MDCU 300 – RACE RECAP
HEADLINE: 2014 Motor Mile Speedway track champion Lee Pulliam nets his second Martinsville Speedway MDCU 300 victory following a pivotal late-race restart involving Peyton Sellers.
“The last four years we’ve had a shot to win the race, and every year I’ve felt like we’ve had the winning car I’ve been wrecked or something crazy has happened. The years I’ve won it I haven’t felt like I’ve had the winning car, and I’ve got it done. It’s pretty wild. They say the best car never wins here at Martinsville…it’s a tough race.”
*Sellers has been checked and released from the infield care center; has declined post-race interviews*
“It’s kind of hard to sum it up– to say this was just as good of a day [as last year]. I really feel like we had a better car last year, especially earlier in the day. We battled Timothy [Peters] for the lead last year. We didn’t get to show it as much in the second half after the flat. We just got lucky last year. But I’d rather be lucky than good any day.”
MDCU 300 RESULTS: (Motor Mile Speedway Regulars)
UNDER CAUTION: PULLIAM WINS!
LAP 199 – 11th CAUTION– Sellers and Lemons tangle entering turn one on white flag lap; Sellers can’t hang on. No. 99 snaps sideways, and is rammed -driver’s side door- by Anthony Anders.
LAP 198- Pulliam jumps start, Sellers lagged back.
RESTART LAP 197
-Looney forced to the rear of the field after stalling; field was mandated to stop in two after waiting on NASCAR to remove a jet dryer—frustrating for Looney. Would have restarted sixth.
– Give a nod to Kyle Dudley—remarkable run after capitalizing on the free-pass; not a scratch on the no. 51. He and Bowling have shots at a top ten after overcoming adversity.
LAP 194 – 10th CAUTION – Slow-developing crash consumes several cars in turn two. Lazy spin by McGuire sparks calamity in the apex of the corner. RED FLAG.
RESTART LAP 192 – Timothy Peters car has stalled on the backstretch and has forfeited his position.
LAP 190 – COMPETITION CAUTION
LAP 187- Sellers has breathing room for the first time in many, many circuits.
LAP 184- Pulliam back by Bassett in what has become a see-saw battle for 4th.
LAP 183- Bassett has passed Pulliam, and is itching to join the battle for second.
LAP 181- Sellers will not give up the top spot. Rallies back to the outside of Darne in turn four. Now, Peters joins the fray for first.
LAP 179- LEAD CHANGE- Darne has muscled past Sellers at the line.
LAP 176- Looney is going to work on 11th. Lemons has maintained 7th, and has no company in his immediate vicinity.
LAP 174- Darne has closed the gap on Sellers…less than one car length entering turn two.
LAP 172- Pulliam is in jeopardy of relinquishing 4th to Bassett…Bassett is relentless.
LAP 169- Pulliam can’t shake Bassett, who has laid the bumper to Pulliam in the apex of both corners for almost two laps.
LAP 168- Looney completes a pass for 12th.
LAP 167- Sellers has 2 car lengths on Darne, who is holding up Peters.
LAP 161- Pulliam marching towards the front. Up to fourth.
LAP 157- Sellers uses the outside of turn four to again advance his position…this time, its for the lead. LEAD CHANGE.
RESTART LAP 156
UNDER CAUTION- Well-timed caution for Sellers, who was gradually losing touch with Darne for first. This caution is also a big break for Pulliam, who re-joins the frontrunners.
LAP 151- 8th CAUTION – DEBRIS – Kyle Dudley receives free pass.
LAP 150- Sellers has Peters filling up his rear-view mirror. Sellers slipping…
LAP 147- Looney has made no gains; still sits 16th.
LAP 143- Pulliam up to 6th. He’s turning up the wick. The no.5 looks like a contender again. Pulliam has a lot of ground to make up, however. Five car lengths behind frontrunners.
LAP 141- Pulliam surges past Lemons entering turn one. That was the battle for seventh. Pulliam targets Pressley into three.
LAP 138- Morris and Pulliam continue to spar in the back half of the top ten; Pulliam skates up the banking in turn two, but gathers it up off the corner.
LAP 135- Sellers, after faltering on the restart, rockets past Peters to re-take second…from the OUTSIDE in turn four. Sellers is very strong.
RESTART LAP 134
UNDER CAUTION: Sellers has come to life following the halfway break. The no. 99 looks like a brand-new race car. Team no. 99 has momentum coming to the restart; currently second.
LAP 129 – 7th CAUTION – DEBRIS: GR Waldrop gets free pass.
LAP 126- Sellers has caught fire. No. 99 working over no. 14 of Mike Darne for first.
LAP 124- Morris spears Pulliam in apex of turns one and two. Pulliam now trapped on the outside. An old rivalry renewed?
RESTART LAP 122
LAP 119 – 6th CAUTION – Melee in turn two collects McCaskill. McCaskill’s no. 08 was in front of the crash, and should have managed to escape without incident. The no. 70 of Gary Lewis bounced off the curb, careening wildly up the banking, dive-bombing McCaskill’s left-rear in the process. At least three other machines are involved. McCaskill’s no. 08 has substantial damage to the left side of the car. RED FLAG.
LAP 115- Pulliam plunges three-wide on Philip Morris in turn three, Morris promptly backs out of the impending fracas.
RESTART LAP 113
UNDER CAUTION- Sellers escaped the initial scuffle with third, vaulting back into contention from his seventh place (re)starting spot. Lemons and Pulliam did not have as fortuitous a restart; both remain in the back-half of the top ten.
LAP 107 – 5th CAUTION– One car crash in apex of turns one and two.
LAP 103- Briar patch up front, no one has anywhere to go; double-file/white-knuckle action. Tense moments for Sellers, Lemons…
5:03 PM – START OF 2ND HALF – GREEN FLAG
RESTART 2ND HALF-
DURING BREAK- NASCAR Officials say the TOP 9 cars will be inverted following the break.
UNDER CAUTION- NASCAR Officials say Bowling will NOT get the free pass; waiting for word on whether or not the no. 83 went one lap down on the last lap.
LAP 100 – COMPETITION CAUTION – Bowling will get free-pass once the race restarts, but the no. 83 looks ill. Something is amiss under the hood; no doubt the team will address it over the break.
LAP 98- Issues much more serious for Bowling. Tire is up, engine is flat.
LAP 96- Bowling has right-front flat. Trying to limp it to the competition caution.
RESTART LAP 94
UNDER CAUTION- Bowling has been on-and-off pit road, and is back on pit road with one to go.
LAP 89 – 3rd CAUTION – DEBRIS
RESTART LAP 86
33. Dudley -1
36. Waldrop -1
LAP 80 – 2nd CAUTION – Single-car spin in turn four.
LAP 77- Grala has opened up a colossal advantage over the ongoing battle for runner-up. Peters has Sellers by three car lengths, but the leader is a half-straightaway ahead.
LAP 74- Pulliam relinquished second to Peters in turn three, and in doing so, Sellers slides through the opening for third. Pulliam backslides to fourth.
LAP 71- Lemons turns his attention back to his front windshield, having successfully staved off a pass. He’s going after Garbo for fifth. Back-half of top ten is converging due to the heavy lapped traffic.
LAP 69- Just like that, Lemons is in jeopardy of losing two positions to Coleman Pressley and Dillon Bassett, respectively. Lemons occupies 6th, and is currently fending off the assault from -where else- the high side of the track. Lemons is in his comfort zone.
LAP 62- Hard to tell whether or not some drivers are in a protective/conservation mode at this juncture, but both Bowling and Lemons are holding station in their respective positions, with a couple car-length safety net around their machines.
LAP 57- Sellers has faded to fourth, after being eclipsed by Timothy Peters. Peters is converging on Pulliam for third. The long green flag run appears to favor Peters no. 47.
LAP 50- Grala is about to overtake Dudley, who is posted 32nd. Waldrop, 35th, has already gone a lap down to the frontrunners.
LAP-48- Looney is quietly up to 13th.
LAP 43- Pulliam is fading from Grala as the leaders navigate lapped traffic. Now that Pulliam’s first real threat for the win has presented himself, it will be interesting to see how Pulliam reacts.
LAP 36- Pulliam yields the inside lane to Grala, who capitalizes with a pass in turn two. LEAD CHANGE. What makes Grala’s surge even more impressive: Grala is operating on 25-lap older tires than Pulliam. Pulliam rides in second.
LAP 34- Pulliam has caught the rear of the field, and Grala has caught Pulliam.
LAP 31- Sellers surrenders a spot to Kaz Grala, who is impressing at Martinsville today. Grala’s no. 31 is hooked-up, and he should have the no. 5 of Pulliam nervous.
LAP 27- Entire field single-file.
LAP 24- Lemons has slipped to fifth, in what is proving to be an unassuming start for the defending champ.
LAP 19- Lead change into turn three, as Pulliam successfully -and gingerly- surpasses Sellers for the point.
LAP 18- The disparity in Hoosier rubber is obvious; Sellers and Pulliam staging their own race up front, at least 15 car-lengths ahead of the field.
LAP 12- Bowling has backslid to 8th following the restart, a net loss of 4 positions.
LAP 10- Looney breaks into the top 15.
LAP 8- Pulliam decides to battle Sellers for the top spot, but after one lap of double-file action, Pulliam pulls in line off turn two.
RESTART- LAP 6
LAP 2 – 1st CAUTION – 3-car collision at the top of turn three. On the start, Pulliam slid in line behind Sellers, with Lemons escaping the pack in third.
3:51 PM – GREEN FLAG
PACE LAPS: Among MMS regulars, it would appear -based on today’s performances- that Matt Bowling has a car capable of contending for the win. Pulliam and Sellers will be on fresher tires to start, but Bowling seems to have an equally-stout machine.
PRE-RACE: It’s an all-Motor Mile Speedway front row for the MDCU 300. Earlier, both Sellers and Pulliam shrugged off questions surrounding who would lead the opening circuit. The pair of national champions have identical approaches, citing patience as a critical component of overall success. Expect a very cautious opening lap, with Pulliam sliding in line behind Sellers.
PRE-RACE: 7 Motor Mile Speedway regulars will start Late Model racing’s most prestigious event. This lineup omits past track champions Philip Morris and Josh Berry, who have also captured starting spots. Davin Scites, Deac McCaskill and Michael McGuire are among the other notables entered with ties to the New River Valley short track, although these competitors did not meet the minimum requirement of races to be considered “regulars” in 2014.
MDCU 300– Lineup
1. Peyton Sellers
2. Lee Pulliam
3. Tommy Lemons, Jr.
4. Matt Bowling
17. Mike Looney
24. GR Waldrop
27. Kyle Dudley
CHECKERED- No MMS regular will transfer in the green-white-checkered scramble for position.
RESTART LAP 22-
LAP 21 – 3rd CAUTION – One car crash at the top of turn 4
LAP 20- Lancaster rides 18th, Bunch has maneuvered to the inside in 21st.
LAP 17- Lancaster glides past Bunch on the inside for position; Bunch is still clinging to the top groove of the track, trapped without a hole to his inside.
LAP 15- Bunch forced three-wide into turn one; move has sent Bunch plummeting through the field, hung out on the high side.
RESTART LAP 13:
*Holdren is off-track
LAP 10 – 2nd CAUTION -DEBRIS
LAP 8- Reedy and Skewes fail to rejoin the field prior to the restart. Apparently, Reedy’s damage more extensive than first thought.
RESTART LAP 5
UNDER CAUTION- Dennis Holdren has been on and off pit road to remove the hood on the no. 52
UNDER CAUTION- Most of the MMS regulars are towards the back of the field at this juncture, with only Bunch in a favorable position near the transfer spot. All other are in a literal danger zone.
LAP 2- CAUTION 1 – Bryan Reedy one of two cars involved in a slow-developing crash in the apex of turns one and two. Reedy has lost his right-front quarter panel in the aftermath. Overall, Reedy escapes a scare.
2:20 PM – GREEN FLAG
LAST CHANCE RACE– Lineup
14. Garrett Bunch
19. Scott Lancaster
21. Bryan Reedy
27. Rusty Skewes
29. Philip Sisson
30. Dennis Holdren
CHECKERED- Looney finishes a solid fifth, and has appeared to have taken care of his tires—this should be an advantage, at least through the first half of the main feature. The no. 02 could be a contender, with Looney piloting arguably the best machine he has had in his career at Martinsville Speedway.
-This is by far the cleanest of the three heats; green flag run developing with nearly entire field single-file.
-Reedy just brushed the no. 17 against the outside wall on the backstretch; the damage is insurmountable for Reedy, although the Chevrolet is still maintaining a competitive pace.
-Looney is clear of traffic, escaping the double-wide briar patch in his rear-view. Morris is closing in behind the no. 02. Looney in a comfortable spot past halfway.
-Looney has worked the outside lane to his advantage as the no. 02 is now shown in the top five.
RESTART LAP ?:
8. Mike Looney
17. Bryan Reedy
LAP 3 – 1st CAUTION- Bryan Reedy is an unfortunate victim of the first caution of the 3rd heat. A collision ahead of the no. 17 left Reedy with nowhere to go and no time to act. The no. 17 has sustained heavy front-end damage. Reedy has yet to visit pit lane.
1:27 PM – GREEN FLAG
HEAT RACE #3– Lineup
7. Mike Looney
17. Bryan Reedy
CHECKERED- After four laps of close-quarter side-by-side racing, Bowling edges in front of Peters out of two to re-claim first and take the win. Bowling should be considered a frontrunner for the clock following that performance.
LAP 21 RESTART
UNDER 2ND RED FLAG- Bowling is the only MMS regular remaining on-track, and has proven to have a superior car. The no. 83 has shown rare strength on the outside lane; Bowling will restart 1st with Peters to his outside.
UNDER 2ND RED FLAG- Yontz has somehow fired the no. 55, and it has limped away from the accident scene.
LAP 18- Yontz has totaled the no. 55 after sliding into a crash unfolding in the apex of turns one and two. With nowhere to go, Yontz pummeled another car, lifting the no. 55 off of the racing surface momentarily. Yontz’s machine has been rendered immobile in turn two.
LAP 16- Bowling hounded by Timothy Peters for top spot; Yontz soldiering on with severe front-end cosmetic damage near the back of the field.
RESTART LAP 15
-Wilson, Lancaster OFF TRACK after front stretch crash.
UNDER RED FLAG- Yontz has brought his no. 55 to the attention of his crew. Minor front end damage. Yontz should manage to continue.
LAP 11- 2nd CAUTION – Ryan Wilson was in a hornet’s nest on the backstretch battling hard for the final transfer spot. On the front straightaway, Wilson became entangled in a multi-car crash unfolding just before the start-finish line. Wilson’s no. 12 is battered, headed for the pits/garage.
LAP 8- Bowling still side-by-side for first; Bowling leads following lap from the outside…stout piece.
RESTART LAP 6:
LAP 3 – CAUTION 1 – Davin Scites, a Motor Mile Speedway fan favorite from season’s past, spins in turn four. No damage.
LAP 1- Bowling into second after intense scramble on back stretch.
12:49 PM– GREEN FLAG
HEAT RACE # 2– Lineup
3. Matt Bowling
11. Alex Yontz
13. Rusty Skewes
15. Ryan Wilson
21. Derrick Lancaster
CHECKERED- Lemons coasts to win, as caution laps consume majority of first feature. Waldrop has impressive showing; not a scratch is on the no. 01. Waldrop places 8th. Dudley also slips through into the main feature after a quietly successful heat race in 9th.
Lancaster, Bunch and Sisson fail to transfer; all are capable of competing in last chance race. The damage on Holdren’s no. 2 is extensive, and may keep the veteran from starting the last chance race.
LAP UNKNOWN- Lemons again out-muscles Garbo for first, Bunch and Lancaster fighting to regain ground on final transfer spot.
2nd CAUTION- Holdren brings out second caution, with debris from the no. 2 has littering the track.
LAP COUNT UNKNOWN- Scoring pylon has failed to update the lap count.
Lap 3- Dudley, Lancaster and Holdren knotted-up battling around the final transfer spot; Lancaster attempting to utilize the outside lane of the track.
LAP 2 – Sisson plummets to last on restart on backstretch, Lemons fends off Garbo for first.
LAP 1 RESTART:
LAP 1 – 1st CAUTION – Caudill and Van Dyke spark melee in turn three. Multi-car collision collects majority of field. Holdren has front-end nose damage that is fairly extensive, all other MMS regulars somehow escape unscathed.
LAP 1- Lemons jumps the start, snares the lead.
12:24 PM – GREEN FLAG
12:21 PM – Cars on track for first heat race
HEAT RACE #1: Lineup – Top 10 Transfer to Feature
1. Tommy Lemons, Jr.
7. Dennis Holdren
13. GR Waldrop
18. Garrett Bunch
19. Kyle Dudley
21. Scott Lancaster
25. Philip Sisson
MOTOR MILE SPEEDWAY REGULARS ENTERED IN MDCU 300
27- Tommy Lemons, Jr.
02- Mike Looney
5- Lee Pulliam
99- Peyton Sellers
52- Dennis Holdren
01- GR Waldrop
25- Derrick Lancaster
22- Scott Lancaster
97- Bryan Reedy
24- Philip Sission
83- Matt Bowling
55- Alex Yontz
4- Rusty Skewes
12- Ryan Wilson
56- Garrett Bunch
51- Kyle Dudley
10:32 AM: NOTES AND QUOTES
PEYTON SELLERS- On the all-Motor Mile Speedway front row:
“It just shows you the competition level at Motor Mile right now. I led the points there for a while, Lee won the points at Motor Mile…there’s really stiff competition there, and it proves itself every time we come to Martinsville- the Motor Mile guys shine through. The quality of cars that come to Motor Mile every week make you better.”
LEE PULLIAM- On who will lead lap one:
“I don’t really care, I just want to lead the last one.”
“I think we’ve got a really good racecar. We just have to be at the right place at the right time. So much of it is about luck. I’ve had a shot to win this race four straight years and I’ve won it once. There’s gonna be a lot of praying going on.”
“We’re blessed to be here on a pretty day, in good equipment. We’re gonna enjoy it. Win, lose, or draw, we just want to have a good time either way. We’ll do our best, and that’s all we can do. I’m going to be cautious; I won’t start racing until lap 100…if we make it that far.”
BRYAN REEDY- On the key to transferring into the feature
“The key is just going for it. If you start holding back, you’re not going to make it. The biggest thing, when it comes right down to it, is luck.”
TOMMY LEMONS, JR- On repeating as Champion of the MDCU 300
“I feel like we have a pretty good shot, here. We did really good through all of our runs yesterday, and actually surprised me a little bit—the speed we had in qualifying. Peyton and Lee are the two that come to mind first among the guys we’ve got to beat. But you can’t count out Philip; he’s always going to be tough here, no matter what. Anybody has a shot today.”