NASCAR Cup Series
The Ball is Rolling on Helio Castroneves' NASCAR Debut
Jun 23, 2022
Peyton Sellers is a student of the game.
The two-time NASCAR Weekly Series champion has a niche fan base built upon his success in a Late Model Stock across the Mid-Atlantic but also resulting from the class in which he’s conducted himself with over the past two decades.
At his core, the 38-year-old is just a diehard race fan living out his dreams, a devotee of multiple disciplines who intends to serve as an ambassador for his various communities upon taking his turn in the SRX Ringer Car on Saturday night at South Boston Speedway in Virginia.
In his office sits trophies from various triumphs over the years, but also artifacts from other forms of motorsports – photos of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pagoda and old USAC Championship Cars respectively.
When not racing for a NASCAR national championship, Sellers competes in track days at nearby Virginia International Raceway. His formative racing years took place on dirt. He piloted a DP2 in the 2005 Rolex 24 and has 28 Xfinity Series starts.
On Sunday, he will drive the same No. 26 that Bubba Pollard wowed the crowd with in winning the first heat and driving back to second in the feature after puncturing a left rear 20 laps after the green flag. He will have the same opportunity as Pollard to take the fight to the legends of motorsports in an equally prepared car with a home field advantage.
"I'm like a kid in the candy store right now," Sellers said. "I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Seeing Bubba run up front, lead laps and run up front, I can't wait.
"South Boston is going to be packed, there's going to be a pit party. They've pre-sold a lot of tickets. Live TV. I grew up seeing these guys. I grew up watching these guys race Indianapolis. They're my heroes and to race door to door with them will be a neat opportunity for me."
Before Pollard earned the respect of Ryan Newman and Paul Tracy, the same opportunity was afforded to Doug Coby, Brian Brown, Cody Swanson, Bobby Santos III and Luke Fenhaus last season. It’s a tremendous spotlight for a driver accustomed to racing in front of a couple of thousand at most.
Coby was provided a Truck Series start after winning the inaugural event at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Sellers wants two things to come out of his turn in the Ringer Car. He wants fans to pack the Virginia bullring to see him earn the respect of the veterans he admires the most.
"I've been telling people for weeks mow, whether you're a Peyton Sellers fan or not, come on out to South Boston this weekend and see what it's all about," Sellers said. "Come root for me to beat Tony Stewart, Helio or whoever it is or to root for them to beat me. Come out and enjoy the show and the exceptional amount of talent that's going to be here.
"But I also want these guys to respect me by the end, feel comfortable racing door-to-door and know that even though I never made it to the upper echelon of racing, that there is as much talent racing these short tracks on Saturdays as anywhere you go.
"I want them to leave town knowing I race hard, didn't wreck anyone and had a battle. I want to fulfill that childhood dream of racing that way against these guys."
So, is there any nerves in advance of Saturday?
"Listen, I want to carry the banner for every short track guy, coast-to-coast, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself," Sellers said. "We race our Late Model Stock about 40 times a year and there is a lot of pressure in racing for a national championship, track points and the big money races.
"So for this, I just want to go out there, relax, figure out what the car needs, make some adjustments and hopefully be in contention by the end."