Category Archives: VSCU300

From First Time Winner to Impressive Valley Star Credit Union Debut; Grayson Cullather Reflects on Martinsville

No 22 Grayson Cullather heads down the front stretch at Martinsville Speedway Saturday September 23, 2017 in final practice. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

The 2017 Valley Star Credit Union 300 has come and gone and in all honesty, it may have been the most hectic, incredible and fan-filled race to date. Eighty-four cars took time in group qualifying the night before on the half-mile paperclip. One of those drivers was 16-year-old Richmond, Virginia native, Grayson Cullather. In just his second full season in Late Model racing, Cullather was coming into the weekend fresh off his very first career win at his home track, Southside Speedway.

Other than the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway earlier this year, the Valley Star Credit union was just the second race of his young career where he has raced this many laps, with this many cars and it did not seem to phase him. Cullather laid down a 20.530-second lap on Friday night to earn himself a twenty-fifth qualifying position… out of eighty-four cars… in his first attempt at the race. Cullather’s time was just a little over a tenth of a second off the pole.

After the top two times were thrown out by officials, Grayson would official be scored twenty-third on the charts, lining him up seventh in his heat race. He would hold onto a tenth place finish in his heat race, even after getting turned around coming to the checkered flag, to earn the final transfer spot into the big show.

“It was what I expected at the beginning of the weekend and the first twenty-three laps of the heat race,” Cullather said. “Those last two laps and coming across the line backward after being turned on purpose, that had to be the most stressful laps I have ever driven. When I made the race I just felt the weight off my shoulders. I just relaxed in the trailer and got plenty of fluids before the feature.”

His efforts were enough to keep him out of the always hectic last chance qualifier and locked him into the thirty-second starting position on the grid. With a total of forty-two cars taking the green flag he really only had one way to go – forward.

“My spotter, Jesse Vaughn, just took the race as it came,” Cullather explained. “We said that we were just going to ride for the first one hundred fifty laps to see what would happen and just capitalize on the mistakes that other people were making.”

Capitalize on others mistakes and keep the car clean proved to be a good strategy as Cullather found himself in a good position at the halfway break. With cars falling out of the race left and right, Cullather slowly climbed his way up the leaderboard and almost found himself in the top ten after setting a goal of just making the race in his first attempt.

“It gives me confidence,” Cullather said about his twelfth place finish. “Knowing that I can run with some big names. My team was happy I was able to make the show my first time and had the car to be able to pass cars during the race.”

For those who may not know much about this young driver, Grayson comes from Southside Speedway, one of the few tracks in Virginia that do not run the NASCAR banner. NASCAR or not Southside Speedway has seen its fair share of NASCAR legends racing on its surface. It was the original home of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Southside’s Late Models, however, run forty lap features on eight-inch tires; this weekend was certainly a test for Cullather.

“It was really hard,” Cullather confessed. “I wasn’t feeling the best before the race as it was. Probably just because of nerves. At the halfway break I actually got sick right before we went back out. After that I felt fine for the rest of the race, it was just nerves.”

With only a couple more races left in 2017, the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National and Myrtle Beach 400 we asked Grayson if he was going to continue this momentum and give those other two races a shot. Given a long hard season and the effort it goes into pulling off a Martinsville weekend, his answer was very understandable

“We have put some thought into running Southern National or Myrtle Beach,” Cullather told The Weekly Racer, as we were finishing up our interview. “But right now we don’t know what our next race is going to be at this point.”

Timothy Peters Makes History by Winning First Valley Star Credit Union 300 Under New LED Lights

Timothy Peters signs autographs during the on-track meet and greet Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway for the 2017 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 under the lights. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Ridgeway, VA – Timothy Peters can now call himself the first race winner under the new LED permanent lights at Martinsville Speedway this past Saturday night. Collecting his second Valley Star Credit Union 300 victory holding off late race charges from both Peyton Sellers and Lee Pulliam.

Peters, a former full-time competitor in the Camping World Truck Series with Red Horse Racing, spent most of the second half of the 200-lap feature battling with Trevor Noles. The two would exchange the lead several times as Noels continued to use the cone to take the outside line on the restarts. Peters put the final nail in the coffin with just about fifteen laps to go. Two former national champions would keep Peters honest, however, in the closing laps mounting a charge for the race lead. There were just not enough laps left on the board. Peters would go on to collect the $25,000 check and famous Grandfather Clock trophy.

