Johnny Layne temporarily put racing aside twice in his career. His success in racing returned both times.
“I’ve been racing for about 21 years,” the Nathalie resident pointed out.
“I took one year off way back when. Last year (2019) I set aside my racing and helped my brother (Steven Layne). He started racing in the Hornets Division. I spotted for him, worked on his car a little bit, and tried to give him a little spotlight. I also spent a lot of time with my daughter. I put racing aside a little bit. It was hard.”
Layne says once racing gets into your blood it is hard to stay away from the sport.
“Racing is just a fun habit,” he explained.
“I can’t get away from it. One way or another I am going to be somewhere racing or helping somebody.”
Layne won the South Boston Speedway Budweiser Pure Stock Division championship in both 2016 and 2017 and fell just shy of making it three titles in a row in 2018. The 2018 season was the last season Layne raced at South Boston Speedway fulltime.
While he stepped away from the sport in 2019, he still enjoyed a large degree of success.
“I raced twice and won the Fourth of July race here at South Boston Speedway,” Layne noted with a smile.
“That was the only win I really hadn’t gotten since I started racing.”
Layne had looked at returning to the sport this season, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on his plans, as it did with many others.
“I was hoping we were going to get to race here this year,” Layne remarked during a break in a recent testing session at South Boston Speedway, “but with everything being what it is we’ve raced only three times, all at Orange County Speedway.”
His effort was flawless. Layne won all three of his starts at the North Carolina oval, his most recent triumph coming on Oct. 24.
One of the interesting aspects of Layne’s success is he is driving the same Nissan 240 racecar he has driven for several years.
“I’ve been racing the same car for six or seven years now,” Layne noted.
That may change.
“I have a new car I may debut next year,” Layne pointed out.
“It’s an older model. We decided we would try to build a car and see what it does. It hasn’t been on the track yet, but I think we found some things I can do to make the car handle better and be a little faster than this one.”
Layne has not firmed up his plans for the 2021 season at this time.
“I’m not saying anything for sure,” Layne said.
“It all depends on how things work out between now and then with this pandemic. I’m not going to say we’re going to race fulltime at one track. We will probably venture around some and find the best competition here and there.
“I might come back here (to South Boston Speedway) and try to win another championship,” he added.
“It just all depends on how things work out.”
South Boston Speedway is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for teams wishing to schedule testing sessions. The track is available for testing from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. Teams wishing to schedule a test at South Boston Speedway should contact the speedway office at 434-572-4947 at least a day ahead to schedule a test session.
“America’s Hometown Track” will kick off the 2021 season on Saturday, March 20 with twin races for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Cars, twin races for the track’s Limited Sportsman Division and races for the Pure Stock and Hornets Divisions.