The best laid plans of mice and men…

Uncertainty pops up all the time. Plans get changed for many reasons. Family and illness may be top on the list of forcing changes to schedules which, under any other circumstances, would be practically set in stone.

Such is the situation… With that, we’re away from where we thought we would be this weekend. However, we’re hoping the gears are in motion to make the best of it by paying a visit to a race track close to where we are as opposed to where we thought we would be…

Dominion Raceway. It’s an interesting and multi-faceted facility which current events have us close enough to skip out for a few hours and check out some racing from the northern portion of Virginia.

We keep in touch through social media with Dinah Mullins. She is an active photographer at Dominion and also keeps her husband, Willie Mullins, on track with their own car, team, activities and business. We’re shamelessly pulling a string or two… As long as we’re up here…

Dominion features an oval for Late Model, Modified, Sportsman and other standard “left turn” racing. There is also a road course which is open quite often for drivers to have some fun with their own cars – Daily drivers or track spec. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has an event there this weekend. Concerts and other gatherings are also hosted.

Short track racing for many Saturdays or weekends feature the NASCAR sanctioned Advance Auto Parts All American Series. Such is the case for Saturday, June 26th. The CARS Tour ran last weekend. The SMART Modified Tour is set for later this year.

Dominion Raceway is a little speed jewel tucked up in Virginia between Richmond and Washington, DC. We’re looking forward to checking the place out in person.

2020 was a mix of “Do” and “Don’t”. Do wear masks. Do social distance. Do wash your hands and do stay home. Don’t gather. Don’t have public events. Don’t have restaurants or clubs or bars or concerts… or races…

South Boston Speedway, with strong ties to NASCAR, did everything right. With the guidelines put in place for Virginia, SoBo settled in with their 2020 schedule essentially put in the garage. It was a decision to play it safe with the rules and stand down. The risk of having any cloud fall over the facility, and the possible ramifications and scrutiny if there was an event and anyone linked the track with a Covid incident, was just not worth it for the long run.

Fast forward to 2021. Vaccines are out. Restrictions on numbers of people are relaxed… a bit. Racing events are able to have limited attendance and indications lead to higher numbers as the year progresses. The folks at South Boston Speedway make the moves on a schedule and the “Season Opener” is on for mid March.

It’s one thing to get ready for racing once winter starts to warm. However, after a full year of down time it would be a bit more complex. Add to that the preparations for the rules still in place with additional signage, staff training and documented cleaning guidelines and you have a task to make things right.

They pulled it off like it was a regular mid-season track event. Fans came in with masks and little hassle. The staff was ready like it was routine. The track officials and safety crews were on mark and the schedule for the day progressed rather smoothly.

The racing was great. A full afternoon of Saturday track speed was spirited and lively. Short track racing as presented by SoBo has a long history of fast laps and crowd pleasing action. This first day of racing for 2021 was no different. Six races and four classes of cars on track brought something for everyone. Two Late Model races (75 laps each), two Limited Sportsman events (25 laps each), 15 laps of Budweiser Hornets and 25 laps Budweiser Pure Stocks filled the afternoon of a brisk March Saturday.

Peyton Sellers was the big winner of the day taking the checkers for both Late Model events. The second win from starting mid pack with an inverted line up from the first race. Sellers, a seasoned driver with winning results around the region, is a regular performer at South Boston. Daniel Moss was the strong winner of the first Limited Sportsman race running out front practically start to finish. The second Sportsman event was won by Eric Winslow who also dominated with his run. Nathan Crews, a Budweiser Pure Stock SoBo title winner, began his 2021 with a win in the series opener. Josh Dawson grabbed the win in the 15-lap Budweiser Hornets Division.

South Boston Speedway is set to host the next event on April 3rd. Late Models, Hornets and Pure Stocks return with the SMART Open Wheel Modifieds. Mark your calendars!

It was a Wednesday. Cat box… Clean out car… Mow lawn…

That was the list of things to do. However, tucked away in an e-mail was a notification from Martinsville Speedway that teams and drivers for the upcoming Virginia Is For Lovers 300 late model stock car race would be running practice sessions.

Hmmmmm… Cat box or go check some action at the race track. No need to toss a coin. Stop for coffee and gas, throw away a couple of burger bags while the tank is filling, and off to Martinsville!

From outside the fence it was obvious quite a few teams had taken advantage of this open test day. Pit road was full. The garages were full. The infield was a maze of big diesel trucks and haulers to simple flatbed tow trailers. (more…)