Craig Murto

Craig Murto

Peyton Sellers should probably change his first name to “pay day.”

The 35-year-old NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Late Model Stock Car driver from Danville, Virginia, scored the $10,000 win in the 200-lap feature at South Boston (Virginia) Speedway in impressive fashion.

A former Weekly Racing Series National Champion, Sellers muscled his way between the cars of Trey Crews and Lee Pulliam with 15 laps remaining to grab the lead. Pulliam, another former national champion, put on a charge to retake the position, but came up short, even after an attempt to reach Sellers’ bumper in Turn 3 of the final lap.

The race was the first event of the Virginia Triple Crown, which also includes the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway later this month and the big Late Model race at Martinsville on Oct. 5. The three drivers with the best average finish between the three races earn bonus money.

The South Boston race was split into two parts. Josh Berry, driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr., led the majority of the first 100 laps. But after the halfway break, the top 10 cars were inverted, and Berry sustained damage attempting to race his way back to the front.

Another former national champion, Philip Morris, tangled with Sellers while battling for fifth early in the second half, ending his night.

A standing-room-only crowd watched 31 Late Model Stock Cars take the green flag. The win was the fourth for Sellers at South Boston this season. Pulliam and Crews finished second and third, with Mike Looney and Cory Heim rounding out the top five.

Winchester Speedway ran an efficient show and beat the rain over the weekend to see Trevor Feathers win the Super Late Model feature and Mike Franklin win in Crate Late Models. At Hagerstown, Bruce Kane scored the victory in the headlining Late Model Sportsman division. And the exciting Virginia Sprint Series (VSS) was at Shenandoah Speedway, where Mike Leraas grabbed his first win of the year to become the eighth different winner in 2019 VSS competition.

NASCAR’s Cup series ran at Chicagoland Speedway, and Alex Bowman scored his first win in the rain-delayed race after an incredible late-race back-and-forth battle with Kyle Larson.

I was not a big fan of the high-downforce rule package NASCAR put in place for this season but I have to admit that at most facilities the racing this season has been incredible. Haters are always going to hate, especially the Internet warriors who never get out of their basements. But don’t listen to them; NASCAR racing has been the best it’s been in years.

There are still issues NASCAR will face. The charter system, for example, doesn’t appear to be attracting any new car owners. But the on-track product is entertaining, and that’s what it’s all about.

Even Formula One had an entertaining race at the Austrian Grand Prix, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen rebounded from a horrible start to battle Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the win with less than five laps to go.

In an exciting move, Verstappen got underneath Leclerc’s car on a righthander and pushed the Ferrari driver wide. It was an exciting move, but the race ended with a cloud hanging over it as stewards decided to “investigate” the move.

It was only a few weeks ago that F1 stewards took away Sebastian Vettel’s win in Canada under a rule that prevents unsafe re-entry onto the track. That ruling was controversial, as the incident was simply hard racing, nobody crashed, and very few former racers agreed with the call to strip Vettel of his win by giving him a five-second penalty.

Thankfully in Austria, the stewards decided not to issue any penalties. But the simple fact that they even considered it shows just how ridiculous F1 has become, when the only exciting racing of the entire season becomes subject to stewards’ scrutiny.

First off, F1 should revisit the rule book to ensure that good, hard racing is not penalized. Then, rather than use different former drivers as stewards at different events, F1 should hire former drivers full time to be the stewards for the entire season. That way rulings will be consistent.

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.