After being delayed twice due to inclement weather, a warm and blistering Sunday afternoon greeted over 30 Late Model competitors for the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway, which concluded with a familiar face taking the checkered flag first.

Four-time Whelen All-American Series champion Philip Morris put together a near-perfect weekend by putting his #01 Late Model on pole and leading all 200 laps in the Late Model feature to pick up his first career victory in the prestigious Late Model race at Langley.

“Nobody has worked harder than us,” Morris said in victory lane. “I’m in the gym every day running six miles on the elliptical, and I try my best to not let any of my guys down, and they don’t want to let me down. That’s what it’s going to take with everyone doing their job, and when we get to Martinsville, I think that will show.”

Although Morris initially did not show speed in Saturday’s practice, he was able to rocket his way to the front of the field with a time of 15.584, which put him on pole in front of Peyton Sellers, who narrowly beat him for the win in the Thunder Road-Harley Davidson 200. However, a torrential downpour arrived at the track not long after the session ended, which ultimately forced track officials to postpone the event until 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

The long delay did not deter Morris, as he quickly managed to pull away from Sellers and the rest of the field from the drop of the green flag. Morris’ competition would battle it out for second place on back during the first half of the race, which allowed Morris to add to his advantage before a caution for Matt Bowling’s spin on Lap 97 allowed teams to make adjustments to their cars for the halfway break.

The second half of the Hampton Heat featured a lot of attrition that ended up knocking several key players out of the race, including Tyler Hughes, who was involved in a four-car accident in Turn 3 after making contact with Cameron Bowen. Hughes, who finished in the Top 5 in the Thunder Road-Harley Davidson 200, was not happy with how Bowen raced him, which caused tempers to boil over onto the track and onto pit road between the two competitors, ending their day prematurely.

Another major accident occurred with 70 laps to go, when Woody Howard got turned sideways in front of a huge pack of cars in Turn 2. Casey Wyatt flew through the air after climbing on top of the hood of Howard’s car, which ended both of their days early along with Connor Hall and Mark Wertz, who were both visibly frustrated after climbing out of their cars on pit road.

The final restart of the day would feature a great battle behind Morris for second place, as Sellers, CE Falk, Bobby McCarty and Thomas Scott all tried to claim second place in order to chase down Morris for the lead. McCarty ended up making contact with Falk and Scott several times over the final 50 laps, which drew the ire of his competitors and track officials while Morris continued to pull away from the field.

McCarty, who entered the Hampton Heat 200 as the defending race winner and current points leader in the CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour, was confident that he had a car more than capable of challenging Morris for the victory, and was disappointed that he was unable to mount a challenge at the end. McCarty added that his car never fell off during the run, and attributed his third place finish to the method of how his competition raced him in the final laps.

“I didn’t want to be that aggressive, but I noticed early on in the run that I was going to be the ball and everybody else was going to be the bat, so I ran with it,” McCarty said. “I don’t want to wreck somebody to win a race, because to me, it doesn’t mean anything. We salvaged a third place finish, but I’m definitely not happy with it. Considering that I was the ball and everybody else was the bat, we’ll take it and go home.”

With all the action taking place behind him, Morris was able to easily obtain the Hampton Heat 200 victory, which tied him with Peyton Sellers for the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown points lead with an average finish of 1.5. Morris is eagerly looking forward to having a chance to add another victory at Martinsville to his resume and pick up the Virginia Triple Crown title, but knows that he will have to hold off fellow four-time Whelen All-American Series champion Lee Pulliam to accomplish his goal.

“I wouldn’t want to have it any other way,” Morris said. “Pulliam is a class act, and I know he thinks the same way. We both want to be on the track when one of us wins a race, and that makes it all the more special. He has a lot of faith, just like me, and if we are both out front, then you are going to have two guys that are going to race really hard for the win.”

Sellers had difficulties keeping up with Morris throughout the race, but was able to navigate his way through McCarty, Falk and several others to come home with a second place finish. Thomas Scott finished behind McCarty in fourth after losing an intense battle with him, while 2018 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown polesitter Danny Edwards Jr. rounded out the Top 5.’s Andy Marquis contributed to this report.

Hampton Heat 200 Results:

1. 01 Philip Morris
2. 26s Peyton Sellers
3. 22m Bobby McCarty
4. 8s Thomas Scott
5. 26e Danny Edwards
6. 12t Austin Thaxton
7. 4p Tim Phipps
8. 02 CE Falk III
9. 03 Brenden Queen
10. 91 Justin S. Carroll
11. 12 Nick Smith -1
12. 90 Terry Carroll -1
13. 22c Grayson Cullather -2
14. 2 Brandon Pierce -2
15. 83 Matt Bowling -2
16. 7 Justin T. Carroll -3
17. 25 Craig Eastep -3
18. 10 Maddy Ryan Mulligan -10
19. 36 Chris Johnson OUT
20. 55 Mark Wertz OUT
21. 41 Woody Howard OUT
22. 92 Casey Wyatt OUT
23. 77 Connor Hall OUT
24. 24 Colin Garrett OUT
25. 8 Tyler Hughes OUT
26. 19 Cameron Bowen OUT
27. 50 Garrett Bunch OUT
28. 9 Rodney Boyd OUT
29. 88 Thomas Marks OUT
30. 4s Duane Shreeves OUT
31. 97 Greg Edwards OUT