Drivers Agree MDCU 300 Test Session Critical

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Derrick Lancaster hopes his Martinsville bad luck is in the rear view mirror.

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When it comes to the MDCU 300 Lee Pulliam and Derrick Lancaster are at opposite ends of the racing spectrum.

Pulliam has won the prestigious Late Model Stock car race at Martinsville Speedway. Lancaster has never made the field. But there is one thing the pair of hard-charging weekly racers shares: an understanding of the importance of next Wednesday’s day-long test session for the race.

“It’s the most important thing ever,” said Lancaster, a successful Christiansburg businessman who has a passion for racing. “There’s no use to come to the race if you don’t test. That’s how important it is.”

Pulliam won the MDCU 300 in 2011 and followed that with back-to-back NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championships in 2012 and 2013. With all the success and experience, Pulliam says Wednesday’s test is vital.

“The test date is extremely important to us. We get to go to Martinsville Speedway once a year. Things change so much and we’re just trying to stay ahead of those changes,” said Pulliam. “And that makes testing important.”

Lancaster’s 2014 season has been one of peaks and valleys. He got off to a strong start at the three tracks he races at regularly: Motor Mile Speedway, Lonesome Pine Speedway and Kingsport Speedway. At one point he had climbed to 13th in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings. Then, mid-season, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease and the bottom fell out.

“It knocked me down,” Lancaster said. “I couldn’t do anything.”

Lancaster believes he is close to 100 percent healthy these days and is fully focused on the MDCU 300 and the day of testing.

“You’ve got to try everything, every aspect,” Lancaster said of his team’s test-day plans. “You’ve got to find out what’s going to work best for you. We’ll try a lot of different setups, some off the wall stuff, and hopefully some of it will work.

“I’ve never made that race. I’ve never had any luck there at all. I started second in a heat race a couple of times, but just never had any luck. That makes the test even bigger.”

Pulliam has raced to another amazing season with 24 wins, 39 top-five finishes and 40 top-10s in 44 starts and still has a shot at a third consecutive national title. But he would love to have another of the iconic grandfather clocks that go to Martinsville Speedway race winners, and a solid test day is important to reach that goal.

“We’ll work hard all day,” Pulliam said of the test. “We’ll try several qualifying packages. And then we’ll work on long runs. It’s a long race for us, so we’ve got to have balance all day and speed at the end. Hopefully we’ll have a good hot rod for the race.”

Wednesday’s test session is open to the public at no charge. Grandstand gates will open at 9 a.m.

The nation’s richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock race, which pays $25,000 to the winner, is sponsored by Martinsville DuPont Credit Union.

Race day will kick off on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. with an autograph session on the front stretch featuring the entire field of drivers. The first heat race will take the green at 12 p.m., with the 200-lap feature beginning at approximately 3 p.m.

Tickets for the MDCU 300 are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com. Adult tickets are $30 and youth 12-and-under tickets are $5.

 

 

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2014 MDCU 300

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