Category Archives: VSCU300

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

Pulliam Looking Forward to Martinsville Speedway Under the Lights While On the Heels of Possible Fourth National Title

With the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series officially completed, it is time for Late Model Stock Car drivers to focus on the “postseason.” A handful of big races that are held in the fall months once drivers in the Mid-Atlantic have completed their regular season at their local home tracks. There is no bigger race on any driver’s or race fan’s calendar than the ValleyStar Credit Union 300. There may also be no bigger name this year going into the prestigious event than Lee Pulliam.

Pulliam had yet another impressive regular season earning nineteen wins in forty-three starts over four different states. The Alton, Virginia driver also won championships at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina as well as winning the South Carolina state championship by over two hundred points. With Pulliam winning his fourth national title in the past six years it ties him with “The King” of Late Model Stock Car Racing. Raising the question, is there a new king rising to power?

The trip to Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway was his first in over two years after he won the prestigious Hampton Heat in 2015 and, of course, could not make a trip if he wanted to in 2016 because of issues with the track. With the final weekend to earn National points he figured he would give the twins a go.

“We were just looking for a place to race,” Pulliam said at the end of the evening. “My guys and I have raced hard all years at different places and we hadn’t raced here in two years. Just trying to do something different.”

Pulliam would struggle as the afternoon progressed, qualifying towards the back of the field. Things didn’t get any better for him either; he would only make it up to the seventh position and lose a lap to the eventual race winner, Greg Edwards.

“We struggled all day today,” Pulliam told The Weekly Racer. “We were pretty fast here about a month ago but got rained out. Today we were just off. We didn’t test good, didn’t qualify good, and we didn’t race well the first race. We made some changes for that second race and we thought we were going to win it, just couldn’t hold off the No. 77 with the fresher tires, all-in-all we had a decent weekend.

Pulliam, like most drivers hunting a national title, has certainly not had the easiest summers. Traveling throughout the Mid-Atlantic is no task for the faint of heart.

“We have been blessed,” Pulliam went on to say. “I got a great family and a great crew. Just great people surrounding us. Our business, Lee Pulliam Performance, is doing good, customers are racing good and winning races, I’m really excited about the future and proud of everyone’s hard work and determination to not stop and not give up”

With just a few days till the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 or Christmas as some of my fellow colleagues call it, Pulliam thought he had a good piece under him and was truly excited to race under the lights. Citing that it’s already a prestigious event but to throw in the new lights, it is going to be a good show.

“We had a good piece at the test the other day,” Pulliam said. “We were pretty good and had a top-five car. Need to make just a couple little changes to be better I think, but everyone needs to be better. As a racer you are never satisfied, you can win a million races but it is very, very, rare that I have ever had a perfect racecar and I think anyone who has won a lot of races will tell you that. I am chasing my third grandfather clock, I think it would be really cool to win and tie Philip Morris with that. It’s going to be a stout field and a tough race to win as always. I just hope we can get the job done.”

The race will be the first at Martinsville under the new permanent LED fixtures; however, it will not be the first ever. In years past a Modified race was held at the paperclip where the track used temporary lights. We asked Lee how he felt being the first event there and what it meant to him.

“I am definitely excited to be under the lights,” Pulliam said. “It’s a special event already, a big event, you add the element of that, and it makes it really fun. I think it’s prestigious to win that deal and then you add that, everyone wants to be the first person to win under them. It’s going to be a great show, the fans are going to get to see breaks glowing, sparks flying, everything. It’s going to be fun for everybody involved.”

 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.

 

Motor Racing Network’s Bagley and Hayden Looking Forward to ValleyStar Credit Union 300

MARTINSVILLE, Va.– The Motor Racing Network’s Alex Hayden and Mike Bagley are no strangers to Martinsville Speedway, as the veteran broadcast duo has called countless NASCAR races from the Speedway in their careers. However, calling this Saturday night’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 for MRN will be a first for the two, and is something they have been looking forward to for a long time.

“This is one of the races that I’ve always wanted to announce, but I’ve never had the opportunity until now,” Bagley said. “This is the greenest of grassroots efforts and it’s an honor to be able to call this race. I can’t wait to get to Martinsville.”

“This is the Daytona 500 of Late Model racing and I’m looking forward to it,” said Hayden. “There are so many cool things about this. First and foremost, I’ve never been to this race, but I’ve always wanted to go. The fact that it’s just Martinsville. Martinsville Speedway is my favorite race track that we go to of any kind. I can’t wait for this event. It’s going to be a lot of fun and there’s so many different elements that are going to be added to ramp that up even more.”

Seeing drivers from different backgrounds, at different stages in their careers and with different goals is another thing that has Hayden excited.

“Even though I’ve never been to this race in person, I keep up with it nonstop, every year,” he said. “The beauty of it is you see these top-named drivers, whether they are top Late Model drivers from around the country, or a Timothy Peters who’s won there in a Camping World Truck, and the guys who put a racecar together just to try and make the main event. The spectrum runs from the best of the best to the guys who are just trying to figure their way around this place.”

The race will be the first under the Speedway’s new LED lights, which is something that Hayden likened to when one of Major League Baseball’s oldest and most historic stadiums got lights in 1988.

“How cool is it going to be that this race is under the lights. I’m excited to be a part of that,” Hayden said. “Nobody can take that away from anybody who is going to be in attendance, so that’s another cool thing about it.

“It’s something that is going to bring people together to see something under the lights. Something that’s never been seen before. It’s kind of like lighting up Wrigley Field, it’s going to be spectacular.”

For Bagley, seeing permanent lights at Martinsville is something he didn’t think he’d witness in his lifetime.

“I never thought I would see the day when Martinsville Speedway would be lit up at night,” Bagley said. “It’s a day that I’ve been waiting for for a long time. I can’t wait to get there, to roll onto the property, to see the race, and to see them throw the switch on those LED lights. It’s going to be an awesome weekend.”

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 will be broadcast live on MRN.com and following MRN affiliate stations:

WAKG-FM, 103.3, Danville, VA
WZBB-FM, 99.9, Stanleytown, VA
WMVA-AM, 1450, Martinsville, VA
WHEE-AM, 1370, Martinsville, VA
WFIR-AM, 960 & FM 107.3, Roanoke, VA
WBRG-AM, 1050 & FM 105.1, 106.7, Lynchburg, VA
WEBO-AM, 1330, Binghamton, NY
KQMG-FM, 95.3, Independence, IA

 

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 p.m., 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 http://www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Grayson Cullather Earns First Career Late Model Victory at Southside; Looking to Take That Momentum to Martinsville

Trophy Presentation at Southside Speedway September 15, 2017 – Top 3 in Late Model points from left to right. #05 Mason Bailey (car owner Chris Philips to accept). #22 Grayson Cullather. #43 Eddie Johnson. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, VA – It was Championship night this past Friday at “The Toughest Short Track in the South” located just south of Richmond, Virginia. Just one of the many tracks some of the current Monster Energy Cup Series drivers cut their teeth at during their young racing careers. With Mother Nature playing the spoiler for most of the season, track officials and management agreed to add another weekend to the schedule to allow drivers to settle their points on the track.

 

Grayson Cullather, 16 years old from Richmond, Virginia, entered the weekend second in the points standings just eight points behind local legend Eddie Johnson after Mason Bailey’s win was stripped from him the week before. Fresh off the Martinsville Speedway test, Cullather showed up to Southside with something to prove – and boy did he. Grayson was the fastest man in town during the afternoon’s group qualifying session posting a time of 14.976 seconds. In fact, Cullather was the only driver to hit a sub fifteen-second lap, Eddie Johnson, Lane Janosik, Chris Dodson, and Howie Disavino completed the fastest five qualifiers. With the pole point in hand, Cullather would draw a three inverting the top three qualifiers and handing the lead over the Janosik.

 

Once the sunset and the track lights were shining brightly it was time for the twelve-car field to go to work. Sailing off into turn one Eddie Johnson was able to make quick work of Janosik to assume the lead out of turn two. Chris Dodson and Cullather were right there to capitalize as well, setting up a thrilling three-way battle for the lead between two Late Model legends and a young teen in just his sophomore season.

 

Johnson would take the race lead from rookie Lane Janosik and hold onto it for the first five circuits around the .333-mile oval. Dodson ended up working his nose under Eddie’s machine to eventually take the race lead on lap six. However, the move also left the door open for Cullather who wasted zero time and took the second position away. The following lap Grayson would edge his nose under Dodson’s No. 0 Williamsburg Honda machine looking to take the lead. Dodson would do everything in his power to pinch him down out of four but it was not enough and Grayson Cullather was scored the new leader on lap seven.

 

Once in the lead and in clean air, it appeared that no one would have anything for Grayson who maintained a car or two-length lead over second as the laps clicked off. The evenings one and only caution for the Late Models came just one lap before halfway when Lane Janosik, who was in a pretty good battle with Brad Davis for fourth, went around out of turn four forcing officials to throw the yellow flag.

