Is there more to “race day” than racing? If you’re one of the drivers or teams then you know there is. A good bit of the previous week has been spent going over the car to make sure all is right. On race day you’re up earlier than most to get sorted and drive to the track to get in, get unloaded and get the car last minute ready for practice. Every driver and team member knows the time and effort is going into that shot at victory lane.

For fans, it’s a little bit different. Make some calls and confirm who is coming along. Fill the car and drive the bunch out to the track. Set up the chairs or grab a slot in the stands. There might be a little tailgating before going inside. Either have a driver and car on the list or pick some to pull for. Have a cold one or two, a hot dog or maybe a famous bologna burger. Cheer and / or boo and shout and jump and go home.

For some, perhaps, race day is an adventure. At the track there may be real interest in the challenges of racing. Watching drivers and teams recover from a flat tire or crash or wondering if the drivers forced to the back can pull it back to the front may play into that adventure. The activity of simply watching the scenery go by on the way to the rack while looking out for interesting things not seen before may be a part of it. It may be as simple as a family outing for a day away from the house.

An adventure – Automotive finds on the way to South Boston Speedway

Whatever the reason or attraction, it is race day. The season is opening up all over the country with the sound of hot laps coming back to tracks like South Boston Speedway. SoBo has gone through a bit of change with long time manager Cathy Rice stepping away last season and a new bunch coming in. The new folks have the drive and passion to push South Boston Speedway forward even as new challenges play out. Nick Igdalsky is the current CEO while also handling Pocono Raceway. Chase and Carly Brashaers are in as GM and Marketing Manager with incoming racing experience from several other tracks and NASCAR affiliations.

The season points opener, sponsored by long time associate Danville Toyota, put several divisions on the track with a really good field of cars in each. In honor of the 65th season of racing at South Boston, the Late Model and Limited Sportsman divisions ran 65 laps with Late Models running two features. Pure Stocks and Hornets filled out the show between the mains.

The Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series pole in race one was set by none other than defending Series and SoBo Champion, Peyton Sellers, in the familiar Clarence’s / Danville Toyota #26. Unfortunately, the car faded to third by the end of race one. Layne Riggs drove to the front in 21 laps and went on with the lead and his first Late Model win at South Boston. Riggs swept the afternoon with the win in the second Late Model race. Sellers was there to challenge but was caught in a second lap crash that put the #26 behind the wall. Several other cars were damaged and out also. Riggs again started mid-field and climbed to the front for the second win.

Layne Riggs taking the AAPWS win in race number one

AAPWS LM Race 1: 1st Layne Riggs, 2nd Mike Looney, 3rd Peyton Sellers, 4th Mark Wertz, 5th Landon Pembelton
AAPWS LM Race 2: 1st Layne Riggs, 2nd Mike Looney, 3rd Mason Bailey, 4th Thomas Scott, 5th Jacob Borst

The Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division also ran a hot 65 laps. Jason Myers was up front by lap two and kept the field behind the #17. Chuck Lawson faded from the front after Myers took the lead and at the end, behind Myers, was Kyle Barnes in second with Bob Davis, Chris Donnelly and Drew Dawson filling out the top five.

Jason Myers driving to win the Budweiser Limited Sportsman race at South Boston

The Southside Disposal Pure Stock race ran 30 laps with Johnny Layne on the pole and running up front to the checkers. Scott Phillips came across second with Jarrett Milam finishing third. B.J. Reaves and Jimmy Wade took the 4th and 5th place positions.

The Hornets Division featured some short track drama with contacts, a spin or two and officials stepping between hot tempers. At the end it was two-time division champion Kevin Currin taking the lead with 6 laps remaining and driving on for the win.

Jason DeCarlo finished in slot two with Andrea Ruotolo taking third. Steven Layne and Richard Montgomery came across as four and five.

South Boston is off to a great start with another season highlight coming up on April 2. The SMART Modified Tour is next up at SoBo!!

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.

Stacy Puryear (#63), Christopher Werner (#19), Danny Bond (#007) Southern Ground Pounders at South Boston

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.

Josh Dawson – South Boston Budweiser Hornets 2021 Champion

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.

Eric Winslow (left) Limited Sportsman race winner | Daniel Moss (LS 2021 SoBo Champion) with Cathy Rice and Chase Brashears

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.

Nathan Crews (Budweiser Pure Stock 2021 Champion) with Cathy Rice and Chase Brashears

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.

Peyton Sellers – 2021 NAAPWS Late Model Champion

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.

Cathy Rice, retiring GM of South Boston Speedway – Thanking fans and workers for all the success

Danville Toyota Championship Night Photo Gallery – September 4, 2021 at South Boston Speedway

