. He worked his way from four cylinder cars through Hobby Stocks.

Rost, 20, of Utica, Neb., eventually found the right person and the right equipment to move up to B-Modifieds. He quickly became a contender. Still not satisfied, he challenged himself to race at many speedways. He learned to adapt to each track, their changing race night conditions, and the competition.

“I just wanted to get as much seat time at as many tracks as I could,” Rost said.

He settled into weekly Saturday night racing in 2011 at Junction Motor Speedway, a.375-mile clay oval in McCool Junction, Neb., and got experience. Then he worked his way to the 2012 track championship.

Rost said dirt Late Model driver and chassis builder Justin Gregg helped him when he moved into B-Modifieds. Gregg, of Hastings, Neb., builds Red Rocket Race Cars chassis.

“Justin never built a Modified before,” Rost said. “I talked to him about a Modified and we ended up building one together.” The car was built between the 2010-11 seasons.

“I finished sixth in points at Junction in 2011,” Rost said. “I won races there and at Junction and Adams County Speedway. I made 50 starts in all, just to see how I stacked up against the competition.”

After an encouraging rookie season, Gregg and Rost put their knowledge and experience together and built a new B-Modified for 2012. Rost went onto win his first NASCAR B-Modified division track championship at Junction. That was good enough for Gregg to get customer orders for four more B-Modified race cars.

B-Modifieds are designated as NASCAR Finalist Division III at Junction. Rost’s record so far this year is six wins, nine top-fives and 10 top-10s in 13 starts. He’s ranked No. 2 in this week’s Division III Top 100, 50 points behind Jared Umbenhauer who races at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa.

The NASCAR Finalist Division program recognizes drivers who compete in support divisions at NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks. With “Division I” being each track’s top division, the NASCAR Finalist Division line-up at each track highlights drivers competing in their second, third, fourth and fifth tier divisions. Through Sept. 15 a NASCAR-licensed driver’s best 14 finishes are counted toward their final point total for the year. Points are kept separately for dirt and asphalt tracks.

The top three dirt track NASCAR Finalist Division leaders in each division this week include Division II Mark Leiting, I-80 and Junction; Andy Wilkinson, I-80 and Junction; Jesse Dennis, I-80 and Adams County. Division III Jared Umbenhauer, Grandview; Rost, Junction and I-80; Craig Whitmoyer, Grandview. Division IV Cody Clark, I-80 and Adams County; Tony Hardisty, Adams County; Alex Heimer, Salina (Okla.) Highbanks Speedway. Division V Art Reed, Salina; Dylan Cantwell, Salina; Jeremy Purdy, Adams County.

The top three asphalt track NASCAR Finalist Division leaders in each division this week include Division II Ricky Martin, Raceway Park, Shakopee, Minn.; Zack Clifton, Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Mack Little III, Bowman Gray. Division III John Ketron, Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway; Jason Ketron, Kingsport; Doug Wall, Bowman Gray. Division IV Jeremy Menninger, Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway; Jeff Watkins II, Columbus; Arlyn Roush, Rockford (Ill.) Speedway. Division V Jack Cook, Kalamazoo (Mich.) Speedway; M.J. Reed Jr., Lake County Speedway, Painesville, Ohio; Kris Fluckiger, Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.

“Justin Gregg is very important to our success,” Rost said. “I got my sixth win of the season Saturday night. This is by far my best season ever. I’ve finally got it all figured out. I know exactly what changes to make any time. Racing at seven or eight tracks helped me learn. It made me a well-rounded driver. Having that knowledge keeps us racing on a family budget.”

Rost competes on a fulltime basis at Junction and part-time at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb. He has one win in four starts so far this year at I-80.

While Rost’s strong record has him near the top of Division III standings, he’s third in Junction track points, 54 behind leader Kevin Betzen.

“We’ve gotten ourselves in a pretty deep hole,” Rost said of the track standings. “We lost a motor one night and had a DNF on another night. Most of the races we’ve finished we’ve been first or second. I’m not expecting to contend for the track championship this year.

“We’re just a father and son team. My dad (car owner Bill Rost) does all the maintenance work on the engine and I do the set-ups and tires.”

Other team members include his mother Ardyth, John DeWaard, Larry Barth and Aaron DeWaard.

“Our main goal is to win the Division III point race this year. Junction and I-80 also have a point fund for the best 10 finishes at each track that pays $1,000 to win and a $1,000 credit toward a new crate motor.”

Rost would like to eventually move up to A-Modifieds or 360 winged Sprint Cars.

“I’d really like to race Sprint Cars, but that’s not something I can afford,” Rost said. “I’d have to find an owner.”

Rost will be a junior at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., this fall. His focus of studies is Kinesiology and pre-physical therapy.

More information on the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is available at http://hometracks.nascar.com.