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South Boston Speedway recognizes 2017 division, track champions

South Boston News
South Boston Speedway recognized its track and division champions at the annual Champions dinner Friday in South Boston. From left,Colin Garrett, limited sportsman division; Peyton Sellers, late model and track champion; SBS general manager Cathy Rice, Pure stock champion Johnny Layne and Hornets champion Tyler Crute. / January 15, 2018
South Boston Speedway officially concluded its celebration of its 60th anniversary season Friday with its annual champions’ dinner.

Track champion Peyton Sellers celebrated his late model championship effort, after an extremely competitive season.

Colin Garrett broke through to win the limited sportsman division title.

Two other drivers, Hornets winner Tyler Crute and Pure Stock winner Johnny Layne, were honored with as the Speedway handed out some $47,000 worth of prizes and awards at the champions’ dinner.

Sellers celebrated winning his third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track title at SBS.

Sellers said he feels like the older veteran now in a very competitive late model scene.

“For so long, I got accustomed to being the youngest guy on the track and I was tearing up stuff, knocking fenders off. When they talk about me being Mr. Consistency this year, it’s definitely a different hat for me that I hadn’t been used to. I was used to kind of a wreckers or checkers mentality. To be able to finish all of the races this year, and have the kind of success we did, really meant a lot to me,” he said.

In his view, Sellers does not know if he will be in the same company as David Blankenship, who won seven track titles at SBS, but Sellers’ body of work cannot be understated, either. Sellers has had a tremendous NASCAR short track career.

Sellers said he’s looking forward to racing at SBS full-time this season in an effort to defend his 2017 track title.

He believes this season will be a very competitive late model campaign, with another respected veteran, Philip Morris, expected to return. And Bobby McCarty and Timothy Peters will provide tough competition, and there will be other drivers to watch.

NEWCOMER TO A CHAMPIONSHIP: Garrett broke through with a championship season in the tough limited sportsman division at SBS.

He had ups and downs in 2017, and broke through in May with his first win.

As the season progressed, Garrett worked hard to get better. He also learned for a while to get by without the race day influence of Frank Deiny, who left to participate in racing at a higher level, spotting for Junior Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports.

It came down to the final race of the season. Garrett bested veteran David Latour Jr. to win his first division title.

“The last race, there was a lot of pressure going into that weekend. We went and tested that Friday (with Deiny returning for a lengthy absence.) That Friday, we put a lot of time and effort, trying to make sure that car was great,” said Garrett.

Garrett said his plans for 2018 tentatively include expanded late model racing action at SBS, plus some trips to Dominion Raceway and Martinsville. He’s also eyeing selected NASCAR K&N races.

PURE STOCK VIEW: Layne, the Pure Stock champion, won by just seven points in a close championship hunt.

“We had a lot of mechanical issues the first of the year, put us way behind. We were close to about 60 to 70 points behind, going into the races five or six. We fought hard (taking advantage of SBS’s passing points system by starting in the back of fields),” said Layne.

Layne endured a frantic final race battle and won the title. He was involved in a last-lap crash in the season points’ finale, but finally emerged with a razor-thin edge for the Pure Stock division title.

He promises to return to defend his title for the third year in a row. He was undecided for a while, but has made the commitment to return.

He noted the keys include being fast in the car, staying out front, avoiding wrecks and other trouble, and stay away from damaging mechanical issues.

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