When Philip Morris rolls into South Boston Speedway Saturday for the NASCAR Late Model Twin 75s program, he will be looking over his shoulder for Thomas Scott and Peyton Sellers in the chase for the 2018 track championship.
That’s certainly not the case for Morris, though, in his chase for a fifth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
In an ironic, unusual twist, the competition is much closer to Morris at his home track than across the rest of the nation.
Morris, with three wins in five South Boston starts this season, has an 11-point lead over Thomas Scott in the Late Model points standings and a 20-point advantage over third-place Peyton Sellers. Austin Thaxton is just 33 points back in fourth.
Scott is winless on the season but has run consistently in the top five. Sellers, the defending track champion, has one win. Brandon Pierce, who is not running for the track championship, also has a win.
While it would take only a mistake or two in either of Saturday’s twin 75-lap races for Morris to lose the lead in track points, such isn’t the case in the national points. He has built a 98-point lead over California racer Alan Lawless, who competes at Irwindale Speedway and Kern County Raceway, a pair of California tracks.
Morris’ impressive national points lead has been built on an incredibly hot start to the 2018 season and not just at South Boston Speedway. Racing throughout Virginia and the Carolinas, Morris has 10 wins, 12 top 5s and 13 top 10s in 15 starts this season.
One of the keys to Morris’ large points lead is the Late Model car count at South Boston. Under NASCAR’s weekly racing points system, there needs to be 18 cars in the field to receive maximum points for a win. The Late Model field at South Boston has averaged just over 20 per race, one of the largest among NASCAR-sanctioned tracks.
The Limited Sportsman points battle is fierce, also, with Trey Crews holding a one-point advantage over Ross “Boo” Dalton headed into Saturday night’s 50-lapper.
Johnny Layne, who has swept the two Budweiser Pure Stock starts in 2018, has a 14-point lead over Scott Philips and a 15-point margin over Harrison Walker.
In the Budweiser Hornets class, Cameron Jarrell has a two-point margin over defending champ Tyler Crute.
The Pure Stocks will run a 30-lap race Saturday and the Hornets a 15-lapper.
Dennis Holdren, who won the only Mod 4 race contested this season, has a four-point lead over Cory Dunn and a five-point advantage over Josh Phillips going into Saturday’s 30-lapper.
Grandstands open at 5:30 Saturday afternoon with qualifying set for 6 and the first race at 7.
Ticket stubs from the May 28 event, which was cut short by rain, will be good for admission Saturday night.
Adult tickets are $10 and children 12 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult.