Philip Morris is described by many as “The King” of Late Model Stock Car racing. The four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion was forced to take some time off after his 2012 national title, but now, King Philip is back, and back to his old ways as he prepares for the biggest race of the LMSC season at Martinsville Speedway (VA).
After a transition period while getting acclimated to racing once again, Morris believes he is back to where he was before he left the sport, and is ready to chase a fourth grandfather clock.
“I'm one of those guys that runs Late Model Stock Cars and pretty much funds it myself. When the economy tanked we had to quit racing. We won the national title in 2011 and 2012 we couldn't come back.” Morris told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I had to help my business and build it back up, so that's what I've been doing for the last four years. Last year, we came back and knew there would be a learning curve, we had to get re-acclimated to Late Models and these tires and motors, but I think we are back where we used to be and time will tell if we can stay up there.”
Morris already has three Valley Star Credit Union 300 wins and three grandfather clocks, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want more.
“I have one in each corner, we are missing one for that last corner. It's weird how those things chime, almost identically,” Morris said “I work on them, so they are hitting at the same time, but I would like to have that fourth one; it would finish off the house nicely, but more than that, I just want it for the guys who worked hard and were able to put good cars underneath me.”
Morris brought two cars to the recent open test at the paperclip-shaped race track: his traditional red car and a newer camouflage wrapped car. Morris will decide later this week which car to use but has great reasoning for bringing two cars, something very few teams did.
“They are both identical cars, we just ran two different motors. We ran a Ford motor in the camouflage car, and a Chevrolet motor in the red car,” Morris explained.
All of Morris’ accomplishments: over 100 wins in LMSC competition, the aforementioned three ValleyStar 300 wins, his four NWAAS National titles and his 10 track championships are great for fans to discuss, but Morris lives in the now, not in the past.
“When we quite winning races, I'll sit back and count those things up. But at this time, I'm not willing to settle down and look at those numbers yet because these guys are putting a really good car underneath me.”
If Morris is able to bring another grandfather clock back to Ruckersville, Virginia, it will only further cement his legacy and show everyone that King Philip is back; if they didn't know that already.
The Valley Star Credit Union 300 will be held under the lights at Martinsville Speedway this Saturday, September 23.
-By Reese Nobles, Speed51.com Mid-Atlantic Correspondent – Twitter: @RNoblesSpeed51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com