There is so much going into “race day” that is not so obvious unless the time is taken to look. The attention is drawn to the teams, the drivers, the cars and the unloading and preparation for racing. As such, that is the draw and the focus of the promotion and the ticket.
However, a needed and necessary aspect is operating in the background while in plain sight. The safety crew, officials and vehicle operators are all on hand to maintain fairness and safety for everyone. These folks are often overlooked as fans attention is drawn to the speed of racing on the track. Things change in the event of an accident when the caution is thrown and the track crews jump to action.
Racing can not proceed without these people. Their presence is required. Officials for maintaining the rules and continuity are required. Safety has to be paramount so track safety and medically equipped ambulance personnel are also required. They are present at every race from NASCAR, Indy and IMSA to local track U-Car to Late Model.
The safety crew and officials earn every cent they are paid. They operate in the background and are ready to jump at the flick of a switch with a goal of getting out, cleared and back to green racing as fast as possible. It is these men and women that rose to occasion recently at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA.
It could have been any track… A spin catches another which collects two more with another getting caught up in the mix. One gets pushed and pinned between a car at speed and the wall. It has been said that speed, in and of itself, does not cause damage. It is the sudden loss of speed that can cause injury. At that, the track crews act and are on the spot in seconds.
We like the action but seldom give attention to the crews checking the drivers, clearing the track and making it safe to go racing again. For them, this is that attention. For them, this is that “Thank You”.
The driver in this instance, was taken to a local hospital and treated for one or more fractured ribs. These injury incidents are rare at short tracks but it can and does happen. The applause for drivers is due but applause for the track crews is often quiet. It’s OK… They know their job and the importance of it.
But… A little applause doesn’t hurt…. Right…?
Racing at Motor Mile Speedway – April 29, 2023 Pure-4 Winner, Kirby Shipman. LMSC Twin 1 Winner, Mike Looney. Southern Ground Pounders Modified Winner, Jimmy Mullins. Southern Ground Pounders Sportsman Winner, Jimmy Griffin. Mod-4 Winner, Kevin Canter. Sportsman Winner, Kyle Dudley. Super Street Winner, Jimmy Mullins. LMSC Twin 2 Winner, Mike Looney.
PHOTOS – Motor Mile Speedway – Southern Ground Pounders Night 2023
Race tracks are going green. North Carolina has been on a little longer. South Boston was on a week earlier. Motor Mile Speedway had their eyes on March 25th for their “Ice Out Opener”. The folks at Motor Mile have also taken a hand in with Lonesome Pine in Coeburn, VA which already had their opening SMART Tour postponed for the possibility of snow and exceptionally cold temperatures. It wasn’t snow putting a kink in the “Ice Out” but a good chance of rain…
Decisions were made, based on what the forecast had in store a few days earlier. The scheduled green flag was pushed from 2pm to 4pm and then, a little closer to the weekend, to 6pm. Best plans and all that, go with the side of caution as it may be, give fans and teams the best information you can and you still wind up looking back that the original time would have been fine.
But we all know that if the original time had been kept then it would have rained until 4:30… Or later…
The sun was out but the wind blew plenty of clouds by and also took some of the new sponsor panels out along turn two. By the time the front stretch was open for fans to visit with drivers the wind had calmed a bit. As the ceremonies were done and the track ready it was just a few minutes after 6 when the green dropped on the first of six scheduled races. Twins for Limited Sportsman, Twins for Late Model, a Pure-4 and Super Street were on the show that was now set to finish under the lights.
The Sportsman started the evening with the first of their 35 lap events. It might have been Daryn Cockram who qualified on the pole but it was the double zero of Kyle Barnes who survived the cautions to take the first win. It was Charles Smith and Zach Peregoy in the top three. Barnes started back in the 8th spot later in the second race and, again, survived some multi car cautions but it was only good enough to finish second. The later Sportsman race was won by James Sweeney who had started in the 4th position. Richard Caldwell finished the 2nd race in third.
The Late Models ran after the first Sportsman race. Notably missing from the lineup was the #17 and Bryan Reedy. Earlier in the week, the Reedy family were mourning the passing but celebrating the life of Bryan’s grandfather, Orvil. Orvil Reedy was a much loved personality and racer that inspired Tink Reedy and, of course, on with Bryan. Reedy has said he is focusing on time with family and running the #17 at some events at Ace Speedway but we hope to see him at Motor Mile as well.
For the field on the “Ice Out”, it was defending track Late Model Champion, Kyle Dudley with a qualifying pole but the opening draw had him in the 6th position. It didn’t take long for Dudley to be challenging Mike Looney, who started 4th, for the lead. Looney and Dudley battled late race cautions and restarts but Dudley could not quite get around Looney’s #87 and came in with a 2nd position for the first 50 lap race. The second and final 50 laps finished the top two in the same order with Mike Looney sweeping the LMSC wins and Kyle Dudley finishing just behind even as they started way back in the field. Both drivers fought back to the front from the 7th and 9th positions. Derrick Lancaster and Cory Dunn grabbed third and fourth in both races.
The Pure-4 also had some caution but the 20 lapper was initially won by Kirby Shipman. However, post race inspection found the #7 Shipman car did not pass for weight. The race was then passed to first time Pure-5 starter, Caleb Sewell in the #93. With that move, Javon Parker and Keyshaun Clator filled the top three.
The Super Streets had hard charging Jimmy Mullins in the #12 driver quickly from the fifth position at the starting green to the front. Mullins kept that lead and protected himself from any mishaps further back and later. Tristen Barnes and Joe White finished the top three,
The next oval race at Motor Mile is on April 8 with the Spring Break Youth Sports Night. Keep an eye on July, too, as the SRX Super Star Racing Experience comes to town with world class drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar and more.
Full Photo Gallery – Ice Out Opener at Motor Mile Speedway – March 25, 2023
Mid February had temperatures in the 70s… Pushing 80…
By mid March, winter apparently made up for it and pulled the thermometer back into the 30s. That temperature drop forced some tracks to make hard decisions. As an example, Lonesome Pine Motorsports Park, (Lonesome Pine Raceway) was set to open their season with the SMART Modified Tour but pushed that back due to the possibility of snow…
Southside Virginia had a slightly better forecast. Mostly sunny and mid to upper 50s was enough to keep the gates open for the Danville Toyota season opener. As the gates opened and practices were run the infield was full with competitors. Twenty plus cars were there just for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series / Sentara Healthcare Late Models. The other divisions also had double digits on the track. The buzz was there for a show at South Boston Speedway.
Sentara Healthcare Late Model For two time National Champion and multiple Track Champion, Peyton Sellers, the afternoon came up a little short of the hopes coming in. While the #26 Toyota looked like the previous, it was a new car sporting the same sponsors of Clarence’s Steak House and race title sponsor, Danville Toyota. Late season wins of 2022 were pushing the new year and a shot at regaining the titles that eluded Sellers from that previous year. (*The young man that did win those 2022 titles was in Atlanta driving in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series.)
Another regional driver looking at making waves was Mike Looney who made the trip in from Catawba, VA. Looney has also been around these tracks for a long time and is a common front runner. Motor Mile may be his current “home track” but good results at South Boston also pad his racing resume.
Both of these veterans were in the mirrors at the finish of both of the 75 lap late model races. It was, however, a dream of a season open for Carter Langley as he swept both races and notched his first and second series wins on the same day. Not bad work for a packed, 23 car field.
Langley was competitive in both events even if practice and qualifying had him start with cars to chase. Race one early cautions did not really alter the front pack but lap 59 sent the entire field into a mix. Sellers spun in a move to miss it and would up in the back. Mike Looney restarted on the front and had it for around 10 laps but Langley made the pass and held for the win. Looney ran 2nd, Sellers came back to 3rd and Camden Gullie and Logan Clark filled the top 5.
Race Two Langley started ninth and was out front by lap 59. He managed to navigate by Sellers with 25 left and pass Jacob Borst for the lead with 16 remaining. Borst crossed in 2nd, Sellers doubled up on third place finishes, and Mark Wertz and Craig Moore completed the top five.
Budweiser Limited Sportsman In the first 30 lap race, Adam Murray took his first SoBo checkered flag. He chased J.D. Eversole for the lead and had it by the 19th lap and held for the win. J.D. Eversole, Carter Russo, Kyle Barnes, Jason Myers top five
Kyle Barnes won the second race from starting in the 3rd row and sixth position. By the tenth lap he had passed Zach Peregoy for take the lead and stayed out front for the victory. Ronnie Jones, Jason Myers, Drew Dawson, Justin Dawson filled the top five.
Southside Disposal Pure Stock Johnny Layne overcame the obstacles thrown for the win. Troubles started at practice with a blown engine. Layne left the track, drove to his Halifax home and got a backup car to get back for the race. With no laps on the “new” car, he started at the back and made the front by lap 7. The rest were in his mirrors to the checkers of the 25 lap race. Zach Reaves (pole), B.J. Reaves, Bruce Mayo, Scott Phillips top five.
VA State Police Heat Hornets Cameron Goble notched the win. This was his first victory at South Boston Speedway. Dillon Davis, Jason DeCarlo, Steven Layne, Andrea Ruotolo top five.
The next event at South Boston is scheduled to feature the SMART Modifieds. Sentara Healthcare Late Models and VA State Police HEAT Hornets are also set to run the URW Fools Rush 260 on April 1st.
Full Photo Gallery – Danville Toyota Opener at South Boston Speedway
To quote Inigo Montoya on the bridge in “The Princess Bride” with Westley (Man in Black) and Fezzik… “Let me explain……. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” The racing at Martinsville Speedway always has angles. This year, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 put stories on the board like yarn stretched between clues on an old detective’s wall…
Going into the weekend it was a point to point pull on national points which, apparently, fell to an official NASCAR audit of season races, licenses and car counts. At the end of the mathematical juggling, the defending NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Champion was not the new Champion for 2022. That fell to Layne Riggs who won out over Peyton Sellers by single digits. Sellers is a two time Champion and was the youngest to win it at age 21 in 2005. That “youngest” now goes to Riggs at age 20.
Peyton Sellers, however, may have used the disappointment on the championship as motivation for Martinsville as he ran up front giving challenge to Mike Looney for the first stages of racing. Looney won the first two stages but Sellers was right there and ready to challenge. The late race restarts saw Sellers take and hold the lead all the way to the checkers. The win also snagged the “Virginia Triple Crown” of late model points between South Boston, Langley and Martinsville. Combined, Sellers came away with a payday for the team and a Martinsville Grandfather Clock. The clock, Peyton says, is going to long time sponsor, Clarence’s Steak House.
There was also the little incident from the heat races that went socially viral. Andrew Grady made his way to Davey Callihan’s car while others were still coming in from the first heat. Grady went “Mike Tyson” on Callihan through the window net and had to be pulled and carried away. The unfortunate side effect of the on track shuffle may have been the race day hopes of a young racer who has been making some late model waves. Katie Hettinger was caught up and her bruised #71 did not advance to the main event. The bouncing of Grady and Callihan on track likely put a dent or two on Hettinger’s Chevy in the on track hustle.
There were a number of younger drivers making a show at this 300. Katie Hettinger is 15. Rajah Carruth, Mini Tyrrell and Jessica Cann are some other younger faces making waves and entries trying to shine at Martinsville. The defending winner of the event last year, Landon Pembleton, was running well but engine trouble put him further back. These young guns were racing with veterans like Peyton Sellers, Timothy Peters, Mike Looney, Stacy Puryear and others. The changing of the guard was in plain view at Martinsville.
Beyond the racing for this year, there was more news on the future of this event. Martinsville Speedway and ValleyStar Credit Union announced the sponsor partnership will continue forward. The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 will continue to be the third jewel of the “Virginia Late Model Triple Crown”.
For this year, the top five were Peyton Sellers, Carson Kvapil, Jacob Heafner, Mike Looney, Kaden Honeycutt. Mike Looney took home the prize as winner of stages one and two. Bobby McCarty won the qualifying pole award. The “Triple Crown” results: Peyton Sellers, Jared Fryar, Mason Diaz
Photo Gallery – ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway
Late season racing is running up on tracks all over with local and national points on the rack. South Boston Speedway had already run their championship with Layne Riggs edging Peyton Sellers for the track title. Sellers had actually won the two SoBo races that night but Riggs finished close enough to hold the lead in points. The national lead had been cut, however, as Sellers was now 4 points off in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series championship. It’s a title Sellers is defending…
CMC Supply Championship Night at Motor Mile Speedway was put off by rain from 9/10. There was already a big Monster Truck / Destruction Tour set for the 17th so they ran Friday the 16th. This little bit of scheduling opened the door for some drama. Riggs and Sellers were already going to run the 17th at Dominion Raceway for the last shot at those national points. With racing on for the Friday night before at Motor Mile, it opened the door for another shot to accumulate some points. Let the drama begin…
It was still championship night for Motor Mile regulars even if there were visitors pulling a national points train with them. The train, it seems, turned out get slightly derailed.
But first… Championship Night. The disruption in the late model chase may, or may not, have put ripples in the local contest. Mike Looney held the slight edge over Kyle Dudley coming into the evening but a spin in race #1 and a park on race 2 allowed Dudley to take 2nd and 3rd place points and the track championship. Price’s Body Shop Late Model Race 1: Peyton Sellers, Kyle Dudley, Thomas Scott Price’s Body Shop Late Model Race 2: Peyton Sellers, Cory Dunn, Kyle Dudley Price’s Body Shop Late Model Track Champion 2022: Kyle Dudley
The other divisions that ran for division track champion are below. There were plenty of drivers in these divisions going for wins so the track action was quite good. The charge for the championship points, however, pushed the drivers up front. Total Car Care Mod-4s 1st race: Kevin Canter, Jonathan Hall, Tony Sarver Total Car Care Mod-4 2nd race: Kevin Canter, Tony Sarver, Joe White Total Car Care Mod-4 Champion 2022: Kevin Canter Blue Ridge Church U-Car 1st race: Kirby Shipman, Jamie Lafon, Blake Gordon Blue Ridge Church U-Car 2nd race: Kirby Shipman, Jamie Lafon, Kyle Akers Blue Ridge Church U-Car Champion 2022: Jamie Lafon Blue Ridge Church Pure4 1st race: John Ketron, *William Hale, Larry Stapleton Blue Ridge Church Pure4 2nd race: *William Hale, Larry Stapleton, James Hicks Blue Ridge Church Pure4 Champion 2022: William Hale
Two other divisions raced but their championships come to a close the night of October 1st. That will be a big night for race fans as it is also SMART Modified night! The Sportsman and the Super Streets will have twin races each with the SMART Mods running a 99 lap charge in the middle. For CMC Supply night on the 16th, the top 3 finishers are below and the *asterisk marks the current points leader. Collision Plus Sportsman: Kyle Barnes, Drew Bond, *Karl Budzevski DCT Towing Super Streets: Brent Bell, *Hank Turman, Taylor Ransom NOTE: Drew Bond may be points out of the championship hunt but his 2nd place was shadowed by his first place ring presentation. He proposed during post race presentations and, if the smiles were any indication, his girlfriend advanced her position to fiancé!)
As for the “out of towners” Sellers and Riggs… The drama seemed to center on another visitor to Motor Mile. He’s a younger driver that has already made waves by winning the ValleyStar 300 at Martinsville Speedway last year. Landon Pembleton was there with his Pembleton Realty #0 Toyota, which just happened to be a car from the Sellers Racing stable. During the earlier practices, Sellers’ #26 Clarence’s Toyota was not delivering. Wrenching and adjustments made little progress. The #0, however, was performing quite well. The two teams and drivers got together, and with so much on the line for Sellers and driver’s points, the decision was made to trade off on the cars. Sellers qualified in, and raced in, the blue #0 Toyota. Pembleton piloted the orange and white #26.
(It should be noted that Landon Pembleton drove an ill performing #26 that is not his usual ride to a 4th and 5th place at an unfamiliar race track. He will be one to watch as a defending winner at the upcoming ValleyStar 300 at Martinsville.)
This driver seat switch did not sit well with some… Layne Riggs was so put off he parked before the green flag during the warming laps of the late model race 2. Mike Looney may have also parked his #87 before the green for similar reasons. Potentially, he still had a run on the track championship but it is also quite possible the #87 was still down on performance from the first race and a turn 3 – 4 spin. Whatever the reasons, it was enough to drop the required car count for national standings. The first race held, as far as we know. The national NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series points battle would carry over to Saturday at Dominion Raceway.
Peyton Sellers is set to return to Motor Mile Speedway for the big LMSC 200 with $10,000 on the table on October 8th. He’ll have a tough path to win as regulars and visitors will also be there to go for that big pot.
PHOTO GALLERY – Motor Mile Speedway – CMC Supply Championship Night – 9/16/2022
The season championship came to a head Saturday night (9-3-2022) at South Boston Speedway. Defending National Champion and SoBo Track Champion, Peyton Sellers, was up against some hard numbers from competitor Layne Riggs for this racing season. Coming into the Halifax County Farm Bureau Championship Night, Riggs had the advantage locally and in the regional points for the national title.
Race night had two, 65 lap Late Model runs on tap and Sellers took the win in both. However, Riggs crossed the checkers in the 2nd slot for both. The double win was not enough for Sellers to regain the track title but it did narrow the chase for the national points. Layne Riggs is the 2022 SoBo Late Model Track Champion.
The Budweiser Limited Sportsman bunch also ran doubles with a Track Championship possibly on the bubble. It was Kyle Barnes racing into third in both races to maintain his points for the Track Championship. He was a runner at Motor Mile and began racing at SoBo early on with some wins and stuck to his game. Jason Myers gave it a run with second slots in both races but it wasn’t enough to catch Barnes. It was Eric Winslow, coming in from NC for a first time run this season, that may have upset the cart with the pole and the win in both of the Sportsman races.
The other divisions at South Boston also had race winners share the spotlight with track champions. The Southside Disposal Pure Stocks had Nathan Crews take the win while Scott Phillips finished fourth carrying enough points to claim the Track Championship for the division. Phillips had an 8 point lead over Johnny Layne coming in and, despite having no wins still held enough points to claim the Championship for a first time. Layne drove in for second.
Jason DeCarlo and Kevin Currin came into SoBo chasing the same Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division Championship. DeCarlo managed to finish a spot in front of Currin to claim the 2022 Hornets Championship. The actual finish order was bumped as race winner Steven Layne’s car failed post race inspection. The official order was changed to put Kendall Milam on the win, with Dillon Davis in second. Landon Milam, DeCarlo and Currin were set in the top five.
The Mills Family Practice Champ Karts ran a 20 lap race with Tyler Wray taking the win. Wray started on pole, briefly fell back but retook that lead position on the 2nd lap. Dustin Phillips rolled over the line in the second slot.
South Boston Speedway is hosting some fun and fast events coming up. Later in September, the Country Roads Truck Show comes in. October brings the CARS Tour and SoBo Drifts.
PHOTO GALLERY – SOUTH BOSTON SPEEDWAY Halifax County Farm Bureau Championship Night