It was a bit of a wait from August. As it happens, Virginia International Raceway in October is actually quite fantastic. It may have been a “one off” as the 2022 schedule has the date for VIR and the IMSA weekend back in the throws of August. For 2021, the date was moved to October as Le Mans (yeah, the French one) was moved and conflicted with some IMSA drivers to drive. To accommodate IMSA involvement with Le mans, the VIR date was shifted.
For next year (2022) the date is back to August. For this one, October brought cooler temperatures across the weekend. Rain, always a possibility, brought a threat and did fall on some practices and qualifying late Friday and early Saturday but did pull back for the racing.
The IMSA WeatherTech Micheln GT put a bit of a boxing match on for GTLM. The Corvettes and the WeatherTech Porsche threw bumpers and fenders at each other as the #79 Porsche pushed to the front. Kevin Estre in the Porsche could not sustain the lead against the recharge of Nick Tandy in the #4 Corvette. The Porsche later lost traction and skidded off to finish behind the Corvettes. The GTD class started with what looked like a run away for the Turner BMW #96. In the closing laps, the #3 GTLM Corvette went a bit loose when getting past the Turner BMW which bumped the #96 off allowing the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche to get on the GTD lead and take the win in the class.
Sunday could have been “Stevan McAleer Day” as he ran in the Prototype Challenge and the Michelin Pilot Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix. McAleer went wide at “Oak Tree” on the final lap in the #43 Robillard Racing Duqueine D08 which opened the path for Rasmus Lindh in the #6 Motel 6 Ligier JS P320. Some side by side down the back straight put McAleer off at and out at turn 14 while Lindh went on for the #6 win. In the Michelin Pilot race, McAleer was in the #23 Notlad Racing / RS1 Aston Martin and racing out front but Jan Heylen managed to get the #16 Wright Motorsports Porsche around him for the lead and win.
Nobody saw it coming – Not even Landon Pembelton as the crew made the early tire decision to gain position later. Pembleton, a rookie with his first laps at Martinsville Speedway, thought he may have a top 10 but came away with the win in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
They set the tire change earlier than most which allowed a restart up front at the lap 150 mark following a scheduled full track pit. Race veterans were already having some issues that were keeping their cars from performing at the usual pace. When Pembleton took the lead he mostly took off with it. Other late race cautions gave others a chance at it but they couldn’t pull the #0 of Pembelton off the lead for long. Mike Looney, the 2016 winner, gave it a challenge on the final restart but Pembelton pulled him back for the lead and the win. The 16 year old driver took the checkers with his first run at the historic short track.
For the most part, the race was on for the younger drivers more than seasoned veterans. Daniel Silvestri, a young driver with a CARS Tour win earned the pole from qualifying the night before. Bobby McCarty, a two time CARS Tour champion, was also on the front row. The rest of the drivers had to run the heat races for position on Saturday before the main event.
Veterans like Peyton Sellers and Mike Looney started barely within the top 10. Other long time drivers such as Timothy Peters and Stacy Puryear started mid pack. Philip Morris had terrible luck in his heat race with a tire and crash incident that put him out of the main completely.
For the most part, even with this being the late model return to Martinsville since 2019 and the Covid cancel of 2020, the race was relatively mild for cautions. There were spins and some other contact driving but it seemed to be much less than previous late model contests here.
Sellers was anxious to go for his first ValleyStar 300 win as he was just named the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series National Champion. He has won the “Triple Crown” but hasn’t notched the Martinsville Clock. For the 2021 Triple Crown (combined best finishes at South Boston, Langley and Martinsville), it was front row starter Bobby McCarty taking the honor.
The top 10 finishers for the race at Martinsville: 1-Landon Pembelton 2-Mike Looney 3-Layne Riggs 4-Sammy Smith 5-Jared Fryar 6-Bobby McCarty 7-Jacob Borst 8-Justin Johnson 9-Daniel Silvestri 10-Kaden Honeycutt
Next up for Martinsville Speedway is the NASCAR Cup weekend of October 30-31. Camping World, Xfinity and CUP will all be running before the season finale the following week in Phoenix.
