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Martinsville notebook / September 25, 2017

Taking laps around the ValleyStar 300 NASCAR late model all-star race.

LAST CHANCE: NASCAR ran into a bit of a scheduling snafu with its 25-lap last chance race, twice shortening the final crack for drivers to make the big show. At first, the race was cut to 13 laps and then, after more caution-related delays, the race was slowed to eight laps.

The three heats and the last chance race consumed about three and a half hours.

Casey Wyatt led the way in the last chance race, getting him a 33rd starting spot.

HEAT RACE CRACKUPS: There were three bruising 25-heat races late Saturday, featuring some genuinely spacey racing.

Following these rounds, there were notable drivers missing the main event.

One of the toughest and most significant developments saw former NASCAR late model national champion Matt Bowling bounced out of the second heat race.

With the top 10 advancing to the main feature from each of the 25-lappers, Bowling got caught up in a late model mess not of his making, and finished 18th, completing 15 of 25 laps.

He was done.

Colin Garrett also hit the turn four wall three laps before the end of the third heat, completing 22 laps. He was 27th in the third qualifier.

Bruce Anderson got caught up in short track trouble in the second heat and completed just three laps of the second heat race. Both were out.

TOUGH WEEKEND: Talk about a change of fortune for four drivers.

Jake Crum, the 2009 winner, started Saturday night’s feature race from the pole position, while South Boston’s Stacy Puryear started second. The duo was elevated to the front row after the qualifying times of Jeff Oakley and Deac McCaskill were disallowed in post-qualifying inspection.

Crum expressed excitement to be the first pole-sitter for a race under Martinsville Speedway’s new LED lighting system.

For Puryear, who has faced the difficulty of racing his way into the feature race, avoiding a qualifying race is the highlight of his starting position.

“It’s pretty amazing, I’m very excited,” Puryear said. “To be on the front row now and not have to run the heat races is pretty exciting. We knew we had a good car in practice today, just still pretty amazed to be here.”

Race director Lynn Carroll said that Oakley and McCaskill’s times were disallowed due to issues with their carburetors.

“The times were disallowed,” Carroll said. “(Oakley’s) car had an issue with a spacer plate which is not allowed for this event and (McCaskill’s car) had an issue with the squirters on the carburetors on his car.”

By late Saturday, both of Friday’s ex-polesitters were out. McCaskill had mechanical woes and officially finished 25th in the first heat. Oakley was 26th in the third heat, two laps down, after running into transmission trouble.

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