Some names are just synonymous with the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 like Lee Pulliam, Peyton Sellers, and Philip Morris, just to name a few. However, this year Morris won’t be competing at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 5th.
Morris just fell short of winning his sixth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship after a roller-coaster season with mountain highs and cellar lows. Morris started the season with his crew chief Forrest Reynolds leaving the track after a dispute with engine builder Darrell Poe during the first race of the season at South Boston Speedway.
Morris went on to win the final race of that day but lost his crew chief for the season just one race later when Reynolds entered the track during a red flag attacking Lee Pulliam’s car. The red flag came after Morris’ car was destroyed in turn three from contact with Pulliam.
From there Morris had an unusual season bouncing from track to track and not competing for any tracks championship. He only returned to South Boston Speedway twice more on April 20th, where he finished fifth in a 100-lap race and June 29th, where he was crashed out just past halfway after contact from Sellers.
Morris appeared poised to challenge for the track championship at Motor Mile Speedway but after car count challenges presented themselves on the second night of racing, Morris abandoned that plan and just chose the races he was most likely to have car count from there on out. He spent much of the second half of the season at Dominion Raceway, where he scored eight wins in 12 starts.
However, his season at Dominion Raceway came to crashing stop on September 7th, when after winning the first race of the night his car was launched into the outside wall nearly flipping over. That left him 12 points behind the leader heading into the final week of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points last week where he had to start shotgun on the field and win both races to have any chance of winning his sixth National title. He fell way short of the goal after finishing just ninth and 13th in the twin features.
Morris says that after the tough season and not running as good as he had hoped in the bigger races over the last few seasons that he just doesn’t think it’s worth it.
“I consider this one to be my last one of the year,” Morris told RACE22 following the September 14th races at Langley Speedway. “I don’t think anything is going to change that. I really need to get back to business and these extra races at the end of the year really haven’t done a lot for us.”
He also said he’s staying home to spend some time with his family including his first grandson.
“I just thought I’d take a year off there,” Morris explained. “Spend some time with the family, I’ve missed a whole lot. I’ve got a grandson now and there’s just a lot of fun things to do in the fall. We’re going to go four-wheeling, we’re going to go hiking, camping I hope and do a lot of things that I didn’t get to do all year with them. I actually missed a wedding for my nephew, those things hurt. So we’re going to do some family stuff here at the end and let those guys have Martinsville and all the hoopla that goes with it. There’s a Myrtle Beach in there and a Kenly (Southern National) in there that I’m going to miss but I think we can use a break here.”
Morris is also out of the Virginia Triple Crown after being crashed in the Thunder Road Harley 200 at South Boston on June 29th and then elected not to compete in the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway thus ending any chance he had at competing for the extra money.
After time off this fall, Morris is expected to return in 2020 to compete for his sixth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National championship.