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Underdog Trevor Ward clocks Martinsville 300 victory

The No. 77 would not be denied on Sunday at Martinsville

Eric Creel

That was a quintessential Martinsville Late Model Stock finish.

There was a caution around 10 laps to go, leaders Trevor Ward and Peyton Sellers bounced off each other coming to the green flag allowing Landon Huffman to take the lead but that wouldn’t be the end of it.

Ward would not be denied, driving his No. 77 all the way back to Huffman and outdueling the Nelson Motorsports No. 22 in a two-lap, door-to-door finish, not that he was totally aware of what he was thinking.

“[Landon] wasn’t in front of me,” Ward said. “I knew I was better than him and when I got to him, I had to clear him and go. We raced hard, but during the last three laps, I didn’t even know he was out there.”

He caught Huffman but passing him was another thing as the saying goes and they stayed side-by-side and made contact themselves off Turn 4 before the No. 77 was able to drive away.

Coming up that short, especially given the path he took to get here made it especially sobering for Hufffman, who just sat on his door panel for a minute to take in what could have been.

“Heartbroken,” he said.

“I was half a car short. I’m heartbroken because I’ve never had an opportunity to race for anything like this. To be here on this stage, have a shot at the clock and be leading with five to go is really all I can ask for. I’m proud of this effort and hopefully we can continue to build on it.”

But again, Huffman only really had a chance because Sellers and Ward came together on the final restart, and just couldn’t break apart from each other until entry into Turn 1. It wasn’t malicious.

“Just two guys going for a clock,” Sellers said. “He was coming up, I was coming down, holding my line and we just hung wheels just right and just caught us together so nothing intentional on either side.”

Sellers went on to finish fourth and Ward agreed with that.

“There was nothing to that, just racing,” he said.

It was overall a good night for Sellers, the defending winner of this race.

“The car is in one piece and it’s a good night.”

Ward also claimed the Virginia Triple Crown championship for the best average finish between the South Boston 200, Hampton Heat and ValleyStar Credit Union 300. His team is legitimately a small family operation and he said he would live out of a box as long as he got to keep the race car.

“It’s just me and Corbin in the shop working on this car,” Ward said. “We’ve been friends since the second grade and he’s stuck with me for a long time. My dad worked out of his shop in Walburg, right outside of Winston-Salem and we’ve slowly built it up and it’s great. I am blessed in every way possible and I wouldn’t be here without the good lord.

Bobby McCarty dominated the race from the pole but wouldn’t see the finish due to an engine failure on Lap 145 while running fourth. He led most of the first 100 laps.

“Just blew a motor,” McCarty said. “I got used up by (Carson Kvapil), blew a motor, and I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot, I would be the bad guy but I don’t care no more.”

It’s yet another way McCarty has lost this race a decade into trying and leading several times over the years.

“You need to hand me a beer before you ask that question,” McCarty said with a laugh.

The race featured a handful of obligatory short track cautions but the racing was largely clean up front.

“You can race with these guys,” Ward said. “They race with a lot of respect and I appreciate that.”

ValleyStar Credit Union 300
Martinsville Speedway
September 24 2023

1. Trevor Ward
2. Landon Huffman
3. Carson Kvapil
4. Peyton Sellers
5. Doug Barnes
6. Mason Diaz
7. Kade Brown
8. Trent Barns
9. Justin Hicks
10. Brendan Queen
11. Kaden Honeycutt
12. Heath Causey
13. Daniel Silvestri
14. Carter Langley
15. Jacob Borst
16. Dexter Canipe
17. Casey Kelley
18. Blake Stallings
19. Matthew Waltz
20. Dillon Harville
21. Jacob Heafner
22. Kyle Dudley
23. Kres Vandyke
24. Thomas Scott
25. Dustin Rumley
26. Ryan Matthews
27. GR Waldrop
28. Karl Budzevski
29. Jared Fryer
30. Connor Hall
31. Sam Yarbrough
32. Dylan Ward
33. Bobby McCarty
34. Chase Burrow
35. Zach Miracle
36. Mike Looney
37. Ryan Millington
38. Matt Cox
39. Riley Gentry
40. Davey Callihan


Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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