Category Archives: Late Model

Peyton Sellers Wins Caution Filled Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 at South Boston

Peyton Sellers celebrates in victory lane at South Boston Speedway June 29, 2019. (Andy Newsom/Loose In, Tight Off)

South Boston, VA– Philip Morris was the big man on campus earlier in the afternoon during group qualifying when he was just a couple thousands of a second away from breaking the fourteen-second lap bracket and earned the right to bring the thirty-one car field to the green. Mike Looney, Josh Berry, Ryan Repko, and Trey Crews made up the remaining fastest five starters.

The 200-lap lap Virginia Triple Crown opener would be run in two segments essentially. The first would be 101-laps in distance. Teams would then have fifteen minutes to come down pit road for adjustments and full. A number of cars would then be inverted and sent out for the remaining 99 laps.

It was no surprise that Philip Morris was strong from the drop of the green flag. Leading all but the last ten or so laps when Josh Berry got by him on a restart and he started to slip back through the field. He would ultimately land in the fifth position by the time the halfway caution was displayed. We couldn’t confirm if he had a mechanical issue or if he was playing the invert game. Either way, it came back to bite him when he ended up in the turn four walls and ultimately on the rollback.

Tyler Hughes would inherit the lead following the ten-car invert. With the help of the inside line, clean track, and a plethora of yellow flags, Hughes looked to have what it took to pick up his first Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 victory. However, a right front tire issue would take away those hopes in a hurry. The lead would change hands multiple times between multiple drivers until Layne Riggs and Collin Garrett make contact and literally part the sea for Sellers to take the lead.

Peyton turned into the Peyton of old with 20-laps to go and was able to hold off a hard-charging Lee Pulliam to pick up yet another South Boston Speedway win, extend both his track and national points lead, as well as get a huge leg up on the Virginia Triple Crown standings going into the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway in a few short weeks.

“We had just enough car there at the end,” a tired Peyton Sellers said in victory lane. “Lee Pulliam had the best car there the last twenty or thirty laps. He didn’t go on that restart good and we got a good little lead on him but he came back strong, I knew he would This Clarence’s Steak House/Danville Toyota racecar was strong when it needed to be.”

In a race that saw more than ten cautions and two large pileups on the front stretch, Sellers admitted at some point it came down to maintaining the nose on the car.

“Man, this was a race of attrition,” Sellers added. “We hung around eighth place all night. Never could get track position till the last restart. Here we are with fifteen to go and we were sitting second and it was time to go.”

Sellers admitted that he didn’t have the fastest car but he was certainly at the right place at the right time and capitalized.

“He [Pulliam] ran me clean there at the end,” Sellers spoke about that last restart. “He could have driven through there and took us out but he didn’t, that’s what racing is all about. We had a good clean battle last week for the win and he won that one so the respect comes back on me and I appreciate that.  These races are hard to come by.”

With the win, tonight Sellers sits on top of the Triple Crown Standings. As a previous winner of the mini-series, Sellers was asked how he feels about it early this year.

“We have to go to Langley with an open mind,” Sellers went on to say about his previous Virginia Triple Crown wins. “I told them earlier today you can’t play today’s game with yesterdays home run. We will put our nose down and try to get a win over there.”

 

Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. Peyton Sellers
  2. Lee Pulliam
  3. Trey Crews
  4. Mike Looney
  5. Corey Heim
  6. Brandon Pierce
  7. Timothy Peters
  8. Tyler Hughes
  9. Thomas Scott
  10. Mike Jones
  11. Terry Carroll
  12. Ty Gibbs
  13. Brenden Queen
  14. Layne Riggs
  15. Colin Garrett
  16. Ryan Millington
  17. Josh Berry
  18. Mark Wertz
  19. Mark Keesee
  20. Quincy Adkins
  21. Justin S Carroll
  22. Tim Phipps
  23. Phillip Morris
  24. Terry Dease
  25. Justin T Carroll
  26. Ryan Wilson
  27. Daniel Shelton
  28. Bobby McCarty
  29. Jordan Pickerel
  30. Ryan Repko
  31. Austin Thaxton

Philip Morris Captures the Pole at South Boston’s Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200

Philip Morris powers down the front stretch at South Boston Speedway during final practice for the 2019 Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

South Boston, VA– Earlier today The Weekly Racer made a handful of picks on who we thought might be contenders for tonight’s races and Philip Morris helped our creditability as the hot sun finally started to set over turns one and two. Morris, who won final practice continued that speed into group qualifying capturing the top spot and earning the right to lead the field to green with a 15.022-second lap. That is an average of 95.859 miles per hour.

The 200-lap race will be run in two segments essentially. A caution will be displayed at lap 101. At that point, the field will be brought down pit road and teams will be given fifteen minutes to make normal pit stop adjustments. No hard parts may be changed or fuel added. Teams will need to finish the race with the tires they started with, however, they are permitted to rotate tires if they wish during that break.

To follow all of tonight’s actions make sure to pay attention to our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer) as well as our LIVE coverage at the following link >> http://bit.ly/2YoriDk

 

Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 Starting Order

  1. Phillip Morris – 15.022
  2. Mike Looney – 15.106
  3. Josh Berry – 15.137
  4. Ryan Repko – 15.163
  5. Trey Crews – 15.174
  6. Peyton Sellers – 15.177
  7. Bobby McCarty – 15.187
  8. Timothy Peters – 15.208
  9. Colin Garrett – 15.212
  10. Ty Gibbs – 15.227
  11. Brandon Pierce – 15.229
  12. Lee Pulliam – 15.237
  13. Mike Jones – 15.252
  14. Layne Riggs – 15.259
  15. Tyler Hughes – 15.260
  16. Justin T Carroll – 15.260
  17. Ryan Millington – 15.270
  18. Corey Heim – 15.307
  19. Ryan Wilson – 15.317
  20. Tim Phipps – 15.330
  21. Thomas Scott – 15.348
  22. Terry Dease – 15.384
  23. Brenden Queen – 15.386
  24. Justin S Carroll – 15.509
  25. Austin Thaxton – 15.548
  26. Mark Wertz – 15.551
  27. Daniel Shelton – 15.676
  28. Terry Carroll – 15.684
  29. Mark Keesee – 15.717
  30. Jordan Pickerel – 15.755
  31. Quincy Adkins – 15.798

Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 “Who to Watch”

Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and girls. It’s that time! Time for some big time Late Model Stock Car Racing. Round one of the 2019 Virginia Triple Crown series kicks off this evening at South Boston Speedway for their annual Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200. Thirty plus cars have converged on the .400-mile Speedway all bunting for the big pay day.

As always The Weekly Racer will have you covered from the start of practice to the checkered flag. You can follow all the action here at this link ->> https://www.24live.co/live/2289885268277396739. Coverage will begin approx. 1:00 PM EDT.

Need to know who to keep your eye on tonight. We got you covered there too! Here are our top five picks for tonight’s race. What about you? Who do you have coming home the winner?

1:30 PM: Practice

4:30 PM: Euro Qualifying

5:30 PM: On track Fan Appreciation

7:00 PM: GREEN FLAG

  • Hornets: 20
  • Pure Stock: 40
  • Late Model: 200
  • Limited Sportsman: 75

To Follow: Fireworks

Josh’s Pick 5

Phillip Morris – It’s Phillip Morris, how could you not pick him as a favorite? Yeah he’s had an up and down season, but when you put Morris and a big race at SoBo together, you’re going to get the best Morris there is. After finishing second to Sellers last year in this race, Phillip looks to get that one extra position to put him in victory lane this year.

Lee Pulliam – He’s put all his dedication into South Boston this season by running a full season there. He’s fourth in points at the track and has two wins, he’s coming off a last place finish in the most recent Late Model race. He’ll be looking to turn his luck around with a strong finish.

