SOUTH BOSTON — Peyton Sellers has a lot on his mind this week, but nothing is more important to him than sewing up his fifth South Boston Speedway Late Model Stock championship tonight.
The Danville driver is involved in a tight five-way battle for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship and an even tighter fight for the NASCAR Virginia state championship. But he’s doing his best to remain centered on things closer to home.
“I’m really focused on these national points and Virginia state points, but we said at the beginning of the year, our No. 1 goal was to win the South Boston championship,” Sellers said a few days before today’s race set to take the green flag at 7 p.m.
“If we do well [tonight], we will have accomplished what we set out to accomplish.”
Sellers has an almost insurmountable 103-point lead over Austin Thaxton going into tonight when champions will be crowned in all four divisions. Things are a little tighter when it comes to national and state points, though.
Sellers and Mike Looney, who has dominated Motor Mile Speedway this season, are tied for fourth in the national points this week with 558. They are 10 points behind national leader Nick Panitzke, of Wisconsin. Philip Morris, who won at South Boston earlier this season, is tied for second with Jacob Goede, another Midwest driver, with 560 points.
Morris leads the Virginia state championship race by two points over both Sellers and Looney.
“With two weeks to go anything can happen,” Sellers said. First on his agenda is to finish as strong as possible in Saturday night’s twin 75-lappers, the final two NASCAR points-paying races at South Boston this season.
More than likely Morris and Looney will be racing this weekend at their home tracks — Dominion Speedway for Morris and Motor Mile Speedway for Looney. The strongest field of cars, Sellers says, will be at South Boston, leaving him with perhaps the toughest road of any of the title contenders. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don’t think Philip and Looney are running against the competition like I am with Lee [four-time national champion Lee Pulliam] and Austin [Thaxton],” said Sellers.
Like Sellers, Pulliam has six South Boston wins on the season. Thaxton has won only once but has 13 top-five finishes.
“Lee and Austin are absolutely going to race me hard. That’s what they are supposed to do. It would probably be easier for me to go race at Dominion this week but clinching the championship at South Boston means so much to me,” said Sellers.
In additions to twin 75-lap races for the Late Model Stock division, there will be a 50-lap Limited Sportsman race, a 30-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race and a 15-lap Budweiser Hornets race.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. today and the green flag falls on the first race at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults with children 12-and-under admitted free with a paying adult.