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Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 live blog
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Sunday, October 21, 2012
By FROM BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
(7:46) -- Pulliam: “You always dream of winning, but it’s hard to be disappointed in the fact that we had a really good race car. Just came up short."
(7:45) -- Morris: “I was looking for that outside pass all day long and when I did it the first time and didn’t hit the wall I knew it would be pretty good because of the speed I was carrying into the corners. I didn’t want to run it up there all the time because it wasn’t that fast on every lap. It certainly was fast on the restart, and I knew it would be a factor, just didn’t know how much.”...“I think the definition of our series is to over drive. You have to over drive every corner and I’m not talking by a little bit. Today I over drove the car so many times, and that’s where I have to give my hat off to Sellers Racing for the set up they gave me.”
(6:25) -- 3-time winner Philip Morris looked strong all day, certainly deserved this victory. Hard battle for everyone but it's the No. 26 car that will go home with a new grandfather clock and 25K. Stay tuned for post race reactions.
(6:21) -- Your top 5 today, Morris, Pulliam, Mackey, Wilson and Butler.
(6:19) -- What a finish we had here today at Martinsville Speedway. The vet looked good up front, once he stole it back he never let it go. C.E. Falk was able to climb the necessary positions and wins the VA Triple Crown, by 6 points 115-109
(6:17) -- Philip Morris has won his 3rd Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300!
(6:16) -- Final lap.
(6:15) -- Down to the final two laps, Morris leads Pulliam, Bowling trying to hang in there
(6:14) -- Lights are off on the pace car, here we go with 7 laps to go, what a dramatic finish we have coming up. Morris up front, followed by Pulliam and Bowling. C.E. Falk right there as well, hoping to stay within 2 positions of Bowling.
(6:12) -- Competition caution with under 10 to go and now the race is on, can someone jump on Morris, for if he stays out front, I don't think anyone will be able to catch him. What a day of racing at Martinsville Speedway!
(6:11) -- 10 laps to go.
(6:10) -- Morris another great restart to surge out in front again.
(6:08) -- Debris on the front straightaway brings out a big caution on lap 135. Here is someones chance to catch Morris, who looked well out in front after the pass on the last restart.
(6:05) -- Pulliam makes the pass into 2nd, Bowling 3rd and Morris out front by 4 car lengths.
(6:04) -- Savoy restart by the veteran driver and now the chase is on.
(6:04) -- Off we go again, with the laps counting down, big restart by Morris who makes the pass around Turns 1&2.
(6:01) -- Almost 20 laps to go, can Bowling hold the lead as he's done since the start of the second half of the race.
(5:58) -- Thaxton and Keen get involved in a wreck in Turn 4, quick caution again on lap 121.
(5:58) -- Great jump by Bowling, Morris moves into 2nd.
(5:57) -- Shade has now taken over the track and off we go again.
(5:53) -- Red flag is out as they clean up the No. 47 car along the wall, tough end to his day after being in 5th. Lap 116.
(5:52) -- Mike Looney running 5th sees his engine go looney and stalls in Turns 3&4 to bring out a caution, the second yellow flag of the second half.
(5:49) -- Pulliam makes a nice pass into Turn 1 for 2nd place, now trying to chase Bowling at lap 110.
(5:47) -- 42 cars started, 30 on the track at the moment, Martinsville Speedway has claimed some cars today.
(5:44) -- Mackey was making up some ground on Bowling before the restart, here we go again.
(5:41) -- No. 16 Jeffrey Oakley and No. 19 Chad Finchum collide in Turn 2 on lap 92.
(5:37) -- Bowling looking good out front, the pack not far behind but the No. 83 car is showing its toughness as the leader.
(5:35) -- Bowling jumps it on the restart and has the lead.
(5:34) -- And we are back underway for the second half of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300, should be exciting stuff coming up. Green is out, and off they go.
(5:28) -- Cars are coming off pit road and ready to rumble as the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 has shown very little love to those trying to negotiate Turn 2.
(5:24) -- There will be a top 6 revert, so Bowling will start 2nd, Morris moves to 6 on the restart.
(5:20) -- A much needed breather for the drivers on pit road as we have a short break and get ready for the final 75 laps. Great action thus far and Morris has led from lap 35.
(5:15) -- At the halfway point we have Morris out front, followed by Mackey, Campbell, Pulliam, and Bowling. Can the second half of this race be topped by the first 75, I think so.
(5:13) -- Turn 2 sees more action as Bassett Jr. gets turnned around, the No. 7 of McGuire suffers good damage as we hit caution at lap 74
(5:11) -- Morris looks very very strong out front, getting pushed though by the No. 98 of B.J. Mackey. As we get another spin out in Turn 2, but no caution.
(5:09) -- Morris leads coming to the restart, best chance now to grab the top spot on the vet.
(5:07) -- Tensions and emotions starting to boil near the halfway point on Lap 63. More action in Turn 2, been a pretty hot corner today.
(5:05) -- Jamie Yelton in the No. 8 on pit, so is the No. 62 of Austin Thaxton, Rodney Cook in the No. 74 taken out and then throws his helmet at the No. 02 of Matt Waltz.
(5:02) -- Major problems in Turn 2 involving 6 cars.
(5:00) -- Finally see a good stretch under green, as the field has started to spread itself out. Morris looks strong out front at the moment, but has a host of cars on his tail. Lap 55.
(4:56) -- McCall has dropped to 9th, Morris leads, Campbell second and Bowling is 5th as we get ready for the restart on lap 45.
(4:53) -- 41 laps completed, more than half under caution.
(4:51) -- Guess what another caution comes out on Turn 3.
(4:49) -- Morris takes the lead on the restart as we go three wide in the first turn.
(4:48) -- McGuire is still running, but without the hood. Looks pretty bare on the front of his ride.
(4:45) -- Trouble in Turn 1 as three cars collide, and the No. 81 of Thomas Scott and the No. 17 Josh Brock get dented up, Brock's ride caught fire underneath just briefly. 3rd caution coming on lap 30.
(4:42) -- Philip Morris in the Clearance Steakhouse car takes second out of the restart
(4:41) -- Green flag coming up with McCall leading.
(4:39) -- At this pace we may have more laps under caution than under green in today's race.
(4:37) -- McCall has taken the lead, Bowling has slipped to 5th as we have another caution coming out from where other than Turn 2 as Blake Stallings gets caught up with Austin Thaxton for our 2nd caution.
(4:32) -- And we're back underway here. Let's see if we can go longer than one or two laps before our next caution.
(4:29) -- Bowling moved up 2 spots on the initial lap.
(4:27) -- Pulliam leads the opening lap and we have our first wreck coming out of Turn 2 on lap 2. That didn't take long. Michael McGuire gets dented up. Caution #1.
(4:24) -- And away we go.
(4:22) -- Today's racing format will feature 150 laps. There will be a break after lap 75. Each team got a new set of tires for the race, but can not change at the halfway point. More banging is to be expected with $25,000 on the line
(4:20) -- The field is ready, the pace car has started the first of 5 warm up laps and it's time to go racing here at the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 500. Let the games begin.
(4:17) -- Kevin Parker was not involved in the final wreck on the last turn of the last chance race. He did get loose out of Turn 2 trying to get inside the top 10, got banged up and said he felt dejected to not make the final 42.
(4:07) -- Driver introductions have started. Lee Pulliam and Matt McCall are on the starting grid, followed by Mike Darne and Philip Morris; B.J. Mackey and Matt Bowlin in Row 3; Davin Scites and Garrett Campbell are in Row 4 while Josh Berry and C.E. Falk round out the top 10. Falk enters the race 4 points up on Bowling for the VA Triple Crown, Bowling needs to finish two positions better than Falk to win the title and an extra 5K.
(3:43) -- Pre race festivities are underway with the Martinsville High School marching band, the official Tums Fast Relief 500 pace car came out and the stage is set for great race coming up here in just a bit. 25K is on the line today, so is Matt Bowling's Triple Crown chance.
(3:36) -- Wild finish to today's last chance race, a wreck on the final lap, neck-and-neck finish and a great field set up for the 150-lap feature race.
(3:30) -- Bassett Jr. nips Canipe at the finish, Stallings finishes 5th, Chad Harris claims the transfer spot. Another heavy collision in the final turn involving Terry Carroll and Kevin Parker
(3:26) -- Brian Pembelton in the 10 spot on the restart.
(3:24) -- We are ready to roll again, only a few laps left, so the restart into Turn 1 could be a problem again. Green-White-Checkered finish. Has the feel of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 finish earlier this year in the Sprint Cup race.
(3:21) -- Crews are out trying to clean up the debris and get the cars off the track in Turns 1&2, a very heavy collision, one of many so far today. Surely won't be the last. Everyone is ok though after the latest accident.
(3:18) -- No. 15 car Jamie Byrd and No. 41 car Rusty Skewes get locked up in another spin out in Turn 1 out of the restart on lap 47, that brings out a red flag to clean up substantial damage. Sellers is also out as the fight for the top 10 has taken its toll on some unfortunate drivers.
(3:14) -- Back to green flag action as Sellers leads the pack down the straightaway, but comes off the pace around Turn 3 into pit road with 5 laps to go.
(3:10) -- Big wreck out of Turn 1 going for the transfer spot as the No. 48 car of Hunter Devers suffered serious damage to the back.
(3:08) -- Sellers goes into the restart in the top spot, Bassett Jr. is third. Ready for the green flag here with under 15 laps to go.
(3:04) -- Wreck out of Turn 4 as the No. 9 car of Brad Kurth is in trouble, Kurth started 2nd on the grid. Caution is out for the first time in today's last chance race.
(3:01) -- Clean action so far and Canipe still holds the lead past the halfway point
(2:51) -- And away we go as the VIFRL300 last chance race is underway.
(2:49) -- The pace car is leading the group around the track as we are get ready for some more racing action at Martinsville Speedway.
(2:41) -- Dexter Canipe and Brad Kurth are on the starting grid for the last chance race. Other notables in their starting positions are: Peyton Sellers in fifth, Blake Stallings in seventh, Ronnie Bassett Jr. in ninth.
(2:37) -- The cars are coming out on to the track for the last chance race as 10 lucky drivers will join the 32 locked in. This should get wild here in a few minutes.
(2:20) -- There were no heats that finished with all cars on the final lap, that sets up a very intriguing last chance race with 36 cars vying for 10 spots.
(2:11) -- The top 8 in Heat 4 are: Philip Morris, Garrett Campbell, Mike Looney, Rodney Cook, Kenny Brooks, Ryan Wilson, Scott Turlington, and Coleman Pressley.
(2:06) -- Matt Bowling and Matt Kean are locked into the field for the feature race.
(2:04) -- The heat races are over and now the field is getting set for the 50 lap last chance race as the top 10 will join the other 32 qualifiers to round out the full 42-car feature race field.
(2:01) -- The top 8 in Heat race 3 are Mike Darne, Davin Scites, Ben Rhodes, Matt Waltz, Dustin Rumley, Jeffrey Oakley, Chad Finchum and Austin Thaxton.
(2:00) -- The top 8 are clear, but the battle for first is a fierce one and it's Morris holding on for the heat win. The No. 59 Coleman Pressley takes the transfer spot in 8th.
(1:56) -- No. 26 Philip Morris is in a battle with No. 12 Garrett Campbell who had the pole for this heat. Morris takes the lead.
(1:54) -- Green flag is back out.
(1:52) -- Yet another caution comes out of turns 1&2, the No. 96 car of Andrew Thomas suffers the blow. The racing is tight and to the bumper so far today
(1:50) -- Tight pack right now looking to make the top 8. Could see some more action out of turn 2.
(1:49) -- And here we go another caution is done, all caution laps do not count in the heat races, but will count in the last chance race. Green means go!
(1:46) -- The No. 59 car of Neil Culley Jr. is spun out of turn 2, it's been a tough turn to negotiate all afternoon.
(1:45) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been cleared to race in next week's Tums Fast Relief 500. And were are under green for the final heat race.
(1:43) -- Getting ready for our final qualifying Heat race of the day as the next 8 spots are up for grabs in today's feature race.
(1:41) -- Mike Darne takes Heat race 3 and the top 8 were safe as the No. 02 car of Austin Thaxton takes the transfer spot.
(1:36) -- Green flag is back with 9 laps to go.
(1:33) -- No. 16 Jeffrey Oakley currently holding down the transfer position, tight race in the middle of the pack and some smoke out of the No. 2 Dennis Setzer busts the motor, bringing out another caution on lap 14. Setzer started the heat in second position
(1:30) -- Good battle going on for the coveted transfer spot, again the top 8 in each heat race move on to the show.
(1:28) -- And we are back to racing here in Heat race 3.
(1:25) -- We have 5 cars involved in a wreck out of the first turn on the first lap of Heat race 3. All cars are good though and we are undergoing
yet another caution.
(1:23) -- And we are set for the green flag for Heat race 3. Good action in the first two.
(1:20) -- The first two Heat races are in the books, plenty of fender-bender action over the first 50 laps, as the 3rd Heat race prepares to come out on the track.
(1:18) -- Matt McCall wins Heat race 2 with Bowling second, C.E. Falk third, Michael McGuire fourth.
(1:13) -- Plenty of damage to the No. 77 car as it heads to the garage and get ready for our 5th overall restart and third here in Heat race 2
(1:10) -- Big wreck out of turn 4, between the No. 68 Brandon Brown and No. 77 Alex Yontz that leaves Yontz in the wall. Safety crew is working on the scene.
(1:07) -- The fight for the transfer spot at the No. 8 position has been fierce in both Heat races so far this afternoon, getting ready for the restart.
(1:05) -- Under our second caution in Heat race 2. Bowling is second.
(12:56) -- Heat race 2 is underway. Ridgeway's Matt Bowling is in second, which is where he started. Bowling has qualified for this race twice. C.E. Falk is in seventh. Falk is currently first in the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown standings. Bowling needs to qualify and beat Falk by two positions today to win (assuming he doesn't get passed by someone behind him in the standings.)
(12:48) -- The first heat race is over. Here's your order: 1-Lee Pulliam, 2- B.J. Mackey, 3-Josh Berry, Deac McCaskill, Kris Bowen, Steven Berry, Tony Keen and Adam Long advance. Keen is a Martinsville native and has never qualified for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 as a driver. He started in 10th and moved up three spots.
(12:41) -- We're moving on from our second wreck in Turn 2. As we prepare for the second caution to end, Lee Pulliam still leads. Martinsville's Tony Keen is in ninth. Collinsville's Kevin Parker is in tenth.
(12:35)-- We have our first wreck. With three drivers competing for the eighth and final qualifying spot in this heat race, Ronnie Bassett Jr. wrecked Danville's Peyton Sellers. Martinsville's Tony Keen, who was running eighth, was able to slip ahead of the wreck. Sellers is restarting in 11th after the caution. Bassett Jr. is behind the pack in 19th. Keen still holding down 8th place.
(12:30) -- Tony Keen is in a real battle for this eighth spot. Right now he holds it. If he maintains that position, the Martinsville native will qualify for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300.
(12:28) -- After 10 completed laps, last year's winner Lee Pulliam is still leading the first heat race. Martinsville's Tony Keen is in ninth. Collinsville's Kevin Parker is in 14th. The top eight from each heat race will advance.
(12:23) -- Heat 1 racers are making their three warmup laps right now. Again, Lee Pulliam is in the first position. Also in this heat is Collinsville's Kevin Parker.
(12:18 p.m.) -- Cars are moving off the track as we prepare for the first heat race here. Last year's winner Lee Pulliam has the first starting position in heat 1.
Not at the race today? No problem. We're keeping a live blog of today's Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 Late Model race at Martinsville Speedway. Be sure to follow along as we go through the qualifying heat races, last chance race and of, course, the race itself.