Bobby McCarty – Bobby has ran the CARS tour series for a few years now and he won the championship last season. Anywhere McCarty goes, he’s a top three runner. This will be McCartys first appearance at South Boston since last years 200 lap race where he finished fifth.

Peyton Sellers – Sellers will be looking to defend his title as last years winner this year. He’s the points leader at the track, he’s had strong runs at multiple tracks and wins at multiple tracks this season. Being first in national points also gives him a boost to run his best with a big car count expected for more points towards a national championship.

Josh Berry – Berry has been strong in every single CARS tour race this season. Late race luck just hasn’t been on his side, but the other drivers know who’s been the top performer. After breaking through and picking up the win at Dominion last weekend, Berry looks to continue his dominant performances going into this weekend.

Dark Horse:

Thomas Scott – Scott runs well in any big race he goes to. He’s third in points at South Boston, five out of nine races this season he’s finished in the top five with two runner up finishes. He had a chance to win the inaugural Grass Roots 200 at Langley Speedway earlier this year, until a late race wreck ended his night. He finished 17th last year, he’s looking to improve that stat a lot this year.

Justin’s Pick 5

Peyton Sellers – You would be crazy to count Peyton Sellers out of any race he shows up to. It would be even more wild to count him out at his home track of South Boston. Sellers is your current points leader at the speedway as well as NWAAS points. Sellers also posted times in the low 15’s yesterday during practice. Keep your eyes in that white and orange two-six come race time.

Philip Morris – I would have to second Josh’s statement from above. It’s Philip Morris, how can you not pick this man as a favorite. He has won at just about every track he’s been to. You could also argue that Morris is not hitting on all cylinders this year like he was last year. Either way, Morris will certainly be a front runner and a contender at the end of the feature.

Mike Looney – The saying strike when the iron is hot comes to mind with this pick. The former ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner knows how to deal with pressure in these big races and has certainly been hitting on something out at his home track in the mountains of Virginia. Last week he picks up a win in his first visit to Langley Speedway. Look for Looney to ride that momentum into tonight feature.

Timothy Peters – So he hasn’t been in a Late Model Stock much this year but it’s Timothy Peters. Not to mention when you have the backing of Berry Nelson you know your going to have some of the best equipment out there. If Peters can keep the nose clean he will most certainly be a car to watch in the closing laps.

Brenden Queen – You might say this is more suited for a dark horse or sleeper pick but let me take a second to tell you why we don’t think so. Queen has always done well in these long distances races. He has also been more determined than ever this year to perform. He has also teamed up with car owner Andre Grier which, despite some obvious growing pains and learning the car, has proven to be a good partnership. Queen will need to focus on keeping tires under his machine and make the right moves at the right time. If he can do that there is a chance we may see him in victory lane.

Dark Horse

Mark Wertz – Yup, I said it! Don’t sleep on the Chesapeake native. Wertz stepped back from full time competition this year to assist in the development of Connor Hall. One thing this has allowed him to do is pick and choose the races he wants to run. What’s the benefit in that? Focused attention. Wertz has plenty of experience at South Boston to be a real threat. With him stepping away from full time driving it’s just enough for other drivers to “count him out” which makes him dangerous.

South Boston Speedway’s 200-Lapper On June 29 Will Offer Huge Payout, Large Field, Fireworks

South Boston Speedway’s big Fourth of July celebration is always big from fans and drivers alike

South Boston, VA – As far as Peyton Sellers and Lee Pulliam are concerned, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200 at South Boston Speedway on June 29.

“This race has been gaining a lot of traction over the past few years,” said Sellers. “It brings cars from a lot of different tracks.”

“It’s a huge deal,” said Pulliam.

These two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champions should know. Between them they have won eight of the mid-season-classics. At one point, Pulliam won an amazing six straight. Sellers has won it twice, in 2005 and then again last season.

