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Lap-by-lap coverage of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300

Sunday, October 9, 2011

By JOHNNY BUCK - Bulletin Sports Editor

5:55 - Lee Pulliam bumped race-leader Matt McCall to the top of the track in Turn 3 of the final lap, making the pass easily to win the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300.

Brandon Butler finished second and Stacy Puryear was third. Dexter Canipe Jr. was fourth, followed by McCall in fifth.

Pulliam wins $25,000 and the famous grandfather clock trophy that goes to Sunday race winners at the speedway.

Davin Scites, Greg Edwards, Jeb Burton, Coleman Presley and Mike Darne rounded out the top 10.

Defending champion Philip Morris finished 22nd, Matt Bowling was 25th and Peyton Sellers 26th.

5:49 - Another caution. We didn't complete a lap, so the restarting order will be the same as previous one. There are only 16 cars still running out of the 42 that started the race.

On the last restart, Lee Pulliam got physical with race-leader McCall.

5:49 - Another caution. We didn't complete a lap, so the restarting order will be the same as previous one.There are only 16 cars still running out of the 42 that started the race.

5:36 - A nasty wreck in Turn 2 of lap 198. ... We were so close to a finish, but now we've got the cars halted under a red flag. We're going to have a green, white, checkered finish.

There was so much going on, I had trouble seeing what started the melee. But Frank Deiny Jr.'s hood got run over by Brennan Poole, who nearly flipped at the entrance to the back straightaway.To avoid that accident, Jesse Little drove over the curb at the exit of pit row.

Jeb Burton's car is also motionless farther back in Turn 2, and Ryan Robertson just got his engine fired up.

Jake Crum was also involved in the accident with Deiny Jr. and Poole.

Your leaders: Matt McCall, Lee Pulliam, Brandon Butler, Jonathan Cash and Stacy Puryear.

5:32 - A caution on Lap 191, as Kelly Kingery wound up spinning onto the grass at the bottom of Turn 1. It's looking more and more like a green, white, checkered finish for this 200-lap affair.

5:30 - Philip Morris brings out the 13th caution on lap 189 when his car falls off the pace and comes to a stop at the bottom of Turn 1.

The top five: Matt McCall, Lee Pulliam, Brandon Butler, Jonathan Cash and Stacy Puryear.

Morris has left the track, so it's official: There will not be a repeat winner of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300.

5:24 - With fewer than 25 laps remaining in the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300, Matt McCall is your leader, followed by Lee Pulliam, Brandon Butler, Jonathan Cash and Stacey Puryear.

The rest of the top 10 is Jamey Caudill, Frank Deiny Jr., Coleman Pressley, Jeb Burton and Greg Edwards.

5:16 - Another lap, another caution.

This one came in Turn 4 of lap 167 and collected teammates Peyton Sellers and Ridgeway's Matt Bowling. Kris Bowen was also involved.

About a lap earlier, Philip Morris got his hood bent out of shape - not sure how - so it hasn't been a good stretch for the Sellers Racing crew.

5:07 - The field is racing under green once more on lap 151. Brandon Butler remains your leader, while Lee Pulliam, Stacey Puryear, Matt Mccall and Jonathan Cash round out the top five.

Jamey Caudill, Jeb Burton, Frank Deiny Jr., Jake Crum and Coleman Pressley fill out the top 10.

As I write this, the race's 11th caution comes out on lap 156. Harrison Rhodes hit the outside wall in Turn 1 very hard with the back of his car after getting tangled up with Bruce Anderson, whose car remains motionless between Turns 1 and 2.

Kenny Forbes was also caught up in the accident but didn't suffer any serious damage that I could see.

4:52 - Kenny Forbes spins out entering Turn 2 of lap 131, bringing out another caution.

It appeared he sideswiped Jeb Burton just before getting loose.

Your race leaders as under green on lap 136: Lee Pulliam, Brandon Butler, Matt McCall, Stacy Puryear and

Jonathan Cash is sixth, followed by B.J. Mackey, Jamey Caudill, Frank Deiny Jr. and Jeb Burton.

As I write this, we're going back under caution because Jeffrey Oakley spun out in Turn 3. Philip Morris will receive the free pass and is back on the lead lap after falling two laps down.

