First Career Late Model Win at South Boston Speedway Erases Doubts for Aaron Donnelly

Aaron Donnelly had not reached the level of success he had hoped to achieve at South Boston Speedway this season. With his best finishes in the Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division having been a pair of sixth-place finishes, he was beginning to question his ability. 

However, Donnelly’s world made a huge turn for the better when he edged six-time South Boston Speedway Champion Peyton Sellers by a foot in a thrilling side-by-side finish in the second 75-lap race of the Sentara Healthcare Late Model Stock Car Division twinbill on June 3 at South Boston Speedway.

The win was Donnelly’s first career Late Model Stock Car Division race win. With the win, he became the second driver to earn his first career Late Model Stock Car Division race win, joining Carter Langley of Zebulon, North Carolina who achieved that accomplishment at South Boston Speedway in March. It was also his first Top-5 finish of the season.
“We needed this win badly,” Donnelly said. “It’s huge. We were contemplating not running Late Model next year. I’ve got my confidence back and my confidence in the team is huge.”

The Stafford, Virginia resident, now in his third full season of competition in the Late Model Stock Car Division ranks, said the win erases any doubts he may have had.

“When you don’t win for awhile you start doubting yourself, wondering if it is all you and if you’re not capable of winning,” he explained. “We really haven’t run up front all season here at South Boston. Winston (Brooks) and all of the guys at Lee Pulliam Performance just kept digging and working. I appreciate those guys for all they do and not giving up on me.”

Donnelly earned the win in one of the closest finishes of the season, with he and Sellers trading paint as they sped to the checkered flag on the final lap. After taking the checkered flag Donnelly’s car crashed into the first turn wall. A wrecker had to tow the car to Victory Lane.

“I was going to do whatever it took,” Donnelly remarked. “I was so focused on where Peyton was. I looked back up and got too high down the straightaway. I was going too fast. I couldn’t get it (the car) back down. I tried to save it but couldn’t.”

Donnelly and his fellow competitors will return to action in twin 60-lap Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division races when South Boston Speedway hosts the Sentara Health Prelude to the 200 on Saturday night, June 17.

First Responders Night presented by Viny’s Italian Restaurant will be held as part of the event. All first responders will be admitted free with a valid department ID/badge or a department roster signed by the chief with accompanying government-issued ID.

The six-race Sentara Health Prelude to the 200 event on Saturday night, June 17 will also include twin 30-lap races for the Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division, a 25-lap race for the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division and a 20-lap race for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division.

Registration and pit gates will open at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Frontstretch spectator gates will open at 3:20 p.m. and practice will start at 3:30 p.m. Backstretch spectator and tailgate section gates will open at 5:30 P.M. Qualifying starts at 6 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 7 p.m.

Advance adult general admission tickets are priced at $12 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, or by calling the speedway office at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.

Tickets at the gate on race day will be $15 each. Seniors ages 65 and older, military, healthcare workers, and students (with ID) can purchase tickets for $12 each at the gate on race day.

The latest news and updates for fans and competitors can be found on the speedway’s website and the track’s social media channels. Information may also be obtained by phoning the speedway at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.