The Weekly Racer Returns To Martinsville Speedway – Partnering Along With Race22.com
With our rookie stripes off our back this year, The Weekly Racer is heading back to Martinsville Speedway this week for without a doubt the most prestigious Late Model Stock Car races of the year! With changes in the formate, changes in the pay out, changes in the title of the race! You can bet your bottom dollar that it will NOT change the excitement of this race.
With a bit larger staff this year we are really looking forward to bringing just about as close to the racing action as you can get! With that we wanted to have a little fun between everyone and compare some notes so bellow you will find each of our Top 5 To Watch, Sleeper Pick(s), and Bold Pick of the race! In addition we would like to welcome on board East Coast Synthetics who will be sponsoring the AMSOIL Slick Move of the Race – Given out to one driver who we think made the right moves to better his or her position on the track!
In addition, for the second year in a row, we will be teaming up with our friends at Race22.com to bring you even more comprehensive, lap-by-lap coverage of the most exciting LMSC race in the country. With more boots on the ground that just means more information we can get out to you. We will be LIVE coverage via our Twitter – @theweeklyracer as well as within the CoverIt Live application from Race22 (link to be posted closer to the race).
Top 5 To Watch (no particular order):
Lets be honest, you would be stupid not to have the guy in your top five. This guy has been on a roll this year, winning at tracks he has never seen, grabbing wins on Fridays then driving to a track grabbing wins on Saturday’s. Pulliam is also coming off of the announcement of his 3rd NWAAS National Title so the momentum is there. Oh yeah, not to mention he has won the first two races (Langley & South Boston) of the VA Triple Crown – something no one has done since its inspection. Look for Pulliam to win back-to-back clocks and be the first driver to sweep the triple crown.
Coming off an impressive run in the Xfinity series race at Richmond, and before you jump down my throat and “remind me” these cars are totally different… I KNOW! Doesn’t take away the fact that Berry is a wheelman! Couple that with equipment from Jr. Motorsports, factor in the low atmospheric pressure and well that would be what some meteorologist call a perfect storm. Look for the #88 Speedco Machine to be a threat.
Quite honestly you pick them while there hot! Yarbourgh, looking back one year, was able to position himself to steal a second place finish after a wild wreck at the end of the 2014 edition of the race. He is coming off a win in the CARS Tour Late Model series at Myrtle Beach and was unofficially the second fastest car from last weeks test session.
I said it once, I will just change some names and say it again! If you don’t have Phillip Morris in your top five, then well you really don’t like history! A Three-time winner of this event, most recent coming in 2012, and a multiple time NWAAS National Champion, Morris is no stranger to this track. He is no stranger to the big time races. Look for Morris to methodically work his way through the field and be a threat at the end.
Opened up the 2015 very strong! Winning three races in the inaugural CARS Tour series currently tied for second in the points there just three points out. It proves he knows how to race and win with some of the best competition that the Late Model community has to offer. If he can keep the tires under him and the nose clean, he could be a threat to win.
Sleeper: Matt Waltz & Tyler Ankrum
Look, we are being blatantly honest here. Matt Waltz has not had the year he or any of us expected! Coming off 12 wins though could put some pressure on any driver. Waltz has been there in every single “large” LMSC race this season but always seems to run into… or get run into by some bad luck. He has already proven he knows how to pilot his #2 machine around Martinsville. They slept on him a few years ago they may want to watch out again this year because that entire crew is hungry for victory lane.
I tried to keep things simple and pick just one but my heart wouldn’t let me. This kid… scratch that – this young man was taken out of the race in turn three before we clicked off one lap on the board after having to race his way in through the LCQ. After another year under his belt and some impressive finishes in the CARS Tour I am looking for the #58 machine to stay towards the front this year!
Bold Pick: Timothy Peters
Doing what I am pretty sure no driver has ever done before, flying cross country to attempt to make the race! Peters will be driving the #17 in the Camping World Truck Series out in Las Vegas on Saturday October 3rd, jumping in a plan, flying out to Martinsville, and will start his heat race in the back because of missing qualifying. He was honestly in my top five but I just don’t have a very good feeling about all of the other drivers in those heat races with that much on the line. All I have to say is, PLEASE prove me wrong!
Top 5 To Watch: (No Particular Order)
Haws has just done consistently well in his finishes from what I’ve read.
He did pretty damn well at the Xifinity race in Richmond, so he must be learning something out there.
Because he was doing so damn good at the showdown until he was wrecked. He was making position up within two laps of each other and his ability to pass on the outside is a strength.
Honestly because he won the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. He obviously knows a thing or two about long races
Well… because he’s Lee Pulliam!
Sleeper Pick: Tyler Ankrum
He adjust very well to the racing around him and isn’t afraid to make a bold move to gain positions!
Bold Pick: Todd Gilliland
Because he’s been improving a lot this year from what I’ve been seeing. Definitely one to look out for.
Top 5 To Watch:
Pulliam just locked up his 3rd National Championship and has been near unstoppable this season and as a two time Martinsville winner you gotta figure he’ll be up front at the end
Phillip Morris is a 3 time Martinsville winner so its safe to say he has the track figured out
Crum won in 2009 and was fastest unofficially in the test session last week in a brand new car.
Falk only runs the trophy races these days and expects to win them.
Even thoughBerry wasn’t top 10 in testing, the JR Motorsports late model driver always shows up on race day.
Sleeper Pick: Matt Waltz
Was quick in testing and is hungry for a win and there isn’t a better venue than Martinsville Speedway.
Bold Prediction: Kaz Grala
Winless through 13 races in the K&N Series East division but has been consistent. Climbing back into a late model should be no problem and I expect him to show decent pace and be there at the end to challenge for a win.
Top 5 to Watch:
Recently crowned the NWAAS National Champion at Wednesday’s test, Pulliam has won the national crown three times out of the last four years. As if this momentum doesn’t help him enough, Pulliam has two VSCU 300 victories, one of which came last year. Pulliam also won the first two Virginia Triple Crown Races at Langley Speedway and South Boston Speedway, and only time will tell if he can be the first to sweep all three races.
Although his participation this year in Late Model Stock racing was the lowest in years, Morris will definitely be one to root for. Morris has four NWAAS National Titles and three VSCU 300 victories, leading both of those categories among those who are entered into Sunday’s race. His latest VSCU 300 victory came three short years ago, so don’t count him out.
After capturing wins and the championship at Hickory Motor Speedway, a win at Langley Speedway (the location of the 2016 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown) in his first visit, and a seventh place finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Richmond earlier this year, Berry has momentum on his side. Berry has also made a few appearances in the CARS Tour, capturing a win at Motor Mile back in July.
Doing double duty with the Truck Series Race in Vegas, Peters won this year’s Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston Speedway against a handful of racers who will join him in Sunday’s field.
Lemons won the VSCU 300 in 2013, and has shown strength at many tracks around the Southeast in both the NWAAS and CARS Tour.
Winner: Matt Waltz
Leading many laps in 2013’s VSCU 300, Waltz knows what it takes to be up front. This year hasn’t been the kindest to him; however, he made his NASCAR XFINITY debut at Richmond earlier in the month. With only one win this season (Langley Speedway in May), Waltz will be on a mission to end his drought of a year on a high note.
Sleeper Pick: Tyler Ankrum
This season, the youth of Late Model Stock racing have flexed their muscles. With many solid finishes in the NWAAS and CARS Tour around the Southeast, Ankrum has gained the talent and experience over the last two seasons to find himself in victory lane on Sunday.
Bold Prediction: CE Falk III
Winless since last year’s Hampton Heat, Falk will be determined to be at the front. Since racing doesn’t occupy all of his weekends anymore, many may overlook him to win. He’s worked hard to get where he is, and I guess it’s good to root for the hometown guy, right?