It’s not often when a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National title is on the line that a driver can visit one track for two days and have four points-paying opportunities to compete. It’s also not that often that three drivers from the same state find themselves in a heated battle for a National championship.
Philip Morris, Peyton Sellers, and Mike Looney all find themselves deep into a season-long battle for supremacy as they chase the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship and this weekend all three drivers will make their way to Lucama, NC just minutes off of I-95 in Kenly, NC to compete for two straight days and in four feature races.
Currently, Sellers and Morris find themselves deadlocked in the points with just five weeks remaining to gain points. Sellers says it’s crunch time now.
“We’ve went heads up a lot of times this season,” Sellers told RACE22 speaking of racing against Morris and Looney. “It’s crunch time now. You’ve gotta put points up and get all the races in that you can. We’re going to go heads up with them a lot over the next few weeks.”
Sellers knows going to Southern National this weekend is a big opportunity to gain an edge on his competition.
“We’ve figured out how many more races we can run,” Sellers said. “Half our races are going to come this weekend. We’ve got to make the most of it. We’ve got to have a good run. Is it do or die to win? I don’t think so. We’re going to race heads up some more.”
Morris is going back to Southern National after a third-place finish their in his first start this season and knows it’s going to be tough.
“Tough place, banked track,” Morris told RACE22. “Going to be a lot of cars there and we’re just going to be one of 20 cars that can win. Probably Peyton and Looney will be there because it’s such a great opportunity.”
Looney has never raced at Southern National Motorsports Park and thinks he has a better car for Langley Speedway, but with only one points-paying race there he knows he’ll have to go to Southern National.
“I’ve tested there once but never raced there,” Looney told RACE22. “I don’t even know what the numbers on their carbs mean. I’m going to have to call some friends and see if we’re close. I have a car for Langley and that’s a better five hours for me but Greg’s (Edwards) is on a roll there. Southern National is a great opportunity for points and I just hope we can dial it in there.”
Looney’s team only has a Ford 347SR and a Chevrolet Upgrade (Spec) engine but for this week another competitor has loaned him a Harrington engine and a 604 crate engine to compete with at Southern National since the Spec and Ford are both handicapped by the rules there. Chris and Aaron Donnelly have become friends with Looney’s team and Looney wanted to rent a Harrington engine and they said to just come get it, that they were proud of them and wanted to help.
The Limited Late Model rules that Southern National competes under is another challenge for the Late Model Stock Car heavyweights as they make their way to a track that neither of the three competes at regularly. Morris will be competing in a Mike Darne prepared car that is owned by Adam Murray, which helps him curb the differences in rules as Darne prepares cars to run there every week and has had more success than anyone at Southern National in the last four seasons.
That gives Morris an advantage over Sellers and Looney but he knows it’ll be a challenge against the track regulars.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in the guy who owns that car, Adam Murray,” Morris said. “He’s going to give me everything he can and all I gotta do is go out there and drive the wheels off of it and that’s what I like to do. You gotta run there every week I think and those guys have got it down pat. Bradley McCaskill really put a number on me down there last time and I learned a lot. I’m going back with a pretty experience guy Mike Darne and that’s something that’s going to pay off in the long run.”
Sellers feels that the biggest challenge to Southern National is the rules.
“Adjusting to the horsepower,” Sellers said. “We had one of Bruce Anderson/Landon Pembleton Limited cars down there before. Right now it’s getting back adjusted to having no horsepower. Our Late Model Stock Cars have 550 horsepower and those cars have got 50 less horsepower.”
Sellers is in the air about what car he’s bringing to Southern National.
“We’re up in the air about that right now,” Sellers explained. “We’re going to test later this week and figure that out. That car is setup for Limited and it makes more sense to just bring that car but also I think it’s time to go try and win races. So, I’ll bring my own Late Model and I’m kinda on the fence right now.”
With three of the top four in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National points standings headed to Lucama, NC you know it’s going to be an event you won’t want to miss. If you can’t make it to either day, RACE22.com is planning RACEDAY LIVE updates and coverage on Facebook throughout the weekend.
Cover photo by Andy Newsome.