SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — How do you judge success at a weekly race track? Close racing? Car count? Cars on the lead lap at the end? Exciting finishes?
Using any of those measures, the first three race dates at South Boston Speedway have passed with flying colors.
How close has the racing been? Consider this: Even though Matt Bowling swept the first two NASCAR Whelen All-American Late Model Stock races on opening night, he led fewer than 15 laps total. He was running in third place with five laps to go in the opener that Saturday afternoon and battled through a three-wide final two laps with C.E. Falk and Austin Thaxton.
When Thaxton broke through with a win two weeks ago he had to hold off not one, but two former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champions on the final lap. Both Lee Pulliam, the defending national champion, and Peyton Sellers, the 2005 national champion, were all over Thaxton’s rear bumper before wrecking each other.
Last Saturday night Thaxton had to hold off Bobby McCarty on two late-race restarts to squeak out the win in the first 75-lapper after starting fifth. In the second race, Bowling started all the way back in eighth and passed four-time national champion Philip Morris with six laps to go for the win.
The car count has been spectacular so far at South Boston. There were 31 cars on the grid opening night and 28 last Saturday for a three-event average of 26.9.
And even though Thaxton and Bowling are the only two drivers to visit victory lane in the first five races, it is no indication of the quality of competition throughout the field. There have been an average of 15 cars on the lead lap at the end so far this season, with an amazing 18 out of 28 on the lead lap at the end of last Saturday night’s opening 75-lapper.
There’s no reason not to expect plenty of the same this Saturday night with the NASCAR Late Model 100 racing program.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models will headline the seven-race card. There will also be twin 25-lap races for the Limited Sportsman Division, twin 15-lappers for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division, a 50-lap Modified race and a 15-lap Budweiser Hornets Division race.
Grandstand gates open at 5:30 pm., qualifying starts at 6 p.m. and the first race gets the green flag at 7 p.m.
Adult general admission tickets are $10 each with youth ages 7-12 admitted for $5 and kids ages six and under admitted free with a paid adult.
-South Boston Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com