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Peters picks up Martinsville win, Triple Crown title

SoVaNow.com / September 25, 2017
Former South Boston Speedway track champion Timothy Peters celebrated an historic NASCAR win Saturday night, holding off two national champions in the closing stages of the ValleyStar 300 late model all-star show at Martinsville Speedway.

Peters also clinched the Virginia Triple Crown. He collected a significant payday of $25,000 for the race win -along with another Martinsville Speedway grandfather clock - and an additional $10,000 for claiming the Triple Crown, a three-race series South Boston, Langley and Martinsville speedways.

Peters put on a short track clinic in the closing segment of the race, holding off a late charge from South Boston 2017 track champion Peyton Sellers.

The current national champion, Lee Pulliam, also battled Peters in the closing laps and barely missed an opportunity to seize the lead just before the decisive final break, when the field took a break with 25 laps to go for fresh rubber.

The veterans put on a heck of a show which featured some very spacey racing in bruising heat races. Once the sun went down, the action stayed intense, with some hard-charging racing action on the paperclip.

Peters won by 1.075 seconds over Pulliam, with Sellers third, 1.099 seconds off the pace.

Polesitter Jake Crum was fourth, with Trevor Noles, who battled hard all night, closing out the top five.

Justin Carroll, Tommy Lemons Jr., Stacy Puryear, Brandon Pierce, and C.E. Falk rounded out the top ten.

Peters battled with Trevor Noles throughout much of the second half of the race, swapping the lead several times and racing side-by-side. Peters finally passed Noles for the final time with 14 laps remaining, then held off Sellers’ charge to pick up the win.

The win was extra-satisfying for Peters given all the adversity in 2017. “You never know what tomorrow’s going to bring,” Peters said.

“I’ve learned this year, with all the adversity that has come about, that you never give up and lose your faith. It’s really special. We’ve tried for so long and finally now get it a second time, it only took 12 years.”

Peters won the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 in 2005 - the same year Sellers won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.

Sellers charged through the field late, racing his way up to second, but could not reel Peters in. Coming to the white flag, Sellers got loose, allowing Lee Pulliam to get by him on the last lap of the race.

While Sellers has never won at Martinsville, he took his third-place finish in stride after struggling throughout much of the race.

“Track position hurt us,” Sellers said. “We had some wiring issues, voltage issues and the motor just would not go like we needed it to. What an awesome job by my team to get where we’re at. It’s satisfying with the night we had though to overcome all the adversity and not crash the car. Just very pleased to be here.”

Pulliam finished in second - a result he was satisfied with despite winning the race on two previous occasions.

“We struggled yesterday big time but we made some huge changes and we had a top three car,” Pulliam stated.

“We just didn’t have the track position and that really hurt us. We battled and missed the invert. We probably passed more cars than anybody here coming through there. To finish second at Martinsville, you can’t hang your head about that. Congratulations to Timothy Peters. Really proud of everybody’s hard work.”

After starting on the pole, Crum ended up finishing fourth while Noles finished fifth.

For Peters, his second win in NASCAR’s biggest, Late Model Stock Car race was just as sweet as his first.

“This was special. This was history,” Peters said, referring to the first race under the lights. “There will be multiple winners, but there will only be one first-time winner (under these lights). I feel like we made history tonight.”

Pulliam knew it would be critical to be leading heading into the final break, when the teams collected four fresh tires.

He made a run for the lead just before the break, but got edged out by Peters before the final stop for fresh tires, and that was critical on a wild day at Martinsville marked by eight hours of spins, tempestuous racing, and some typical short track craziness.

“I was a little bit too tight. But if we could have ever got the bottom, I think I would have been ok on the restart. But he (Peters) kind of moved me up a little bit when we started side by side. He had a really good car. He could fire off a lot faster than I could,” said Pulliam.

“Short run, they just had a little more speed than we did,” said Pulliam. Pulliam had a brief window of opportunity just before the final break for tires.

“I took the lead and had a good car. On the long run, on older tires I was better than (Peters). He just got to my bumper in the middle of three and four,” said Pulliam. Peters moved Pulliam and got the lead and was the first car to be able to choose his lane on the restart, during the tire break.

“Slightly frustrating. We were basically one lap away from having a real, real good shot at winning this thing,” said Pulliam.

The fans also enjoyed the first NASCAR race at Martinsville under the lights.

“I think it made a better race for the fans,” Sellers said. “They were able to see the smoke, the sparks flying off the cars. It just made it better for the fans.”

“Before we got in the cars everybody was just amped up,” Pulliam said. “The drivers were amped up, the fans were amped up. That’s as loud as I’ve ever heard a crowd here for a Late Model race.”

The race was slowed by caution flags a total of 10 times, and was stopped twice for red flags.



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