4:41 - Roanoke's Dennis Holdren brought out the caution when his car came to a stop out of Turn 2. He headed to pit road here on lap 108.

We're back under green, with Brandon Butler in the lead, followed by Lee Pulliam, Davin Scites, B.J. Mackey and Matt McCall.

4:37 - We're about to go green for the second half of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300. Kelly Kingery has been penalized for going to the pits twice during the break, while Brennan Poole has been penalized one lap for disobeying NASCAR orders, according to a track official in the press box.

4:25 - A tradition of the big Late Model race at Martinsville is the inversion of race leaders at the halfway mark.

The number of cars inverted is decided by a random drawing. That drawing led to the top five cars getting inverted today, meaning Brandon Butler will be your new leader.

B.J. Mackey will be second, Lee Pulliam third, Davin Scites fourth and Matt McCall fifth.

4:16 - We're at the halfway point of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300. Matt McCall is still your leader - he took it from pole-sitter Philip Morris on lap 31.

McCall wins the Chatlee Boats Halfway Leader check of $2,500.

Davin Scites, Lee Pulliam, B.J. Mackey and Brandon Butler round out your top five.

The remainder of your top 10: Kenny Forbes, Stacy Puryear, Jonathan Cash, Jeb Burton and Ridgeway's Matt Bowling.

FYI - Morris is two laps off the pace as the cars pit at the halfway mark.

4:10 - Four-wide doesn't work well at Martinsville Speedway.

Frank Deiny Jr. tried it, and wound up against the inside retaining wall on the backstretch. Just moments after that incident, another one popped up in Turns 3 and 4.

Danny Edwards, Jason Merriman and Tony McGuire are stopped on the track between the turns. Not sure what happened, but I can tell you that the cars of Merriman and McGuire were hooked up to the tow truck ... never a good thing.

4:04 - Garrett Campbell's car fell off the pace and came to a complete stop just before Turn 1, prompting another caution.

Matt McCall is your leader, followed by Davin Scites, Brandon Butler, Lee Pulliam, and Kenny Forbes.

B.J. Forbes is sixth and the rest of your top 10 is B.J. Mackey, Jonathan Cash, Stacy Puryear, Ridgeway native Matt Bowling and heat-race qualifier Jeb Burton.

It's been a steady, solid run for Bowling thus far. The 17-year-old Carlisle School student started 18th, has avoided the accidents and has himself in the top 10, unlike teammate and pole sitter Philip Morris, who is one lap down, from what I'm told in the pressbox.

3:49 - We're racing again on Lap 48, and the most notable sight is Philip Morris completely off the pace. He's dropping like a rock to the back of the field, circling the track on the upper groove. He's officially at the rear of the field, though not technically last place (some cars are not on the lead lap).

As I write this, another caution comes out. Kris Bowen's car came to a complete stop on the front stretch.

Morris enters the pits twice during this caution. His pit crew isworking on the back of his car, perhaps on the fuel intake?

Also, Doug Godsey is being held for a couple laps by race officials for not honoring a black flag on the restart. Apparently, he changed lanes when he wasn't allowed to do so.

Your leaders with 55 laps completed: Matt MCCall, Davin Scites, Brandon Butler, Kenny Forbes and Lee Pulliam.

BJ Mackey, Stacey Puryear and Jonathan Cash are sixth through eighth, and we're racing under the green flag once again.

3:41 - At least five cars were involved in an accident on the restart, just past the start/finish line. It appeared that Philip Morris was very slow on the restart (his second straight issue on a restart), and Barry Beggarly, Paddy Rodenbeck, Kelly Kingery and Josh Berry were involved.

Berry suffered the most notable damage, as the sheet metal was completely torn away from the front and front-right fender of is car.

3:34 - The second caution of the race comes out on lap 33. Fourteen cars were involved or forced to stop between turns 1 and 2.

It appeared Frank Deiny Jr. got spun coming out of Turn 1, and Harrison Rhodes' car took the most damage when he ran into Deiny.

That accident led to a host of drivers slamming on the brakes - or into each other - in the backwash. It looks like Justin Johnson may be done for the day due to the accident.

Matt McCall is your leader, followed by Philip Morris. The race remains under caution.

3:24 - First caution of the day comes out when Alex Yontz comes to halt just out of Turn 4.

