- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Philip Morris had already secured the 2011 Late Model Stock Car points championship for South Boston Speedway after a sweep of twin races last week, but the Ruckersville resident wanted more wins to stay in the hunt for another Whelen All-American Series National title. He got them, two in fact, last Saturday with another twin-75s sweep at the fourth-tenths mile oval, getting past first-time Late Model pole sitter Bruce Anderson (15.679 seconds) on the opening lap of race one and leading to the checkers for a 0.522 seconds win over the South Boston resident.
Taylor Doggett of Ruther Glen finished third, and Matt Bowling of Ridgeway and Kyle Waltz of Newport News rounded out the top-five finishers in race one, which was delayed four times by cautions and took 46 minutes to complete.
Morris started on the pole for race two and was never headed, winning the second 75-lap race by 2.024 seconds over Anderson, with Doggett again finishing third.
Natalie Sather of Fargo, N.D, rallied from outside the top-10 at the start of the race to finish in fourth-place in the nightcap, with Bowling finishing in fifth place.
Race two had three cautions and took 35 minutes to complete.
Morris said after the sweep the wins were a critical, crucial and significant step toward another national title.
“That’s going to put us right where we need to be, and now it’s our championship to lose,” said Morris after race two.
“I don’t think H.C. (Crew Chief H.C. Sellers III) will lose it, he’s going to put every effort in it for us to run good next week at Langley, and for us to run good at Motor Mile and wherever we’ll go.”
“No more backup cars, this car ran so good tonight” Morris pointed out.
“I can’t say enough for the crew, the thing stayed under me all night, and even the second race it was so hard to manage myself, that thing was just so good.
“I just can’t wait to come back again.”
A fast-improving Anderson ran Morris hard last week and did so again Saturday.
“He’s a super driver and I’ve got the utmost respect for him and his program.” Morris explained.
“They’ve come a long way, and we’ll see him in Victory Lane.”
Morris, taking his cues from Anderson in recent races, moved to the outside on restarts following caution periods, and he found the outside groove to his liking.
“It’s a little weird starting outside, and going through that first corner it’s just good to know you can trust the guys you race with,” said Morris.
“With different guys it’s better or worse,” he added.
“Against a built motor, it seems like I’m better on the bottom, and if I’m racing against a crate motor it seems I can keep my RPM’s up on the outside.
“I actually like starting on the outside better.
It’s just that giving up the inside right where I want to be is just a little weird, but it’s for the fans and I understand how the program works, so I’m all for it.”
Full car counts with wins puts him where he needs to be, according to Morris.
“We wanted to emerge at the end, and that’s what’s happening,” he said.
“Hopefully, we’ll be on top of the standings this week, and hopefully, now we can go finish it off.
“It just seems like everything has been laid out perfectly.”
“I know Philip and those guys are ecstatic about two wins, but I can promise you they’re no happier than we are,” said Anderson after his pole and two second-place finishes.
“We have a ways to go, Philip and them are definitely in a league of their own, but we’re making progress on it.
“I hate there’s only one more points race left before the big race in October.”
“It’s just real fun to race with Philip and these caliber guys,” added Anderson.
“Were night racers and work on the car after work, and they’re full time guys, so it’s pretty awesome for us.
“We took off about five weeks running our own car when we wrecked, and we really took the time to get it back together.
“It just took us a little bit longer and I felt like when we came through the gate with this car we had everything where it needed to be.
“I’m real excited about where we’re going, and we have a really good package.
“It’s pretty cool, and if we ever beat him (Morris), then we can say we beat the best.
Doggett, driving for Dean Motorsports for the first time, said he couldn’t be disappointed with two third-place finishes racing a car with a built motor for the first time.
“The first time I sat in it was yesterday morning, and we ended up with two third-place finishes,” Doggett said.
“You always want more as a racer, and I feel with a little more experience and a little more seat time, we’ll be right there with Philip.
“We’ve got the same equipment, and I really look forward to running with Philip and these guys from Dean Motor Sports.
“It’s a very exciting time for us, and we’re looking forward to winning races for these guys.”
A top-five finish was what Doggett and his team were realistically shooting for.
“We unloaded off the trailer and were really happy with it,” said Doggett.
“Once we realized we were competitive, we realized we had at least a top-five car.
“It’s a big confidence booster in a car for the first time with a built motor, and for the first time working with these guys.”