Why is the 200-lapper such a big deal? Let’s count the ways.

First, it is the initial leg of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, the three-race series that awards the winner $7,000, the second-place finisher $2,000 and the third-place finisher $1,000. The other two races in the series are the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway on July 20 and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway on October 5.

“It’s an absolute necessity to finish good in this race if you want to win the triple crown,” said Pulliam, who won the 2015 triple crown. “One bad race and you’re not going to win this deal. You have to get off on the right foot.”

“You used to have a mulligan in the triple crown. Now it takes three perfect races,” added Sellers, who has captured three triple crown titles. “If you are going to run good in the triple crown, you have to run good at South Boston.”

Then there is the purse. For the first time, the winner will take home $10,000 up from $6,500 in past years. “That’s going to help bring some really good cars,” Sellers said of the 10-grand first-place prize.

Last year’s Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 attracted 35 entries. A similar field is expected again this season.

“I think with the purse this is definitely going to bring a few more (cars),” said Sellers. “It’s kind of an off weekend. People tend to come out. They know South Boston will have seven or eight thousand fans there and it’s easier to pick up a one-off sponsorship.”

Then there are the non-racing activities that make the night a big deal. There will be a huge prerace fan-appreciation event on track with drivers from all divisions signing autographs and interacting with fans.

The night will end with a bang as the area’s largest Fourth of July fireworks display will be set off outside of the third turn following the final race of the night.

There will be a full night of racing action with the 200-lap Late Model race, a 75-lap Limited Sportsman race, a 40-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race and a 20-lap Budweiser Hornets race.

Advance tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the South Boston Speedway office or by calling 877.440.1540, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5  p.m. On race day tickets will be $20 for adults. Children 12-and-under will be admitted free with a paying adult.

Brandon Clements Snaps Winless Drought at Carteret County

PELETIER, NC – Brandon Clements picked up his first Limited Late Model win of the season at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway on Saturday night.

 

Clements started the race in the fourth position and took the lead from Chris Burns on the third lap of the race.  A competition caution with 25 laps to go tightened the field up, allowing TJ Barron an opportunity.  However, on the ensuing restart, Clements rocketed away from the field and never looked back as he scored the victory, ending a winless streak that dated back to October 27, 2018.

 

“We wanted to be aggressive and get the lead there to start with,” Clements said in victory lane after the race.  “It means so much here to be able to have the restart and control the field.  We just wanted to kick everybody’s ass.”

 

For Clements, the victory was a relief.  He last won in the final race of the 2018 season and, aside from a couple runner-up finishes and a Mini-Stock win in May, the 2019 season has been frustrating.

 

“This sport is very humbling,” Clements explained.  “To be as good as we were last year and come out this year and pure suck, it’s just been parts after parts and we found problem after problem.  Me and Wendell [Davis] spent many nights working on this thing.  He was getting frustrated with it and I was getting frustrated with it.  I just want to thank all the fans and sponsors for sticking with us.

 

“I really want to dedicate this to my mom.  She’s been having a rough time.  Without her, I wouldn’t be able to do this racing stuff.”

 

Boo Boo Dalton eventually made it around Tyler Horne, then around T.J. Barron to finish second.

 

“When you get one in front of you that far, it’s just hold on and pray for a caution,” Dalton stated.  “We weren’t even sure we were going to be in the top-three there for a little bit.  I’m tickled to death.  We’ve been out here twice and have a second, fourth, and a second.  We’ll keep it up and hopefully will be up on that checkered flag pad before too long.”

 

Barron went on to finish third while Chris Burns and Tyler Horne rounded out the top-five.

 

After a wild start to the Legends feature, which took five attempts to finally go green, Ryan Matthews raced his way to his first Carteret County Speedway victory of 2019.  Matthews got around Spencer Saunders with just seven laps remaining in the race to take the lead – and the win.

