An event-record crowd filled Martinsville Speedway on Saturday night for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and witnessed the first race under the Speedway’s new LED lights. That crowd didn’t leave disappointed as veteran Timothy Peters held off furious charges from 2017 Whelen All-American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam and veteran Peyton Sellers for the win.
For Peters, his second win in NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious 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, who finished second, was gracious in defeat.
“I just talked to Timothy last week and he congratulated me on winning the (National Championship) and I said hopefully we can race for the win in this race. So, it was pretty cool to finish one and two,” Pulliam said. “I just fought and clawed the whole race trying to get track position and we had about a third or fourth place car and ended up finishing second.”
Peters not only won the race, but, as a result of his victory, edged out Sellers by .3 points in the Virginia Triple Crown, which pays $10,000 to the driver with the lowest average finish in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway, the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
Coupled with the $25,000 for winning the race, Peters took home $35,000 in race winnings.
“Number one, it’s bragging rights… People say ‘what do you think about Martinsville?’ and I always say ‘a competitor comes up here to win a race for bragging rights. Then the clock. Then the money is about third or fourth down and that’s not too bad,” Peters said. “That can go right back into infrastructure for the team.”
While the ValleyStar Credit Union seldom disappoints, this race had drivers talking more about the lights than anything.
“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.”
Pole sitter Jake Crum finished fourth, while Trever Noles rounded out the top-five.
The race was slowed by caution flags a total of 10 times, and was stopped twice for red flags.
The new LED lights will be in action again on October 29, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Martinsville for the First Data 500. The race starts at 3 p.m. and should finish after sunset. The race is also the first race in the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, and the winning driver could be the first to secure a spot in the Championship Race.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.