Full Photo Gallery Below – 2021 ValleyStar Credit Union 300
The Late Model racing season is coming to a head this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 will draw drivers and teams from around the region to compete in what is billed as the largest late model race to run. The “Virginia Triple Crown” will take the points from the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston and the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway and push that into the results at Martinsville.
The race returns after the Covid hiatus of 2020 as tracks on the regular season were down across the region. Returning 2019 winner Josh Berry is expected to race carrying a bit of a streak into the weekend. He also won the NASCAR Xfinity race at Martinsville earlier this year.
Peyton Sellers, recently named National Late Model Champion in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series, will also be chasing his first win in the “300”. He has run it many times and has been a repeat “Triple Crown” winner but has not been able to take the checkers on the final lap.
Timothy Peters is another name which is no stranger in winner’s circles. His connection to Martinsville and Southside Virginia racing has put him in the spotlight with NASCAR national series races and is another local favorite that could repeat a win at the VSCU 300.
Bobby McCarty and Ty Gibbs will also be drivers to watch. McCarty has the Thunder Road win and Ty Gibbs is expected to show with experience in ARCA and Xfinity.
Motor Mile Speedway just ran their Champions weekend and drivers Kres VanDyke and Ryan Wilson should be on hand to showcase their skills under the big lights. Other tracks from all around the region should also be represented by fan favorites taking their shot at Martinsille.
Previously, there have been full days of practice at Martinsville a week or so before race weekend. This year the format has been compacted into Friday and Saturday. Friday , the 24th, there will be a 4 hour open practice session before qualifying at 8:00pm Friday night. The top two qualifiers will make the 200 lap main event on Saturday night. The rest will race it out in four 25 lap heat races to make the main. The heat races begin at 3:00pm Saturday with gates open at 12:30pm and track walks / autograph session on track until 2:30pm.
The NASCAR Playoffs are set for Martinsville with Camping World, Xfinity and NASCAR Cup all racing October 30-31st. However, all eyes are on the Late Models under the lights coming up this weekend (September 24-25) for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
Racing Through The Summer with the Southern Virginia Motorsports Council has already run through two profile events. South Boston Speedway and Virginia Motorsports Park were part of the three event ticket with late model and drag strip racing earlier this Summer. The third event at Virginia International Raceway is coming up this weekend, September 23-26.
Formerly known as the Heacock Classic, the weekend combines the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association with Trans-Am, F3 and FR open wheel racing plus a classic and exotic motor show. The schedule is quite full of track and off-track activities for a variety of fans and enthusiasts.
A dozen SVRA groups will be taking to the track with vintage racing and sportscars across a wide range of styles and classes. The open wheel Formula 4 United States Championship and the Formula Regional Americas Championship offers fast racing with the Andy Scriven Memorial Race weekend. The F4 and FR series offer racing for developing drivers in an international format.
Trans-Am racing features spec built racers, familiar sports car chassis and American muscle cars in classes of racing that has evolved from classic sports car racing going back to the 1960s.
All of this track action surrounds a “Cars & Caffeine” car show sponsored by Hagerty Insurance on Saturday.
This event leads into even more highlight events in October at VIR. Grassroots Motorsports HyperFEST is the following weekend of October 1-3 with the re-scheduled IMSA WeatherTech series events coming up October 8-10.
This weekend with the VIR Speed Tour combines so many styles of racing and classes of cars that it will showcase all the best the track has to offer. It is a great event to close out the “Racing Through The Summer” ticket.
We’re less than one month away from WeatherTech/IMSA at Virginia International Raceway. The original schedule for the race in August was shuffled to allow drivers and teams to participate at LeMans for the big 24 hour race. So… With October just on the horizon, it would be good to get up to speed on who is running and who is winning. The Daytona Prototypes and LeMans Prototype 2 will not run at VIR, leaving the GT LeMans and GT Daytona classes to race without having to keep eyes out for the larger cars.