 

“Last time we came out here was for the big money race and our car was horrible,” Matthews said.  “We were like 20th fastest.  We made some adjustments for this race and it turns out it works well.  I think we’ll be pretty fast at the nationals.  I didn’t know what we had at the start, but once we started going, I knew we had the car.  I just had to be patient and make my moves at the right time and now I’m in victory lane.”

 

Spencer Saunders ultimately settled for the runner-up spot, his third consecutive second-place finish.  After the race, Saunders was disappointed to finish second once again.

 

“Not a bad run,” Saunders said.  “Just a little frustrated the handling gave out with about 10 to go.  Haven’t been able to figure it out.  That’s three that we’ve given away here.  Three second place finishes in a row kind of suck.  It really sucks, honestly.  We’ll be back here in two weeks and see if we can’t get a win then.”

After a tumultuous start to the season, Emily Day came home with a third-place effort.

 

“It’s definitely not a win but I’m pretty happy with a podium finish,” Day commented.  “I’m glad Brenton [Irving] was able to race me clean and we were able to race well.  Got to find a little more speed, the leaders were getting away from me, but I feel pretty good about it.”

 

Midway through the U-CAR feature, Steve Sullivan, while leading, got loose and then spun off the front bumper of Curtis Lanier, which allowed Andrew Jackson to inherit the lead.  However, Sullivan roared back to the lead in the closing laps to pick up his second win of the year.

 

“That was racing,” Sullivan explained.  “I was getting loose and I had to ease up a little bit in my turns and he was probably getting better.  It happens.  Just glad we were able to get back to the front and make it a show.”

 

Chris Burns picked up his fourth consecutive Street Stock victory over Billy Slater and Kevin Benton.  Slater and Benton raced to second and third on the last lap after Gary Rochelle, Jr. and Mike Cooper both looped their cars around racing for the runner-up spot.

 

Justin Thompson scored the champ Kart victory while Scott Brooks won in Mini Cup competition and Caleb Braswell was triumphant in the Jr. Mini Cup feature.

 

Saturday’s race kicked off four weekends of events at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway.  Next up at Carteret County Speedway is the Raceway Beach Festival on Saturday, June 29th, headlined by Jim Quick and the Coastline Band, the Cat 5 Band, Mighty Saints of Soul, and more.  The next race will be the Firecracker Clash on July 6th.  Speedweeks at Carteret County concludes on July 13th with the CARS Late Model Stock Tour.

 

For more information about Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway, visit the track’s official website at www.carteretspeedway.com, “like” Carteret County Speedway on Facebook or follow @carteretcoswy on Twitter.

 

 

Carteret County 6/23/19 Results

 

Limited Late Model

1. Brandon Clements

2. Boo Boo Dalton

3. TJ Barron

4. Chris Burns

5. Tyler Horne

6. Eric Winslow

7. Jason York

8. Gerald Benton

9. Bobby Morris

Street Stock

1. Chris Burns

2. Billy Slater

3. Kevin Benton

4. Dennis Woehrle

5. Gary Rochelle, Jr.

6. Mike Cooper

7. Roy Marley

8. John Sharp

 

Legends

1. Ryan Matthews

2. Spencer Saunders

3. Emily Day

4. Brenton Irving

5. Tucker Jones

6. Eric Courtney

7. Jordan Lamothe

8. Chris Hammett

9. Aaron Crumpler

10. Shane Irving

11. Trevor Thacker

12. Matt Bell

13. Frank Pass

U-CAR

1. Steve Sullivan

2. Andrew Jjackson

3. Curtis Lanier

4. Joe Lanier

5. Abby Jolly

6. Neil Mason

Champ Kart

1. Justin Thompson

2. BJ Thompson

3. JR Taylor

4. Jordan Lamothe

5. Gaston Davis

6. Cory Dimauro

7. Bill Owens

8. Sean Wales

Mini Cup

1. Scott Brooks

2. Charles Hassinger

3. Charles Pudenz

4. Jamie Duff

Jr. Mini Cup

1. Caleb Braswell

2. Scotty Benford

3. Alexis Steffan

 

 

Berry Bounces by McCarty for CARS Tour Win at Dominion Raceway

Photo Credit: Pit Row Media / Dinah Mullins

Thornburg, VA – Josh Berry bested the field on Saturday night at Dominion Raceway in the CARS Tour Radley Cadillac & Chevrolet 125, his 16th series win. The victory came after Berry passed his closest rival, Bobby McCarty, for the race lead with 49 laps to go and it kept him within one point of the championship lead.

