It was a unique year for the Late Model Stock Cars of the Mid-Atlantic region, to say the least. Several tracks were unable to open, there was no ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, and we saw the unfortunate closure of a couple of tracks in the region.
Still, racing went on, as everyone made the most of the topsy-turvy season. Here are our rankings of the top 10 Late Model Stock racers from the year.
#1) Josh Berry – It’s hard to debate Josh Berry’s success in 2020. The JR Motorsports driver earned this year’s NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series (NAAPWS) National Championship, with 24 points-paying wins in NASCAR-sanctioned competition. On top of that, Berry won the richest Late Model Stock race of the season, the CARS Tour Old North State Nationals at Greenville Pickens Speedway, and finished second to Ty Majeski in the South Carolina 400.
#2) Peyton Sellers – Unfortunately, many Late Model Stock Car facilities did not open their gates in the 2020 season. With his home track of South Boston Speedway being one of those, Sellers hit the road this year and won 10 NAAPWS events. Sellers finished second to Berry in the national standings and Dominion Raceway’s track championship, while also scoring a third-place run in the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway.
#3) Jared Fryar – With seven top-five finishes in 10 events, Jared Fryar became the first driver to win both a Late Model Stock Car and Super Late Model championship with the CARS Tour. Fryar also scored a thrilling win at Franklin County Speedway, battling with Mike Looney for the victory in that event.
#4) Sam Yarbrough – The first half of the season saw Sam Yarbrough put his last touch on an incredible legacy at Myrtle Beach Speedway, winning its final race and his sixth track championship at the historic venue. He then took his operation to Florence Motor Speedway, winning its first race under new ownership and finishing third in the South Carolina 400.
#5) Layne Riggs – Nine different drivers won in 10 CARS Tour events in 2020. The only repeat winner? Layne Riggs, who saw a resurgence to his career this year and came up just one point shy of the CARS Tour title.
#6) Kres VanDyke – Unfortunately, without events like the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 in 2020, we didn’t see Kres VanDyke much outside his home state of Tennessee to see how he stacked up with racers outside of the Volunteer State. Still, a tip of the cap has to go his way for what he accomplished there, winning 15 consecutive races at one point.
#7) Corey Heim – Heim started 2020 with a marquee Super Late Model win at CRA SpeedFest, but his primary driving came in Late Model Stock Cars for Lee Pulliam Performance. Heim finished third in series points and second in the Old North State Nationals. Heim also scored a victory with the CARS Tour at Hickory.
#8) Ryan Millington – Millington went toe-to-toe with Berry and the rest of the Hickory Motor Speedway regulars throughout 2020, ultimately winning the track’s championship. He also finished third in the NAAPWS National Championship on the strength of those performances, and also scored a CARS Tour win at Ace Speedway.
#9) Bobby McCarty – Fans will look back at 2020 for Bobby McCarty and see it as a down year, coming off back-to-back CARS Tour championships with six wins on the tour in that span. 2020 saw just one win with the series at Hickory, but another one could have easily gone his way at Ace Speedway if not for late-race drama with Josh Berry. Turn that 18th-place finish into a win, and McCarty could have been in the thick of the CARS Tour title hunt as well.
#10) Brenden Queen – The 2020 season was probably light on wins for Queen’s liking, but he got a very important one in the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway. Queen would go on to win the Langley Speedway track championship as well, capping off a strong season at the Virginia bullring.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo