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Wednesday August 29, 2018

Despite being tied for first in the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown standings, despite leading flag-to-flag in the Hampton Heat, despite three previous wins the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and despite a season in which he has already racked up 21 wins, four-time Whelen All-American Series National Champion Philip Morris knows he has his work cut out for him if he wants to take home the $10,000 bonus at the end of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway on September 29. 

Morris, who finds himself tied with Peyton Sellers with an average finish of 1.5 through the first two legs of the Triple Crown - the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway and the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway - will put in just as much work off the track as he will on it.

“A lot of trips to the gym, a lot of miles on the elliptical help from (the Lord) and (car builder) Forrest Reynolds,” Morris said. “That’s all it’s going to take. That’s what it’s going to take win the Triple Crown. 

Sellers said that his confidence would normally be high heading into Martinsville, knowing he hasn’t finished outside the top-two in the Triple Crown races so far, but this year is different.

“I feel like in years past a first and a second would really give you a leg up on the competition heading into the final leg, but when you are tied with the national champion, you know it’s going to be tough,” said Sellers, a former National Champion himself. “With someone like Bobby McCarty sitting right there in third, you know you can’t make any mistakes. I think it shows the quality of racing we have here in Virginia.”

Veteran racer C.E. Falk III, who won the inaugural Triple Crown in 2012, finds himself fourth in the standings, with an average finish of 7.

“Sitting fourth in the standings is not where we want to be, but I feel we still have a shot at it,” Falk said. “At South Boston I thought we did really considering not racing there for almost two years. At Langley our finish was pretty disappointing considering how good our car was in the first half of that race.”

“Phillip (Morris) and Peyton (Sellers) have certainly been on a tear and will be extremely hard to beat for the title,” Falk continued. “Who knows with some luck, we can win us a clock and another triple crown. Anything can happen at Martinsville.”

Morris, who has been feast or famine at Martinsville throughout his career, said he has learned from past mistakes when it comes to the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.

“I’ve had a lot of problems at Martinsville, but this year we are going to do everything safe,” Morris said. “I think I’ve calmed down a little bit. I know when to drive it hard and when to back it off and I’ve learned to listen to my engine builder.”

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race, paying $25,000 to the winner, and regularly attracting more than 80 cars.

Reserved camping for the September 29 race is sold out and general admission camping for the weekend is $40.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877-RACETIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

OFFICIAL 2018 VIRGINIA LATE MODEL TRIPLE CROWN STANDINGS

The Virginia Late Model Triple Crown winner will be determined via best average finishing position in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway, the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway. The current Triple Crown standings are as follows:

Position. Driver (Average finish)

T1. Philip Morris (1.5)

T1. Peyton Sellers (1.5)

3. Bobby McCarty (4)

4. C.E. Falk III (7)

5. Tim Phipps (8.5)

6. Brandon Pierce (9)

7. Thomas Scott (10.5)

T8. Justin T. Carroll (12)

T8. Terry Carroll (12)

T8. Austin Thaxton (12)

11. Grayson Cullather (13.5)

T12. Tyler Hughes (14)

T12. Woody Howard (14)

14. Matt Bowling (15.5)

15. Justin S. Carroll (18.5)

16. Brenden Queen (20)

17. Mark Wertz (24)

18. Colin Garrett (27)

Tags: Henry County, Insider's Tips, Martinsville, Martinsville Speedway, Motorsports, NASCAR, Racing