Just a few years ago Philip Morris was Late Model Stock Car racing. The Ruckersville, VA driver won three NASCAR Whelen All American Series National Championships, three Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300’s, and nearly double digits in regional track titles.
Morris left the seat fulltime to focus on his business, Trailer Town USA, which needed more of his attention. Now that’s his business is rolling along smoothly, Morris is back behind the wheel of a Late Model. This time it’s a black number three owned by Steve James.
“It was great to get in the car and go around the speedway again,” said Morris after his first race two weeks ago. “It’s fun and I knew I missed it. You just have to have priorities in your life and work through those.”
Morris explains that the business took a hit and at the time, his peak performance time as a driver, he was only half committed to racing while worrying about the business on the weekends.
“I have been making up some serious ground off the track with my business,” explained Morris. “I sell all kinds of trailers. Horse stock, flat bed, and cargo. I do a lot of service and hitch work. That’s all come together and matched up really good. Since the economy tanked in 06 and 07 that’s what we’ve been up to.”
2008 & 2009 saw Morris win the National Championship. He took the honor again in 2011 all while juggling a business that was going downhill as his racing career was going up with lots of success.
“I was stressing each week,” said Morris. “There was a lot going on and it was tough. Certainly I think we rose to the occasion. I think you can always be better with more focus. Now I don’t have to stress with the business when I am at track.”
Away from the track, Morris has observed the guard change with Lee Pulliam having become the dominator in the Late Model Stock Car world.
“You could see the writing on the wall,” said Morris about Pulliam and others. “Those guys were running well and I have been impressed with all those who have developed in the last few years.”
For now, Morris has a limited schedule planned, but it all depends on availability to make it work.
“Whatever works out for getting to the race track without straining anybody. This (South Boston) works for everybody and we’re having a good time doing it.”
Already after two races Morris has run well, won two poles and shown that he’s not done yet. He’ll be at the 300 at Martinsville for certain and outside of that it will be hit or miss.
“That’s the race that Clarence Streak House wants to do and I want to do,” said Morris with a twinkle in his eye. “We’ll always be teaming up to win another clock. I think we still have a few 300’s left in us.”
– Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Director of Operations. Twitter: @ElginTraylor.
Photo Credit: Speed51.com