The Virginia Triple Crown features a two-way tie in the standings in advance of the Martinsville Late Model Stock race on September 29.
Philip Morris, the King of the Late Model Stocks, is leading the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship standings but has a shot at another crown before the season ends too. Depending on the results of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, he very well could cash an addition $10,000.
Morris is tied with Peyton Sellers with an average finish of 1.5 through the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway and the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway and is prepared for a dogfight at the Half-Mile of Mayhem.
“A lot of trips to the gym, a lot of miles on the elliptical help from (the Lord) and (car builder) Forrest Reynolds,” Morris said. “That’s all it’s going to take. That’s what it’s going to take win the Triple Crown.”
Sellers has defeated Morris in two consecutive South Boston track championship battles but doesn’t feel like that gives him any sort of advantage later this month.
“I feel like in years past a first and a second would really give you a leg up on the competition heading into the final leg, but when you are tied with the national champion, you know it’s going to be tough,” said Sellers, a former National Champion himself. “With someone like Bobby McCarty sitting right there in third, you know you can’t make any mistakes. I think it shows the quality of racing we have here in Virginia.”
C.E. Falk III won the inaugural Triple Crown in 2012 but finds himself fourth in the standings with an average finish of 7.0. He’s going to need some help to win the Triple Crown.
“Sitting fourth in the standings is not where we want to be, but I feel we still have a shot at it,” Falk said. “At South Boston I thought we did really considering not racing there for almost two years. At Langley our finish was pretty disappointing considering how good our car was in the first half of that race.
“Phillip (Morris) and Peyton (Sellers) have certainly been on a tear and will be extremely hard to beat for the title,” Falk continued. “Who knows with some luck, we can win us a clock and another triple crown. Anything can happen at Martinsville.”
Morris, who has been feast or famine at Martinsville throughout his career, said he has learned from past mistakes when it comes to the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
“I’ve had a lot of problems at Martinsville, but this year we are going to do everything safe,” Morris said. “I think I’ve calmed down a little bit. I know when to drive it hard and when to back it off and I’ve learned to listen to my engine builder.”
The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race, paying $25,000 to the winner, and regularly attracting more than 80 cars.
OFFICIAL 2018 VIRGINIA LATE MODEL TRIPLE CROWN STANDINGS
The Virginia Late Model Triple Crown winner will be determined via best average finishing position in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway, the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway. The current Triple Crown standings are as follows:
Position | Driver (Average finish)
T1. Philip Morris (1.5)
T1. Peyton Sellers (1.5)
3. Bobby McCarty (4)
4. C.E. Falk III (7)
5. Tim Phipps (8.5)
6. Brandon Pierce (9)
7. Thomas Scott (10.5)
T8. Justin T. Carroll (12)
T8. Terry Carroll (12)
T8. Austin Thaxton (12)
11. Grayson Cullather (13.5)
T12. Tyler Hughes (14)
T12. Woody Howard (14)
14. Matt Bowling (15.5)
15. Justin S. Carroll (18.5)
16. Brenden Queen (20)
17. Mark Wertz (24)
18. Colin Garrett (27)