Following Hedgecock Pole Qualifying, McCarty appeared to be the man to beat after nearly breaking the series track record during his run. Berry, however, qualified alongside the No. 22 and the pair led the field to the green flag.

The first major caution of the evening occurred on lap 26 when Camden Gullie’s engine expired on the backstretch. Doug Barnes, Jr., and Mason Diaz made contact less than a lap after the restart, triggering a multi-car incident which eliminated Diaz and Trevor Ward from the event while also sweeping Ronald Hill into the mess.

On each of the early restarts, Berry was able to nose ahead of McCarty for a lap, but the No. 22 Toyota continued to set the pace despite Berry’s early attempts at the lead.

A competition caution on lap 66 drew the field closer together and allowed Berry to once again hone in on his nemesis for the race lead. After peppering the rear bumper of McCarty with love taps for nearly ten laps, he muscled his way by with authority on lap 77 and began to pull away.

The JR Motorsports driver remained unchallenged in the final 49 circuits, cruising to Edelbrock Victory Lane in a car originally built for his boss, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to race. McCarty finished second by a margin of 2.621 seconds. Brandon Pierce, Mini Tyrrell and Layne Riggs rounded out the top five.

“It cooled off and the track came to us,” Berry said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “When it came time to go, it went. I couldn’t believe once we got out front how well it ran and we were able to just drive away. That was pretty fun. This was a pretty amazing racecar, first race on this thing and it’s just a credit to all these guys for all their hard work.

“This is a huge weekend for us, obviously with Mark [from his sponsor] coming down here and with his support of our race team,” he continued. “I wouldn’t be doing this without him. This is a place we don’t race a whole lot and it’s only my second race here and we didn’t come test, we just kinda showed up with a brand new racecar, pinned our ears back and tried to make it work. And we were able to do that. That thing got out front at the end and it was a rocket. It was a lot of hard work, and I’m looking forward to getting to some more tracks that we’ve been to a lot.”

The next event for the CARS Racing Tour will take place July 13 at Carteret County Speedway, the Solid Rock Carriers Crystal Coast 125, a standalone event for the late model stock cars with support from various local divisions at the retro-themed facility on the coast of North Carolina. The event features one of the largest purses of the season spread throughout the field with an already-record number of pre-entries in the facility’s history.

For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at CARSRacingTour.com, or follow them on Facebook (@CARSTour), Twitter (@CARSTour), Instagram (@cars_tour), and Snapchat (@carstour). The series also has its own YouTube channel, Roku channel (available through its TV website), and a publicly available Amazon FireTV app.

THE FINISH

CARS Late Model Stock Tour

Radley Cadillac & Chevrolet 125

Dominion Raceway – June 22, 2019

POS NUM DRIVER LAPS REASON OUT

1. 88 Josh Berry 125

2. 22 Bobby McCarty 125

3. 2 Brandon Pierce 125

4. 81 Mini Tyrrell 125

5. 99 Layne Riggs 125

6. 88B Doug Barnes, Jr. 125

7. 08 Deac McCaskill 125

8. 7 Michael Hardrin 125

9. 63 Tyler Matthews 125

10. 74 Ronald Hill 125

11. 98 Adam Lemke 125

12. 55 Howie DiSavino, Jr. 125

13. 1 Craig Moore 124

14. 17P Stacy Puryear 124

15. 91 Justin S. Carroll 124

16. 57 Justin Carroll 124

17. 90 Terry Carroll 124

18. 19C Jessica Cann 121

19. 4 Jonathan Findley 93 Mechanical

20. 19 Cameron Bowen 65 Mechanical

21. 12 Mason Diaz 26 Accident

22. 77 Trevor Ward 26 Accident

23. 07 Camden Gullie 26 Engine

Pierce Poised To Make A Statement In His Return To South Boston Speedway Saturday Night

