SoBo Opens 2023 Virginia Triple Crown – July 1, 2023

**Results for the Sentara late Model – Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 updated due to disqualification of race night winner.

The calendar presents a timeline that, on the surface, does not add up. Circumstances of reality, however, put us on the tenth anniversary of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown.

What is it? It is a cooperative set of races from three tracks in Virginia. Previously, these tracks had showcase events focused on each track but the results only held the prestige and payouts assigned by each facility. A discussion was held to tie events together with combined results carrying to each track for a big payout. Clay Campbell of Martinsville Speedway was directly involved with Langley Speedway (Bill Mullis) and South Boston Speedway (Cathy Rice) leading into 2012 for the first year of the “Triple Crown”.

When is it? South Boston hosts the first of the three races. The Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 for early July. Langley has the Hampton Heat in late July. Martinsville Speedway has the finale, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, in September.

The payouts…? The best, combined result of the three races wins $7,000, second takes $2,000 and third gets $1,000. That, of course, is on top of each track purse earned on race day by the winners and designated place payouts.

The timeline. Yes, the first sanctioned “Triple Crown” ran in 2012. Phillip Morris won the day but it was C.E. Falk III that had the carry over results from SoBo and Langley to win the first “Triple Crown”. However, circumstances prevented the Triple Crown from happening for two separate years. Martinsville still held their big late model race in 2016 but Langley Speedway had owner/management issues for 2016 and did not run. For 2020, racing nationwide was rattled by the Covid pandemic.

That puts us here. The tenth running of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown and the opening race at South Boston Speedway. The Sentara Late Model race, 200 lap finale closed the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson (presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort) evening of racing.

The track attendance was, in a word, huge. Fans were still arriving as the front stretch was open for meet and greet with drivers during an autograph session. Weather threatened the racing, and even cut short the autographs, as rain came in with a rumble of thunder. Track drying was on and even more fans came as the scheduled green flag was ready to fly.

A full lot and line of fans ready for racing at South Boston Speedway

The evening event ran support races from the regular points schedule for SoBo. Running on the big night gave these drivers a big audience. Opening ceremonies also gave fans a sky show as the Bandit Flight Team from Raleigh, NC flew over with the National Anthem.

Budweiser Limited Sportsman (40 laps): Eric Winslow started up front and drove to the win. The action was hot behind Winslow with challengers going for position bringing a lap one caution. The racing settled a bit but Winslow couldn’t be caught. Jason Myers gave it a good shot but only enough for second place. Bob Davis, Justin Dawson and Drew Dawson rounded out the top-five from the 14 drivers that started.

Southside Disposal Pure Stock (20 laps): Bruce Mayo was a dominant force leading most of the race and taking the checkers. He got by Johnny Layne and held defending division champion, Scott Phillips, in the mirror for his first win of this season. Phillips finished second, Layne was third with Zach Reaves and Andrew Turner filling the top five.

Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets (20 laps): Jason DeCarlo also ran a dominant race with a pole start and an up front run of the distance. The win is also his first of the season. Steven Layne drove to second. Kendall Milam took third as D.J. Moser and Dillon Davis rolled in the top five.

Sentara Late Model / Triple Crown Leg One (200 laps): Carson Kvapil seemed to have the night with a race leading drive to the checkered flag. **However – post race inspection and deliberation determined a rear shock was out of division spec so the race win went to Bobby McCarty. Landon Huffman was also disqualified with a shock issue and a rear end housing not in compliance.

Brenden Queen started on pole but fell back a bit. Queen still put the pressure on but Bobby McCarty and Landon Huffman were there as the race came into the final laps to make challenges to Kvapil. At the checkers, McCarty finished second with Huffman on for third. Queen came in fourth and Trevor Ward filled the top five.

**With the disqualifications, the official top five are: Bobby McCarty, Brenden Queen, Trevor Ward, Landon Pembelton, Jacob Borst.

Thirty-five drivers started and the crowded field with challenges for position threw the caution seven times for 25 percent of the race. Those challenges took their toll as drivers retired with damage beyond race time repair. As an example, defending Virginia Late Model Triple Crown winner, Peyton Sellers took heavy damage early on and managed to get back out for a few laps before retiring. The damage may put pressure on Sellers for the season as his points lead at South Boston also took a hit.

Drivers came in from around the region and some were heading home with damaged cars. Rivals from Pulaski County Motorsports Park, Mike Looney and Kyle Dudley, were both going home bruised. Dudley had even been challenging in the top five for his part but a 3 wide squeeze turned him with a crash just after the half way point that caught Looney and retired at least three or four others. Also crashing out was Layne Riggs. The defending track champion and NAAPWS 2022 champion was caught up racing for position with Landon Pembelton as contact put Riggs into the wall.

Peyton Sellers and team (left) work on the #25 trying to get back on track. Layne Riggs and team (right) with the damaged and out #99

The next leg for the Virginia Triple Crown is at Langley Speedway later in July. The finale runs at Martinsville Speedway later in the year.

*This article has been updated due to official findings and results following technical post race inspections.

Full Photo Gallery – Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 / South Boston Speedway