Nick Smith and Bobby McCarty Tied Going Into Final Segment of the 2017 Virginia Triple Crown Series
A lot will be on the line this weekend when over eighty Late Model Stock cars make the return trip to Ridgeway, Virginia for the largest race of the season for these weekend worries. Take away the $25,000 check to the winner, take away the chance to bring home a famous grandfather clock to your shop, throw out the fact that this will be the first event under the permanent LED lights. Well okay, don’t really throw that out because it is almost everything that anyone is talking about. With all of that going on this weekend we do not want to forget that one driver will leave The Paperclip as the 2017 Virginia Triple Crown Champion and net no less than $10,000.
For those who may not know, the Virginia Triple Crown is a three-race, three track series, where the winner is the one driver who competes in all three races and accumulates the highest average finish. The series is kicked off at South Boston Speedway with their annual running of the Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200, the speedways riches race of the year. Followed very closely by The Hampton Heat 200 hosted by Langley Speedway, all to come to a head in the fall at Martinsville Speedway.
Two drivers will unload Friday afternoon deadlocked at the top of the leaderboard so to speak with an average finish of 3.5. Give the nod to Bobby McCarty, the most recent winner of the Hampton Heat, as he has the better finishing position between him and Hampton’s own, Nick Smith. McCarty, who failed to make the show in 2013 & 2015, looks to improve on his 24th place finish from last year after replacing teammate Timothy Peters, as well as notch another accomplishment off his belt as well as become the 2017 Virginia Triple Crown champ. McCarty felt good this past week at the Thursday night test expressing his plan his to save the car and his breaks and go all out at the end.
Nick Smith took the more consistent approach to earn his position tied at the top of the standings. Not discrediting McCarty’s runs in both races but a third-place finish at South Boston and a fourth-place finish at his home track for the Hampton Heat should go to show that Nick Smith is a force to be reckoned with in these long distance races. Smith is coming off of one of the most dominating seasons in his Late Model career picking up twelve wins and the track championship at the newly opened Dominion Speedway in 2016. Smith elected to return to his home track this season running the new Chevy Spec motor where he collected two wins on the season. Bad luck and bad timing appeared to be what kept him out of the points battle. Smith will make the trek this weekend sans the Chevy Spec motor using the same Chevy built motor he had success with last season.
Brenden Queen, another driver who calls Langley Speedway home, is not out of the hunt with his eighth and second place finishes. Queen comes into the weekend sitting in third place with an average finish of fifth place. Fourteen drivers will be eligible this weekend for the extra bonus money should they make the trip out. With the craziness that is Martinsville, anything can happen at the end of 200 laps. All fourteen drivers and their average finishes are listed here.
Front gates will open to fans at 4:00 PM Friday afternoon for practice that will run until 7:00 PM. Pole Qualifying will start approx. 8:00 PM. Registration and the ticket office will open Saturday morning at 11:00 AM with the garage opening at noon. General Admission gates will open at 2:00 PM with an hour-long autograph session scheduled from 2:30 to 3:30 PM. The 25-lap qualifying races will roll off at 4:00 PM with the 200-lap feature race starting approx. 8:00 PM.
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2017 Virginia Triple Crown Eligible Drivers – Avg. Finish
- #22 Bobby McCarty – 3.5
- #12 Nick Smith – 3.5
- #03 Brenden Queen – 5
- #17 Stacy Puryear – 7.5
- #01 Philip Morris – 8.5
- #26 Peyton Sellers – 8.5
- #12 Timothy Peters – 9
- #90 Terry Carroll – 12
- #12 Austin Thaxton – 12
- #91 Justin Carroll – 13.5
- #55 Mark Wertz – 15.5
- #57 Eddie Johnson – 18
- #19 Cameron Bowen – 19
- #07 Dean Ward – 19.5