Brandon Pierce celebrates after his first win at South Boston Speedway last year

South Boston, VA – There are going to be some heavy hitters rolling into South Boston Speedway this weekend for the track’s huge mid-season Late Model classic. Familiar names like Morris, Pulliam, Sellers, Peters and McCarty. 

Poised not far behind that group, flying a bit under the radar is Brandon Pierce. While he may not have the stats and championships of Philip Morris, Lee Pulliam, Peyton Sellers, Timothy Peters or Bobby McCarty, Pierce has to be considered a legitimate contender in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented By Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200.

He finished fourth in last year’s event and was fifth in 2016. He picked up his first South Boston Speedway win last season and his first CARS Tour victory early this season. He is driving a car prepared by Pulliam this year and he says that partnership has accelerated the learning process.

“Everybody knows about all of Lee’s success overall and especially at South Boston. There is always something you can learn from someone of his caliber,” Pierce said of the four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion. “I’ve asked him so many questions; he has taught me so much, about driving and about the car.”

Although Pierce hasn’t raced at South Boston this year, he says he’s learned so much about the .4-mile oval by watching Pulliam’s performances at the track closely this season.

“I always thought I did pretty good at South Boston,” said Pierce, who ran at the track full time in 2016 and 2017, his first full seasons in Late Model. “But I’ve learned so much about it this year. I’ve been with Lee every week he’s raced there this year, watching his car and his driving style.

“I’ve taken a lot of notes. I’m really looking forward to practice on Friday so I can put all of that to use.”

Pierce said he believes there is more buzz than normal about Saturday’s race among both fans and drivers. There are several reasons, he said. The larger first-place payout, up from $6,500 in 2018 to $10,000 this year, has contributed, he says. So has the fact it is the first race in the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, the coveted three-race series that includes stops at Langley Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.

“If you win this one, you’ve definitely accomplished something. If it lives up to its billing, if everyone shows up that I hear is coming, the best of the best are going to be there.”

Pierce has been running the CARS Tour fulltime the past two seasons, but South Boston Speedway remains special to him.

“I definitely have this one circled because South Boston always feels like home to me. I ran there two years full time,” said Pierce, who is sponsored by Thunder Road Harley-Davidson, Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort, Fremont Properties, Discount Oil Company, Bondurant Brothers Distillery, Amanzi Marble & Granite and Mincey’s Graphics.

“I love the track. I love everybody there. I developed some fan base there and it’s always good going somewhere you’ve got experience.”

Pierce and Pulliam have only raced head-to-head once this season. He ran in the top five most of that day with his boss and teammate Corey Heim. It was good, clean, fun racing, Pierce said. But what would happen Saturday night if Pulliam is leading and he is running second on the final lap?

“I’d definitely give him a shot (in the bumper) and he would be mad if I didn’t. I’d give him big enough of a shot to get side-by-side. He’d be grinning ear-to-ear. I’d love that opportunity. And he’d do the same to me.”

Saturday’s Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented By Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200 is going to be a celebration of racing and family fun. There will be racing in four divisions, a huge fan appreciation event on the track prior to the race and a spectacular fireworks display after the final race.

In addition to the 200-lap Late Model race, there will be a 75-lap Limited Sportsman race, a 40-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race and a 20-lap Budweiser Hornets race.

Advance tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the South Boston Speedway office or by calling 877.440.1540, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On race day tickets will be $20 for adults. Children 12-and-under will be admitted free with a paying adult.

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