CHARLOTTE, N.C. — official series release — Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Anthony Anders’ dream became reality Friday night.
Since he first came to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards in 2011, he imagined a day when his name would hang on one of the banners of national champions that ring the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
As the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, Anders not only saw his name on the latest banner, he collected his championship ring from NASCAR President Mike Helton and the championship trophy that’s etched with all the national champions in the series’ 33-year history.
“This was a dream come true for me and a long time coming,” Anders said. “I painted my name on the historic wall alongside NASCAR greats Ralph Earnhardt, David Pearson and many other local legends.”
“I want to thank NASCAR and the Whelen series for all of their support and for playing a role in making the past 18 years the best of my life. I want to thank all the local tracks and all the racers involved in the series. It is an honor to be your 2014 National Champion.”
Anders piled up 30 wins, 44 top fives and 48 top 10s in 51 races at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway, Anderson Motor Speedway and Myrtle Beach Speedway, as well as North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway
The national championship wasn’t the only honor Anders took home.
He also won the South Carolina championship for the fourth straight year and the Late Model Stock Car championship at Greenville.
That title earned Anders the right to add 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 Pearson and 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.
And now Anders’ name is permanently added to that storied track, state and national short-track history.
Anders wasn’t the only member of his team taking home hardware. Crew chief Lee McCall received the Lunati Crew Chief Award, while McCall and Randy Hawkins of Hawk-McCall Motorsports were honored with the Lincoln Electric Car Owner Award.
In addition to Anders’ recognition, several special awards highlighted the evening’s festivities.
Nick Heywood, 26, of Plattsburgh, New York, received the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Rookie of the Year Award presented by Jostens. Heywood had five wins, 18 top fives and 21 top 10 finishes in 21 starts at Airborne Park Speedway and finished second in the New York standings.
Toni Marie McCray, of Highland, California, was presented the prestigious Wendell Scott Trail Blazer Award. Dillon Bassett, 17, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was the inaugural recipient of the UNOH Youth Achievement Award national championship.
CREDIT: Jason Christley, NASCAR