Tag Archives: Martinsville

Casey: Post Qualifying Who To Watch

Lee Pulliam

Currently sitting second in the VA Triple Crown standings Pulliam spent most of his on track time inside of the top ten in speed. Pulliam is one of those drivers that can climb out of the car for half a season and jump right back in the seat and win a big race. His fifth place qualifying effort will certainly help his chances come race time tonight. Make sure to keep your eyes on the No. 5 Kiker Tree Services machine for all 200 laps. You may be seeing it land in victory.

 

Bobby McMarty

McCarty kind of came out of no where a few years back when he worked his way into Dale Lemonds Victory Lane back in 2017 when he won the prestigious Hampton Heat 200. From there on, the words Victory Lane & Bobby McCarty have started to become synonymous. Currently leading the Cars Tour Late Model Stock standings with two wins McCarty will roll off tonight in the third postion and with at least 50-laps less on his tires. We would be silly not to take the odds on McCarty.

 

Peyton Sellers

A former Xfinity Series driver, NWAAS National & State Champion, Peyton Sellers has once again has proven why he is one of the best in the business. Peyton will take the green flag from the fifth postiion later tonight which could be the best thing to help him earn his first ValleyStar Credit Union 300 win and keep the iconic Grandfather Clock here in Danville.

 

CE Falk

The defending race winner is someone you always have to keep an eye on. Whether they forced their way into victory lane or had luck on their side once you get a taste of victory lane thats all you want. Falk, a staple at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway before moving to Charlotte, has won the most Hampton Heat’s (3) in the histroy of the event along with NWAAS Regional championships before switching over to the current divisions. Falk did not have the qualifying effort that we thought he was going to have, however, he is locked into the show with his twentith place qualifying spot.

 

Josh Berry

Obviously picked in no particular order following last nights track record breaking qualifying performance Josh Berry comes into this race with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder in our opinion. After dominating most of the race last year and having the lead taken away from him on one of the strangest calls we have ever heard then an unfortunate accident, Berry’s hopes of a victory last year fell a little more that fifty laps short. Berry currently trails McCarty in the CARS Tour points standings but has collected three victories this year. We dont want to jynx him and his team but this year looks pretty good for Berry to take home his first clock. 

 

Sleeper

Justin “Toast” Carroll

He he’s hot he is hot. When he’s not… he is still pretty good. Carroll had a great run in the opening leg of the VA Tripple Crown till an cluster on the front stretch took him out of the running. Even though he elected not to compete in the Hampton Heat 200 Carroll has picked up a few wins at Ace. Carroll will roll off tonights 200-lap feature from the 10th position. As long as he can keep his nose clean and tires under him he could be a factor!

 

Dark Horse

Matt Waltz

Yup, you are reading this right. Matt Waltz is on our list because Matt Waltz is here at Martinsville competeting for a Grandfather Clock and a place in history. He hasnt been behind the wheel of a race car in a little while but is still one hell of a driver. Hopefully he can knock the dust of his gloves and wheel the car to the front. He will have a little bit of an uphill battle today has his 39th place qualifying position forces him to roll off 10th in the first heat race. As long as he can keep the nosr clean and not fall back from his starting position he will at least make the show.

 

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.

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.

 

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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