Four champions were crowned and more than $47,000 in awards were handed out at the annual South Boston Speedway Champions’ Dinner Friday night.
Peyton Sellers (Late Model Stock), Colin Garrett (Limited Sportsman), Johnny Layne (Budweiser Pure Stocks) and Tyler Crute (Budweiser Hornets) all received championship rings and trophies for their titles during the dinner held at Four Oaks Restaurant.
It was Sellers’ third Late Model Stock championship at South Boston and was the result of three wins, 12 top fives and 13 top-10 finishes. He clinched the title with one race to go in the season, fittingly enough on the night of South Boston Speedway’s 60th anniversary celebration. With those three wins in 2017, Sellers moved into sixth on South Boston’s all-time Late Model win list with 25 victories.
“The best part of being a baseball or football player is winning on your home field in front of all your loyal fans, friends and family. Being a race car driver is no different,” said Sellers, who won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship in 2005. “South Boston Speedway is home for me and my family and there is nothing sweeter than home victories.”
Garrett didn’t have Sellers’ luxury of clinching the title with a race remaining. He clinched with a win in the final race of the season. That win gave him five on the season, most in the division. Garrett, driving a car fielded by Sellers’ Racing, also led the Limited Division in most poles, with five, and was the season’s lap leader.
“Coming into this season we had one goal and one mission and that was to win the championship,” said the 17-year-old Garrett, who graduated from Halifax High School in December. “It took a lot of perseverance, especially from the guys at Sellers’ Racing. There were a lot of downs in the season, specifically in the summer months, but we worked hard to make the most out of every race.
“I started racing three years ago in the Pure Stock Division with no experience in any sort of race car. I was 14 years old, not knowing what I was doing or getting into, but I learned from everyone around me and still am.”
Johnny Layne managed just one win in 2017, but consistent finishes in the top 10 and top five led him to his second consecutive Budweiser Pure Stock championship. He put together nine top-10 finishes and five top fives on the way to a seven-point margin in the championship race. He also had the most poles on the season and captured the hard-charger award.
“My father and my brother were the absolute heart and soul of this (championship),” said Layne, who wrecked coming to the start-finish line in the final race of the season, but somehow kept his car moving forward to finish the race and take the title. “I don’t get to make it down there to work on the car during the week. My brother is down there three or four nights a week. Without him it wouldn’t happen.”
Crute was 14 points out of the championship lead entering the final race of the season, but performed perfectly for the victory and a two-point title win to cap off the season. He had 10 top-10 finishes on the season, eight top fives and won five times.
“This means the world to me. I’ve been dreaming about something like this since I was a little kid going to South Boston Speedway playing with my hot wheels in the dirt on the back stretch,” said Crute, who thanked his wife and brother. “To have my brother by my side means the world to me. When I don’t have the time to work on it, and say we may have to miss the next race, he’s right there at the house on Thursday afternoon working on it.”
Racing returns to South Boston Speedway on March 24, 2018 with the Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model Twin 100s featuring twin 100-lap races for Late Models, a 50-lap race for the Limited Sportsman Division, a 30-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stocks and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets.