NWAAS: 10-to-go Caution Gets the Boot – Winners Purse Increased
With the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “regular season” complete, all eyes shift to the unofficial post season. A series of big races, with big payouts, attracting big crowds and even bigger car counts. For years now Martinsville Speedway has played host to on of the most prestigious races in the Late Model Stock Car community. Not only is it one of the largest paying races of the year, the winning driver gets to take home of the famous Martinsville Grandfather clocks!
This year the event has gotten a bit of a face-lift so to speak. A major change in how the race is run that could in fact attract even more teams to make the trip. For those who have never attended the race it is a two-day event. Qualifying on Saturday – heat races, last chance qualifier, and a 200-lap feature on Sunday. The feature would half a break at lap 100 and a mandatory caution with 10 laps to go. – Something that teams, drivers, and fans alike hated.
That has all been changed! 2015 will see somewhat of a new format to the race. Gone are the days of the lap 100 break and 10 to go caution! This year the break will be at lap 150 along with a “blind draw” invert, a format that was used earlier this year during the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown race at South Boston. A format that not only allows teams to make adjustments and refuel but should actually create much better racing to the checkered flag!
Other changes for the 2015 edition of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 – The winnings! With the halfway break out this year Clarence’s Steak House, a local restaurant just minutes from the track, has taken their $2,000 halfway bonus and moved it to an “end of the race award.” In a race with a total purse of $100,000 your winner will walk away at least $27,000 richer – hell the last place finisher will receive a check for $1,000.
With removing the controversial late race caution I do honestly feel that more teams will be intrigued to make the trip for the first time. It should certainly appeal to those teams who were saying they were not coming back because of that reason and the amount of equipment it tears up.
Though this will only be our second year covering the prestigious race, we here at The Weekly Racer embrace the change. To many times in races in the past, and not just Martinsville races, a late race caution for someone’s mishap in the back of the pack as really killed some great three, four, or even five way battles for the lead. Not only that, but it also takes away from the chances of cautions breeding cautions.
The format worked quite well in our opinion at the Denny Hamlin race earlier this year and we feel that it will be the same if not better for the racing.
The track will host an open test session for any team looking to get a competitive advantage for the October 4th race. Teams will be able to hit the track between 9 AM and 5 PM today, September 23 in hopes of building or editing their notebook.