However, with racing still to go, it should be noted the top 3 teams in DPi are all within one race in points to be on top. The top 3 in LMP2 are racing practically the same. One race can easily blow the points up and change the game for any of these teams. We won’t see these at VIR but it’s good to catch up.
For GTLM, it’s pretty much a race of Porsche against the Corvettes. The WeatherTech Porsche team got a much needed win at Road America. It was their 2nd win of the season but the Corvettes grabbed it again at Laguna Seca. The Corvettes have notched 5 wins so far.
The GTD class has more diversity but the the top 4 are also running close and within 100 points. The Turner BMW team is currently leading but the PFAFF Porsche team grabbed 2 recent wins and is moving up with Heart of Racing / Aston Martin team has recently fallen back to 3rd overall. Paul Miller Racing and their Lambo is still in the hunt at 4th in points.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge classes of Grand Sport and Touring combine a much larger field of manufacturers and teams. The Turner BMWs are out in front of the GS group with the Winward AMG and Wright Porsche following and within points. The Touring class has the Hyundai / Bryan Herta Autosport #77 on top with another Herta Hyundai chasing up. The KMW/TMR Alpha Romeo team and the Atlanta Speedwerks Honda are chasing up.
VIR will also host the Prototype Challenge featuring the LeMans P3 classes. Muehlner Motorsports #21 is leading the field with #54 MLT Motorsports on the bumper 10 points behind. Conquest Racing #61 is leading in the P3-2 class.
Porsche Carrera Cup North America will also be running events at Virginia International Raceway. All the drivers will be competing in identical spec 911 GT3 Cup Cars so the track will be putting driver skill on the line.
October 8-10 offers up a full weekend of racing and sportsmanship with variety and speed on the full course at Virginia International Raceway. Check IMSA online and VIR online for schedules and tickets!
The regular racing season for Motor Mile Speedway may be over but action at Motor Mile is far from done. A-1 Heating and Cooling Championship Night brought twin event racing start to finish with Track Champions being set for the 2021 season.
Coming up for the rest of the year the track is not holding back with the Tour Of Destruction coming up this weekend (9/18) with School Bus Racing, War Wizard Monster Truck, Fireworks, Demolition Derby and more. October brings the SMART Modified Tour, Circle Track Warehouse Madness, Halloween Pumpkin Smash and Monster Trucks.
The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience has their first year with Motor Mile showing progress and momentum. For the points track racing, it came down to Saturday, September 11 which opened with a quick UCar race before bringing some area fire and emergency vehicles on the track as a tribute to those fallen on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Peyton Howell won the Blue Ridge Church UCar opener. Later in the evening for the 2nd UCar race, Howell and the #11 car were involved in a wreck that left Howell injured and unable to finish. He was treated in the infield for non-serious injury then left the track after the UCar event but was still the UCar Track Champion for 2021. The 2nd UCar race was won by Cary Thomason.
Ryan Wilson picked up wins in both of the twin Late Model races but it wasn’t enough to take the crown from NAAPWS LM Champion Kres VanDyke.
The Super Street races were split with wins from Hank Turman in the first and Ray Sowers taking the second and, with it, the Championship for Motor Mile Super Street.
The largest field of cars on the track was the Sportsman division with crowded competition from green to checkers. The first of the twin-30 Collision Plus Sportsman was won by Corey Dunn. The second was taken by Kyle Barnes but it was Corey Dunn who came away as Sportsman Champion at Motor Mile.
The Mod-4 was also a little crowded and featured split wins. Doodle Lang won the first of the twin-25s and Jimmy Mullins won the second. Lang’s win in the first race added to his Mod-4 Tack Championship for 2021.
