After a year’s absence the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown will return this year, bringing with it the big bonus that makes drivers go just a little bit harder.
The Virginia Triple Crown championship rewards the driver with the best overall finish in the three biggest NASCAR Late Model races in the state: the Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway on July 1, the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway on July 22 and the Valley Star Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway on September 23.
The event was not held last year when Langley Speedway was shuttered for the season, but with Langley reopening this year, all parties agreed it was time to bring it back.
“The Triple Crown has brought so much excitement to racing that it was a simple decision to bring it back this year,” said South Boston Speedway General Manager Cathy Rice. “With that extra money on the line it brings more competitors to the track and makes them race a little harder.”
The driver that has the best overall finish in those three events picks up a $10,000 bonus in victory lane following the Martinsville finale.
“I’m really pleased that the Triple Crown is back for 2017,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “I truly believe this will be the best year yet for the three races. Think about it … Langley Speedway is back in action South Boston Speedway has a brand new pavement and Martinsville Speedway will debut its new LED lights. Fans need to mark the dates down on their calendar for these as ‘can’t miss’ events.”
The Triple Crown made its debut in 2012 with C.E. Falk picking up the bonus. South Boston’s own Peyton Sellers claimed the championship the next two seasons with Lee Pulliam winning the most recent in 2015.
“I’m excited about the Triple Crown return. Virginia has a long line of great racers and I feel it helped me solidify my career by winning it twice,” said Sellers, who picked up a win two weeks ago at South Boston.
“With H.C. (his brother and crew chief) having three national titles, I’d like to give him three Triple Crowns to go with it. And, well, Clarence (sponsor Clarence Pickurel) has enough on his resume, but it wouldn’t hurt either.”
Racing returns to South Boston Speedway Saturday with a six-race card featuring a 100-lap race for the competitors in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car Division. Twin 25-lap Limited Sportsman Division races, twin 15-lap races for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division will round out the night’s action.
Registration and pit gates open at 2:30 p.m., practice runs from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m. Grandstand gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and qualifying starts at 6 p.m. The first race gets the green flag at 7 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for youth ages 7-12. Kids ages six and under are admitted free with a paid adult.