The biggest weekend in Late Model Stock Car racing has arrived, with teams descending upon Martinsville Speedway (VA) for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300. Teams this weekend will be competing for $32,000, the signature Martinsville grandfather clock and a spot in history alongside the greats in Late Model Stock racing.
The weekend always brings a level of buzz and electricity for racers ready to compete on the biggest stage the discipline has to offer. Even veterans such as 2016 Martinsville winner Mike Looney feels it when he shows up.
“We’ve been coming here a long time, but it’s always special,” Looney told Speed51. “It’s really exciting. We’ve got all hands on decks, everyone is excited to jump in here and work on this thing. “
Looney, the low-budget underdog who nearly captured the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship this season to add to his resume, showed up with a brand-new wrap on his entry to add to the Martinsville excitement.
“We had some new sponsors, Hopkins Lumber, Allison Performance, Smith Tire, I’m probably forgetting somebody, but so many new decals that we had to strip it down anyways. Longwood Signworks volunteered his time to make all these sponsors fit on the car, and we’re pleased with it.”
Young gun Layne Riggs is also excited to compete at the NASCAR Cup Series venue, sharing garage space with the NASCAR stars of past and present like his father, Scott Riggs.
“I think we had a pretty good test last week,” said Riggs. “I’ve been doing a lot of work at the shop. I think we have a pretty good piece going into it.
“It’s really cool, especially when you get your own garage stall, in the same place the Cup guys are, racing the same track. It’s got a lot of history to it as well, it’s really cool to come here. It’s a great facility, very nice facility. Everything is done professionally.”
Stacy Puryear started on the pole for last year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300. There has been plenty of effort invested by the Virginia native for this weekend.
“We’re really excited,” said Puryear. “We put a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears in this deal. We’re looking forward to it.”
That effort didn’t stop after last Thursday’s open testing session at the 0.526-mile oval, which left Puryear seeking better performance from his machine. This week, Puryear tested at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina, dialing in his brakes on a smaller oval that is equally punishing on brakes with sharp corners and long straightaways.
“We weren’t as good as we wanted to be Thursday night, for sure, so we tested at Ace Speedway on Tuesday and got the car where we want it to be. At Ace, you’re on the brakes mighty hard, like you are here. That’s the main reason we went to Ace, we were having some brake issues. We think we’ve got that squared away.”
Speed51 will provide Trackside Now coverage throughout the weekend of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway. Click here to follow along with Friday’s live updates from practice and qualifying of the event.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo