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Peyton Sellers Finally Conquers the Martinsville 300

The victory comes in his 15th start over 20 years.


hero image for Peyton Sellers Finally Conquers the Martinsville 300

20 years of trying, 20 years of frustration.

No, Mike Joy wasn’t on the call for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 on Saturday night, but the analogy applied as Peyton Sellers finally broke through to win the most prestigious Late Model Stock race of the season two decades after his debut appearance.

And the circumstances couldn’t have been any sweeter either, coming just days after the NASCAR Weekly Series National Championship was decided against his favor under messy circumstances -- an audit of races over the summer that seemingly overturned his points lead after the final weekend.

And then, he immediately turned his attention to Martinsville, the big white whale that had eluded him in 14 previous starts over 20 years. It was responding to a tremendous disappointed with a race that perpetually disappointed him.

Instead, Sellers methodically marched his way from the sixth starting position to take the lead by the restart following the halfway break … but still need to overcome that familiar boogeyman -- all the things that can go wrong.

He lost the lead on the long run, and after retaking the lead, needed to withstand a charge on several late restarts from Carson Kvapil and Jacob Heafner. But something weird happened in that nothing went wrong.

Sellers simply kept driving away.

"There was like a wall of protection around my car tonight," Sellers said. "Things kept happening that I can't explain. I was able to get to the bottom when I needed to, get to the top when I needed to. That's what it takes to win at Martinsville Speedway.

"I don't take this for granted. I don't take it lightly. People keep saying 'you deserve to win Martinsville' and you don't deserve to win anywhere. It takes putting in the work and then being in the right place at the right time and we were tonight."

So, was it worth trading a third NASCAR National Championship for the long sought-after grandfather clock?

A long pause.

"Every day of the week."

And then another pause.

"This whole national championship thing has drained a lot of emotions out of me the last four or five days,” Sellers added. "I don’t want to say anything negative towards anybody, but it all happened so we can be sitting where we’re at right now. No doubt in my mind."

It was the culmination of a childhood coming to this race and watching from the backstretch grandstands and then becoming one of the most decorated drivers to have never won the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.

Sellers had been wrecked from the lead, cut a tire from inside the top five and was even once eliminated from contention with a power steering pump failure. It really was similar to Dale at Daytona, and those chasing him in the final laps knew it.

Carson Kvapil lined up beside him on the final restart, when he could have chosen the bottom, but wanted to beat the No. 26 straight up.

"I could have rolled to his bumper," Kvapil said. "That might have been the losing move for me. I didn’t want to win it like that."

That sentiment was shared by Jacob Heafner as well:

"I could have pulled a short track move, and washed them both up the track, but Peyton has been coming here for so long and I didn’t want to do it that way."

For a guy that has such a polarizing personality on the track, that is incredible awareness and respect for what the Sellers family has done in short track racing off it, and the understanding of what this moment would mean to the brothers and their dad.

Burt was on the spotter stand and HC was making the calls on the pit box!

To even get the lead in the first place, Sellers needed to outduel 2016 winner Mike Looney, and the fellow Virginia couldn’t deny the resolve he saw out of him.

"Peyton Sellers is hard to beat on restarts," Looney said. "He's an animal behind the wheel. He's been coming up here for a long time. The clock is going back to Danville."

Actually, it’s staying in Martinsville because Sellers is giving the prestigious trophy to longtime sponsor Clarence’s Steakhouse.

"To have them stick with me for over 20 years now, that’s unheard of," Sellers said. "That orange and white car belongs in Victory Lane at Martinsville and the trophy belongs here too."

So now, Sellers adds the Martinsville 300 to a resume that already included two NASCAR Weekly Series National Championships, six South Boston Speedway championships and another Virginia Triple Crown championship.

Maybe it’s time to chase some Super Late Model majors.

"I’ve always wanted to run the Snowball Derby," Sellers said. "It’s just always a matter of building the momentum through the year. You can’t just show up in December. You have to run five or six races throughout the summer. Maybe 10 races and get used to the car.

"As far as Late Model Stock racing, this sealed a lot of deals for me, especially with another Virginia Triple Crown. The best of the best race in these races and winning that championship was just as big for us too."

White whale, vanquished.

2022 ValleyStar Credit Union 300
Martinsville Speedway
September 25 2022

  1. Peyton Sellers
  2. Carson Kvapil
  3. Jacob Heafner
  4. Mike Looney
  5. Kaden Honeycutt
  6. Chase Burrow
  7. Daniel Silvestri
  8. Timothy Peters
  9. Corey Heim
  10. Jonathan Shafer
  11. Jared Fryar
  12. Connor Hall
  13. Bobby McCarty
  14. Matt Cox
  15. Carter Langley
  16. Ryan Matthews
  17. Mason Diaz
  18. Doug Barnes Jr.
  19. Brenden Queen
  20. Dexter Canipe
  21. Braden Rogers
  22. Davey Callihan
  23. Kyle Barnes
  24. Austin Somero
  25. Camden Gullie
  26. Thomas Scott
  27. Landon Pembelton
  28. Trevor Ward
  29. Craig Moore
  30. Dylan Ward
  31. Mark Wertz
  32. Jake Crum
  33. Ryan Wilson
  34. Mini Tyrrell
  35. Kres VanDyke
  36. Kyle Dudley
  37. Ty Majeski
  38. Trent Barnes
  39. Dustin Rumley
  40. Tate Fogleman