Two of the most legendary short tracks in the Virginias have partnered together to create a mega-opportunity for fans when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Martinsville Speedway on the same weekend South Boston Speedway begins its portion of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Martinsville is located about an hour from South Boston, which is headlined by a pair of 100-lap Late Model Stock features on Saturday night.
To avoid a potential conflict, South Boston moved its opener, typically a daytime affair to a later 7 p.m. start to allow fans to attend America’s Hometown Track without missing anything from the paperclip. Furthermore, a ticket to either NASCAR event will also permit a fan free entry into the Twin 100s at South Boston.
While South Boston has its regular fans, like any track, a portion of the fans expected to do the double-on Saturday may not be as knowledgeable about the track, its competitors, or other aspects of the legendary short track.
So we’ve prepared the following fan guide in advance of the weekend.
South Boston, known simply as SoBo to many in the region, was founded in 1957 in what is now Halifax County, Virginia and is currently owned by Mattco Inc. which is the same family trust that owns Pocono Raceway, with Cathy Rice serving as its operator. For those unaware, Rice is the mother of NASCAR Xfinity Series crew chief, Chirs Rice.
Many of the best in NASCAR have at one point raced on the legendary 4/10th-mile oval, which recently underwent a series of renovations prior to the 2017 season.
Drivers like Jeff Burton, Elliott Sadler, Stacy Compton, and Ward Burton are graduates of a track that many consider to be the standard of weekly racing the Carolinas and Virginias. Thus, it’s also arguably the toughest weekly track to win at with the list of champions reading like a ‘who’s who’ of Late Model Stock Car racing.
The Late Model Stock field at SoBo regularly consists of 20-25 cars, and rivals that of the CARS Tour Late Model Stock division. At any given race at South Boston, you could see four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Philip Morris who finished fourth in 2017 LMSC points at the track, and whose name adorns the Victory Lane due to his 55+ wins at the track.
Peyton Sellers is a regular at SoBo, and in its victory lane and is the defending track champion, his third championship at the track. Bobby McCarty comes into this season hot after winning the CARS Tour opener at Tri-County, and the Hampton Heat last season at Langley, McCarty finished second to Sellers in track points last season.
McCarty’s Nelson Motorsports teammates Brandon Pierce and Camping World Truck Series winner Timothy Peters also raced at SoBo a plethora of times in 2017, with Pierce winding up fifth in points, and Peters 19th while running a part-time schedule at the track.
All tracks have their established stars, like Morris, Sellers, McCarty, Pierce, and Peters but SoBo also boasts a great field of young shoes ready to capture a title, drivers like Austin Thaxton who finished sixth in track points while also winning one race last season.
Blake Stallings is another driver to watch at SoBo after returning late last season after a motorcycle accident put him out of a car most of 2016 and much of 2017.
Adjacent to the track, sitting outside of turns three and four lies a small dirt oval. The oval is used primarily with go-karts by a local high school in a variety of their programs. Another highlight of SoBo is the famous Bologna Burger, a Southern Virginia staple, and the specialty of the track, much like the Martinsville Hot Dog is with that track.
Personally, there is only one way to have both the hot dog and the bologna burger, and for the latter, it is with grilled onions and peppers, although some prefer cheese and condiments, we believe the natural flavor of the bologna is compromised when condiments are added.
After the repaving of the facility prior to last season, several track records fell. Currently, the LMSC track record is held by Morris, at a time of 14.731 seconds which is equivalent to 100.197 miles per hour. The Limited Late Model track record is held by 2017 champion Colin Garrett who ran a time of 15.125 seconds, equal to 97.587 mph. In its marquee event and the first event of Virginia’s Late Model Triple Crown, the Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 last season, Philip Morris went to victory lane.
SoBo is home to some of the most exciting racing in the country, hopefully you find out for yourself and visit either this weekend or some other time this season. The season opener at SoBo is scheduled to go green at approximately 7 p.m. Saturday night.
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