Trey Crews’ South Boston Speedway racing season got off to a disastrous start but hasn’t slowed since.
Crews, a Late Model Stock rookie at South Boston Speedway with tons of experience in other divisions, struggled in the season opener, his Late Model debut slowed by mechanical problems. But he was undaunted.
“The rear end broke on our first lap of practice (on opening day). The team worked really hard to get us ready so we could race, but it’s really kind of hard to count that first race. I used that for seat time and momentum to go into the second race,” said Crews. “I think the first race showed us the potential. We got the car right for the second race.”
That may be an understatement. Crews posted matching third-place finishes in the twin 75-lap races on March 30 in a field stacked with talent, including NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champions Philip Morris, Lee Pulliam and Peyton Sellers.
“The second race I was a little surprised to have competed as well as we did with the competition we’re up against. I’d have to rate it (performance) an ‘A’ for our small team,” said Crews, who was the 2018 Limited Sportsman champion at South Boston and moved up a class to Late Models this season.
“There are just a few of us working really hard. We’re just a small team trying to be out there with the big dogs. I was really excited, and I think everyone else was with two third-place finishes and leading some laps. To run with Lee and Peyton and Philip … that’s what I want to do, run with the best,” said Crews, who has been aided by the loan of a motor from Steve Stallings and the help of his dad, H.E. Crews along with Brian Tanner and Luke Covington.
Crews has logged hundreds of laps on South Boston Speedway’s .4-mile oval over the years and felt comfortable as soon as he crawled into the Late Model for his first test session back in early March. His initial goal, though, was to make sure the Late Model veterans were comfortable running with him.
“I’ve been racing since I was 11 years old, so anything with speed, I feel comfortable,” said the 24-year-old Crews, who is sponsored by Stallings Collision Centers, Elite Recycling, Owens Farms, Mincey’s Graphics, Red Ball Oxygen and Team Industrial. “I felt like I was going to have to gain their trust running up there with them and I hope I did that running them hard and clean. I just hope everybody knows we are there to run hard but run clean and win races. Just because I’m a rookie doesn’t mean I can’t do that.”
Crews will be back in action Saturday night in the NASCAR Easter Bunny Late Model 100 that features a 100-lap Late Model race, twin 25-lap Limited Sportsman races, a 30-lap Pure Stock race and a 15-lap Hornets race.
It will mark the first time Late Model teams will be limited to buying just two new tires for a race this season, a cost-cutting rule introduced to the division a year ago.
“This helps us with the expense. A small team, trying to run with this move up, the two-tire deal saves money, saves practice tire money, saves race-day money,” said Crews. “Sometimes it’s difficult to run on two old tires and two new tires, I won’t lie about that. But it evens the playing field and saves everybody money. You just have to learn what the car wants and make it work.”
Before the green flag falls Saturday night, youngsters 12-and-under will be treated to an Easter Egg hunt, which will begin at 6:30.
Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are just $10 for adults with children 12-and-under admitted free with a paying adult.