May 30, 2018
BY TIM HADDOCK HOMETRACKS.NASCAR.COM
Lawless Alan isn’t a driver who wastes time learning.
He is a quick study, from the first time he stepped in a Legends car to his sudden rise in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In 12 starts racing late models for Dasher Lawless Racing at Irwindale Event Center and Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield in California, Alan won five races. It is good enough to put him in second place in the Whelen All-American Division I national standings.
“My team really helped speed up the learning process,” said Alan, the 18-year-old driver from Southern California.
He credits his crew with much of his early success. Alan knows how to pick his spots, too. He won the fourth annual Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park in February. While it didn’t count toward the Whelen All-American standings, it was in front of some of the country’s top NASCAR late model teams and drivers, including one fielded by Kyle Busch.
A few weeks later, Alan won the Happy Harvick 50, which ran in tandem with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Kern County Raceway Park in March. He won the two races in front of Kevin Harvick and Busch, both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions.
“To dominate in front of Kyle Busch then to dominate in front of Kevin Harvick, I think those were the two coolest races to win,” Alan said. “It was almost so one-sided how good we got the car. To do that in front of those high-level guys was really cool.”
Alan will do the bulk of his late model racing at Irwindale. He has more than six years of experience at the track racing Legends cars and trucks. He said it has been an easy transition moving up to late models at the track.
“The track itself I really like,” Alan said. “You can basically go wherever you want. It really leads to some interesting racing. Two-wide is really easy to handle. Three-wide can work for a while. I’ve been up to five-wide there. I really like how fanned out you can get. I like how many options you have. You can really move around and feel it out.”
Starting off in Legends cars was probably the best move for Alan. He said he learned more about car control and handling racing there than in anything else.
“Learning some car control and how to race around people in the Legends, because those things dart all over the place, always sliding,” Alan said.
“Doing my first few years of racing in those. From there, the big cars, there a little bit more easier to race, they are a little more predictable.
“I think my first few years being the Legends cars really made the success possible for me. It really taught me how to drive, drive around people, drive in traffic.”
Even though Alan is among the elite drivers in the Whelen All-American Division I standings early in the season, winning a national title isn’t one of his goals. He set his sights on winning the track championship at Irwindale and the Whelen All-American California championship.
“I don’t know how it will play out,” Alan said. “Those guys back East get better car counts than we do. That might even it out. I feel like I have a pretty good shot at winning the California title.
“We’ve been trying for it but it’s been really hard. We’re doing the best we can. Luckily for us we’ve been doing really well. Hopefully, if we don’t win the national championship, we’ll get really high up in the standings. That would be really cool. We’re focused right now on winning the track championship at Irwindale and winning the state championship.”
Last year, Trevor Huddleston won the California title and finished second in the national standings — three points behind another four-time champion Lee Pulliam from North Carolina. Huddleston was also sixth in the nation in 2016, while Nick Joanides finished third running at Irwindale in 2009. The last California driver to win the national title was Greg Pursley, racing at Irwindale, in 2004.
Alan is more than a driver too. Part of his plan is to move to Alabama in the fall. He will attend the University of Alabama and study mechanical engineering. He also plans on continuing to race and pursue a Whelen All-American Series national title.
“Hopefully while I am at school I can race back East,” Alan said. “Whether it’s super lates or pro lates, just racing on the East Coast, that’s really the plan so far. We’re still trying to figure that part out.”
While at Alabama, Alan said he wants to learn more about how race cars work and how to make them better.
“It all goes back to racing for me,” he said.
Alan is continuing his chase for the top spot in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I standings, currently occupied by four-time national champion Philip Morris.
Morris, from Ruckersville, Virginia, tallied his 10th Late Model Stock Car victory of the season in 15 starts with his win at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway Saturday night. Morris has also raced at Virginia’s Langley Speedway and Dominion Speedway as well as North Carolina’s Southern National Raceway Park.
He has 12 top fives and 433 points.
Alan is second with 335 points, just ahead of Jagger Jones (298) and Zachary St. Onge (256). All three run at Irwindale and Kern.
Trey Gibson is fifth overall with three wins in 13 starts for 242 points at Greenville Pickens Speedway and Anderson Motor Speedway in South Carolina. He is tied with Sam Mayer (North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway and Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway).
Rounding out the top 10 are: Hailie Deegan (Kern, Irwindale and Arizona’s Tucson Speedway), Keith Rocco (Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsport Park), Stephen Nasse (New Smyrna) and Brandon Farrington (Tucson).