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Martinsville field full of winners

MARTINSVILLE — Just how solid is the field for this Sunday’s Virginia is for Racing 300 Late Model Stock car race at Martinsville Speedway?  Well, as the old saying goes, the numbers don’t lie.

Philip Morris, the defending event winner, and the 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion is entered. So is Lee Pulliam, who finished third in the final NWAAS national standings and C.E. Falk, who finished fourth.

Frank Deiny Jr. (ninth) and Nate Monteith (10) give the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 entry list two more members of the national top 10. That means half of the top 10 national finalists are entered, and that’s with only about half of the anticipated entry forms received so far.

“The competition level here week in and week out is so much more advanced than what I see in other parts of the country,” Morris said after a recent test session “We know we can expect the best competition anywhere right here at Martinsville Speedway next week.”

The number of total wins this season from the 50 or so entries received so far is staggering, an amazing 147. Thirty of the drivers entered so far have at least one win apiece and six are in double digits. Roughly 100 entrants are expected by the weekend.

Four-time national champion Morris leads the way with 20 wins, with 19 coming at South Boston Speedway and one at Motor Mile Speedway. Pulliam piled up a track-record 16 wins at Motor Mile Speedway and a total of 17 overall while Anthony Anders had 15 victories at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina.

Falk and B.J. Mackey each totaled 11 wins on the season, Falk racing primarily at Langley Speedway and Mackey at Caraway Speedway. Nate Monteith was right behind with 10 wins at Kingsport Speedway.

Practice and time trials are scheduled for Saturday. Only the fastest 22 cars will make the field through qualifying with the remainder of the 42-car field filled through four 25-lap heat races beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. The top five finishers from each heat race will transfer to the 200-lap feature.

Fan gates will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.