Small things can come up at the end of a racing season that can derail a quest for a championship. Late Model Stock Car veteran Philip Morris knows that all too well, therefore a two-hour rain delay and flat tire on his race car trailer were just part of the day during Saturday's season finale at South Boston Speedway.
Morris, a four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, entered the night seeking his 10th win of the season and valuable national points in the quest for his record-tying fifth national championship.
Morris was fastest in practice and then set fast time during qualifying for the feature event. The two-hour rain delay happened right after time trials and during the track drying process a trailer tire was found to be flat, so a change was made.
It worked out on this night.
Morris jumped from the point and led race one to the checkered flag. The win was his 10th of the season at South Boston and it help pad his national points lead, as not all of his prior wins were full-field victories like this one was.
“I feel like we are sitting in the right spot,” Morris said with one week remaining in the NWAAS season. “You get into a zone when you're racing for a national title like this and you just focus on one thing at a time."
In the second race, Morris started 10th and finished second to eventual track champion Peyton Sellers. Despite Morris' 10 victories at South Boston, Sellers won his fourth track title by using the passing points to aid his points total.
Sellers, who claimed his fourth win of the season Saturday night, is also a former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.
In all, Morris now has 23 wins this season in his quest for a fifth national title. If he can clinch the championship next weekend he would enter a tie with the late Larry Phillips who won five titles in an eight-year span.
“Twenty-three wins is not too shabby for this day and age, and to do it in 33 or 34 starts is impressive," Morris acknowledged. "It would be nice to be mentioned in the same sentence as Larry Phillips. If we do get the honor it’s not about bettering him. I am a Larry Phillips fan because he was a racer like we are here in Virginia. I’m dripping in sweat and that’s what I want to be doing, and I am sure he was the same way.”
Although he has four championships on his resume, Morris has not won a national championship since the 2011 season; however, he’s been atop the standings from the word go this year.
“You don’t know what you have done until you get the call from NASCAR,” Morris stated. “That won’t happen until a week or so after the points are over. We have twin races coming up at Langley next week and the competition can’t catch up to our win total at this point, but we are still going to try and win."
Speed51.com will continue to follow #TheWatch for the 2018 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship as it's officially decided over the next week.
-Story by Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com