Peyton Sellers celebrates in Dale Lemonds Victory Lane after winning the Visit Hampton VA Grassroots 200
Hampton, VA – When the Denny Hamlin Foundation pulled the plug on the Short Track Showdown this year, Langley Speedway owner Bill Mullis stepped up to the plate and scheduled a 200-lap, $7,500 to win, Thursday night feature to kick off the big NASCAR weekend as the Xfinity and Cup series comes to town. Sixteen NASCAR Late Model Stock cars converged on the historic .400-mile speedway in hopes of being the inaugural winner.
Philip Morris, who has had a rough start to the 2019 season and his hunt for what would be his recording breaking sixth national title, was the fastest man earlier in qualifying. Morris, with a time of 15.645 (92.042 MPH), was able to squeak by Langley Speedway veteran C.E. Falk by just four-hundredths of a second to earn the right to lead the field to the green. JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry rolled off third followed Danny Edwards and Greg Edwards. The 200-lap feature would be run in three segments with controlled cautions at lap 80 and 160.
When the green flag was displayed all sixteen drivers took things easy, fell in line, and started to get into a rhythm. As predicted, Philip Morris took command of the lead and set a blistering pace. Creating more than a two-second gap over Greg Edwards, CE Falk, and Berry. That was until we neared the lap 80 caution when Greg Edwards started to real the leader back in but to no avail. As the caution was displayed Morris was surprisingly the first car to come down pit road for what appeared to be just adjustments handing the lead over the Greg Edwards.
Edwards held the lead for just under ten laps before Josh Berry was able to get into clean air and he too checked out on the field. Falk would take just a handful of laps to work his way into the second position and track down the JRM car. As we came closer and closer to the next controlled caution the lap cars got more and more bothersome for the leaders. To the point that Berry was attempting to get around Eddie Johnson on the bottom groove when Falk made contact with the rear bumper of Berry sending him around in two. The caution would ultimately become the break; it would also send Falk to the rear, which was the start of a wild night for the 02, and hand the lead over the Sellers.
Once out in clear air and in somewhat control of the restart, Peyton Sellers was on fire. Not literally, of course, but the car looked to be on rails! Behind him, another South Boston driver that honestly we picked as a dark horse to win this one after his performance in the 2018 Hampton Heat but his night would be short lived after hard contact with the turn three wall.
Sellers would have to hold off the field two more times after cautions came from contact between Philip Morris and, as we mentioned above, Thomas Scott going into turn three while working lap 161. Morris ended up getting into the back of Scott sending him up the track and into the outside wall. Scott was able to get the fired and drive back to his stall but unable to finish the race. The second restart Sellers had to deal with came in similar fashion a little more than ten laps later when C.E. Falk and Philip Morris got together going into three. Falk no doubt got an amazing run on Morris out of two and down the backstretch going into three where the made contact. Morris was sent up the track and hard into the outside wall. Making it the second time this season his car needed to be carried to pit road with two wreckers.
Sellers had to fight a little harder on the final restart of the evening but cleared the field out of turn four leaving track veterans Greg Edwards and Mark Wertz to battle it out. Berry, who was probably the biggest winner in those two late race cautions, was able to battle his way back up front and around Edwards and Wertz to take the runner up position.
“First off, to God be the glory,” Sellers exclaimed as he exited the car. “Man, it’s amazing, these races are so hard to win, we beat the best in the business tonight. Josh Berry has got his game on right now; those JR Motorsports guys are tough. Phillip came on strong early but had a tough time getting back up there. Man, this is unbelievable, we loaded up the dually yesterday afternoon, just the four of us, came out here and taking the money back to Danville”.
Sellers also went on to thank track owner Bill Mullis for stepping up to the plate and putting on a show for the short track racers and fans. Langley Speedway will be off this weekend as NASCAR invaded Richmond Raceway but will be back in action April 20thwith Modifieds headlining the program.
Visit Hampton VA Grassroots 200 OFFICIAL Results;
- #26 Peyton Sellers; 200
- #88 Josh Berry; 200
- #21 Greg Edwards; 200
- #55 Mark Wertz; 200
- #02 CE Falk; 200
- #91 Justin S. Carroll; 200
- #57 Justin T. Carroll; 200
- #90 Terry Carroll; 200
- #26 Danny Edwards Jr.; 200
- #57 Eddie Johnson; 198
- #71 Rick Gdovic; 197
- #10 Maddy Mulligan; 192
- #01 Philip Morris; 177
- #8 Thomas Scott; 161
- #03 Brenden Queen; 160
- #88 Thomas Marks; 19