Yountz' car is putting out a lot of smoke, but I can't see any flames from here. This looks like a serious engine problem.

Philip Morris remains your race leader here on lap 21. Matt McCall has also held onto second all day, while Lee Pulliam, Davin Scites and B.J. Mackey fill out the top five.

Rounding out the top 10 are Brandon Butler, Frank Deiny Jr., Kenny Forbes, Barry Beggarly and Josh Berry.

3:16 - The green flag has dropped. We're racing at Martinsville Speedway.

3:00 - The Martinsville High School marching band has performed the national anthem with the Magna Vista High School JROTC presenting the colors, and our grand marshal has given drivers the order to start their engines.

We aren't far from full-field racing, folks. Great weather and a great accumulation of talent competing today; it should be a good one.

2:30 - The feature event of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 is about 30 minutes away.

Pole-sitter Philip Morris is the early favorite after setting a track record during Saturday's qualifying. Morris' time of 20.165 seconds (93.905 mph) was nearly two-tenths of a second quicker than Matt McCall, who will start on the outside of Row 1.

Lee Pulliam will be third, followed by Davin Scites, Kenny G. Forbes, B.J. Mackey and Brandon Butler.

Frank Deiny Jr. will be eighth, followed by Josh Berry, Ryan Reed, Barry Beggarly and Stacy Puryear.

Bruce Anderson and Doug Godsey are the seventh row. Drivers starting 15th-22nd are Jamey Caudill, Jonathan Cash, Garrett Campbell, Ridgeway teenager Matt Bowling, C.E. Falk III, Brennan Poole, Dennis HOldren and Denny Edwards.

Drivers 23rd-26th were heat race winners Jake Crum, Paddy Rodenback, Alex Yontz, Eddie Johnson and Harrison Rhodes.

The next 10 are Jeb Burton, the Sprint Cup star's nephew, Dexter Canipe Jr., Justin Johnson, Kelly Kingery, Mike Darne, Coleman Pressley, Tommy Lemons Jrs., Jeffrey Oakley, Tony McGuire, Danville's Peyton Sellers and Jason Merriman.

Kris Bowen will be 39th, Ryan Robertson 40th, Jesse Little 41st and Greg Edwards 42nd.

2:02 - Eddie Johnson won a rare caution-less heat race after starting second. The pole sitter of heat race No. 4, Justin Johnson, was second, followed by Tommy Lemons Jr., Jason Merriman and Greg Edwards.

Teenager Michael Mcguire, from Vinton, finished sixth but never threatened for the fifth and final transfer spot into today's feature event, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

1:52 - The fourth and final heat race of the day is about to begin.

Justin Johnson will begin from the inside of the front row. Eddie Johnson is second, Jason Merriman third, Tommy Lemons Jr. fourth and Greg Edwards fifth.

The rest of the field includes Michael McGuire in sixth, followed by Andrew Thomas, Robert Tyler, Chad Finchum, Austin Thaxton, Michael Rouse and Chris Davis.

1:47 - Alex Yontz wins the third heat race. Yontz passed Dexter Canipe Jr. on lap 17 for the lead.

Canipe wound up in second, followed by Pressley, Peyton Sellers, and Travis Swaim.

Sellers, a Danville native, was stuck on the outside groove for much of the race, but he passed Jesse Little on lap 19 after a prolonged battle to get fifth, then passed Swaim on lap 23 for fourth.

The top five finishers from each of the four heat races will fill the bottom 20 spots in today's feature race.

There were only two cautions in the race, the fewest of the day thus far.

1:40 - Our first caution of heat race No. 3 comes out on lap 7 when two Dustin Rumley and Derrick Lancaster spun in turn 2.

Dexter Canipe Jr. still holds the lead. Alex Yontz is second, followed by Coleman Pressley, Travis Swaim, Adam Long, and Peyton Sellers, who was racing side-by-side with Long for several laps before the yellow flag.

1:35 - The third heat race is about to get started. Dexter Canipe Jr. will start up front, followed by Coleman Pressley, Alex Yontz, Travis Swain and Adam Long.

Danville native and part-time Trucks Series driver Peyton Sellers will start sixth, followed by Dustin Rumley, Shayne Lockhart, Austin McDaniel, Jesse Little, Derrick Lancaster, Bassett's Kevin Parker and Kyle Dudley.