Sellers, who discovered an electrical issue on his machine at the lap 175 break, lost second to Pulliam by inches off turn four coming to the checkered. Jake Crum, who started from the pole position and dominated the first 100-laps, wound up in the fourth position after being involved in a caution down in turns three and four. Trevor Noles was able to salvage a fifth-place finish after using the outside groove like a pro in the closing laps.

We caught up with Peters have the race to find out just what this race meant to him and his team.

“It means a lot,” said Peters. “Especially the way the year has been with a little adversity. You just have to stay positive and on top of it. The biggest thing is you just never lose your faith. We come here under the lights and this was special this was history,” Peters said. “Thank you guys [Martinsville Speedway], thank the fans and thank MRN for doing this. There will be multiple winners but there is only going to be one first-time winner, I feel like we made history tonight and what better place to do it than in Barry Nelson, and everyone else at Autos By Nelson backyard.”

It is no secret that Timothy Peters has been on an up and down roller coaster ride since we have all converged on the half-mile paperclip. Peters was involved in a pretty violent wreck coming to the checkered flag then later on the next year had the truck team he was running for shut down mid-season. We asked Peters with all that has happened where does this win rank in his career?

“Winning the race is the icing on the cake,” Peters said. “I love short track racing and I love this race the most out of anything you can think of. When you win at home it’s always special you can ask anybody where they want to win, they want to win at home. They want to win this race. This is very prestigious; it certainly ranks up there with number one. You never get an old feeling of a taste of victory, that’s for sure.”

The finish was Pulliam’s second year in a row finishing in the runner-up position. This coming off on the heels of winning his fourth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National title. Continuing the trend of national champs not being able to win the race.

“Coming home second at this race means a lot to me,” Pulliam said. “I was just talking to Timothy last week and he was congratulating me for winning the nation. I told him I really hope that we can race for this win at Martinsville and for that clock. It is pretty cool to finish one and two. We just didn’t have enough. We struggled all day yesterday our guys changed stuff all day for qualifying. Just fought and clawed all day to get track position. We had about a third-place car and ended up getting second. Just got to give it to the guys, we have had a shot to win this thing every time we come since 2010. Racing under the lights created a whole new element.”

Pulliam went on to comment that at this point in the year you are so tired and worn out from chasing that national title it just makes winning races hard. He also went on to thank all of his guys, Eddie and Travis Kiker with Kiker Tree Services and his family for making everything possible for him this year and this race.

 

ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Results

  1. #12 Timothy Peters; 200
  2. #5 Lee Pulliam; 200
  3. #26 Peyton Sellers; 200
  4. #01 Jake Crum; 200
  5. #2 Trevor Noels; 200
  6. #57A Justin T. Carroll; 200
  7. #27 Tommy Lemons Jr.; 200
  8. #17 Stacy Puryear; 200
  9. #2C Brandon Pierce; 200
  10. #02 CE Falk; 200
  11. #25 Derrick Lancaster; 200
  12. #22D Grayson Cullater; 200
  13. #03 Brenden Queen; 200
  14. #2B Myatt Snider; 200
  15. #12A Austin Thaxton; 199
  16. #01A Philip Morris; 198
  17. #2A Dennis Holdren; 198
  18. #4 Annabeth Crum; 192
  19. #15 Kres VanDyke; 188
  20. #57 Eddie Johnson; 179
  21. #24 Mason Diaz; 176
  22. #12B Nick Smith; 171
  23. #88 Josh Berry; 155
  24. #92 Casey Wyatt; 154
  25. #17C Bruan Reedy; 154
  26. #77 Trevor Ward; 153
  27. #8 Thomas Scott; 144
  28. #87 Mike Looney; 122
  29. #16 RD Smith; 122
  30. #4A Timmy Phipps; 113
  31. #21A Travis Swaim; 80
  32. #22 Bobby McCarty; 78
  33. #2D Matt Leicht; 72
  34. #18A Jason York; 61
  35. #50 Jamey Caudill; 57
  36. #77D Blake Stallings; 55
  37. #14 Ryan Repko; 38
  38. #22C Scott Lancaster; 32
  39. #26C Danny Edwards Jr.; 24
  40. #21 Mike Darne; 14
  41. #44 Justin Johnson; 9
  42. #12C Ryan Wilson; 4

Heat Race Set for First ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Race Under the Lights at Martinsville Speedway

No. 81 Jared Fryer & No. 14 Ryan Repko work down the backstretch during final practice Friday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Ridgeway, VA – After one of the most interesting pole days in recent ValleyStar Credit Union 300 history, the fastest two drivers had their times disallowed. Jeff Oakley, who calls Dominion Raceway home, though he was the first driver to win a pole award at Martinsville Speedway under the new permanent LED lights. However, after a spacer plate was found on Oakley’s carb and an altered squitter on McCaskill’s car during post-qualifying technical inspection, both drivers had their times thrown out. McCaskill will start at the tail end of heat race number one while Oakley will start at the end of race number three.

You can find your favorite driver below and who they will line up with during their twenty-five lap heat race. The top ten finishers from each heat race will line up for the 200-lap feature much like how NASCAR scores the Gatorade Duels. The winner of heat one will start third while the second place finisher will start sixth. The remaining drivers, who can answer the call, will race a twenty-five lap, last chance qualifier, where the top ten cars will make up the rest of the field.

General Admission gates will open Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM with an on-track autograph session scheduled from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Heat races will go green at 4:00 PM with the 200-lap feature starting at 8:00 PM. If you can’t make it out to the track remember MRN will be broadcasting this race on local affiliates, make sure to also check out their app and website. The Weekly Racer will also have you covered with LIVE lap-by-lap coverage on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer).

 

Heat Race 1

 

Row 1 #27 Tommy Lemons Jr. #2 Trevor Noles
Row 2 #12 Timothy Peters #2A Denis Holdren
Row 3 #88 Josh Berry #21 Mike Darne
Row 4 #50 Jamey Caudil #15 Kres VanDyke
Row 5 #77 Trevor Ward #18A Jason York
Row 6 #61 Justin Hicks #06 Davin Scites
Row 7 #33 Macey Causey #4A Timmy Phipps
Row 8 #82 Barry Beggarly #57B Jimmy Mullins
Row 9 #1B Jamie Sweeney #12C Ryan Wilson
Row 10 #81 Jared Fryer #92 Casey Wyatt
Row 11 #91 Justin Carroll #22C Scott Lancaster
Row 12 #4B John Moore #36 Owen Smith
Row 13 #33D Jimmy Wallace #07C Kevin Neal
Row 14 #78 Ricky Gillespie #08 Deac McCaskil

 

Heat Race 2

 

Row 1 #83 Matt Bowling #01A Philip Morris
Row 2 #26 Peyton Sellers #57 Eddie Johnson
Row 3 #14 Ryan Repko #22A Robert Powell
Row 4 #34 Justin Snow #24 Mason Diaz
Row 5 #77D Blake Stallings #55 Mark Wertz
Row 6 #2B Myatt Snider #57A Justin T. Carroll
Row 7 #25 Derrick Lancaster #73 Bruce Anderson
Row 8 #2C Brandon Pierce #12A Austin Thaxton
Row 9 #7 Jamie Byrd #51 Chris Chapman
Row 10 #9 Brad Kurth #07 Dean Ward
Row 11 #95 Jacob Heafner #50D Haley Moody
Row 12 #19 Cameron Bowen #28 Jason Barnes
Row 13 #18B Bobby Gillespie #12D Ryan Gray
Row 14 #04 Larry Barrett

 

 

Heat Race 3

 

Row 1 #5 Lee Pulliam #22B Bobby McCarty
Row 2 #02 CE Falk #44 Justin Johnson
Row 3 #03 Brenden Queen #87 Mike Looney
Row 4 #22 Grayson Cullather #21A Travis Swaim
Row 5 #18 Ty Gibbs #16 RD Smtih
Row 6 #26C Danny Edwards #5B Ronnie McCarty
Row 7 #4 Annabeth Barnes #63 Tyler Matthews
Row 8 #17C Bryan Reedy #12B Nick Smith
Row 9 #7A Justin Crider #90 Terry Carroll
Row 10 #8 Thomas Scott #27C Cory Beard
Row 11 #24C Colin Garrett #2D Matt Leicht
Row 12 #37 Adam Gray #05 Mason Bailey
Row 13 #21B Tommy Neal # 25C Craig Eastep
Row 14 #11 Jeff Oakley

Jake Crum and Stacy Puryear Will Start 2017 ValleyStar Credit Union on Front Row in Interesting Fashion

Jake Crum wheels through turn four during final practice at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo by Dinah M Thompson)

Jake Crum wheels through turn four during final practice at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo by Dinah M Thompson)

Ridgeway, Virginia – It was an interesting night under the lights at Martinsville Speedway as 84 cars hit the speedway for qualifying time trials under the new permanent LED lights. Jeff Oakley, who at the completion of qualifying was the fastest car on the scoreboard, had his time disallowed after failing post-qualifying technical inspection due to a spacer plate found under the carburetor. To shake things up, even more, second place qualifier, Deac McCaskill had his time thrown out as well due to altered squitter’s in his carburetor. This ultimately handed the front row over to the pair of Jake Crum and Stacy Puryear – allowing the two competitors to skip the heat races.

 

“It means a lot,” Crum said about officially winning the first pole under the lights at Martinsville. “I think it means a lot to all the fans, media, and everyone who has put a lot of work into this. It is just an honor to be the first ones under the lights here. Hopefully, we can bring it home with a win.”

 

With both drivers on the front row having their times thrown out, it essentially moved both rows up one spot, unlike what you typically see when just one car is sent to the rear. This moved South Boston Speedway regular Stacy Puryear up from his fourth starting position to second.

 

“It is pretty amazing and exciting,” Puryear said in the media center. ”It just shows I serve a big God. We were excited to qualify fourth and to be on the front row now and not have to run a heat race, I am pretty excited.”

 

Puryear will now not only have a second-place starting position in the 2017 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 but will now have a huge advantage going into the final leg of the Virginia Triple Crown. With 25-laps less on his tires and at the front of the field, Puryear will be the highest starting triple crown driver come Saturday night.

 

“To give the Late Model Stock guys an extra incentive like the triple crown is, its big for us,” Puryear went on to explain. “Most of the time we race for a thousand to three thousand to win, you know we were going to run those races anyway and to have a shot is amazing. It’s pretty cool what Martinsville, Langley, and South Boston have done. [I’m] just very thankful that those guys do that. It is very much appreciated [by] all drivers.”

 

Lynn Carroll addressed the issues as well in the media center saying that all carbs were inspected before qualifying and it is up to the teams to read the entry blank on what to do with them afterward. He later went on to say that both Jeff Oakley and Deac McCaskill will either line up at the tail end of one of the heat races or at the end of the last chance qualifier, the final decision has not been made yet.

 

The gates for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 will open at 2:00 PM on Saturday, September 23rd. There will be an on-track autograph session from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM with the first heat race scheduled to roll off at 4:00 PM. The 200-lap feature is scheduled to start at 8:00 PM. The Weekly Racer will have coverage LIVE on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer) starting at 3:45 PM.

 

 

 

 