The full facility at Motor Mile also features a drag strip with still more events on the calendar. The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience features karts with a dedicated track, stock car and drag car driving for fans to get behind the wheel and see what it’s like to take to the track. There is a lot more to see and do on the way at Motor Mile.
FULL PHOTO GALLERY from A-1 Heating and Cooling Championship Night is below
Track Champion Night at South Boston Speedway brought the season together with the winners on and off the track. The race fans themselves were honored as retiring General Manager Cathy Rice gave them the credit for the success of the track as she thanked them for making her job easier. Rice had announced early on that she would be leaving as GM at the end of the 2021 season. The pre-race events of Danville Toyota Championship Night was the perfect opportunity to honor Cathy Rice with presentations and well deserved awards. However, Cathy made it clear as she thanked everyone for the honors that it was the fans that made South Boston Speedway special.
And, not to worry, she will still be around the track as the new folks take SoBo racing forward. Chase and Carly Brashears will be taking the track into 2022 and beyond. With Mattco Inc., known for Pocono Raceway, in the financial seat and the racing history and experience the Brashears bring to the facility, South Boston is well set for the future as Cathy carries on in a friendly consultant capacity.
For racing, the crowd from the grandstands to the backstretch had a full night of action. The regular hosted series crowned their season champions for 2021 with an opening show featuring the vintage Southern Ground Pounders. The opener was cut short for time after cautions and some blown engines. At the front at the call was Danny Bond and local favorite Stacy Puryear. Bond took the Modified and Puryear took the Sportsman.
Josh Dawson won the 15 lap Budweiser Hornets race which also put him in place to take the Division Title for South Boston. Dawson had 8 wins on 10 starts at South Boston with this win coming from the back of the field.
Daniel Moss came away from Saturday night as the Limited Sportsman Division Champion. The points were tight coming in and Moss had to drive hard to keep a margin for the championship as his car faded and he finished in 7th place. His points competitors, Jason Myers and Drew Dawson, finished third and fourth but Moss kept the season Champion lead by 2 points over Myers. Eric Winslow, the race winner, took the lead 1/3 of the way in and held that lead to the checkers. This was Winslow’s third victory of the season at South Boston Speedway.
Nathan Crews took the lead from teammate Daniel Shelton with three laps to go in the Budweiser Pure Stock race. Shelton’s car faded as Crews passed by to win the evening and the 2021 South Boston Speedway Budweiser Pure Stock Division championship. The family owned team has this and the previous Championship with Crews and a third with Shelton who took the title in 2018.
Peyton Sellers snagged a fourth straight win and his ninth victory of the season at South Boston. Sellers is chasing a second career NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship with 21 wins this season. Four race wins in a row also ties together four straight Division Titles as the South Boston NAAPWS 2021 Champion. This also marks six titles leaving him one short of the record seven by David Blankenship.
Sellers avoided a front stretch wreck on the first lap and chased down the lead. Sellers and Jacob Borst raced the lead a few times but it was Sellers who took the checkers after fighting through traffic again with 28 laps to go. Borst hung on for second, with Chris Denny finishing third. Landon Pembelton finished fourth, helping his National rookie standing and John Goin rounded out the top five. Goin was racing in as a regular at Dominion Raceway where Sellers has also been making the rounds and collecting some wins.
Racing at South Boston Speedway is not over for 2021, even as track champions come away with their titles from Danville Toyota Championship Night. Later this month, SoBo hosts the Country Roads Truck Show with trucks, 4X4s, hot rods, rat rods and more. In October, the CARS Tour makes its way through America’s Hometown Track!
For South Boston, it is embracing the history of the racetrack. Cathy Rice has pulled the facility into this century and stamped its mark on short track racing with a reputation that is held nationwide. The real winners and champions are all of the fans, the drivers, the teams and the employees and volunteers that have taken this track to the level it is.
Danville Toyota Championship Night Photo Gallery – September 4, 2021 at South Boston Speedway