The Virginia Late Model Stock Triple Crown is spreading the wealth this summer.
With the intent of enticing more drivers to enter all three stages of the commonwealth classics, the Virginia Triple crown will now pay bonuses to the top-three drivers with the best average finishing positions in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway, the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.
Previously a $10,000 bonus to the driver with the best average finish, that same sum will now be distributed $7,000 to the winner, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place.
“We want to give drivers even more of an incentive to start all three races,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “By going to this format, a driver who gets unlucky at South Boston still has incentive to race at Langley and Martinsville.”
South Boston Speedway General Manager Cathy Rice hopes the slightly different payout will encourage greater participation across all three events.
“I think it will be a big year for everyone involved,” Rice said. “Paying the top-three finishers of the Virginia Triple Crown will certainly entice more competitors to join this year and compete in all three events that are included. Not only that, but the fans will have more action to look forward to, as well.”
Bill Mullis, owner of Langley Speedway, agreed with his peers with that assessment.
“Langley Speedway is proud to continue to participate in this great event,” Mullis said. “We believe the new purse structure will add a bonus to the top finishing drivers that will increase the interest level in all three of these important races.”
Peyton Sellers, the 2018 Triple Crown winner, said he likes paying the top-three as opposed to just the winner, even though it’s less money for the ‘champion.’
“There’s a lot of guys that travel back and forth to Langley and South Boston that put a lot of work into it and don’t get rewarded with the winner-take-all approach,” Sellers said “By paying the top-3 it also may keep more drivers racing for the Triple Crown, as one bad race won’t eliminate you. A lot of times the Triple Crown comes down to just one position and it can be decided in the last five laps at Martinsville, so this is a good way to reward more drivers for their efforts.”
In the event of a tie for any of the positions, the tie will be broken by the driver with the higher finish at Martinsville. To be eligible for the Triple Crown a driver must start all three races.
The Triple Crown starts June 29 with the running of the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort 200 at South Boston Speedway and continues on July 20 with the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway. The Triple Crown will wrap up with the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville on October 5.