  1. #01 Jake Crum
  2. #17 Stacy Puryear
  3. #27 Tommy Lemons Jr.
  4. #83 Matt Bowling
  5. #5 Lee Pulliam
  6. #2 Trevor Noles
  7. #01 Philip Morris
  8. #22 Bobby McCarty
  9. #13 Timothy Peters
  10. #26 Peyton Sellers
  11. #02 CE Falk
  12. #2 Dennis Holdren
  13. #57 Eddie Johnson
  14. #44 Justin Johnson
  15. #88 Josh Berry
  16. #14 Ryan Repko
  17. #03 Brenden Queen
  18. #21 Mike Darne
  19. #22 Robert Powell
  20. #87 Mike Looney
  21. #50 Jamey Caudill
  22. #34 Justin Snow
  23. #22 Grayson Cullather
  24. #15 Kres VanDyke
  25. #24 Mason Diaz
  26. #21 Travis Swaim
  27. #77 Trevor Ward
  28. #77 Blake Stallings
  29. #18 Ty Gibbs
  30. #18 Jason York
  31. #55 Mark Wertz
  32. #16 RD Smith
  33. #61 Justin Hicks
  34. #2 Myatt Snider
  35. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.
  36. #06 Davin Scites
  37. #57 Justin T. Carroll
  38. #5 Ronnie McCarty
  39. #33 Macey Causey
  40. #25 Derrick Lancaster
  41. #4 Annabeth Crum
  42. #4 Timmy Phipps
  43. #73 Bruce Anderson
  44. #63 Tyler Matthews
  45. #82 Barry Beggarly
  46. #2 Brandon Pierce
  47. #17 Bryan Reedy
  48. #57 Jimmy Mullins
  49. #12 Austin Thaxton
  50. #12 Nick Smith
  51. #1 Jamie Sweeney
  52. #7 Jamie Byrd
  53. #7 Justin Crider
  54. #12 Ryan Wilson
  55. #51 Chris Chapman
  56. #90 Terry Carroll
  57. #81 Jared Fryar
  58. #9 Brad Kurth
  59. #8 Thomas Scott
  60. #92 Casey Wyatt
  61. #07 Dean Ward
  62. #27 Coy Beard
  63. #91 Justin S. Carroll
  64. #95 Jacob Heafner
  65. #24 Colin Garrett
  66. #22 Scott Lancaster
  67. #50 Haley Moody
  68. #2 Matt Leicht
  69. #4 John Moore
  70. #19 Cameron Bowen
  71. #37 Adam Gray
  72. #36 Owen Smith
  73. #28 Jason Barnes
  74. #05 Mason Bailey
  75. #33 Jimmy Wallace
  76. #18 Bobby Gillespie
  77. #21 Tommy Neal
  78. #07 Kevin Neal
  79. #12 Ryan Gray
  80. #25 Craig Eastep
  81. #78 Ricky Gillespie
  82. #07 Larry Barrett
  83. #11 Jeff Oakley
  84. #08 Deac McCaskill

Kelley Earnhardt-Miller to serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver for the first race under the lights at Martinsville

Photo: NASCAR.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Last October, Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell to make the biggest announcement in track history – adding permanent LED lights. This Saturday, nearly one year later, another Earnhardt, Dale’s sister Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, will lead the field to green in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, serving as the Honorary Pace Car Driver in the first race under the lights.

“I think it’s absolutely awesome. I can’t wait to be a part of that,” Earnhardt-Miller said. “When Clay called and Dale was a part of the announcement and he called to say they were going to be putting in lights and this race would be the first run under the lights, it was really cool and really special.”

For Campbell, asking Kelley to drive the pace car in the biggest NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race in the country, was an easy decision.

“The Earnhardt family is such an important piece in not only NASCAR’s history, but Martinsville Speedway’s history, as well,” Campbell said. “Kelley’s father, brother and husband have all won races here. Her grandfather raced here. She’s a former Late Model Stock Car driver herself. She and Dale own Late Model cars that race every weekend. So, I was really excited when she said she would be able to come lead the field to green.”

Earnhardt-Miller raced Late Models in the mid-90s with her brothers Dale and Kerry. While she never raced at Martinsville, she knows the importance of the race, and, most likely a few of the drivers in it.

“The Martinsville race is always ‘The Race,” the prestigious race,” she said. “It’s always the one we talk about – the car counts, the drivers that show up – you always want to be a part of that race, You always want to make that race.

“I’ll probably be leading a few people that I raced against 20 years ago.”

And while racing is in her blood, she said she won’t be entering the pace car in the race.

“The thought might cross my mind, but I know better,” she said. “No chance of that. I’m sure I’d get run over pretty quickly, but it will make me think about my time in a racecar and how much fun that was and how much fun short-track racing is.”

The experience of driving the pace car is enough.

“It’s just a really cool thing to do,” she said. “I was honored to be asked. It’s something I’ve never done before. To be able to lead the field, especially at a place like Martinsville that’s a very intimate, downhome, old-school place.

“It’s already a magnificent race to see, and under the lights it’s going to be even better.”

 

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race. Race day – Saturday, September 23 – starts with three 25-lap qualifying races to set the field, followed by a 25-lap “last chance” qualifying race. Fan gates open at 2:00 pm, followed by an autograph session on the frontstretch at 2:30. The qualifying races will start at 4 with the main feature set to begin at 8. Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-877-RACE-TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Staff Picks & Schedule: Who Should You Be Watching?

