Lee Pulliam (5) leads Mike Looney (87), Philip Morris (01), Thomas Scott and Mike Jones (39) through the turns during the early laps of the first race of the 2019 season at South Boston Speedway. Dinah Mullins photo.

When the green flag waves for the first leg of the Virginia Triple Crown on Saturday night at South Boston Speedway, it’ll feature some of the biggest names in Late Model Stock Car racing.

Among the entries expected for Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 is South Boston Speedway’s version of the big three; Philip Morris, Lee Pulliam & Peyton Sellers. With ten NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National championships among them, Morris, Pulliam, and Sellers are expected to be three of the cars to beat.

Sellers, who won last years Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 in a thrilling battle to the finish with Morris, comes in with the most wins this season with three.  Morris and Pulliam have two wins each at South Boston this season.  Trey Crews and Austin Thaxton have picked up single victories on the season.

Several top drivers from the CARS Tour are also expected including former South Boston Speedway weekly race winners Brandon Pierce and Bobby McCarty. Pierce comes into this race for the first time driving for Lee Pulliam Performance and looks to make a statement.  McCarty comes in with a lot of momentum after taking the CARS Tour points lead in recent weeks and fresh off a second place finish at Dominion Raceway.

CARS Tour Dominion winner Josh Berry is another CARS Tour competitor who will be making the trip to South Boston for the first leg of the Virginia Triple Crown.  Berry has been hot as of late winning two of the last four CARS Tour events despite several late race run-ins with various drivers which have kept him from winning more. CARS Tour regulars Justin T. Carroll, Layne Riggs, and Stacy Puryear also look to have a good run at South Boston.

Langley Speedway regular Brenden Queen leads a host of Langley Speedway area drivers into this years 200-lap race including Mark Wertz, Justin S. Carroll, and Terry Carroll. Queen, who got his first win at Langley Speedway earlier this year has been known to be strong in longer races and with 200-laps to get it done, he might be one to watch.  Wertz, who isn’t racing anywhere full-time this year will look to use his time off from racing every week to his advantage in the extended laps feature.

Other drivers who could play a pivotal role in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 include South Boston Speedway regulars Thaxton, Crews, Mike Jones and Thomas Scott. Scott comes in with three consecutive podium finishes and is hungry for a win on the 4/10 mile speed plant. Part-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Timothy Peters and the most recent ARCA Menards Series winner Ty Gibbs will be tough as well in Nelson Motorsports entries.

Mike Looney, who has won three times already this season with two wins at Motor Mile Speedway and a win in his first career start at Langley Speedway last week could also be one of the drivers to beat. Looney had a couple of strong runs early in the season at South Boston but is still looking for his first career win there.

Corey Heim will also compete in this race for his first time back to South Boston Speedway since being disqualified from twin wins in his first starts in a Late Model Stock Car. Heim would love to redeem himself from that night with a win in the tracks staple event. The driver who picked up those wins after Heim’s disqualification, Ryan Repko will also be in the field. Repko competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series a few weeks back at Iowa and will look to get his first Late Model Stock Car win of the season.

Another driver looking for redemption is Ryan Wilson, who had a dominant car at Motor Mile Speedway a couple of weeks ago but was unable to secure a win.  Since moving to TORP chassis a couple of months ago, Wilson has been having a resurgence and looks to South Boston for his first win of the season. Another Ryan, Ryan Millington is also expected to run in his first Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200. Millington a former champion at Hickory Motor Speedway and the current points leader at Ace Speedway has just one start at South Boston but he could find himself in the thick of things in a long race, where tire wear is king.

Tyler Hughes leads a couple of Dominion Raceway regulars to South Boston. Hughes had a great run in last years race battling Sellers for the lead at times during the late stages of the race. Hughes comes into this race having won two races already this season at Dominion and will look to add the prestigious Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 trophy to his resume.

Plenty of other drivers capable of competing for the victory make up the rest of the 34-cars that have been confirmed as expected entries for the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway. This race will set the stage for the remaining Virginia Triple Crown races including the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

One top driver who won’t be making the curtain call for the first race of the Virginia Triple Crown will be last years Martinsville race winner CE Falk. Falk is sidelined after a hard crash at Motor Mile Speedway two weeks ago when he and Kres VanDyke made contact during the late stages of the race. The crash destroyed Falk’s car and he won’t be ready to race in time for Saturday night.

(Entry list compiled by Harold Carmichael with drivers and teams confirming potential entries.)

Cover photo by Dinah Mullins.

Potential Entry List:
#01 Philip Morris
#03 Brenden Queen
#1 Terry Dease
#2 Brandon Pierce
#2 Chris Denny
#3 Nathan Crews
#4 Timmy Phipps
#5 Lee Pulliam
#8 Thomas Scott
#8 Tyler Hughes
#9 Trey Crews
#12 Austin Thaxton
#12 Timothy Peters
#12 Ryan Wilson
#14 Ryan Repko
#15 Ryan Millington
#17 Stacy Puryear
#18 Ty Gibbs
#22 Jordan Pickrel
#22 Bobby McCarty
#24 Colin Garrett
#26 Peyton Sellers
#38 Mark Keesee
#38 Daniel Shelton
#39 Mike Jones
#55 Mark Wertz
#57 Justin Carroll
#75 Quincy Adkins
#78 Corey Heim
#87 Mike Looney
#88 Josh Berry
#90 Terry Carroll
#91 Justin Carroll
#99 Layne Riggs