 

Once the filed was bunched up and everything was given the okay by race control the cone was set on the front stretch and we were ready to go back racing. Dodson was the first to take the cone, which would put him on the outside of Cullather. Eddie Johnson elected to keep his position in third, as did Brad Davis staying in fourth and lining up to Johnson’s outside.

 

Cullather would get what could arguably go down as the best restart of his young career when the green was displayed to the field because he was able to clear the field at the exit of turn two. This would leave Chris Dodson and Eddie Johnson to battle door to door and Cullather to get into a rhythm and check out and check out he did. Dodson would eventually prevail taking the second position from Johnson but it was too late as Cullather had built over a full second lead en route to his first career Late Model victory.

 

“When we got the pole I knew it was a good lap because the car felt good,” Culalther said in victory lane. “I was a little worried because Eddie [Johnson] and Chris [Dodson] was still on the track and they could bust a [good] lap. Once the race started I knew it would take a couple of laps for our tires to come in. I was riding behind Lane and saw Dodson pass him on the outside so I knew my shot to keep up with Eddie and Chris would be to go to the outside and try and get around Lane.”

 

Cullather then capitalized when Eddie and Chris started battling for the lead, which paid dividends for the first winner.

 

“I saw an opportunity to take it three wide out of four and keep the car under Dodson to clear him,” Cullather went on to explain. “Once I got clear I knew we had a winning car, I just wanted to keep the tires on it. This win means a lot to my family and crew. We have tried everything this year, lost a whole lot of races because of late race cautions. It just meant a lot to me and confidence level”

 

The win could not come at a better time for Cullather and his crew who will look to take this momentum into next weekends ValleyStar Credit Union 300. Having a decent test and learning the track to collecting his first Late Model win can do a ton for a race team and we asked Cullather how the test went and what he was looking for in the race.

 

“We had a really good test out at Martinsville,” Cullather explained. “We had good balance on the car, still room to improve but, we know what we have to do to get better.”

 

This year will be Grayson’s first attempt at making the prestigious Late Model event that pays $25,000 and a Grandfather clock. The great equalizer this year will be the lights. For years teams were used to starting in the middle of the day and running into the night as the track cools. With the feature not starting until 8:00 PM Saturday night, some of these rookies may have an even better chance than before.

 

“There are some nerves going into the race,” Cullather admitted. “I think we have a pretty good car for next week. [Our} times weren’t falling off like some others were. My main goal is to just make the race.”

 

With the third-place finish for Eddie Johnson was able to secure the 2017 Late Model track championship. With track titles in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and now in 2017, it should help solidify Johnson’s resume as one of the greatest to hit the track at Southside Speedway. During the trophy presentation, Johnson was beyond thankful to his car owner, family and all of the sponsors who have not only helped him throughout his career but through the 2017 season to make everything possible.

 

 

UCAR

Jamie Hite picked up the victory in the UCAR divisions to end the evening and the 2017 season at Southside Speedway. Hite would qualify fourth but roll of the grid in the second position after pole winner Korey Lawson pulled the number four pill inverting the top four cars. Beejay Anderson would inherit the lead with Michael Chapman lining up on his rear bumper.

 

Chapman, running the No. 5 machine this weekend, looked as if he was hooked up to one of the steam launch cables from an aircraft carrier when the green was displayed taking the lead early and setting a pretty blistering pace. Hite would eventually track him down and apply pressure for the lead with five laps to go. In fact, Hite would ultimately take the lead from Chapman on lap twenty-one. Chapman would try and mount one final attack with just two laps left but it was not enough to move Hite out of the way who would go on to collect his second win of the season.

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results

  1. #22 Grayson Cullather; 40
  2. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  3. #43 Eddie Johnson; 40
  4. #18 Brad Davis; 40
  5. #55 Howie Disavino; 40
  6. #25 Michael Sutphin; 40
  7. #77 Mike Greathouse; 40
  8. #25 Sonny Allen; 40
  9. #17 Charlie Walker; 40
  10. #26 John Crews III; 40
  11. #79 Lane Janosik; 23
  12. #31 Chris Savage; DNF

 

UCAR OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #12 Jamie Hite; 25
  2. #5 Michael Chapman; 25
  3. #03 Korey Lawson; 25
  4. #96 Alex Ayers; 25
  5. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
  6. #1 Mike Frayser; 25
  7. #40 Rickey Sylvester; 25
  8. #15 Mark Marshall; 25
  9. #97 Richard Sisco; 25
  10. #9 Kevin Garreau; 24
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