Lee Pulliam

Pulliam, looking for his fourth national title, after dominating at tracks that did not follow suit with the SPEC motor that some Virginia tracks opted to allow. Martinsville is one of the hold outs for the motor so Pulliam might have an edge in the motor game and won’t have to swap in a different motor.

 

Timothy Peters

After the sudden closing of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team the Danville, VA driver wasted no time coming back to the late model scene. With trips to multiple tracks in the region to get back up to speed Peters will be ready to get his first grandfather clock.

 

Bobby McCarty

With a sixth-place finish in the first leg of the triple crown at South Boston and a win in his first trip to Langley Speedway for the second leg Bobby McCarty has set himself up well for a strong run at the Virginia Triple Crown title and a win at Martinsville Speedway.

 

Josh Berry

A fan favorite in the region and always a strong competitor will be another driver hungry for the checkers and grandfather clock. Sitting just four points out of first place in the CARS Tour Berry can continue a great season with a win in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.

 

 

Ryan Repko

Qualifying third in his Martinsville debut and put on a racing clinic in his heat race, opening up almost an entire straightaway lead. He would ultimately finish the 25-lap heat race in the fifth position and transfer to the feature. Working to pass cars and save tires, Repko eventually ran into issues that took him out of contention. With another year of Late Models under his belt we think you should keep a close eye on this driver under the lights.

 

Tommy Lemons Jr:

The two time ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner can never be counted out at the biggest late model race in the country. Tommy knows what it takes to wheel it around the paperclip and will be in position by the end to try and get his third grandfather clock.

 

Kres VanDyke:

With a forty starts this season, VanDyke was able to collect twenty-five wins, the most of any drivers in the top fifty in the nation. Thirty-four top fives, thirty-eight top ten finishes along with the Tennessee state champion. VanDyke has run well in previous ValleyStar Credit Union and proved he was quick during the Thursday night test.

 

Dark Horse

Brenden Queen – After a track championship in 2016 at East Carolina Motor Speedway Butterbean finished with a solid 5th place in points at Langley, finished second in the Hampton Heat, and finished fourth in the W.O. Grubbs 150 at Dominion. Riding that momentum can set this driver up for a huge win at Martinsville.

Nick Smith – After dominating the 2016 season at Dominion Raceway and winning the track championship, Nick Smith returned to his home track of Langley Speedway this season and earned two wins after dealing with more bad luck than anyone can shake a stick at. Smith had an incredible run earlier in the season at South Boston Speedway and followed that up with top-five finish during the Hampton Heat, proving to everyone the Hampton, VA driver knows how to be there at the end of a long race.

 

 

 

ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Schedule

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

Campground opens

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

9:00 AM                               Ticket Office Opens

10:00 AM                             Haulers Enter

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM              Registration

10:00 AM                             Garage Opens

2:30 PM                                Inspection

4:00 PM                                Fan Gates Open

4:00 PM – 7:00 PM                 Practice

8:00 PM                                Pole Qualifying

9:00 PM                                Ticket Office Closes

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

11:00 AM                             Registration and Ticket Office Opens

12:00 PM                              Garage Opens

1:30 PM                                Drivers’ Meeting (Media Center)

2:00 PM                                Fan Gates Open

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM                Autograph Session on the Frontstretch

4:00 PM                                Qualifying Races (4 x 25 Laps)

8:00 PM                                Feature Race (200 Laps)

Nick Smith and Bobby McCarty Tied Going Into Final Segment of the 2017 Virginia Triple Crown Series

Nick Smith celebrates in victory lane after winning the second of two races this past year at Langley Speedway.

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.

Make sure you follow The Weekly Racer on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with everything going on trackside this weekend.

 

2017 Virginia Triple Crown Eligible Drivers – Avg. Finish

  1. #22 Bobby McCarty – 3.5
  2. #12 Nick Smith – 3.5
  3. #03 Brenden Queen – 5
  4. #17 Stacy Puryear – 7.5
  5. #01 Philip Morris – 8.5
  6. #26 Peyton Sellers – 8.5
  7. #12 Timothy Peters – 9
  8. #90 Terry Carroll – 12
  9. #12 Austin Thaxton – 12
  10. #91 Justin Carroll – 13.5
  11. #55 Mark Wertz – 15.5
  12. #57 Eddie Johnson – 18
  13. #19 Cameron Bowen – 19
  14. #07 Dean Ward – 19.5
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