1:30 - Paddy Rodenbeck passes Jeb Burton on lap 23 to win the second heat race. Mike Darne was third, followed by Tony McGuire and Ryan Robertson, who held off Nate Monteith down the stretch for the fifth and final transfer spot into today's feature event at 3 p.m.

1:25 - With five laps to go in heat race No. 2, your top six: Jeb Burton, Paddy Rodenbeck, Mike Darne, Ryan Robertson, Tony McGuire and Brad Kurth.

1:12 - Nate Monteith and Jamie Byrd both got loose entering turn 2 and had their back ends slid out from beneath them. It brought out the first caution of today's second heat race.

1:10 - The second heat race is about to begin. Jeb Burton, the Cup star's nephew, will start first, ahead of Paddy Rodenbeck, Mike Darne, Jamie Byrd and Nate Monteith.

Ryan Robertson is sixth, followed by Daniel Pope, Brad Kurth, Tony McGuire, Ryan Rhodes, Matt Piercy, Terry Carroll and Kyle Barnes.

1:05 - Jake Crum wins the first heat race of the day, finishing nearly three car lengths in front of Harrison Rhodes.

It was an impressive charge from Crum, who was forced to start at the rear of the field after jumping the start of the 25-lap race.

Kelly Kingery was third, followed by Jeffery Oakley and Kris Bowen.

Those five have earned a spot in today's feature race, which will begin around 3 p.m. Ashley Huffman finished sixth, one spot away from making the feature. Huffman battled with Bowen over laps 21-23, but Bowen eventually pulled away and claimed fifth easily.

12:58 - Brandon Brown brought out the fourth caution of the first heat race when he got turned into the outside wall of turn 3, taking a hard hit that devastated the front of his car. No chance he gets back on the track for the final 10 laps.

Your current top seven: Kelly Kingery, Jake Crum, Harrison Rhodes, Jeffery Oakley, Tim George, Ashley Huffman and Kris Bowen.

12:50 - Another caution is out, as Brandon Brown spins in turns 1 and 2.

Harrison Rhodes is first, followed by Kelly Kingery, who started 10th.

Jake Crum is already up to third. Crum, who was forced to start at the back of the field after jumping the start, was in fifth by lap 4.

Jeff Oakly is fourth, Wes Falk fifth, Tim George sixth and Kris Bowen seventh.

12:47 - I'm hearing that Jake Crum, who started second, jumped the start of the race. With the green flag about to drop, Crum has been moved to the back of the field.

Crum, a past winner of this event, certainly has his work cut out if he hopes to earn a top-five finish in this heat race and make the feature event.

12:45 - The cars didn't get one lap into the day's first heat race before our first caution. Rodney Cook got turned around between turns 3 and 4, and word is that his car may not be able to get back on the track. Other drivers in the accident: Tim George Jr., John King, and Ashley Huffman.

George was apparently the driver who got into Cook. George has significant front-end damage, but his crew is working as we speak to mitigate the damage and get George back on the track.

12:40 - Harrison Rhodes will start up front in the first heat race, which is about to begin. Former race champion Jake Crum is second, followed by Kris Brown, Rodney Cook and John Klug.

The green flag is about to drop; racing is set to get under way at Martinsville Speedway.

12:37 - The first heat race of the day is about to begin. There were 42 drivers who didn't earn a guaranteed starting spot in the feature race due to slower times in qualifying. Those 42 drivers have been divided into four heat races.

The drivers in these heat races are competing for a chance to make today's feature race. The top five finishers from each heat race will fill out the final 20 spots in the feature race.

12:32 - Clear blue skies are overhead and the Martinsville Speedway grandstands are filling up just minutes before the start of today's first heat race for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300.

The top 22 spots in the starting lineup for today's feature race, which is scheduled to begin around 3 p.m., were set by Saturday's qualifying runs. Pole-sitter Philip Morris set a speedway record with his time of 20.165 seconds (93.905 mph).

Matt McCall is second, followed by Lee Pulliam, Davin Scites and Kenny Forbes.

Ridgeway teenager Matt Bowling, who last year became the youngest driver to qualify for this race at the age of 16, will start 18th.


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