Peyton Sellers earns career-defining ValleyStar Credit Union 300 victory at Martinsville Speedway

Peyton Sellers has done just about everything there is to do as a Late Model Stock Car driver.

He won track championships at South Boston Speedway and Dominion Raceway, Virginia State Championships, three Virginia Late Model Triple Crowns, and two NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series National Championships.

Despite all this success, there was also one realization that eluded him for more than a decade.

He wanted to win a grandfather clock.

Sellers had failed 14 previous tries competing in the Valley Star Credit Union 300, but on Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway he finally did whatever it took to get the job done.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” Sellers said in victory lane.

Sellers finished second in his qualifying race earlier in the day and started Saturday night’s feature in seventh. Making sure to conserve tires and energy – and stay out of harm’s way – he bided his time, gradually working his way forward in the second half of the race.

After a stage break with 25 laps to go, Sellers edged out Mike Looney – his biggest competition for the lead all night – and grew further and further ahead as the laps ticked away. .

Leading by several car lengths, it looked like the only thing that could stand in the way of the sellers’ victory would be a caution. Unfortunately for him, he had to survive two in the last 10 laps.

On lap 191, a car spun forces caution and a regrouping of cars. Sellers, opting for the bottom of the selection cone, went under JR Motorsports driver Carson Kvapil and again took the lead.

He held the lead for three laps until another warning, this time for debris on the track in Turn 4.

In the final restart, which would end up being a green-white checkered overtime ending, Sellers picked the bottom again with Kvapil at his side, and again went inside and walked away after the first turn. His pit crew quickly went from biting their nails to throwing their hands in the air in celebration of victory.

“To know that I had the quality of the drivers around me felt comfortable, but that’s Martinsville,” Sellers said. “It’s $32,000, it’s clockwork, it’s the prestige behind it. You expect everything.

When they called me to clear turn 2 on the last restart, I said, whatever I do, I need to put together a good 3 and 4 here to give myself some breathing room before white.

Although his team was visibly nervous about having two late warnings, Sellers believed they actually worked in his favor given his car’s short-running speed.

He was also grateful for a new race format that splits the 200 laps into three stages – 100 laps, 75 laps and 25 laps.

“The restart for the last 25 laps, I had been a bit critical because I just knew it was going to tear a lot of cars up,” he said. “But it played into our hands tonight. I shot the short runs and Mike Looney was better than me on the long runs, no doubt. He had just passed in front of me and set sail. But we had a short-term car, and that’s what it took tonight.

Sellers said he drove the last 100 laps so hard that his legs cramped for the last 25 laps.

“I ran the last 100 laps like I was qualifying,” he said. “When they told me I had a four-car lead, it didn’t matter. Whatever was behind me, I just rolled up the mirror and walked away.

“It was pure excitement. It was nothing more than that. Calves had big cramps. Emotions were going. They sent me a checkered flag and I took another lap just because I could not believe it.

With the win, Sellers takes home $32,000 and added $7,000 with a victory in the Virginia Triple Crown, giving the driver with the highest average in three races at South Boston, Langley and Martinsville Speedways. It was her fourth Virginia Triple Crown (2013, 2014, 2018, 2022).

Looney won Stages 1 and 2, earning $1,000 for each stage victory. He finished the race fourth.

Kvapil was second and Jacob Heafner was third.

Kaden Honeycutt, driving for Bassett’s Nelson Motorsports, finished fifth. Nelson’s teammate Bobby McCarty finished 13th. McCarty won qualifying on Friday night and started the race in the lead after winning the first qualifying race earlier in the day.

Timothy Peters of Danville was eighth. Landon Pembelton, winner of last year’s VSCU300, finished 27th.

Jared Fryer finished second in the race for the Triple Crown and Mason Diaz finished third. Fryer was 11th on Saturday night and Diaz was 17th.

Sellers was announced this week as the second-place finisher in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship race. Finally, finding the path to victory in Martinsville, after missing a third national title and missing so many previous ValleyStar Credit Union 300s, “removes some of those losses,” he said.

Sellers said he planned to put his grandfather clock at Clarence’s Steakhouse in Ridgeway. The restaurant has sponsored its races for 20 years.

“Everyone is eating steaks tonight for sure,” he said.

“It belongs there and I’m going to give it to them… It feels good to keep that stuff at Ridgeway, to keep it at home.”

He would, however, like to try to get a second one for his house.

“I’ll probably put it right in front of the TV,” he said. “I’m gonna stop watching TV and watch this thing work all night.” ?

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