The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, the nation’s biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race, will see significant changes in 2019.
The changes to the event will see the purse increase for the top-five finishers, a new qualifying procedure, and a new race format.
“We’re adjusting the purse this year to better reward the top-five finishers in NASCAR’s most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “This is, no doubt, the biggest Late Model Stock Car race in the country, and with the format and purse changes, we feel the 2019 edition will reflect that fully.”
The winner’s share of the $110,000 purse will now be $32,000, with second place paying $8,000, third place paying $6,000, fourth place paying $5,000, and fifth place paying $4,000. All 40 teams to make 200-lap feature will receive a minimum payout of $1,000.
As for the format, time trials on Friday, Oct. 4, will be more important than ever in the competitive modern world of NASCAR Late Model Stock Cars.
Single-car qualifying will set the top-20 starting positions for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 feature race on Saturday, Oct. 5.
There also will be a $5,000 bonus for the driver who wins the pole.
The remaining 20 positions will be set on Saturday, Oct. 5, with two 50-lap heat races. The top-10 finishers from each heat race will advance to the feature race. Caution laps will count during the heat races.
“This format really rewards the drivers who can perform under pressure and rewards the fans in the grandstands,” Campbell said. “The drama of single-car qualifying on Friday night will really be something to watch. By making the heat races 50 laps, we are giving the drivers more time to work their way through the field, giving the fans two dramatic heat races on Saturday afternoon to set the field.”
The feature race also will see format changes.
The 200-lap race will be stopped at lap 75 and at lap 150. The leader at each break will receive a $1,000 bonus. There will be no invert after either break.
DRP Performance Products also has added a bonus of $25 for each lap a driver leads, for a total of $5,000.
As in 2018, teams will have four fresh tires behind pit wall at the start of the race. The teams will be able to use those four fresh tires as they desire throughout the 200-lap feature event, with two opportunities to change tires during the planned breaks.
The breaks will set up a 50-lap dash to the finish for the $32,000 winner’s check and a grandfather clock trophy.
“When it comes right down to it, the changes we are making are for the fans,” Campbell said. “We want them to feel like they just saw the best race possible when they leave our parking lots on Oct. 5. I feel confident these changes will produce just that.”
Another change to the 2019 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 involves the overtime procedures for the race. There will be an unlimited amount of attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, a change from previous years where the amount of attempts was limited to three.
The engine rules for the race will be governed in accordance by 2019 NASCAR rule book, and no changes will be made outside of the NASCAR rulebook by Martinsville Speedway to create parity between engine suppliers.
“The engines teams find what works best each and every week, from a competitive standpoint, will not be compromised or enhanced based on speeds during testing and practice,” Campbell said.
Car numbers will be issued, and garage stalls assigned, for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 weekend based on the postmark date of the completed official NASCAR entry form.
The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 test day will be Thursday, Sept.26, with practice and qualifying on Friday, Oct. 4, and the two 50-lap heat races and the 200-lap feature race taking place on Saturday, Oct. 5.