NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Keepin’ it Short – Time for the Big One

Local short track racing consists of many different kinds of vehicles. Super Late Models, go-karts, Outlaw Sprint Cars, Dirt Late Models, Legend Cars, Street Stocks, Modifieds, and Bandoleros just to name a handful of the assortment of vehicles. Each type of car draws its own kind of fans and many fans like multiple types of racers. Each kind of car has its own “Super Bowl” every season. Super Late Models have the Snowball Derby. Dirt Late Models have the World. Outlaw Sprint Cars have the Knoxville Nationals. In the world of Late Model Stock Cars, the unquestioned biggest event of the season is the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville Speedway, and this weekend is the one.

Racers across the country, and especially in the Southeast where Late Models are still king, have had this weekend circled since the date was announced. Some of that stemmed from the change in format this year. Qualifying is going to be completely different than it has been for any asphalt Late Model race before. Racers will be sent onto the track late on Saturday in groups of eight. They will be required to run a minimum of eight full speed laps during their timed period. If they are unable to complete eight laps, the entire group will fall to the back of their qualifying heat race. After the “qualifying” practice rounds are completed, the drivers will be slotted into four heat races based on their average times. Sunday morning, there will be four, 25-lap heat races that will place the first 32 cars into the field. Once the heat races are completed, there will be a final, 50-lap Last Chance race to complete the field of 42 cars. Heat races on race morning have long been a staple at Martinsville but never before have they decided the entire field. There is no doubt that there will almost certainly be a race favorite’s day ruined in one of the heat races.

There were 85 cars that showed up for the open test at Martinsville last Wednesday. The fastest car in practice was Philip Morris. Morris tripped the watch at 20.473 seconds and a speed of 92.493 mph. The four-time National Champion is looking to win another Grandfather clock, and having won the event twice in the past, this season would be especially rewarding as Morris has been unable to compete for much of the year. Second quickest car in open practice was Kris Bowen at 20.489 seconds while Jeff Oakley logged the third fastest lap at 20.491 seconds. Mike Looney turned in the fourth quickest lap with a 20.509 second lap with Peyton Sellers rounding out the top five with the same time as Looney. Not all cars at the test had transponders so some contenders were probably among the top 5 but did not have an official time. Matt McCall, BJ Mackey and Jamie Yelton were all manually clocked at times that would have put them in the top 5.

Sunday afternoon, as the dust settles at Martinsville, someone will walk away with a $25,000 check, a Martinsville Grandfather clock and, most importantly, the title of Virginia is for Racing Lovers’ 300 champion. No driver has ever won it in consecutive years, so Lee Pulliam would set a record if he is able to accomplish that feat. C.E. Falk, III and Peyton Sellers are also among the drivers who are eligible to take home an additional bonus in the Virginia Triple Crown, the three race competition that has been taking place all season. Whichever driver scores the most points in the South Boston $10,000 to win season opener, the Summer Heat at Langley Speedway and the race Sunday will score an additional $5,000.

The race is on the bucket list of not only most Late Model drivers but also fans from across the country. It is worth a trip to Martinsville, VA this weekend to watch the best drivers in Late Model Stock Car racing battle it out for the Grandfather clock.

*This Weekend’s Race Schedule*

Fri : Oct 19th – South Alabama Speedway ; Kinston : AL – Alabama Pro 200 Pro Late Models
Fri : Oct 19th – Waycross Motor Speedway ; Waycross : GA – Topless Showdown in the Swamp – Nesmith Late Models
Fri : Oct 19th – Dodge City Raceway Park ; Dodge City : KS – AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars
Fri : Oct 19th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Inaugural King of the Carolinas
Fri : Oct 19th – Atomic Speedway ; Alma : OH – 332nd Annual Dirt Track World Championships Lucas Oil Late Models
Fri : Oct 19th – Clayhill Motorsports ; Atwood : TN – USCS 600 Sprint Cars
Fri : Oct 19th – Devil’s Bowl Speedway ; Mesquite : TX – 39th Annual Devil’s Bowl Winter National Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Fri : Oct 19th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Modifieds
Fri : Oct 19th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Sport Modifieds
Fri : Oct 19th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Stock
Fri : Oct 19th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – Street Stock
Sat : Oct 20th – South Alabama Speedway ; Kinston : AL – Alabama Pro 200 Pro Late Models
Sat : Oct 20th – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – 5th Annual Pumpkin Smash Halloween Bash Championship Race Coors Light Open Late Models
Sat : Oct 20th – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – 5th Annual Pumpkin Smash Halloween Bash Hobby Stock Open
Sat : Oct 20th – Auburndale Speedway ; Winter Haven : FL – Florida United Promoters Late Models
Sat : Oct 20th – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – Open Wheel Modifieds
Sat : Oct 20th – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – Sportsman
Sat : Oct 20th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Pro Late Models
Sat : Oct 20th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Modifieds
Sat : Oct 20th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Sportsman
Sat : Oct 20th – Watermelon Capital Speedway ; Cordele : GA – Super Streets
Sat : Oct 20th – Waycross Motor Speedway ; Waycross : GA – Topless Showdown in the Swamp – Nesmith Late Models
Sat : Oct 20th – Dodge City Raceway Park ; Dodge City : KS – AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars
Sat : Oct 20th – Valley Speedway ; Grain Valley : MO – United Late Model Association Late Models
Sat : Oct 20th – Lee USA Speedway ; Lee : NH – MRS Modifieds
Sat : Oct 20th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Inaugural King of the Carolinas
Sat : Oct 20th – Atomic Speedway ; Alma : OH – 332nd Annual Dirt Track World Championships Lucas Oil Late Models
Sat : Oct 20th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – NELMA Late Model Challenge
Sat : Oct 20th – Clayhill Motorsports ; Atwood : TN – USCS 600 Sprint Cars
Sat : Oct 20th – Clayhill Motorsports ; Atwood : TN – USCS Outlaw Thunder Sprint Cars
Sat : Oct 20th – Devil’s Bowl Speedway ; Mesquite : TX – 39th Annual Devil’s Bowl Winter National Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Sat : Oct 20th – Martinsville Speedway ; Danville : VA – Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 Late Models Qualifying
Sun : Oct 21st – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – 16th Annual Carmel Sod Fall Festival Hornets
Sun : Oct 21st – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – 16th Annual Carmel Sod Fall Festival Legends
Sun : Oct 21st – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – 16th Annual Carmel Sod Fall Festival Stocks
Sun : Oct 21st – Lee USA Speedway ; Lee : NH – MRS Modifieds
Sun : Oct 21st – Orange County Speedway ; Middletown : NY – DIRTCar Big-Block Modifieds
Sun : Oct 21st – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Inaugural King of the Carolinas
*Sun : Oct 21st – Martinsville Speedway ; Danville : VA – Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 Late Models*

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