Like it was for South Boston Speedway’s season-opener, two NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champions split wins in Saturday’s twin 75-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division races at South Boston Speedway.
This time it was a different combination.
Defending national champion Philip Morris of Ruckervsille and former national champion Peyton Sellers of Danville split the wins, with Morris gaining his second win of the season at South Boston Speedway and Sellers earning his first victory of the season.
Morris won the first of the day’s two 75-lap Late Model Stock Car Division races, taking the lead from Trey Crews of Halifax on the 12th lap and holding on the rest of the way.
The defending national champion said his car was loose throughout the race.
“At the beginning of the race, I was figuring I was going to be hanging on for 75 laps,” Morris said.
“I found I was quicker than they were, and everybody else was free. I guess mine wasn’t as bad as most cars.”
Sellers finished second, 1.407-seconds back, with Crews finishing third, former NASCAR national champion Lee Pulliam of Alton finishing fourth and Mike Looney of Catawba rounding out the top five finishers.
Sellers won the second 75-lapper, edging Austin Thaxton of Clarksville by 1.090-second in a six-lap dash to the finish that followed the race’s third caution period.
The second-place finish by Thaxton was his best finish of the early season, and he earned it the hard way, winning a tough battle with Crews over the final three laps.
Crews finished third with Thomas Scott of Efland, North Carolina, finishing fourth and Mike Jones of South Boston rounding out the top five finishers.
“It’s nice to get a win under our belts this early in the season,” Sellers remarked.
“I saw Philip win last week, and saw Lee (Pulliam) win. I didn’t want that to happen much more. I didn’t want to keep playing second fiddle to them.”
Sellers said rubber laid down on the track by the cars competing in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race that was run just prior to the second race, being different from the tires the Late Model Stock Cars race on, gave the race a different twist.
“The Modifieds definitely threw a different element into the track today,” he pointed out.
“I think on the gripped up track we still had a good car.”
Sellers’ win was a tough one, as he had to outlast Thaxton, Crews and Scott after the final restart.
“I jumped the restart,” Sellers said.
“I didn’t jump it badly. I went to the throttle and it stuck. I knew I had to get out of that hole. All of those guys were racing hard back there. It was a dogfight.”
The last restart came after a hard-fought battle between Pulliam and Morris for second place ended with Morris’ car crashing into the third turn wall on lap 70.
Contact between the two drivers started in the second turn. More contact between the cars ensued, and Morris’ spun and crashed in the third turn.
Later, with the cars sitting idle on the track behind the pace car under red flag conditions while track crews cleaned up debris in the third turn, Morris’ car builder, Forrest Reynolds, ran onto the track and attempted to reach inside of Pulliam’s car on the passenger side. Pulliam quickly hit the gas, sending Reynolds tumbling to the asphalt.
Track NASCAR officials quickly escorted Reynolds out of the track. When the race was restarted, track NASCAR officials sent Pulliam to the rear of the lead-lap cars as a penalty for contact resulting in a caution. Pulliam was credited with a 10th-place finish in the nightcap.