Anyone you ask will say the same thing about Peyton Sellers: the Late Model Stock Car powerhouse from Danville, Virginia is one of the most accomplished racers of this generation, and of all-time in the Commonwealth State. However, the one achievement missing from his resume is a victory the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway (VA).
The ValleyStar 300, the “Super Bowl of LMSC racing,” can be simply referred to by the track name, “Martinsville.” It is also the hardest to win, as only the best hoist a grandfather clock at the end of 200 laps around “The Paperclip.” This is the race Sellers has underlined as the one he wants, the only thing his resume needs to solidify him as one of the best to ever step in a Late Model Stock Car.
Sellers has a laundry list of accomplishments, including winning the 2013 Hampton Heat at Langley (VA), winning track championships at South Boston (VA), 2005 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Virginia state championship and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National championship in 2005. Sellers has won the Virginia Late Model triple crown twice, first in 2013 and repeating the next year in 2014. But one prize, this one at Martinsville, the richest one has eluded him year after year, heartbreak after heartbreak.
Sellers has been close before, sitting on the pole and leading 59 laps in 2014 before a crash on the last lap. His lone top-five finish came back in 2005 when he came home third. Ever since then, it's been a trail of bad luck, including a DNQ in 2012 and premature exits in 2010 and 2011, as well as a 37th-place result last season.
Despite this, Sellers is optimistic that this will be the year that the monkey finally gets off his back, and he gets to celebrate winning LMSC racing’s biggest event.
“We have a good combination,” Sellers told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Both of our cars are running good right now; we haven't put the wins up, but we have been right there in the top two or three for the last several months. We have won six races this year and the track championship at South Boston, so things are looking good.”
Possibly the biggest difference between Sellers’ past races at Martinsville and the one this year could be the change from a day race on Sunday to the first race at Martinsville under their new lighting system on a Saturday night.
“The track will have a little more bite, but honestly, the concrete builds up a lot of rubber as we race. It gets a lot of rubber built up, as soon as the caution comes out, it eats it back away,” Sellers explained. “You will probably see more caked up rubber in the middle of the corner because the track will have cooler temperatures and it will hold more rubber. I think it will be whoever gets out front and has clean air.”
While Sellers Racing has tasted Martinsville success with fellow Virginia racing legend Philip Morris, the team is still hungry for success with Peyton is victory lane. If everything does go right on September 23, Sellers has a plan for the trophy, a grandfather clock presented by Grand Home Furnishings.
“I'm going to wind that (grandfather clock) up every day. I would love to have one,” Sellers stated. “We have a couple back in the shop that Philip (Morris) brought back to us, but we need to get one with my name on it.”
Can this be the year Sellers brings the grandfather clock home to Danville or will it add to the list of heartbreaks and bad luck? One thing is for sure, he won’t be going down without a fight.
-By Reese Nobles, Speed51.com Mid-Atlantic Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com