The NASCAR Sprint Cup CHASE is well under way. Team Penske was quick out of Richmond to pick off wins in the first two of the ten “playoff” races. Brad Keselowski tagged his Richmond win with a top run at Chicagoland. Joe Logano took the next at New Hampshire.
Hendrick’s teams have hung on with Jeff Gordon taking the win at Dover. Johnson, Earnhardt, Jr. and Kahne have run well enough to stay on it.
Gibbs has their teams chasing forward with Kyle Busch, Hamlin and Kenseth. Rousch has Carl Edwards and Stewart-Haas has Harvick. Childress has Newman.
Biffle, Allmendinger, Almirola and Kurt Busch have faded from The CHASE following the the first cut out of Dover.
The Contender Round is next up with the races at Kansas, Charlotte and Talledega. This next set will set the stage for the Eliminator Round which brings The Chase to Martinsville Speedway.
But first….
While The Chase is gearing up for Kansas the regional late model drivers are looking closer at Martinsville and the MDCU 300 which warms the racing in advance of The CHASE.
In many ways, this race is as big as The CHASE and is often referred to as the Daytona 500 of late model stock car racing. These drivers have been running fender to fender all season and practically every weekend at tracks such as South Boston Speedway, Motor Mile Speedway, Caraway, Hickory, Langley…  and many more in the region. The purse is large and the draw is as well. If you are a “race” fan that only goes to races when the Big Top is in town you are missing out if you skip the MDCU 300. While the Sprint Cup NASCAR races are always a big deal these drivers are your neighbors, your business owners and dedicated racers scraping to make the next race with the same car they drove last weekend…. and the weekend before…
And it is always a show! They scrap and scrape and race every lap. These weekend short tracks run shorter races so every lap and every pass counts. Transfer that to the Martinsville Speedway and the MDCU 300 and you have a lot of drivers racing to get in and a lot of drivers racing to make their efforts pay off. One big weekend to tie an entire season into a win and a grandfather clock. It’s the weekend these drivers bring their best to.
Peyton Sellers has driven a lot of fast things and has won with them. Late models, Whelen, NASCAR K&N, Camping World and Nationwide Series… Series champion at South Boston Speedway and this season just a tick off the mark for picking it up at the Motor Mile also. With all of this he has yet to get the grandfather clock from Martinsville. From him, he says he could be on one of his best seasons ever and is heading to Martinsville Speedway with a mission to win. From his NASCAR experience he brings possibly a better head for patience in longer races such as the MDCU. He knows most of the contendors and who to run with and who to give a bit more space. Peyon is a driver who has the foundation to make him, perhaps, just a step above the “racers”.
Matt Bowling is young yet driven. He has put together wins and this year he is pulling a train of success into the gates at Martinsville. A strong season includes finishing in front of NASCAR veterans like Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin at South Boston and the Hamlin Short Track Showdown. He won there and has several more since. His eyes are set on the MDCU 300 and his determination is worn like a comfortable shirt. For those NASCAR fans who only make the trip when Sprint is in town he says they are missing some of the best on track action by skipping on the local weekend tracks and even more at the MDCU 300. The stars filling the seats of Sprint Cup cars in a few years may be racing right here. For Matt, tomorrow is this weekend and the next race. It’s a big one.
Michael McGuire could be a young gun at the MDCU 300 and he admits his seat time doesn’t compare this season to many others coming to Martinsville. However, he has made moves from local runs to the more advanced K&N Series. McGuire continues to chase his dream of driving and his eye is focused on Martinsville. He is young but has gained a lot of experience from his first win at the age of 14 and seems comfortable with the idea of bringing it on at the MDCU 300.
Peyton, Bowling and McGuire, along with Dennis Holdren, Scott Lancaster and Brian Reedy, were all together for a friendly gathering in Roanoke at Center in the Square in advance of the MDCU 300. The event was set in motion by the folks at Martinsville Speedway to give some attention to these drivers in attendance and to all the drivers, teams and families that put it all together to haul a race car to their local track. Martinsville will be full of them this weekend as the Saturday round of practice and qualifying gets under way. Sunday, the heat racing for remaining spots gets the green flag. Before is a driver autograph session at 10AM and after is the feature race for those that make it in. For race fans it is a weekend of local stars on the big field.
It will be interesting to see the difference from casual dinner conversation about racing to track day and real racing.
The Sprint Cup will be hear soon enough with The CHASE and the championship in motion. For the teams in the region this weekend is their show and they are ready to race at Martinsville.

MDCU 300 – 10/4-5/2014 | Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500/Kroger 200/VA Lottery Pole Day – 10/24-25-26/2014

Martinsville DuPont Credit Union (MDCU) online

Martinsville Speedway online.

Drivers Michael McGuire, Scott Lancaster, Dennis Holdren, Peyton Sellers, Matt Bowling, Brian Reedy ready to see the fans and race for the win at the MDCU 300. Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell (center)

Clint Bowyer won in Charlotte. It came down to fuel, again.

Keselowski could have, but ran out. Johnson might have but was conserving. Hamlin also, but couldn’t swing by Bowyer.

Coming up, the Big Boys are in Kansas. Now, you could sit at home and watch on TV or you could go see some real racing. If you are in Kansas, you might as well go to the big one. If you are, oh…. Somewhere around southern Virginia you could consider Martinsville.

Wait! That’s next week!

Yes, and no… Sprint Cup and Camping World Trucks are indeed in Martinsville on the 27th and 28th of October. However, this weekend they run the late-model Virginia Is For Lovers 300.

Set your DVR and come on out. Yes, the “Chase” is big this year. Keselowski, despite a fuel shortage at Charlotte, is still leading. Johnson and Hamlin are still “chasing” his bumper but gaining. Bowyer also is bringing some fresh heat. You could even see Regan Smith finish in Dale Jr.’s car. You might see “Smoke” come up or Biffle gain ground. (more…)